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The great transformation undertaken by the countries of the former communist bloc exhibits immense diversity - in terms of initial conditions, shifting target models, consistency, paths, speed, progress to date, and economic performance.
This is the first comprehensive study of the economics and politics of postsocialism to be written by an author so deeply and so successfully involved in the reform process.
Many people writing on the reform process offer advice that is not really credible; as a member of the Polish government, and architect of the successful Polish reform, Grzegorz W. Kolodko actually solved many of the difficulties of transition, which allows him to come forward here with policy proposals and long-term forecasts.
The treatment of the transition from plan to market as a historical process is an important feature of the book.
The author claims that there is no historical fatality - that sound policies in the present are more determining than the favourable or unfavourable legacies of the past. The aim is to create and maintain the conditions for sustainable growth and durable development.
Grzegorz W. Kolodko is Professor of Economics and Economic Policy at the Warsaw School of Economics.
He has been a key architect of Poland's economic reforms, and in 1994-7, as First Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, led his country into the OECD.
He has acted as a consultant to several international organizations, including the IMF and the World Bank, and has held visiting professorships at universities worldwide. He is author and co-author of some 20 books and 300 articles and research papers in 20 languages.