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

By Shafiqul Islam; Michael Mandelbaum | Go to book overview

Conclusion: Problems of Planning a Market Economy

Shafiqul Islam

This book is meant to be "The Economics of Transformation 101": a lucid primer for noneconomist students of postcommunist societies and informed members of the policy community who are bewildered by the confusing -- and sometimes incomprehensible-debates among economists. In this concluding chapter, I intend to pursue a simple goal: to underscore the points on which economists agree and on which they -- including the authors of this volume -- do not, and explain why. I also hope to pose a few questions forcefully, answer a few others clearly, demonstrate that some catchphrases dominating the policy debate are more illusory than illuminating, and suggest that some of the building blocks of the conventional transition strategy -- at least the way they are put together -- subvert the strategy more than support it.


The Package and the Performance: From Consensus to Contention

As Michael Mandelbaum notes in the beginning -- and as our four authors repeatedly demonstrate -- Western economists (and their market-friendly Eastern colleagues) display an amazing amount of agreement on the major components of the overall transitional policy package. While these economists rarely list the components in exactly the same way (our four authors are no exception), they broadly agree that the vehicle to reach a private market economy should ride on four interlocking wheels:

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Council On Foreign Relations Books iv
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - From Central Planning to a Market Economy 16
  • Notes 49
  • 2 - Economic Transformation in Central and Eastern Europe 53
  • Notes 97
  • 3 - Economic Reform in the USSR and Its Successor States 99
  • Notes 138
  • 4 - Western Financial Assistance and Russia's Reforms 143
  • Appendix to Chapter 4 - A Note on G-7 Assistance Extended to the Soviet Union 176
  • Notes 178
  • Conclusion - Problems of Planning a Market Economy 182
  • Notes 212
  • Appendix 216
  • Index 218
  • Glossary of Abbreviations and Acronyms 235
  • About the Authors 236
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