chapter  8
The Environment and Economic Transition
WithDJ Peterson
Pages 29

Regardless of the accomplishments of glasnost, democratization, and legal reform, the fate of the environment in the post-Soviet era depends to the greatest extent on the results of the third component of reforms: economic restructuring. The impact of radical economic reforms and the ensuing structural adjustment of the region's economy will have some positive effects on the environment. A transition away from the Soviet model of economic development, if executed, could result in a radical restructuring of the region's emerging economies. Businesspeople, government officials, and environmentalists traveling and working in the former Soviet area are struck by the great interest expressed in acquiring Western environmental technology as well as know how in environmental economics and public policy. Reducing environmental degradation is essential to improving public health, reducing the burden on the region's overtaxed healthcare system, and increasing worker productivity. The scale of the post-Soviet environmental challenge, in terms of global interdependence, mandates cooperation to support the democratic alternative.