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Highway and Byways: Studies on Reform and Postcommunist Transition

Author

Listed:
  • János Kornai

    () (Collegium Budapest Institute for Advanced Study)

Abstract

Hungarian economist János Kornai first used the metaphor of a single path to postsocialist transition in his earlier book, The Road to a Free Economy. The new metaphor that frames this collection of recent studies reflects a broader perspective and understanding of the complexities of transition: every highway and byway leads eventually to capitalism, Kornai observes, but to what kind, how fast, and at what cost? Who wins and who loses? Kornai draws from his experiences of Hungarian reform as well as from countries of the former Soviet Union to make several major points. The first three studies describe what went wrong in countries that tried to mix elements of planned and market economies. Efforts made by communist countries to introduce market socialism (the "middle road") contained an inherent contradiction between the logic of socialism and the logic of a free enterprise system, and were doomed to failure. In the studies that follow, Kornai analyzes the ongoing dilemmas. The transition from communism to free enterprise is filled with daunting hurdles; it requires no less than redefining ownership, changing values concerning the distribution of wealth, transferring the control of political power, creating financial institutions and enforcing financial discipline, and making deep economic sacrifice. Kornai closes with an overall survey of postsocialist transition, describing the stages that countries tend to go through, that will be particularly useful to scholars of comparative economic systems.

Suggested Citation

  • János Kornai, 1994. "Highway and Byways: Studies on Reform and Postcommunist Transition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262111985, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262111985
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Carstensen, Kai & Toubal, Farid, 2004. "Foreign direct investment in Central and Eastern European countries: a dynamic panel analysis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 3-22, March.
    2. Swati Basu & Saul Estrin & Jan Svejnar, 2005. "Employment Determination in Enterprises under Communism and in Transition: Evidence from Central Europe," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 353-369, April.
    3. Onaran, Özlem, 2007. "Jobless growth in the Central and Eastern European Countries. A country specific panel data analysis for the manufacturing industry," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 372, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    4. Tamara Todorova, 2004. "The Firm in the Context of the Theory of Transaction Costs," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 1, pages 55-74.
    5. Mehrdad Vahabi, 1998. "The Relevance of the Marshallian Concept of Normality in Interior and in Inertial Dynamics as Revisited by G. SHACKLE and J. KORNAI," Post-Print hal-00629181, HAL.
    6. Swati Basu & Saul Estrin & Jan Svejnar, 2000. "Employment and Wages in Enterprises Under Communism and in Transition: Evidence from Central Europe and Russia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 114, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    7. Özlem Onaran, 2008. "Jobless Growth in the Central and Eastern European Countries," Working Papers wp165, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    8. Jiri Vecernik, 2004. "Czech Social Reform/Non-reform: Routes, Actors and Problems," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-651, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    9. Jere Vecernik, 2001. "Social Policies and Structures: Institutional Frictions and Traps in the Czech Republic After 1989," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 404, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    10. Fardmanesh, Mohsen & Tan, Li, 2003. "Wage and price control policies in transition economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 173-200, February.
    11. John Marangos, 2011. "Social Change versus Transition: The Political Economy of Institutions and Transitional Economies," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 40(1), pages 119-137, April.
    12. George Viksnins, 1998. "The East Asian model and the Baltic states," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 33(5), pages 238-244, September.
    13. Peter Wostner, 2003. "Regional Disparities in Transition Economies: the case of Slovenia," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2003(1).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    transition; postcommunism; capitalism;

    JEL classification:

    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies

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