This book is meant to be "The Economics of Transformation 101": a lucid primer for noneconomist students of postcommunist societies and informed members of the policy community who are bewildered by the confusing -- and sometimes incomprehensible-debates among economists. In this concluding chapter, I intend to pursue a simple goal: to underscore the points on which economists agree and on which they -- including the authors of this volume -- do not, and explain why. I also hope to pose a few questions forcefully, answer a few others clearly, demonstrate that some catchphrases dominating the policy debate are more illusory than illuminating, and suggest that some of the building blocks of the conventional transition strategy -- at least the way they are put together -- subvert the strategy more than support it.
As Michael Mandelbaum notes in the beginning -- and as our four authors repeatedly demonstrate -- Western economists (and their market-friendly Eastern colleagues) display an amazing amount of agreement on the major components of the overall transitional policy package. While these economists rarely list the components in exactly the same way (our four authors are no exception), they broadly agree that the vehicle to reach a private market economy should ride on four interlocking wheels: