Change from a centrally planned economy to a free-market system necessarily entails hardship, job redistribution, income fluctuations, and a naturally unpopular abandonment of a false sense of security. Albania's Stalinist economic system, however, disintegrated so completely in the early 1990s that the people had little choice but to take cover as the government enacted sweeping free-market reforms. Article 1 of an August 1991 law on economic activity ripped the heart out of the Stalinist economic system, providing for the protection of private property and foreign investments and legalizing private employment of workers, privatization of state property, and the extension and acceptance of credit. Government officials set to work drafting a new civil code, a revised commercial code, new enterprise laws, and new banking, tax, labor, antitrust, and social security legislation. Widespread anarchy, an almost complete production shutdown, a paucity of capital, and a lack of managers trained to deal with the vagaries of a market economy slowed the reform process.
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