Making Markets: Economic Transformation in Eastern Europe and the Post-Soviet States

By Shafiqul Islam; Michael Mandelbaum | Go to book overview

Foreword

Making Markets addresses the formidable challenge of transforming collapsed communist economies into thriving market economies.

In this transformation, economic and political reforms are inextricably intertwined. Throughout the republics of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the state can no longer dictate economic results and the market is not yet sufficiently well established to provide the incentives necessary for vigorous or stable growth. Economic progress might not come fast enough to avoid the collapse of democratic governments, and with it a reversion to autocracy or a decline into anarchy.

Increasingly, political leaders and scholars alike will be engaging in a debate over whether countries can implement democratic reforms and market reforms at the same time. Does a nation seeking to put in place a market-oriented economy require a strong government to keep a lid on demands for inflationary wage increases and to force its citizens to adopt the institutional changes required to make the necessary economic transition? Does a government require the confidence that it can control the political evolution of its society in order to allow a substantial amount of economic autonomy for its citizens and regions? Can a government based on democratic principles survive if the populace becomes disillusioned due to insufficient improvement in living standards?

The countries of this region face an enormous set of challenges. This book provides an insight into their nature and an analysis of ways to tackle them. Making Markets is, in another

-vii-

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