Central and Southeastern Europe in Transition: Perspectives on Success and Failure since 1989

By Hall Gardner | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
A Balance of Economic Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe

Nadège Ragaru

In 1997, Central Europe confirmed the signs of economic recovery observed since 1995. At the same time, however, the spectacular economic crisis in Bulgaria during the winter and the political instability in Albania provided ample reminders that transitions to a market economy could easily derail. Against this background, a "balance sheet" of reforms in Eastern Europe, a decade after they were first launched, appears all the more challenging, because the rapid internal differences within the former communist zone might soon outweigh sweeping analyses and broad-based remedies. 1

Rather than review the latest developments on a state-by-state basis we will concentrate on basic themes, illustrated by concrete examples from one or two countries. Emphasis will be on Romania and Bulgaria, two states that tend to be under-researched. The purpose here is to give flesh to often all-too-dry economic analyses. Instead of distributing pluses and minuses, we will focus on the "human face" of change. 2

During the first years of transition, special (at times exclusive) attention was devoted to macroeconomic performances and ruling elites. Predicated upon the ultraliberal credence of Eastern European reformers, the exclusion of bottom-up approaches made it difficult to perceive social responses to transition beyond considerations on increased poverty and deteriorating welfare. In particular, most analysts failed to investigate how societies made sense of emerging systems, borrowing from communist and pre-communist heritages as much as from Western-dominated market ideals. Such considerations appeared more clearly when there occurred a move away from the initial phase (macroeconomic stabilization and liberalization) and toward the application of structural reforms. 3 It then became obvious that the success of transformations would be conditioned upon anchoring new patterns of

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Central and Southeastern Europe in Transition: Perspectives on Success and Failure since 1989
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 in Search of East-Central Europe: Ten Years After 5
  • Notes 19
  • Chapter 2 the Balkans: A Distorted, Third World Reflection of Europe 21
  • Notes 28
  • Chapter 3 Rusty Ottoman Keys to the Balkans of Today 31
  • Notes 42
  • Chapter 4 the Role of Culture Under the Communist and Post-Communist Eras 43
  • Chapter 5 the Transformation of the Media in Post-Communist Central Europe 51
  • Notes 60
  • Chapter 6 the Media in Transition in Southern Central Europe 61
  • Notes 73
  • Chapter 7 a Balance of Economic Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe 75
  • Notes 92
  • Chapter 8 Ulysses and the Lotus Eaters 97
  • Notes 110
  • Chapter 9 Environmental Security and Civil Society 113
  • Notes 142
  • Chapter 10 the Genesis of Nato Enlargement and of War "Over" Kosovo 151
  • Introduction 151
  • Notes 181
  • Name Index 199
  • Subject Index 203
  • Contributors and Editors 209
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