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393 Ab Imperio, 1/2008 Najam ABBAS Osamu Ieda (Ed.), The New Structure of the Rural Economy of post-Communist Countries (Sapporo : Slavic Research Centre, Hokkaido University, 2001). 161 pp. ISBN: 4-938637-24-3. This book reflects a serious approach by researchers from Japan and East Europe who collaborated over three years to study the structural changes in the rural economies of post-communist countries. It is a collection of papers from a workshop held to examine new aspects of rural economic transformation after the post-communist privatization of agriculture in mid-1990s, discussing these aspects from a Eurasia-wide, interdisciplinary perspective. The book’s nine chapters draw attention to the challenges faced by the changes taking place in post-socialist rural spheres. Osamu Ieda, in his paper titled “The Rural Cooperatives and Members ’ Liability from a Historical Perspective” focuses on Hungary’s experience in the post-communist area. His paper touches on the regulations concerning liability in rural cooperatives and relationships between members. The broader focus looks at cooperatives economic performances that are influenced in the long run by the internal structure – namely, the rights and responsibilities of its members. Referring to vagueness of the past, Ieda reminds readers that the cooperative laws in the communist era gave no description of members’ liability, since the communist agricultural cooperatives were based not on members’ capital contribution but on members’ labor contribution. The end of the communist regime brought fundamental changes to rural cooperatives. In the process of agriculture’s privatization the dominant concern was on the division of land and cooperative assets. Are things any different now? Ieda examines the present nature of rural society in Hungary through the prism of the current cooperative disciplines. These disciplines prioritize labor over capital, a diminishing community of active members, and no personal liability. From the viewpoint of management, the cooperatives are in a critical situation. This is not surprising, explains Ieda, because the cooperatives have no possibility of credit from internal or external sources due to lack of liability among the members. An article titled “The End of the ‘Agricultural Miracle’ and Property Reform in Hungary” by Paul Juhasz recalls that in the Hungary of 1980s agriculture products (primarily the sugar beet and potato cultivation) had “no opportunity to become competitive, as the market for horticulture products had no mechanism 394 Рецензии/Reviews are derived from four crucial factors, namely: 1. historical background and heritage, which could not be overcome in ten years; 2. applied agricultural policies ; 3. the development of the institutional framework in the society; 4. the development of the national economy. “Agricultural Reform in Slovakia : Changing Institutions and Structure” is the title of Gejza Blaas’ paper, which reminds us of common challenges experienced elsewhere. Blass lists the six adverse conditions that accompanied the restructuring process: (1) the scant reward for doing business in agriculture due to unfavorable trade terms; (2) the restricted availability of loan capital and liquidity problems; (3) fragmented ownership of land and underdeveloped markets for land; (4) highly ineffective laws relating to bankruptcy procedures; (5) growing unemployment in rural areas; and (6) comparatively high levels of social dependency of the rural population on joining collective farming as their main source of subsistence. “Transition in Eastern German agriculture: Lessons to be Learned for the EU-enlargement Process” is a paper by Klaus Reisberg and Steffen Abele who conduct an analysis of the comparative strengths and weaknesses between East and West that could have driven it to develop profitable work-systems. The products , which could be exported, were needed and the state had no tools with which to implement the transformational strategies” (P. 17). Listing the agrarian crisis that evolved following the change of regime in 1989-1990, Juhasz cites factors like the change to private ventures, the reduction in consumer support, and the suspension of guarantees of export-subsidies that rendered inherent structural problems more visible. A swift transformation of work-systems, applied technologies, co-operational forms and integral mechanisms became inevitable. Tadayuki Hayashi’s paper, “Politics of the Agriculture Transformation in Czechoslovakia: 1990-1991” raises a set of pertinent questions revolving around the transformation of farm land and its transfer including , whether a former cooperative member...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2164-9731
Print ISSN
2166-4072
Pages
pp. 393-396
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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