Methods used to privatize state property attest to Albania's commitment to a democratic and egalitarian society: farmland was distributed to the households working on the ex-collectives and state farms, and housing was sold at a nominal price to the families occupying it. There are social issues, however, that influence not only the potential role of property ownership in the development of a democratic society, but also the true workability of some persons' political and economic opportunities. This paper examines two of these social issues: gender and ethnicity. Assuming that property ownership is a necessary condition for establishing a democratic market economy, the potential denial to exercise those rights for a significant proportion of the population on the basis of gender or ethnicity could undermine Albania's attempts to establish a democratic society and dynamic market economy based on equal opportunity.


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