Capitalism with a Comrade's Face

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Publication date: 
304 pages

Are nations that are journeying away from communism succeeding in becoming free-market democracies? In what ways do decades of totalitarian rule continue to distort the institu-tional shape of these societies? Which of communism's legacies may remain as permanent features of their landscape? In an effort to answer these questions, Roman Frydman, Kenneth Murphy, and Andrzej Rapaczynski analyze the turbulent transitions that have taken place in the post-Communist world since the revolutions of 1989-1991.

Each of the essays in this collection dissects the institutional upheaval in a particular institution in transition, such as central banking, the trade union movement, capital markets, or corporate govern-ance. In a lively and accessible style, the authors bring out the links between what was and what will be in the social fabric of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. They expose the fragility of political and economic institutions that can easily threaten the region's rebirth, but they also believe that many post-Communist countries are successfully seizing the opportunity to become reunited with the West and the global economy.

With both sweeping perspective and critical depth, Frydman, Murphy, and Rapaczynski show the wide range of institutional improvisations under way. They weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different reform strategies and assess the role of politics in fostering or arresting the process of transformation. Each essay illuminates the pro-found difficulties of reconciling the needs of economic development with the special interests fighting for their survival.

Chapter 1: Privatization Chapter 2: Capitalism with a comrade's face Chapter 3: Privatization and two of its enemies Chapter 4: Solidarity no more: reinventing trade union Chapter 5: Capital punishment: inflation, banks and the transition Chapter 6: Financing the future: development of capital markets Chapter 7: Social insecurity Chapter 8: The trade winds shift Chapter 9: The power brokers Chapter 10:Struggling to escape: infrastructure in the transition Chapter 11: The taxman cometh

"One cannot help but heap praises upon the authors of this lively book. Simply put, this is one of the best and most readable books available which explains why the post-Communist transition has been such a bumpy ride."
"Those looking for a sharper insight into what makes post-communist countries tick are well-served by this snappily-written examination of the central questions... the authors range well beyond narrow economic analysis... nicely spiced with real-life examples."