Political and Economic Liberalization: Dynamics and Linkages in Comparative Perspective

Political and Economic Liberalization: Dynamics and Linkages in Comparative Perspective

Political and Economic Liberalization: Dynamics and Linkages in Comparative Perspective

Political and Economic Liberalization: Dynamics and Linkages in Comparative Perspective

Synopsis

This volume assesses the surges in the processes of democratisation and economic liberalisation, and the forms they have taken. Diverse country studies are used to advance the reader's understanding of the complexities of these processes.

Excerpt

This book is the culmination of a project sponsored by Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which began with workshops in 1993 and 1994 and brought together economists and political scientists from Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and Asia.

Considerable attention has been devoted recently to the phenomena of democratization and economic liberalization. Nevertheless, for the most part this work has suffered from a number of gaps. The first gap is the lack of attention to the linkage (whether positive or negative) between democratization and economic liberalization. The second is that very little research has been comparative—at least in a form that straddles countries whose cultures and stages of development vary widely. And the third is the lack of interdisciplinary collaboration. This project was initiated to address these concerns.

Three regions were selected as sources for case studies: Eastern Europe, the Arab Middle East, and East Asia. From the first two regions, the case studies are of former state-socialist countries; from East Asia, one case represents a centrally planned economy and the second a newly industrializing country (NIC).

In Eastern Europe, Poland was an obvious choice as perhaps the most important path-breaking case, initially in politics and subsequently in economic liberalization. The second case study, Albania, was the last holdout of the model of socialist autarky in Europe before, in its turn, it succumbed to the winds of change. In the Middle East, the Algerian example is important both because of the extent of the liberalizing reforms attempted in a previously strongly authoritarian polity and centrally planned economy and because it provides perhaps the most dramatic example of a polity and economy where the liberalization process ended in crisis. The second Middle Eastern example, Syria, was also long known for both a socialist economy and strict authoritarian rule, and it is a key player in the present-day Middle East. In East Asia, the People’s Republic of China was an inevitable . . .

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