Russia: Shareholder Power To The People

It's a powerful idea that may finally put former communist nations firmly on the road to market capitalism: Give the people a taste of ownership, and they just may like it. That's what Czechoslovakian Finance Minister Vclav Klaus's hugely successful voucher program is doing. In the fall, Russia plans to distribute vouchers that can be exchanged for shares of ownership, and the Baltic nations are investigating vouchers as part of their privatization programs. In countries where powerful interests from local apparatchiks to entrenched managers are vying for control of industrial assets, it makes sense to spread ownership throughout the population. What once belonged to the people in theory can now belong to the people in fact.

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