On Appropriate Models for Transformation in Eastern Europe

  • Jeffrey Henderson
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


The historical rupture of 1989–91 in Eastern Europe, occasioned by the collapse of state socialism, placed on the agenda of those societies the possibility of capitalist forms of economic transformation and development. In societies that become abruptly disconnected from the relative certainties of their past — usually through war or revolution — it has often been the case that attempts to re-cast the future have involved a collective search for models of political and economic organization that promise liberation from the strictures of the past. The influence of the US political settlement subsequent to the War of Independence on the French Revolution is well known, as is the influence of the latter on liberation movements and nation-building in nineteenth century Europe, Latin America and elsewhere. For much of our own century it has been the Leninist model and the various Stalinist forms of state socialism which it engendered that has provided the guidelines for political and economic reconstruction in parts of what used to be called the ‘third world’, as well as, of course, Eastern Europe. Given their experience of state socialism, however, it was no surprise that the preferred pathway to the future for the vast majority of the post-socialist societies of Europe, involved, as fundamental components, capitalist economies and liberal-democratic state forms. From the vantage point of over a hundred years of mature industrial capitalism what was surprising, perhaps, was that the release from state socialism seems not to have been accompanied by serious reflection on the fact that capitalism, economically and politically, is far from monadic.


Economic Transformation Shock Therapy Industrial Capitalism State Asset Industrial Transformation 
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© Jeffrey Henderson 1998

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  • Jeffrey Henderson

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