First Steps toward Economic Independence: New States of the Postcommunist World

By Michael L. Wyzan | Go to book overview

This stabilization program was not backed by a wide-ranging social consensus. The opposition parties and trade unions, while understanding the need to reduce inflation, viewed the social costs of the program as unacceptably high. Moreover, influential factions of the ruling party had other priorities, especially war and economic renascence.

The quantitative targets for October, November, December, and January were partially fulfilled. Instead of depreciating, the value of the Croatian dinar significantly appreciated in real terms, leading to major difficulties for an economy with a more-than-decade-long tradition of indexing transactions to the DM. Following an October rise in retail prices of 38 percent, the succeeding months saw price changes of 1.4, --0.5, and --0.2 percent, respectively ( RHDZS, no. 2, 1994, pp. 52-53). A shortage of dinari emerged and interest rates fell.

In spite of frequent visits by high-level IMF missions, in its first five months the stabilization plan did not receive any international financial support. The plan's success in the short term will depend on whether its fiscal achievements -- a balanced budget and a fall in government spending as a share of GDP -- can be maintained. The still unresolved military conflict and social tensions will reduce the probability of doing so. The long-term success of the plan will depend on the incentives that it provides to workers and entrepreneurs and on whether an environment conducive to economic growth and restructuring is created. The changes in tax legislation to date have failed to provide the appropriate incentives, while the latter two issues have yet to be addressed.

In addition to the stabilization program, two further areas of economic policy making deserve mention: an ambitious public works program and a social policy. The construction of a large number of major infrastructural works was inaugurated in 1993 with ceremonies befitting their alleged national and historic importance.50 Croatia thus arguably became the largest per capita and per square kilometer building site for highways and tunnels in the world. In fact, at least until recently high-ranking government politicians were continuing to add to the list of construction projects for highways and tunnels.51 The social policy implemented after mid-1993, due to its limited scope and even more limited resources, left the main burden of unemployment and low wages to the family.52


CONCLUSION

A balance sheet cannot yet be drawn up for any of the three dominant economic processes in which Croatia has been engaged since 1990. This is partly the result of inadequate data, a lack of historical perspective, and

-185-

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First Steps toward Economic Independence: New States of the Postcommunist World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1- Introduction 1
  • References 21
  • I- FORMER SOVIET REPUBLICS 23
  • 2- Estonia 25
  • CONCLUSIONS 43
  • Notes 45
  • Notes 48
  • 3- Ukraine 50
  • Conclusion 75
  • References 77
  • 4- Kazakhstan 80
  • 4- Kazakhstan 80
  • Notes 107
  • Notes 107
  • 5- Georgia 112
  • Notes 134
  • II- FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLICS 137
  • CONCLUSIONS 161
  • Notes 162
  • Notes 163
  • 7- Croatia 166
  • Conclusion 185
  • Notes 186
  • Notes 191
  • 8- Macedonia 193
  • Notes 219
  • Notes 221
  • III- OTHER CASES 227
  • 9- Slovakia 229
  • Notes 255
  • Index 259
  • About the Editor and Contributors 267
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