Edited by Geoffrey M. Hodgson
Chapter 10: Emergence of path-dependent mixed economies in Central Europe
Bernard Chavance and Eric Magnin 1. CAPITALISM AND THE MIXED ECONOMY The notion of the ‘mixed economy’ has been the target of wide criticism. In the 1980s, the negative Hayekian assessment of interventionist policies in general and of mixed economy tendencies was revived, as part of the general questioning of the ‘Keynesian’ consensus that had dominated for years. When the post-socialist transformation began in Eastern Europe there was a strong free-market orientation by new governments (often with the active participation of economists who had been until the late 1980s proponents of a radical reform of the socialist economy). International inﬂuence too pushed in this direction – especially the IMF, whose leaders strongly and repeatedly asserted that a mixed economy model should be avoided in order to guide the ‘transition’. The shift of focus from a reform of socialism to a ‘transition to a market economy’ had in some countries, such as Poland, either been tacitly accepted in public opinion in the late 1980s, or took place during the big political change of 1989–90. The rejection of the ‘mixed economy’ was at that time part of the struggle of new pro-market forces against neocommunist or social-democratic tendencies in these societies (both trends often being confused in political debates). The opposition in principle by economic liberalism to the notion of the mixed economy has obscured the real nature and variety of types of capitalism, and the speciﬁc problems of systemic change in the post-socialist world. The concept of a ‘market...
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