Accidental Occidental: Economics and Culture of Transition in Mitteleuropa, the Baltic, and the Balkan Area

Accidental Occidental: Economics and Culture of Transition in Mitteleuropa, the Baltic, and the Balkan Area

Accidental Occidental: Economics and Culture of Transition in Mitteleuropa, the Baltic, and the Balkan Area

Accidental Occidental: Economics and Culture of Transition in Mitteleuropa, the Baltic, and the Balkan Area

Excerpt

If political economy, i.e. the interdisciplinary study of interrelationships between political institutions and economic systems, has ever made sense, it is exactly now. Hardly any better example of mutual influence and co-determination between political action and economic behavior can be conceived than the historic transformation of a politically supercharged and embedded system into an economically more autonomous and predisposed one. While in communism the political sphere was more important than the economic one, it is not to say that in capitalism it is exactly the other way round. The interplay between politics and economics in capitalism is more subtle, stochastic, nuanced and balanced. What is important here is that transition, as a process of transforming a closed and exclusionary totalitarian system into an open and more inclusive, democratic polity, involves the restoration of relative autonomy for institutions in all spheres of societal existence, economy, politics, science, education, culture, law, religion, ethics, etc. Structural reforms, implemented throughout the protracted and still ongoing period of transition, have been aiming at achieving this delicate separation by a tremendous amount of deliberate institution building which requires highly professional and deeply political societal governance.
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