Agriculture and industry constituted the core of production under communism, since services were hardly valued positively as a means of wealth creation apart from international tourism. There was a massive transfer of labour from agriculture to industry, which achieved rapid rates of growth and attracted the lion's share of the investments made under central planning. Agriculture was widely seen as a 'problem' because plan targets were often missed. Yet farm production increased considerably and the low cost inputs (labour, fertilisers, energy, etc.), along with price subsidies, brought about a high level of intensification which is clearly not being maintained under the transition. Major structural changes are now taking place and industry has lost its privileged position. There is plenty of scope for comparative farming and industry studies to highlight privatisation/restitution arrangements and the role of central government agencies, local authorities and local officials (Turnock 1996). The situation is highly complex, with substantial variations in the thrust of legislation between countries (Braverman et al. 1993; Swinnen 1994). Privatisation is taking place and the removal of price controls should stimulate the private farmer in the long run, although for the moment low real wage levels limit the demand for food and some remaining price controls exaggerate the 'price scissors' that sees costs of manufactured goods (including fertiliser and farm machinery) increasing more rapidly than the value of agricultural produce (Brooks et al. 1991).
Much greater structural change has occurred in agriculture than in any other sector thanks to the widespread adoption of policies of land 'restitution' to former owners and 'distribution' to the farm workers and the rural population in general (Brooks and Lerman 1994). Both measures were politically necessary, although to differing degrees across the region. Conceptually the restoration of ownership rights enhances the social status of many rural dwellers through a process of 'reagrarisation' and 'embourgoisement' (Manchin and Szelenyi 1985) and it thereby rejects the Stalinist revolutionary