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Accidental Occidental

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

Lajos Bokros

Publication Year: 2012

Besides providing a historical record of the long road from the economic agenda of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution to the present transition from communism, this book can be considered a staunch defense of market capitalism and liberal democracy. Any celebration of the current transition in Eastern Europe necessarily affirms the superiority of a market system over a non-market one and of a democratic system over a non-democratic one. The author does not deny the failures, shortcomings or imperfections of market economy and democracy. Nor does he take the survival of market capitalism and liberal democracy for granted. On the contrary, by highlighting the valiant and painful process of transition and attempting to understand its economics and culture, he seeks to contribute to the theoretical (academic) and practical (political) defense of Western civilization.

Published by: Central European University Press


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-7

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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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. Govern-...

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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. ...

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1. Communism as an Economic and Societal System in the Twentieth Century

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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 econ-...

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2. Transition to Market and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe

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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 ...

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3. Transition for the Twenty-First Century

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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. ...


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pp. 177-188


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pp. 189-192

Back cover

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p. 206-206

E-ISBN-13: 9786155225369
Print-ISBN-13: 9786155225246

Page Count: 206
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1st