using standard courier delivery
This memoir is about transitions. At the end of the Cold War, the United States tried to export its vision of free markets and democracy. There was euphoria as we thought we would usher in a new world order consistent with U.S. values. I was present at the beginning of these transformations: Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Chile, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Montenegro, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Sudan and Ukraine. It was a magic time with much hope and new opportunities. Globalization, reintegration with Western markets and dissolution of state companies fueled private sector entrepreneurship. Democratic reformers toppled dictatorships. They mobilized people's movements through the Internet and social media. In each country, family-owned companies and nascent cooperatives emerged to compete with failing state enterprises and collective farms. Successful economic development projects were premised on people-to-people assistance by Americans who held deep beliefs in democracy and lifelong experiences in running successful businesses and farms. Newly democratic countries faced daunting challenges in the transition to market economics with displaced state workers, weak political institutions, rapid privatization and dismantling of state companies and farm collectives. Deep corruption remained pervasive. The hope was that a new class of democrats and private business leaders would win the battle of ideas and political power. At the same time, hardships were devastating for former State employees and pensioners who experienced hyperinflation, loss of personal security, and anguish in trying to shift their mind sets from socialism to market economics. Authoritarian leaders learned how to regain or consolidate power and oppress individuals, democratic parties and press freedoms, especially human rights organizations. This backlash cut off donor funding for non-governmental organizations in Egypt, Russia, Ecuador and other countries. These leaders successfully used ethnic differences and loss of national pride to divide and usher in counter-revolution. Former apparatchik and oligarchs took over the large and even small enterprises in the former Soviet republics and stifled the emergence of an entrepreneurial class. Despite these newly repressive regimes, a groundswell of entrepreneurs and democratic advocates achieved immediate results. Much progress took place on market reforms. The bi-polar conflict between communism and free enterprise systems no longer existed. The ingrained values of private enterprise and democratic forces in these societies remain hopeful despite the rise of terrorism, ethnic and religious conflicts and failed states. At its core, this book details how people-to-people and cooperatives lifted economic and social lives in diverse fields of telecommunications, agriculture, insurance, rural electricity, and health.