The political and social context can greatly influence individual attitudes towards information. Eastern Europe, under a communist regime, was an information-hoarding society. Information was associated with time-consuming writing, copying, face-to-face meetings, and delays. A consumer in a command economy values official forms as the only record they have of a transaction or request which may take months or years to fulfil. By contrast, in a market economy, informed customers can choose freely and quickly among a variety of options. Information is replaceable and has a shorter life-span.