To put into perspective the problems of humanity on the eve of the twenty-first century, I ask the reader to imagine a country which is subject to climatic variations, needs to achieve a major structural adjustment of its macroeconomy, is composed of several different ethnic groups, some of which are threatening to secede, and is being called upon to participate in a regional common market. Perhaps you thought of an African country of the capitalist Third World, such as Chad. And of course you were right. But you could also have mentioned Canada and other nations of the capitalist industrial world (including the European Community), who now find themselves at the mercy of acid rain and the greenhouse effect, who must reply seriously to the demands of native groups, who are in full macroeconomic crisis with massive debt loads and who must each find their place in a continental economic union. Nor would you have been wrong if you had mentioned countries of the former centrally planned socialist world, such as Lithuania, Georgia, Hungary and the other members of the proposed Slavic common market, generally northern countries with a short and variable season for agricultural production in need of massive restructuring of the roles of the state and of the private sector within the economy. In short, it can be argued that all the economies of the planet are in the midst of a period of transition of unprecedented proportions. Therefore limiting the term 'economies in transition' to countries of the former Soviet bloc seems too restrictive. Each economy must determine the weaknesses which must be corrected if it hopes to create workable strategies of progress towards participation in a better world order.