More recently, the deregulation of labour markets, combined with selective protection of the most affected social groups and more education and training, has been gaining ground in western Europe as a reaction of government to unemployment and recession. The USA seems to be moving in the opposite direction, trying to diminish the most drastic inequalities in society with recent proposals for health care reform and the introduction of social security.
Similar policy schemes to improve economic efficiency have been applied on an unprecedented scale in eastern and central Europe after 1989 in order to "fix" the centrally planned system. Most governments in these countries followed the traditional mix of monetary and fiscal policies. Privatization-cum-stabilization programmes accompanied by extensive liberalization and deregulation of economic activities have proceeded, but have come under increasing pressure from society that wishes to maintain the level of social benefits. The policies are now being reassessed both in transition economies and in western market economies against the background of unemployment, the slow recovery from recession and other stretched institutional capabilities to deal with new problems.