The Cost of Reform: The Social Aspect of Transitional Economies

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John F. Jones, Asfaw Kumssa
Nova Science Publishers, Incorporated, Jan 1, 2000 - Business & Economics - 326 pages
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This book is about the social impact of reform in the transitional economies of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Whatever the advantages of adopting a market orientation, and there are many, the countries which have taken this road have had a high price to pay. If one were to ask a Siberian miner or a Ukranian woman selling vegetables in a village market whether the switch from socialism to capitalism was worth the rewards, the question would likely evoke complaints about months of unpaid wages or persistent poverty. The disappearance of the iron rice bowl in China draws praise from the neoclassic economist, looking on from the outside, but for the displaced worker going from city to city in search of employment, the reaction will not be so enthusiastic.

In the move from central planning to a market economy, there have been winners and losers. The winners are those in a position to use the changing economic circumstances to their advantage, and those having access to the goods and services of the market. But there are also, among the poor and vulnerable groups, consistent losers in the shuffling of opportunities, rewards, and costs. The problems of people caught in economic reform are acute, whether the emerging economies are shaped by sudden revolution from within as in Eastern Europe and Mongolia, or by international pressure from outside -- frequently at the urging of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) -- as in some African countries, or by the gradualism of socialist market systems like China, Vietnam or Laos.

The social consequences of transition are significant, and they form the principal concern and focus of this volume. Its contributors, both authors andeditors, recognize globalization and the technological revolution already in place, and acknowledge the necessity for national economies to take advantage of the new freedoms and opportunities which the twenty first century heralds. But, while endorsing the efforts of countries to liberalize, to build their markets, and share the benefits of a world economy, the book's various authors are primarily concerned with the socioeconomic consequences of transition on the lives of people. The country case studies they present examine that impact.

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Measuring the Social Impact of Economic Reform
Protecting the Environment in Transitional Situations

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About the author (2000)

ASFAW KUMSSA is Coordinator of the United Nations Centre for Regional Africa Office in Nairobi.

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