Creating Capitalism in Eastern Europe: The Czech Case
VACLAV KLAUS
THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 2001

Vaclav Klaus is one of the most influential politicians in Eastern Europe, if not the most important
politician in the area of post-communist economic
transition. After two successful years as the first
non-Communist finance minister, Vaclav Klaus was elected
the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and served until
1997. Although his center-right Civic Democratic Party did
not win as many votes as the Social Democratic Party in the
1998 parliamentary elections, Klaus nevertheless was appointed
Speaker of the Parliament, a position he holds to this day. In
addition, since March of 1996, he has been vice-chairman of
the European Democratic Union.

An anticommunist and a pro-market advocate for decades,
Klaus is well known for his application of neoliberal strategies
of economic reform to transition countries. Since Klaus has
remained in office longer than any of his counterparts in other
countries, he has been able to implement an aggressive strategy
of capitalist transformation, a strategy that for many years made
the Czech Republic the model case of postcommunist reform.
He was responsible for drafting the model of mass privatization
that was employed in one form or another in a dozen postcommunist countries.

A graduate of the Prague School of Economics in 1963,
Klaus studied international economic relations and international
trade. He has also worked for the Institute of Economics of
the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and the Czechoslovak
Central Bank. Dr. Klaus is a member of the Mon Pelerin Society
and is the recipient of 19 international awards and 16 honorary
doctorates. He continues to be widely published in both his
homeland and around the world.

Vaclav Klaus's visit to CMC is cosponsored by the Res Publica
Society of Claremont McKenna College and the Marian Miner
Cook Athenaeum.