Czechoslovakia: Reluctant Reform

As one of Eastern Europe's staunchest free-market reformers, Vaclav Klaus, the Czechoslovak Finance Minister, battled throughout 1990 to put Czechoslovakia on a fast track to a market economy. It was a major coup when, at the end of the year, the 49-year-old economist won the reluctant backing of the government and parliament. Most Czech politicians harbor a lingering mistrust of capitalism and would have preferred a softer transition. "Klaus spent weeks running President Vaclav Havel through Economics 101," says a top aide in the Finance Ministry.

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