Jumpstart: The Economic Unification of Germany
The unification of Germany is one of the most wrenching and dramatic transitions in economic history. A policy issue of worldwide interest, it holds key lessons for the remaining post-socialist economies. In Jumpstart two well-known German economists synthesize a vast body of literature to present the first well-structured, clearly argued analytical account of the reunification process and the policy alternatives. The Sinns' authoritative and primarily nontechnical account will interest nonspecialists who want to keep up with economic events. Their summary of the German experience with radical reform will provide a valuable reference for specialists in transition economics. Contrary to fears that German reunification would bring on a resurgence of nationalism, the Sinns point out, it has met with apathy and indifference. Nonetheless, a great deal is at stake in the battle for redistribution, and the present economic chaos poses a serious threat to social stability. The Sinns suggest a "social pact" between labor and management that could put an end to the struggle over distribution and speed up the transformation of the former East German communist economy into a market economy. The core of this pact is a shift in emphasis from factor prices to the fundamental issues of compensation and the distribution of real wealth.
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