Accidental occidental

Accidental occidental: Economics and Culture of Transition in Mitteleuropa, the Baltic and the Balkan Area

LAJOS BOKROS
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 206
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7829/j.ctt2tt24g
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  • Book Info
    Accidental occidental
    Book Description:

    In the contemporary context this book can be considered as an untimely but salient defense of market capitalism and liberal democracy. Celebrating transition today is tantamount to upholding the decidedly superior values and achievements of a market system over a non-market one and that of a democratic system over a non-democratic one. It is definitely not to deny the failures, shortcomings or imperfections of market economy and democracy. Neither do I take the survival of market capitalism and liberal democracy for granted. On the contrary, by highlighting the glorious and painful process of transition and making an attempt to understand its economics and culture, I wish to contribute to the once again badly needed theoretical (academic) and practical (political) defense of Western civilization.

    eISBN: 978-615-5225-36-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)

    I started writing this book in the course of 2009, in a year which was to be considered annus miserabilis from the very beginning. The autumn of 2008 wrought havoc on the whole world. Collapsing banks and insurance companies, financial sector meltdown, global recession, fiscal bankruptcy created unprecedented fear and pessimism in many countries. Governments, some acting in panic, tried desperately to mitigate the consequences of the downturn by implementing extraordinary measures of Keynesian stimuli. Financial and fiscal socialism—i.e. state ownership of big chunks of the banking system and profligate overspending—became fashionable once again in a big way....

  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    The title of this book occurred to me at dawn on Sunday, August 7, 2011 when I was sitting at the eleventh floor balcony of a quite decrepit hotel in Mangalia, a small resort town on the Romanian littoral. While marveling on the magnificent view of the sun as it was rising from the waters of the Black Sea, I was reflecting on my fantastic experience the day before.

    I arrived to the coast by train from Bucharest early afternoon on Saturday. Having checked into the hotel, I wished to order a light lunch. The restaurant was overcrowded, but only...

  5. 1. Communism as an Economic and Societal System in the Twentieth Century
    (pp. 9-56)

    It is extremely hard to describe a non-market economy in positive terms. Contemporary analyses highlighted that in a non-market system there was no freedom of contract, entrepreneurial autonomy, consumer choice, money and profit. All true in negative terms. But it does not make up for an eloquent and suggestive description of what exactly a command economy is.¹

    The command economy is embedded in an absolutely hierarchical society where human beings matter—value themselves and each other—only as a function of a superstructure encompassing the whole society. The economy and the individuals have no separate, autonomous standing in societal life....

  6. 2. Transition to Market and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe
    (pp. 57-166)

    Transition from a command economy to a market-oriented one and from a totalitarian societal system towards a democratic one has been, and still is, a historically unprecedented endeavor. Furthermore, as the collapse of the communist system was almost completely unexpected and unforeseen, nobody had prescribed what to do in case of its demise in a systematic way. When the time for rebuilding the shattered economy and society arrived, there was no blueprint, no model, not even a vague set of guidelines to follow. No wonder, therefore, that transition has proved to be and still is a quite chaotic, disorderly, unruly...

  7. 3. Transition for the Twenty-First Century
    (pp. 167-176)

    My answer to that question is, unsurprisingly, a definitive no. This short reply can be easily deducted from the principal narrative of this book. But the long response is almost equally obvious: without further profound economic, societal, cultural, ethical and psychological transformation, the dire negative legacy of the communist system cannot be overcome.

    Let us recapitulate what exactly this terrible legacy of Soviet communism is which seems so incurable with the arduous economic, political and social reforms, indicated in the matrix. Several aspects of this soul-wrenching and integrity-destroying phenomenon have already been touched upon. The most important one is the...

  8. References
    (pp. 177-188)
  9. Index
    (pp. 189-192)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 193-193)