Five years after the dramatic fall of communism in Eastern Europe, there is an opportunity to evaluate the efficacy of different forms of liberalization.
The most obvious and controversial difference between reform strategies is in the pace of transition. Previous theories of development have focused on the slow growth of Third World countries into modern economies. Some experts have ascribed current failures in Eastern Europe to the instantaneous liberalization of economies and the forceful application of tight monetary policies.
But this theory is contradicted by the fact that the most successful Eastern European countries, Poland and the Czech Republic, are those that initiated the most dramatic and rapid reforms. The authors of Economic Transition show how educate, relatively modern societies can make major changes in political and economic institutions almost overnight.
Economic Transition in Eastern Europe and Russia is a work of substantial academic merit that is also accessible to the interested layperson. Thirteen essays by acknowledged economic experts explore the rapid changes in the transition economies of Eastern Europe, with discussions on political and economic freedom, monetary control and privatization, labor markets and social safety nets, and taxation and crime.