Poverty in Transition and Transition in Poverty: Recent Developments in Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Russia, Mongolia

By Yogesh Atal | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
EMERGING POVERTY IN BULGARIA

Sasha Todorova Institute of Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences


Introduction

It was only after the political changes of 1989 that the phenomenon of "poverty" began to be discussed in Bulgaria. In the totalitarian society of the pre- 1989 era, poverty was not part of the formal ideological paradigm and was, therefore, not a point of reference for the social policy of the government. Rather than talking of the poor, the phrase used then was "populations with low incomes." In the first years of the transition period, this phrase was replaced by an undifferentiated and, therefore, an almost immeasurable notion of "the needy." That is why in the research writings of that period there is a conspicuous absence of any reference to poverty as a social phenomenon; the only exceptions being some socioeconomic analyses of the 1970s and 1980s which attempted to estimate the living and social minima, and the number of people who lived under such conditions.

Another reason for the absence of any reference to poverty in the earlier period was the fact that social security was placed high in the hierarchy of the overall policy of the state. The basic necessities of life were guaranteed to each and everyone by the state, though at a minimum level, by the monthly wage which had no direct linkage with a person's work -- that is, contribution to the economy. Moreover, public health and education were the responsibility of the state. The state also guaranteed maternity privileges to all women. Despite the unsatisfactory housing conditions, especially in the large cities, no Bulgarians were homeless. Drawing a comparison between themselves and the rest of the

-77-

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Poverty in Transition and Transition in Poverty: Recent Developments in Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Russia, Mongolia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • Bibliography 31
  • Chapter One - Recent Trends in Poverty in Hungary 32
  • Bibliography 75
  • Chapter Two - Emerging Poverty in Bulgaria 77
  • Bibliography 100
  • Chapter Three - Poverty in Romania 102
  • Conclusion 126
  • Bibliography 128
  • Chapter Four - Toward Poverty Eradication in Georgia 130
  • Appendix 172
  • Bibliography 175
  • Acknowledgment 176
  • Chapter Five - The Russian Case Social Policy Concerns 177
  • Bibliography 220
  • Chapter Six - Mongolia in the Grip of Poverty 223
  • Conclusion 253
  • Bibliography 255
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