Professor Grzegorz W. Kolodko - Books
Since the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, almost everyone agrees that the world has changed and never again will be the same. Definitely, there have been major changes since the attack on New York and Washington, and on the U. S. A. as such, but some things will remain the same. And that is so because the world had already changed before the atrocities of September 11 and the reactions to these events.
The world has already changed in a remarkable way because of ongoing globalization and post-communist transformation. These two all important features of the turn of the Twenty First century are discussed in this book, especially from the perspective of the Great Transition Depression, which – fortunately – is already in the past, and the fast long-term growth, which – hopefully – is still in the future.
It is strange, but globalization and transformation are often not considered in the same context, or as two interrelated aspects of one bolder process. Yet they should be, because there is a clear feedback between these two phenomena. Aside from the internal forces and external mechanisms, globalization acts as a galvanizing factor, which pushes forward and accelerates the process of post-communist transformation. On the other hand, globalization would be incomplete if the post-communist economies were not integrated into the global economy. After all, the latter would not even deserve to be called “global” unless it encompassed such a large part of the world as the post-communist countries of Eastern Europe. They constitute a large part of the world in terms of population (about one fourth) and land (about one third), but not in terms of contribution to the world economic output.
But – as we know – much has changed and the world, from an economic viewpoint, never will be the same again. The postcommunist economies seem to be coming out from the most difficult period of early stages of transformation and in the long-term future they have an excellent chance to grow fast, much faster than the world economy on average and for certainly faster (perhaps even twice as fast) than the advanced economies of the West. The Chinese accomplishments during the decades of the 80s and 90s have proven this already and now the question arises: will it be possible for other countries emerging from the legacy of a centrally planned economy and communist state to also grow as fast economically? Of course, East Central Europe is very different from China, as are also the former Soviet republics. Yet in the latter case relevant differences sometimes are not that significant.
In the chapters that follow I try to argue that indeed a scenario for a significant step forward – without any unnecessary shocks, but with all needed therapy – is likely and fast growth of post-communist markets is feasible. Basically, it will depend on the quality of implemented policies and, to have such, they must be based on a correct theory. Hence the debate about the theoretical explanation of the post-communist transformation in the wider context of globalization must continue. The more it is needed, the more new questions are lying ahead.
This is the second book which I have written and published within the Rochester Studies in Central Europe. The previous one (Volume 1) – released by the University of Rochester Press in November 2000 – is entitled Post-Communist Transition. The Thorny Road. The road remains thorny indeed to transform the former centrally planned economies, state-controlled societies and non-democratic regimes of East Central Europe and the former Soviet Union into the free market economies, civic societies and political democracies.
These issues are elaborated in a systematic and comprehensive way also in one of my earlier books, namely in From Shock to Therapy. The Political Economy of Postsocialist Transformation published in 2000 by Oxford University Press. Together with this work – Globalization and Catching-up in Transition Economies– these three books make a kind of trilogy on the politics and economics of the fast post-communist changes, not only in East Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, but also in the Asian countries going through vast process of changes including, of course, China.
Therefore, the considerations and conclusions presented here seem to be relevant to as many as about 30 countries in Europe and Asia (and soon also in Cuba) and to 1.7 billion people living there. They have the right to expect a better future and certainly some of them may be able to catch-up with the more economically advanced countries. This, however, depends on the chosen strategies for development and policies for reforms. Globalization, being itself an indispensable process, ought to be seen in this context as an additional factor, which must be taken carefully into account in a search for such strategies. Globalization – that is liberalization and integration of several autonomous markets into one global market of free flow of information, technology, goods and capital (and, to a lesser extent, labor) – creates both an additional risk and additional chances for the emerging markets and democracies, including the post-communist ones.
Yet the question remains: to what extent and by what means will they use these chances to their advantage? And how much can they accelerate the rate of economic growth and the scope of the progress vis-à-vis social development, and to what extent will they be able to overcome the risk brought by intensifying competition within the global market? It seems that in this changing world – which indeed has neither been the same since the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Berlin Wall, nor will be the same in the future due to irreversible globalization – there are more new chances than risks for the post-communist countries' development. It is up to them to maximize the former and neutralize the latter.
Professor Grzegorz W. Kolodko
John C. Evans Scholar in Polish and European Studies
Department of Political Studies, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
Professor and Director of T I G E R
Transformation, Integration and Globalization Economic Research
Leon Kozminski Academy of Entrepreneurship and Management (W.S.P.Z), Warsaw, Poland
Rochester, November 2001