Newspapers overflowed with accounts of soaring mortality amid the stress of transition. On average, however, life expectancy rose from 69 years in 1990 to 73 years in 2012. The speed of improvement was two thirds faster than in the communist 1980s. Russia’s life expectancy today, at 70.5, is higher than it has ever been. Infant mortality, already low, fell faster in percentage terms than in any other world region.Eastern Europe is infamous for unhealthy binge drinking. However, average alcohol consumption fell between 1990 and 2010 from 7.9 to 7.6 liters of pure alcohol a year per resident aged over 14. There were exceptions — drinking rose in Russia and the Baltic states but even in Russia recorded consumption in 2010, 11.1 liters, was lower than that in Germany, France, Ireland, or Austria. (Of course, more drinking might escape the statisticians in the Slavic region.) Smoking among adult males was high – 42 percent on average but about the same as in Asia. In short almost all statistics suggest a dramatic improvement in the quality of life.In short, almost all statistics suggest a dramatic improvement in the quality of life since 1989 for citizens of the average postcommunist country — an improvement that rivals and often exceeds those in other parts of the world.
Friday, October 31, 2014
Average is Over: 25 Years since Morava River and Berlin Wall Collapsed
James Burnham, a socialist, CIA agent, philosopher, and Cold Warrior, was a master analyst of oligarchy, in his day and ours... Double agent of ice & fire
The November-December issue of World Literature Today, with a focus on 'After the Wall Fell: Dispatches from Central Europe 1989-2014', is now available, a decent chunk of it accessible online -- as is the entire World Literature in Review-reviews section.
Czech out the new Foreign Affairs piece by Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman, and they argue that matters have gone strikingly well and are relatively normal. Here is one excerpt: