Essays after the Collapse of Communism
Chapter 3: Did Horvat Answer Hayek? The Crisis of Yugoslav Self-Management
3. Did Horvat answer Hayek? The crisis of Yugoslav self-management* At a time when one Communist regime after another is toppling in Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia gets remarkably little press. We watched with excitement the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the rise of poet-statesman Vaclav Havel in Prague, the fall of the Party in Budapest, and the bloody fate of Nicolae Ceausescu in Bucharest. We haven’t heard much about Yugoslavia. The sweeping changes in the rest of Eastern Europe seem to be passing Yugoslavia by. But don’t let that fool you. The peoples of Yugoslavia, like those of the neighboring East European countries, are calling for, and slowly attaining, an end to the monolithic Communist Party, and the introduction of private property rights and a full market economy. Yugoslav-style socialism, with its ideological emphasis on decentralization and workers’ self-management of socially owned resources, was once touted as a fundamental, more humane alternative to the command planning of the Soviet Union. Indeed, Yugoslavia was the ﬁrst country to break away from Stalin’s yoke of power back in 1948 to create a perestroika of its own. Under Tito’s leadership, Yugoslavia attempted a massive decentralization toward workers’ self-managed socialism, which began in 1950 with the adoption of the Basic Law on Movement of State Economic Enterprises and Larger Economic Associations by their Working Collectives. The central planning bureaucracy would be dismantled. State property would be erased. In Tito’s words, The takeover of the means of production by the state has not made accomplished fact...
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