By John S. Saul
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Additional info for A Difficult Road: The Transition to Socialism in Mozambique
In contrast, the newly freed mass media tended to focus on the negative aspects of the new, post-communist reality, as bad news usually attracts more attention than good news. Therefore, they displayed a ‘negative bias’ in presenting post-communist developments. This shift from a positive to a negative bias, largely a natural by-product of political liberalisation and the modus operandi of free media, must have had an important impact on the political opinions and choices of the newly empowered voters.
But, most likely, the challenges would have been even greater had they not used the period of extraordinary politics to introduce radical reforms. Democratisation empowered voters in the post-communist countries, and voters cannot choose between individual positions on various issues (individual ‘commodities’), but rather have a choice only between ‘bundles’ of positions ‘packaged’ by the parties. This has probably had important implications for the chances of, and obstacles to, radical economic reforms.
Rapid shifts occur in the relative pay and prestige of various occupations and professional groups as markets replace the planned socialist economy. Miners, heavy-industrial workers and other groups that see themselves as ‘losers’ – even if only in relative terms – are likely to be dissatisfied. There is, moreover, an unavoidable trade-off between opportunity and security. This 50 on the political economy of transition hard truth may be poorly understood and bitterly disliked, especially by those who experience a much larger increase in insecurity than in perceived opportunities.
A Difficult Road: The Transition to Socialism in Mozambique by John S. Saul