How can the new governments of Eastern Europe succeed in moving from centrally planned to freemarket economies? This incisive report identifies the major policy choices to be made and discusses what will work and what will not.
Reform in Eastern Europe provides a comprehensive, accessible statement of reform policy that stands in the mainstream of modern Western economics. Based on their experience with stabilization policies in other countries, the authors show how Eastern Europe can reduce unemployment during the painful adjustment process, create effective and socially acceptable mechanisms to subject enterprises to market discipline, and replace barter trade under CMEA with market-based international trade.
Although conditions vary from country to country in Eastern Europe, Reform in Eastern Europe argues that all countries must seek stabilization and price liberalization, privatization, and then economic restructuring. It describes and evaluates the alternatives available to eliminate fiscal deficits, control money creation, and decontrol prices while blunting the immediate painful effects of lower wages, unemployment, and other disruptions.
The authors propose a plan for privatizing stateowned enterprises without placing them in the hands of those who accumulated wealth under the communist regimes. They recommend and detail methods for achieving orderly restructuring—in effect, closing most of the existing production structures and creating a whole new economy—covering issues of national saving, the creation of a financial intermediation system, the role of direct investment, labor allocation, and unemployment.
About the Authors
Olivier Blanchard is Robert Solow Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Economic Counselor and Director of the Research Department at the International Monetary Fund.
Paul Krugman is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University and a New York Times columnist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008.
Lawrence Summers is Professor of Economics at Harvard and Director of Research at the World Bank.