The Political Economy of Protest and Patience

East European and Latin American Trasformations Compared
Out of print
Out of print
Publication date: 
246 pages, 6 tables

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 incomplete 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


"All in all, this is innovative theorizing, of a kind too rarely encountered in the field of transition studies. ... The theory of postcommunist collective action requires deepening, the notion of low-level equilibrium democracy needs to be given a preciser meaning. ... The Politial Economy of Protest and Patience provides a host of observations and conjectures to stimulate such research. That alone makes it stand out as an important book in its field."
"This well-informed and lively book presents a compelling theme.a provocative and insightful perspective for students of post-communism and comparative political economy."
"Greskovits provides a compelling insight on the relationship between the economic and political aspects of change and why protest has been so muted. (the book) Deserves a wide readership among those interested in the economic transition of Eastern Europe."