Recent history has witnessed two huge surprises: first the collapse of communism, and then the unexpected slow-down of post-communist transition. The author claims that the secret of current tensions and drawbacks experienced by Eastern and Central European societies is to be sought in the area of “intangibles and imponderables”, the deep cultural legacy inherited both from the distant pre-modern past of these societies and the more recent syndrome of “fake modernity” imposed by real socialism. The vicious effect of these complex historical influences is described by the concept of “civilizational incompetence” comprising deficiencies in: (a) entrepreneurial culture, (b) civic or political culture, (c) discourse culture and (d) everyday culture. The agents able to undermine and slowly eliminate civilizational incompetence must be sought among the elites most insulated from the impact of real socialism, and at the same time most exposed to the influence of modern, Western culture.
© 1993 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart