Modern Mongolia

Modern Mongolia: From Khans to Commissars to Capitalists

Morris Rossabi
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: 1
Pages: 418
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppngd
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    Modern Mongolia
    Book Description:

    Land-locked between its giant neighbors, Russia and China, Mongolia was the first Asian country to adopt communism and the first to abandon it. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, Mongolia turned to international financial agencies-including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank-for help in compensating for the economic changes caused by disruptions in the communist world.Modern Mongoliais the best-informed and most thorough account to date of the political economy of Mongolia during the past decade. In it, Morris Rossabi explores the effects of the withdrawal of Soviet assistance, the role of international financial agencies in supporting a pure market economy, and the ways that new policies have led to greater political freedom but also to unemployment, poverty, increasingly inequitable distribution of income, and deterioration in the education, health, and well-being of Mongolian society. Rossabi demonstrates that the agencies providing grants and loans insisted on Mongolia's adherence to a set of policies that did not generally take into account the country's unique heritage and society. Though the sale of state assets, minimalist government, liberalization of trade and prices, a balanced budget, and austerity were supposed to yield marked economic growth, Mongolia-the world's fifth-largest per capita recipient of foreign aid-did not recover as expected. As he details this painful transition from a collective to a capitalist economy, Rossabi also analyzes the cultural effects of the sudden opening of Mongolia to democracy. He looks at the broader implications of Mongolia's international situation and considers its future, particularly in relation to China.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93862-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  4. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. PROMINENT MONGOLIANS IN THE NARRATIVE
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. Map of Mongolia
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Chapter 1 MONGOLIA: A PEACEFUL TRANSITION
    (pp. 1-29)

    The December 10, 1989, Mongolian celebrations of International Human Rights Day did not proceed as planned. The authoritarian communist government that had ruled Mongolia since 1921 had in the past orchestrated numerous demonstrations, as well as so-called spontaneous mass movements, to commemorate important events or personalities in its history or launch new policies or programs. Military pageants, lengthy speeches by leaders of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP), the only legal political party, and snippets of patriotic and communist songs and folk dances, performed by resplendently costumed professionals, characterized these ceremonies, as did the ever-present security guards, who kept close...

  8. Chapter 2 FROM RUSSIAN TO WESTERN INFLUENCE
    (pp. 30-42)

    Despite the anticommunist demonstrations of 1989–90, many reformers had ambivalent feelings about the USSR. Sanjaasürengiin Zorig and his sister Oyun, for example, had a Russian grandfather; Hashbat Hulan had attended schools and university in the USSR; and the father of Davaadorjiin Ganbold, one of the most resolute advocates of a pure market economy, had been Mongolia’s chief representative in the Soviet-sponsored trade association known as the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON). Each of them resented the authoritarian USSR government but at the same time recognized the benefits that had accrued to Mongolia through the assistance of the Soviet...

  9. Chapter 3 PRESSURE FOR A MARKET ECONOMY, 1990–1997
    (pp. 43-79)

    As an economist and first deputy minister, Davaadorjiin Ganbold was eager for the involvement of the IMF, the ADB, and the World Bank. Although he had a “limited exposure to market economics,” he would seek to implement an economic program that, “he recalls proudly, was exactly according to Milton Friedman’s ideology.”¹

    The IMF and the ADB sent groups to study the Mongolian economy and to interview Ganbold and other, like-minded economists. An IMF research team conducted an official visit in August 1990 and produced a report entitledThe Mongolian People’s Republic: Toward a Market Economy,and ADB staff arrived in...

  10. Chapter 4 POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DISLOCATIONS, 1997–2004
    (pp. 80-113)

    Even after the defeat of its candidate for president in May 1997, the Democratic Union did not revise its policies. Prime Minister Mendsaikhany Enkhsaikhan and Davaadorjiin Ganbold, the most enthusiastic advocates of the market economy, pressed forward with privatization for the remainder of their years in power. This espousal of privatization conformed to a curious association and conflation of democracy with a market economy. Many in the Democratic Union agreed with the view that “the advance of democracy . . . depends . . . on the achievements of privatization.”¹ They talked about business, the GDP, inflation, and privatization, but...

  11. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  12. Chapter 5 HERDERS AND THE NEW ECONOMY
    (pp. 114-131)

    In his life and writings, the democratic reformer Tserendash Namkhainyambuu, the only herder so far elected to the Khural in the postcommunist era, reflects the tumultuousness and substantial difficulties in Mongolian pastoralism over the past half century. In his early childhood in Zavkhanaimagin the western part of Mongolia, many herders persisted in an independent lifestyle, migrating in search of grass and water for their animals. By the time he was ten years old, in 1958 , the government had either forced or cajoled herders to joinnegdels, or collectives. As a member of a collective, Namkhainyambuu achieved remarkable...

  13. Chapter 6 POVERTY AND OTHER SOCIAL PROBLEMS
    (pp. 132-174)

    From 1990 on, the repeated calls by international donor agencies and Mongolian advocates of the pure market such as Ganbold and Amarjargal for austerity and cutbacks in government spending had dramatic effects on social policy. Suspicion and denigration of the state impinged upon its ability to undertake its social welfare responsibilities.¹ The advocates of the pure market placed their faith in privatization of many social services, including education and health. They asserted that the state ought not to increase spending on social welfare without a guarantee of additional revenues. Yet they generally advocated reductions in taxes and privatization of most...

  14. Chapter 7 CULTURE AND THE MARKET ECONOMY
    (pp. 175-198)

    Mongolian culture is inextricably linked with its environment. The herder Namkhainyambuu told me that Mongolians have a mystical sense of identification with their land and its flora and fauna. He was proud that much of Mongolian music and dance, literature, and even films and theater are imbued with references to Mongolian landscape and animals. The horse-headed fiddle is their most renowned musical instrument, and many Mongolian films capitalize on the spectacular and virtually empty landscape. Much of early Mongolian literature concerns the relation of man to animals, and many Mongolian cultural taboos relate to desecration of the environment. Naturally, as...

  15. Chapter 8 A NEW MONGOLIA IN A NEW WORLD
    (pp. 199-224)

    Much needed to be done after the transition from communism to democracy to link landlocked Mongolia more firmly to the outside world, and especially to establish good relations with the great powers. Proponents of a pure market system such as Davaadorjiin Ganbold and Prime Ministers Mendsaikhany Enkhsaikhan and Nambaryn Enkhbayar have tended to emphasize cooperation with the United States and the West,¹ while reformers such as Sanjaasürengiin Oyun, Hashbat Hulan, and Tömöröchiryn Erdenebileg have supported a more balanced policy that stresses the need for contacts with the other countries of the so-called Third World and recognizes Mongolia’s traditional relations with...

  16. Chapter 9 SINO-MONGOLIAN RELATIONS
    (pp. 225-245)

    By the early twenty-first century, to the dismay of some of the democratic reformers, China was playing an increasingly important role in Mongolia. They feared not only the authoritarian Chinese government but also economic dependence on China. A legacy of at least two thousand years of mistrust and intermittent confrontations and hostilities between the two societies has influenced contemporary Mongolia’s relations with China. Qing dynasty rule over Mongolia embittered the Mongolians. Manchu and Chinese officials exploited them, and Chinese merchants capitalized on their country’s political domination to enrich themselves at the expense of the Mongolians. Thus when the Chinese Revolution...

  17. AFTERWORD
    (pp. 246-252)

    In 1990, for the first time in three hundred years, Mongolia had the opportunity to move toward independence and democracy. From 1691 to 1911, the Qing dynasty and Chinese merchants had imposed a harsh, oppressive rule on Mongolians, and from 1921 to 1990, the Soviet Union dominated the country. The collapse of the USSR offered the Mongolians a chance to chart their own course. Yet they needed temporary assistance to compensate for the changes in commerce, investment, and technical advice that ensued after the disruptions in the communist world.

    The IMF, World Bank, ADB, USAID, and JICA, the Japanese International...

  18. NOTES
    (pp. 253-342)
  19. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 343-382)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 383-397)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 398-398)