A new capitalist order : privatization & ideology in Russia & Eastern Europe /
Hilary Appel.
Pittsburgh, Pa. : University of Pittsburgh Press, c2004.
viii, 248 p.
0822958554 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Pittsburgh, Pa. : University of Pittsburgh Press, c2004.
0822958554 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Bringing ideology back in -- Probing the Czech and Russian cases -- Elaborating the theoretical framework.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-05-01:
In this concise, articulate volume, Appel (Claremont McKenna College) returns readers to the postcommunist privatization programs in the Czech Republic and Russia. Although this is a well-worn path of study, Appel suggests that the greater part of the literature emphasizes explanations based on material and power-based sources of interests, to the exclusion of ideas in the selection and success of specific reform agendas. She argues convincingly that the promotion of particular neoliberal actors such as Vaclav Klaus in Czechoslovakia, who carried the "ideological zeal" of privatization, had an enormous impact on the type of reform chosen. Yet Appel is less convincing in arguing that ideology can better explain the outcomes of privatization. In the final section of the book, she acknowledges that much of the difference can be explained by the nature of the transition in the Czech Republic, with its stronger break from the communist past and the goal of rejoining Europe, as opposed to the more drawn-out but incomplete transition in Russia that gave the nomenklatura tremendous opportunities to consolidate their positions. Perhaps this can be placed within the "ideological context" of the process, but the explanatory value of doing so remains unclear. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through faculty collections. E. Pascal SUNY at Buffalo
Review Quotes
"Hillary Appel has written a gem . . . Her writing is concise, lucid and well structured to prove her point." --Comparative Economic Studies
"A valuable analysis. Surprising and innovating. Appel's study of the role of ideology in mass privatization provides a crucial launching point for future debate." --Comparative Politics
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 2005
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Unpaid Annotation
After the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, more than a dozen countries undertook aggressive privatization programs which became synonymous with collusion, corruption, and material deprivation. Why was privatization so popular in the first place, and what went wrong?
Unpaid Annotation
Examines why privatization was so popular immediately after the fall of communism, and why it has failed in its intended goals of improving the economies of postcommunist countries.
Main Description
After the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, more than a dozen countries undertook aggressive privatization programs. Proponents of economic reform championed such large-scale efforts as the fastest, most reliable way to make the transition from a state-run to a capitalist economy. The idea was widely embraced, and in the span of a few years, policymakers across the region repeatedly chose an approach that distributed vast amounts of state property to the private sector essentially for free-despite the absence of any historical precedent for such a radical concept. But privatization was not a panacea. It has, instead, become increasingly synonymous with collusion, corruption, and material deprivation. Why was privatization so popular in the first place, and what went wrong? In answering this question, Hillary Appel breaks with mainstream empirical studies of postcommunist privatization. By analyzing the design and development of programs in Russia, the Czech Republic, and across eastern Europe, Appel demonstrates how the transformation of property rights in these countries was first and foremost an ideologically driven process. Looking beyond simple economic calculations or pressure from the international community, she argues that privatization was part and parcel of the foundation of the postcommunist state. A New Capitalist Order reveals that privatization was designed and implemented by pro-market reformers not only to distribute gains and losses to powerful supporters, but also to advance a decidedly Western, liberal vision of the new postcommunist state. Moreover, specific ideologies-such as anticommunism, liberalism, or nationalism, to name but a few-profoundly influenced the legitimacy, the power, and even the material preferences of key economic actors and groups within the privatization process.
Table of Contents
Bringing ideology back in
The ideological determinants of post-communist economic reformp. 3
The international dimension of post-communist privatizationp. 22
Probing the Czech and Russian cases
The origins and design of Czech large-scale privatizationp. 39
The origins and design of Russian large-scale privatizationp. 71
Elaborating the theoretical framework
The beliefs of leaders and the content of reformp. 109
Power, interests, and the ideological contextp. 127
The ideological foundations of building compliancep. 157
The ideological fit and the cost of compliancep. 172
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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