The Evolutionary Transition to Capitalism

The Evolutionary Transition to Capitalism

The Evolutionary Transition to Capitalism

The Evolutionary Transition to Capitalism

Synopsis

"In this timely work, renowned scholars provide a provocative view of the transition to capitalism in formerly socialist economies. The contributors consider the experiences of Eastern Europe, Russia, and China, most arguing that an evolutionary approach to the transition has a greater chance of succeeding than does "shock therapy." Their evolutionary theoretical paradigm provides constructive alternatives to the conventional thinking on transition and on institutional change in general." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This volume represents a comprehensive inquiry into the evolutionary interpretation of the postcommunist transition process. It is a sequel to a collaborative book, Constructing Capitalism: The Reemergence of Civil Society and Liberal Economy in the Post-Communist World (Westview, 1992) by many of the same authors. In the earlier collection, also under my editorship, many contributors analyzed the postcommunist phase, though largely in a speculative fashion since the process was just unfolding at the time of writing. This book has the advantage of drawing from an accumulated body of facts covering the transition process several years long by now, allowing the initial reactions expressed in the previous book to be tested afresh.

Although they build on different factual bases, these two publications are linked analytically in that they are largely placed within the framework of the evolutionary theory. This particular approach was explicitly applied only in a few chapters of the earlier book, most notably those analyzing the transformation of property rights under communism. By contrast, the present collection of studies is shaped almost exclusively in the evolutionary mold, while focused mostly on the postcommunist reforms. As such, this volume should be considered the first coherent statement of the evolutionary perspective on the current process of transition in postcommunist economies (and possibly on the more general issue of comparative economic systems as well).

Although almost all the chapters in this book draw heavily from evolutionary economics, the actual contents of the evolutionary theory are not outlined in any systematic way by any of the individual chapters. This would have not been an easy task anyhow, since the theory is neither complete nor uniform (for a more complete demonstration, see Poznanski 1993). When reading this book one should have, however, little difficulty in getting a good sense of the different set of assumptions and concepts the evolutionary approach brings to the economic debate. It should be particularly easy to relate this way of thinking--and modeling--to the . . .

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