Explaining Postcommunist Economic Performance
This article critiques neoliberal transition theory from a neoclassical sociological perspective. Neoliberals argue that postcommunist economic failure is the result of inadequate adherence to neoliberal precepts. This paper argues that the neoliberal policy package of “Shock Therapy” (consisting of the radical transition to a market economy through rapid and extensive price and trade liberalization, stringent monetary and fiscal stabilization, and the implementation of a mass privatization program) creates severe supply-and-demand shocks for enterprises, inducing firm failure. This leads to a fiscal crisis for the state, and an erosion of its capacity and bureaucratic character. This in turn reacts back on the enterprise sector, since the state can no longer support the institutions necessary for the effective functioning of capitalist economies. The neoliberal theory is tested against a neoclassical sociological theory by examining the experience of 12 postcommunist countries and two reform Asian communist countries.
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