First, given the surplus character of natural resources, the elite in resource-rich economies at the beginning of the transition period was most interested in securing the property rights over these resources that gave them a power base. It is generally
easier to materialize short-term profits from natural resources than from fixed assets such as manufacturing plants, equipment and machinery, because proceeds from natural resources depend less on the creation of a functioning market economy, on human capital,
and on R&D investments. This is a version of the natural resource curse, familiar to most economists. Second, one of the consequences of an extended time under socialism and the consequent centralization of power was the absence of any political opposition,
or even civil society institutions and social networks, such as churches, political clubs, and trade unions to challenge the power of the political incumbents. These entrenched political elites are less inclined to share economic and political power during
the transition process because they can use their political power to extract rents.