In 1990, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe began or accelerated their transition to a market economy. This book addresses among others the following questions: (I) What are the fundamental causes of the collapse of the Soviet-type economic systems? (II) What major steps could be taken to make the transition process to a market economy irreversible and less painful? (III) What can be learned from West Germany's outstandingly successful postwar economic reforms? (IV) Is the issue of gradualism versus shock therapy still relevant? (V) If macroeconomic stability is a precondition, what is the role of privatization, deregulation and trade liberalization? (VI) What is the optimal sequence of steps in privatization, deregulation, liberalization and currency convertibility? (VII) How quickly may privatization be achieved? (VIII) Is the USSR really a special case and, if so, in what respects and for what fundamental reasons? (IX) How long in the transition period may the initial phase of disorder, chaos and decline last? (X) What can be learned from the experiences gathered so far in the major ex-communist countries?