The Political Economy of Protest and Patience
Despite gloomy prophecies, democracy and the market economy seem to be taking root throughout Central and Eastern Europe, although set against a background of a recession deeper and longer than that of the Great Depression. How is this possible? Why did Eastern Europeans protest less about the brutal social consequences of systemic change than the people of Latin America a decade earlier? Why has the region-wide authoritarian or populist turnabout not occurred? Why has democracy in these countries proved to be crisis-proof? In what ways has economic crisis impacted on the politics of the region?
In addressing these questions, Béla Greskovits uses a comparative analysis of the structures, institutions, cultures, and actors shaping both the Eastern European and the Latin American transformations. He argues that structural, institutional, and cultural factors have put a brake on destabilizing collective actions and have paved the way for the emergence of the enduring, low-level equilibrium between incom-plete democracy and imperfect market economy which seems set to characterize the Central and Eastern European experience for the foreseeable future.
Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Crisis and neoliberal transformations in the 1980s and 90s Chapter 3: The loneliness of the economic reformer Chapter 4: Local reformers and foreign advisors Chapter 5: The social response to economic hardship Chapter 6: Rethinking populism under post-communism Chapter 7: Populist transformation strategies Chapter 8: Compensation as a government tactic Chapter 9: Conflict, social pact and democratic development in transforming Hungary Chapter 10: Crisis-proof, poor democracies Bibliography