East Germany: Capitalists Among Communists

East Germany's Communist chieftains are generally recognized as the most doctrinaire political ideologists in Eastern Europe, but they are well aware that a touch of capitalism also has its attractions. With an unexpected pragmatism, the party leaders decided that nationalizing some small and medium-sized businesses would cost the state more trouble than it would be worth. So the state has simply become a "partner" in a number of "semiprivate" firms that employ hundreds of people, ring up millions in yearly sales and account for some 9% of the $31 billion gross national product. Their size and importance to the...

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