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Declining Democracy in East-Central Europe

The Divide in the EU and Emerging Hard Populism

Attila Ágh

The dramatic decline of democracy in East-Central Europe has attracted great interest world-wide. Going beyond the narrow spectrum of the extensive literature on this topic, this book offers a comprehensive analysis of ECE region – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – from systemic change in 1989 to 2019 to explain the reasons of the collapse of ECE democratic systems in the 2010s.
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Chapter 9: The civilizational crisis in the ECE region

Attila Ágh


This final chapter gives an overview of the relative backsliding of civilization in ECE in social and human capital, creating a civilizational crisis. At the beginning of systemic change ECE already had a ‘civilizational incompetence’ compared to the West, and this historically cumulated gap was an absolute civilizational deficit. With EU membership it has increased into a relative civilizational deficit, given the rapid development of the innovation-driven economy in the West and the low level of human investment in ECE. This deficit appears in the relative backwardness of public services, in particular in education and health care; therefore large numbers of the population have not been able to develop a Western way of life in general and competitive skills in particular. It has resulted in the decreasing competitiveness of ECE in the ‘new economy’ and the mass exodus to the West of the ECE population.

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