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

By Michael L. Wyzan | Go to book overview

unsolved methodological questions (primarily connected to distinguishing the costs of the transition from those of independence). The main problem, however, is the fact that all three processes are still under way. Moreover, each of them has a completely different intertemporal distribution of costs and benefits. In all three cases, there are large upfront costs and immediate destabilizing effects, with the benefits coming only later.

In spite of these disclaimers two conclusions can be drawn. The first is that establishing a new economic space was achieved quickly and the costs were not prohibitive, largely due to the inherited federal features of Yugoslavia and an adequate supply of human capital. The second conclusion concerns the opportunities that independence offers for the shaping of transition policy. Freeing oneself from the "convoy effect" -- by which the slowest moving party slows down all the others -- and concentrating on the problems of a smaller economy may enable those in power to focus on the most relevant issues and to find solutions suited to Croatian conditions. The divergence of the transition paths of former Yugoslav republics is a clear illustration of this point. Moreover, economic independence has simplified decision making by eliminating the need for extensive negotiations and compromises with the other regions of the former Yugoslavia. Of course, the extraordinary costs of the war must be subtracted from these present and future benefits. These costs could not have been anticipated, for it was impossible to imagine beforehand the brutality of the Wars of Yugoslav Succession.


NOTES
1.
Of course, there had always been criticism of various aspects of the Yugoslav economy, but during the 1980s not only did its level and popular following increase, but there was much more receptiveness to it among politicians.
2.
During the 1980s three efforts were made by the ruling elite to reform and resuscitate self-management and socialism. The first one was in 1983 on the basis of the report of the Kraigher Commission, on which see Lazović ( 1983). The second was in 1986 in the aftermath of the recommendations of the Vrhova Commission, on which see Pašić ( 1986). The third and last effort was in 1989 when Prime Minister Ante Marković offered his so-called "new socialism"; see Marković ( 1989). Interestingly, the first proposal received the official support of all political structures (party, state, and other organizations on all levels), the second got partial and much more low-key support (mostly within the party), while the third was a "white knight" effort (backed only by a small part of the ruling elite).
3.
Yugoslavia's relative position in comparison to the Western economies remained unchanged, even though relative to certain East-Central European ones (notably, Czechoslovakia) it performed well; see Bićanić and Škreb ( 1994).

-186-

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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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