The Market Meets its Match: Restructuring the Economies of Eastern Europe

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Under free-market shock therapy, the economies of Eastern Europe have plunged into crisis. Shortages may have disappeared, but so have social services, a living wage, and equitable income distribution. Political unrest increases apace as output plummets. Why so much stagnation, inflation, and de-industrialization, and what can be done to turn this risky state of affairs around? This book, the first critique of the free-market economic policies that have jolted Eastern Europe, addresses these questions in ...
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1995 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 232 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. BRAND NEW.

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Overview

Under free-market shock therapy, the economies of Eastern Europe have plunged into crisis. Shortages may have disappeared, but so have social services, a living wage, and equitable income distribution. Political unrest increases apace as output plummets. Why so much stagnation, inflation, and de-industrialization, and what can be done to turn this risky state of affairs around? This book, the first critique of the free-market economic policies that have jolted Eastern Europe, addresses these questions in penetrating detail. The authors also propose a sensible approach to reform, including a restructuring of the state itself so that it can play a more positive role in this difficult transition. With close attention to the history and institutional realities of the region, The Market Meets Its Match explains the failure of the simplistic market medicine administered in the first five years of transition. Merely "getting the prices right" - lowering wages and raising interest rates and energy prices - won't improve competitiveness, the authors argue, as long as nonlabor costs such as the quality of goods, product design, outmoded technology, and inefficient distribution channels remain problems. Easing these bottlenecks requires long-term capital accumulation and profit maximization. The institutions necessary for such growth have not developed under Eastern Europe's new "pseudo-capitalism," as the authors demonstrate, and "pseudo-privatization," while distributing state property to citizens, has not provided them with the capital and technology they need to succeed. This book shows that the market mechanism alone will not transform Eastern Europe's potentially productive enterprises into international competitors without careful government coordination and support.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A critique of the free-market economic policies that have jolted Eastern Europe. It explains the failure of the simplistic market medicine administered in the first five years of transition, and proposes a sensible approach to reform, including a restructuring of the state itself so that it can play a more positive role in this transition. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Financial Times
A highly readable and extremely convincing account of why the strategies adopted by east European governments have failed. [The authors] argue that these governments adopted a free-market, neo-classical model of capitalist development, totally inappropriate to their condition and history, and one which did not reflect the way advanced capitalist countries had themselves developed.
— Peter Lawrence
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674549838
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice H. Amsden is the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Political Economy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jacek Kochanowicz is Associate Professor of Economic History at the University of Warsaw.

Lance Taylor is Arnhold Professor of International Cooperation and Development at the New School for Social Research.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 From Pseudo-Socialism to Pseudo-Capitalism 1
2 Transition Macroeconomics 17
3 The Black Box of State-Owned Enterprises 52
4 Overloading the Market Mechanism 79
5 Pseudo-Privatization and the World Bank 113
6 Enterprise and the State 129
7 Challenges Facing the State 158
8 Reconstructing the State 181
9 Economy, Society, and the State 206
Notes 213
References 225
Index 243
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