Fuzzy Expectations, Hybrid Realities, Moving Targets

On November 10 1989, the day after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Bulgarian Communist Party’s leader since 1954, Todor Jivkov, was overthrown by a Soviet-instigated and domestically executed coup de palais. Although masterminded as just an unavoidable nomenklatura’s aggiornamento, it became almost immediately evident that the event is going to “degenerate” into a regime change of yet unknown scale. The perspective provoked disarray among the ruling elite and the surfacing of the available stock of critical thinking. The intellectual potential at the start of the Transition was at glance.

Facing the collapse: a look from inside the fortress and from the sidewalk

On the eve of the political turmoil the economic agenda was so pressing that it was unavoidable to take position on at least two issues: the degree/scope of the forthcoming “marketization” and macroeconomic stabilization. While the former was relatively well documented in the visible decisions of the Party and the Executive, the latter remained opaque. It is only with the opening of important segments of the communist archives (the “archival revolution”) that it became possible to reach a more precise understanding about the then ongoing debates inside the governing circles, the extent of their knowledge, the thoroughness and timing of their assessments and the policy scenarios considered.

Without doubt, the most relevant testimonies concerning stabilization policy are found in the files of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), which used to be an unapproachable territory. The BNB files reveal[1] how the technocrats informed the Communist leadership about such concerns as the fast building up of foreign debt, the pending default (as early as 1986), or the accumulation of huge domestic debts. The professional slang of the experts allowed them to discuss matters that have been completely forbidden to public debating for decades: mounting inflationary pressures; monetization of the budget deficits and its effects; flows of funds from the households and enterprises, captured by the fiscal authorities; the consequences of mounting involvement with insolvent Third World countries… The bank issued clear warning signals that implied the need of bold stabilization measures.

But cataloguing events is one thing, proposing a cure is quite another. Although the analyses in the BNB reports from the late 1980s constituted a step ahead compared to the traditional approach, when it came to policies the Government’s proposals were driven by panic, extremely limited and entirely inconsistent. Easy credit to the economy continued; roll-over of the foreign debt – despite its increasing costs – was sought as the only solution. The most radical suggestions of the BNB themselves consisted in futile appeals to cut down inflationary deficit financing, to devaluate the national currency through a “correction” of the unrealistic fixed exchange rate (the term “devaluation” was never employed even in confidential documents), and to eliminate the multiple rates’ system. Several factors, outlined by the archives, contributed to the weak response. One of them was the classical conflict between the Central bank and the Ministry of finance where fiscal considerations largely outweighed the monetary targets. Personal rivalries also played a role. But it is apparent that the main obstacles were linked to conceptual deficiencies, political, ideological and professional barriers. Even the more “enlightened” experts were alienated by doctrinal dogmas and taboos, by a lack of the professional knowledge required to design a stabilization program, and by the missing adequate monetary data/national account statistics. The plan, the dominance of state ownership, the “socialist market” and heavily regulated prices, the (slightly amended) monobank system, the bailing-out of enterprises were undisputed. Convertibility of the Leva remained on the drawing table as a mid-term project including plenty of regulations, misunderstandings and palliatives.

Given the macroeconomic fundamentals, the economic policy stance on the eve of the Big Bang (even with the hypothetical inclusion of the bank’s amendments) was the opposite of what common sense required. The authorities (including the BNB) were neither willing nor prepared ideologically or instrumentally to implement the needed “intentional stagnation”, i.e. restrictive monetary/fiscal measures and a reduction in aggregate demand. What’s more, they had a completely schizophrenic view of the reform aims. Even on the very edge of the transition decision-makers considered market reforms only as the next round (albeit on a larger scale) of planning engineering. The market itself was conceived not as a new social reality, but as a crotch to the plan in a hybrid economy still dominated by the State and the Party.

The outcome was a set of devastating steps. Archival legacy, together with the publicly announced policies demonstrate unambiguously that the economic debacle of Bulgarian communism was not the result of information deficits – the authorities were well informed, often with a convenient lead. The disaster is neither the simple result of built-in biases. Its deeper roots are to be traced to intellectual deficits. No doubt, this blindness reflected vested political interests, but it was also the sign of decades of intellectual isolation which prevented decision-makers from conceptualizing the problems in a sound and theoretically adequate framework.

Until early in the 1980s the economics profession in Bulgaria was characterized by an almost complete dominance of the “soviet style” thinking and by isolation from mainstream economic theory. A change in this background commenced with the onset of the “perestroika”. By the late 1980s the official (incl. technocratic) point of view was not more the unique one. A new-vintage professional community had emerged, characterized by less conventional expression, more sophisticated analytical instruments and – above all – a strong critical stance.

Without taking properly dissident positions, the group (its more prominent author was Ventsislav Antonov) dared to question many basics of the economic policy. Although its initial influence was mostly academic, the expressed visions gradually acquired distinct visibility as an alternative diagnosis and therapy. Caught in a conceptual chaos, the ruling elites tried to integrate some of those ideas, but a practical interface between more radical views and the inertia of the governing machine was impossible.

Just before the political changeover the “critically minded economists” had performed an, yet uneven, break-through in conventional economic wisdom. Amongst their main targets were the dogmas of the “inherent to socialism” high growth rates, of the leading sectors’ driving force, and of the mandatory export expansion “at any cost”. Subject to sharp criticism was the intentional pursuit of accelerating growth in disregard of the macroeconomic constraints. Indeed, “critical economists” went a step further by advocating adjustment through a cooling down of the economy and formulating explicitly the “subversive” argument of the innate cyclical nature of communist growth. On a more fundamental level, the assumption that higher growth is equivalent to higher welfare was rejected: it was pointed out that in a general equilibrium framework this claim is valid under very specific circumstances which are not met by the realities of the “mature socialism”. Substantial novelty was the discussion of the existing inflation pressures in terms of a coherent point of view and by the end of the decade an articulated account of inflation and its hypostases in a semi-monetized economy was drawn.[2]

The existential question about the “reformability” of communism was inevitable. From its answer depended whether stabilization could (could not) be considered as feasible in some reformed variant of the existing system. While the response of the establishment was unconditionally positive, critics expressed strong arguments against. From one side “sociological” considerations indicated that the planning bodies and the Party do not have incentives to introduce bold changes. From another, there was historical, as well as theoretical evidence that the planned economy is a relatively coherent construct only within its rigid original skeleton: every reform program had made it less manageable and had given birth to an archipelago of “grey” proto-markets. The verdict on communist reformism was a judgment about the system per se. The incompatibility between a planed economy and genuine market-oriented reforms was strictly demonstrated in a general equilibrium framework and through empirical research.The interrelated issues of prices’ liberalization, financial flows, fiscal deficits, external debt and the monobank found their right place: monetization of the economy was explicitly set as the key goal; the “package” approach to all those topics was designated as the alternative. While in the previous reforms (and in the drafts of the then ruling elites) money were allowed to matter unsystematically in isolated enclaves, the new agenda required their full and uncompromising rehabilitation.

Those advances in critical thinking should be put in appropriate context. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the strong critical impetus confronted conceptual barriers of different kind. The logic of the elimination of the monetary overhang by the lifting of price controls and the abrupt change in relative prices made a hard solution unavoidable, but illusions about possible soft options persisted even among the critically-minded.

Nowadays, most of the claims against the communist economic system and the Party’s policies during the late 1980s might seem well-known. After all, the debate on the achievability of central planning had lasted for nearly a century, with convincing negative arguments put forward as early as the 1930s Lange-von Mises controversy. During the following decades they were substantially enriched in the West and, above all, the sentence was confirmed by the cascading failures of the communist experiment itself. However, this ex-post statement does not account for the very different stock of mainstream economic knowledge among East European countries. The fact that some Bulgarian economists questioned the basics from a neoclassical perspective only few years before the collapse of the regime (much later than in Poland, Hungary or even the USSR) reflects the long intellectual isolation of the scholarly milieu.

Getting accustomed wit capitalism

The outlined intellectual setting provided the opening conceptual frame of the Bulgarian Transition. Perhaps its most salient feature was the extremely uneven awareness about the macroeconomic and the societal perspectives faced by the country.

Right away after the overthrow the stabilization agenda acquired the highest priority and became a publicly discussed issue. The Party elite still in place rapidly opted for a slightly “modernized” version of the previous policies. Although hard ideological wording disappeared and economic data started to be released in (controlled) portions, the approach did not change in a fundamental way. All the constraints inherent to the previous technocratic thinking remained: the way out from the crisis was seen as a mix of growth/export stimuli, of debt repayments at any price, of limited and chaotic budget cuts and of measures to alleviate the (now acknowledged as inescapable) social costs.

The debate, however, was open and the vision of the critics gained ground in the agora. Very soon the “gradualism vs. shock therapy” dichotomy emerged as a political and expert fault line. The gradualist position expressed professional incompetence, traditional communist reformism and efforts to save time in order to prepare better the expected capture of key business positions. The other view summarized a radical reform plan wrapping decisions that – in fact – were to be unevenly implemented (partly by those same critics) during the next several years.

If in macroeconomics the accuracy of forecasts sooner or later becomes self-evident, projects about society are fuzzy endeavours with blurred results. The early 1990s saw a mushrooming of drafts ranging from dilettante texts to more sophisticated models pretending to propose articulated visions. As a whole, the very first projects reflect the early potential of (frequently naïve) social imagination. Further on, they swiftly departed from the original forms, being heavily influenced by strong institutional influences and external conditionality.

At the verge of the Transition the knowledge about the character of the forthcoming system was much more limited and imperfect than the insight concerning the imminent macroeconomic transformations. The statement holds true for the incumbent establishment, as well as for the former critics who foresaw the institutional and social content of the future in often biased terms. It is now clear that by 1990 definitely no one was really prepared to conceptualize the profound economic and social upheaval to be generated by the transition from overwhelming state ownership to private property – the most original contribution of Eastern Europe to social engineering.

The slogan of the day was “market economy” but the term was almost never employed alone. It grew by accretion, through the addition of different qualifications – the economy had to be regulated, mixed, social or whatever. This was a moment of febrile searching for euphemisms of capitalism. Even the bravest discourses on the coming shocks and on the need to dismantle the opprobrious collective property produced coy statements concerning the essence and the time horizon of the new system. The dominant scent was a blend of vagueness, of hardness with the immediate past and of mildness about the future. The prevailing expectations were about a kind of normality, understood as a harmonious coexistence and conflictless competition between different “forms of property”. “Normality” embedded an uninformed nostalgia about the pre-communist past, idealization of the West, and ambitions to catch up the more prosperous neighbours like Greece. There was no much interest and comprehension about details and varieties, the types of capitalism were not seriously debated

It is only after the initial stress that perceptions about capitalism took progressively more nuanced and down-to-earth forms. The process was (is) conflictive, at the intersection of history and symbolic geography: two fields where compelling exogeneous models meet the longue duree continuity. Concomitantly, learning-by-doing is at work.

The shadow of history never faded away. By utmost compressing the message, the key point in the case of Bulgaria is thefact that local economic culture has no memories of a liberal order, that the legacy of the European liberal and globalized XIX c. is missing (or strongly distorted) in the country’s annals.[3] The birth of local capitalism has been patronized by the State; the chronic shortage of capital has induced a ubiquitous state intermediation; truly free market has existed in limited segments and mostly in primitive forms; the Inter-War period has erected an almost entirely government-controlled financial infrastructure; antipathy to capitalism has always been fierce; the search for seemingly less burdensome (in particular cooperative) shortcuts of capitalism ever alert… Out of this, a complex “love-hate” affair with the State was forged. Etatisme and collectivist rationality developed as a (nearly) consensual attitude, which did not exclude at all a brand of pseudo-individualism as “everyday economic “ideology”. While opposing and despising (verbally) the State, citizens never refuse to siphon out public resources or to transfer risks and responsibilities to Government. They are individualist when it comes out to appropriate gains or collective wealth, but ardent collectivists when the issue is distribution of losses. The roots of this stance could be traced to the Bulgarian social fabric where entire social strata were missing, middle class and liberal professions have been extremely weak[4], and correspondingly the State has been systematically stronger than the citizen. The national bourgeoisie (as well as intellectual elites) developed a close, opportunistic clientelism vis-à-vis the State and exerted permanent pressures for special economic privileges. As Government regularly accommodated them (through corruption or barter) a network of soft mutual dependence was built between economic actors and the public authorities. In this context debtors were sovereign and intermittently bailed-out at the cost of creditors or taxpayers. Institutions never gained the needed credibility, there were no arbitrages recognized as impartial by both sides. So, communism came to a well prepared ground. It exacerbated to extremes traits that were present (in embryonic or more developed forms) in an already “pregnant with socialism” society. In a counter-factual exercise we could easily imagine its non-communist projections. The resulting profile will certainly suggest something very similar to the post-war semi-oligarchic, plagued with corruption “democratic etatisme” that was so typical for the countries in the region situated on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

With the Transition historical legacy experienced the impact of two powerful moulding forces from “outside”. At the beginning the universalistic meta-language of the Washington consensus (supported by the IFI platform) easily captured the debate and filled in the vacuum. Since the end of the 1990 it was (not fully) displaced by the Great Project of the EU accession.

The first vector’s vehicle is of a more traditional mood. The IMF simply restored a conditionality framework that has been quite familiar for pre-communist Bulgaria. The guiding principle remained virtually unchanged: reforms have always been fostered, supported and imposed from abroad. Like in time pasts, as well, the public and politicians learned to manipulate the “imported” discourse and to play the game of shifting responsibilities.

The important point in the current context, however, is that when neoliberalism imposed its creed in the West during the 1980s it had a reference proto-model in the (late) XIX c., while the same creed encountered a historical void in early 1990s’ Bulgaria. A link was missing: the “second” (post-communist) capitalism had nowhere to return, no memories or genetic codes to revive. Unsurprisingly, the IFI ideology encountered a conflictive response, the economic outcome was inconsistent and hybrid.[5] During 1990-1997 the IMF was trying to introduce economic rationality (or simply common sense) into an economic structure, a governance system and social mentalities still dominated by remnants of both the communist and the pre-communist anicen regime. The local milieu turned more receptive only when privatization and FDI inflows commenced to build their own rational setting on a statistically significant scale.

Problems with the second formatting force – EU accession – are different. Although its impact is supposed to be much broader and far-reaching, the conveyed messages about capitalism are extremely ambiguous. The EU embeds the fundamental dichotomy of Western economic culture. The Union is a profoundly hybrid cultural topos which combines, in an often traumatic way, two conflicting principles – etatist, dirigist, regulationist and interventionist philosophy; distinctly liberal and free-market values. The former are entrenched in the EU bureaucratic functions and activities. The latter are realized in the most ambitious projects like the single market and the eurozone. With its double face Europe inbreeds hybridity, if not tasteless eclectics. Confronted to this confusing source of inspiration, the newcomers are free to make pragmatic or opportunistic choices by opting for what is more akin to their local idiosyncrasy. Whatever their preference, they are sure to found a mirror image of the chosen option somewhere in Europe.

Preferences in Bulgaria were entirely in line with the historical tradition.

From one side, Europe has always been a metaphor of modernity, a personification of a superior partner and competitor, the mighty attractor in a hopeless catching up. In few words, Europe is perceived as the image of everything Bulgarians are not, idealized as an immaculate province where reigns order, rules are strictly observed and welfare generalized.

The intensified contacts with the West, the perspective of accession, and, finally, the full membership re-focused this image. The previous aura did not disappear, but a different – essentially pragmatic – dimension came to the fore by matching perfectly the native susceptibilities. The EU irradiates a lenient culture, not entrepreneurial spirit; the cryptic Brussels’ tongue invades public speech and displaces the concerns about free entrepreneurship. The respect to the heroic Weberian or Schumpeterian capitalist is over, whereas many of the old furies, sins and shady sides of the ”first” Bulgarian capitalism resuscitate. The complex administrative machinery educates to deal with and emanates incentives to outsmart the bureaucracy, not to play the markets. Natural side effects are the stimuli for corruption: even if they are put under some control, the inherent redistributive logic fuels the ever vivid corruption paranoia. More importantly, expectations for “easy money” distributed up-down are generalized: the most coveted (lucrative) sectors become those predestined to receive the bulk of the subsidies. It is understandable why since the accession to EU the only game (talk) in town is how to capture the eurofunds.

When looking back it appears that the role of ideas has been largely overstated. It is not only that most of them originated outside the realm of their implementation and that they were translated through superficial technocratic procedures. The point is that Transition was shaped dominantly by ad hoc power interests (economy was vital part of them and their key tool). The history of the elapsed 20 years is very marginally an intellectual history. What really happened (everywhere in Eastern Europe but more so in Bulgaria) was not so much a competition of ideas and strategies. The truly important events did not follow well-taught, premeditated projects or a smooth change of paradigms. Instead, the real markers consisted in the more or less forceful rearrangements of people, money, assets and liabilities in the economy. Meanwhile the communist legacy had succeeded to mimicry, to resurface again and again in personal “rebirths” and to generate unexpected recidives of mentalities or of behavioural patterns.

Moving targets, inverted trajectories

Any intent to classify “really-existing capitalisms” that emerged out from the debris is a challenging exercise in taxonomy. The difficulty is partly due to the period’s heterogeneity, manifest for the Bulgarian case in the major break of the 1996-1997 financial crisis and the following change in the monetary regime.

Oddly enough, the Transition’s first seven years followed the communist reformism’s pattern: an inconclusive combination of two incompatible models that only increases the system’s entropy. The early 1990s saw a not more sustainable mix of market elements with prevailing state ownership. The outcomes were bad debts, widespread decapitalization of enterprises, institutions with low credibility. In semi-reformed systems deprived from the genuine constraints of the market (or the strict control of the plan) the only usage of “liberty” (autonomy) is to develop a predatory behaviour. Reformism in the decaying communism and early Transition capitalism are uniform constructs. The former was the prototype (if not the training room) of the latter, each one adopting essentially the worse characteristics of its components. Eventually the nascent capitalism acquired a more clear-cut and conventional profile, but this original seal of ambiguity and hybridity did not disappear.

I have proposed elsewhere[6] an approach to deal with the byzantine classification problem. It relies on the hypothesis that capitalism is a system whose basic qualities are distributed unevenly (with diverse intensity) in different societies. “Good” and “bad” practices, “authentic” and “compromises/imitations” are present everywhere but their constellation and nuances are crucial for the concrete profile. Capitalism exists in varieties tainted by peculiar identities, traditions and legacies. Capitalist economies diverge precisely according to the distribution/concentration of the essential ingredients.

Combinations of those ingredients permit to construct a scale of “purity” of “really-existing” capitalisms. Contrary to the implicitly glowing neo-institutionalist message I doubt that there is a steady, “natural” and irreversible path to the “ideal type”. A curious variant of the Gresham’s Law is at work: the “weak” economic culture does not devour the “strong”[7], but the former certainly tends to “corrupt” the latter. The highly demanding constraints of the market are universally disliked, considered as uncomfortable and even nasty by the actors (firms, states, households). The dominant instinct is not to follow, but to distort (to circumvent) market rules and conventions. They are avoided or – at least – no one refrain from avoiding them when such an opportunity appears. Beneath the “official” level grey forms flourish which do not eliminate, but “subsume” and “infect” the visible surface. Although it is commonly accepted that market maturity is attained through domesticating of this general impulse, taming is not the prevailing modus. On the contrary, economic history could be read as a (more often successful than not) series of attempts to evade the “market discomfort”. Communism attained the culmination in this respect but zero-sum-games are widespread in capitalist economies too. Conventions observed by force (usually after major disruptions), by habits or rationally do not last, nor become universal. The striving to win better positions off-rules is not eradicable. It is – let remember – the mobile of frauds, as well as of creative innovations.

I generalize the set of forces that undermine the market with the term communality denoting the etatist, clan’s, vested interests groups’, or collectivistic attitudes and actions that have never stopped weakening the fool-blooded competition in the economy. It is the particular blend and the distinct temper of the “market” and “communality” ingredients that determine the place of given variety of capitalism into the “scale of purity”. Although predominantly narrative, the criteria can be transformed into a working concept through meticulous historical research and comparisons.

Conventional wisdom and factual evidence suggest that the Anglo-Saxon pattern stays low in the “communality content” taxonomy.[8] The French model stands definitely higher on the ladder, with its distinctive “republican aristocracy”, its long record of state-private collusion and of economic dirigisme. Further up lays countries ranging from Latin America to South Eastern Europe where “communal” elements have been historically pervasive and widespread.[9] This populated cluster is probably the norm across the world – the “normality” of second and third-order countries.

Transition is commonly considered as a movement from the superior to the inferior groups. It is supposed that the contacts between economic cultures (namely within the EU) starts a lengthy rapprochement, obstructed (not stopped) by well-known problems – “ex ante institutions” (form without content); perseverance of old traditions; conflicts between normative/real and formal/informal realms… The implicit idea of the European acquis’ implementation is that of a gradual infiltration of the “strong culture” into the new entrants’ economy. Progress is presented as a smooth linear motion; development acquires appealing simplicity with a clear-cut hierarchy of societies, a vector of motion and even the possibility of outstripping/lagging along this vector. Time and space seem mutually appeased: laggards are supposed to subsist in the past of the pioneers, the present of the former to be the past of the latter, historical time is measured by the distance from the “advanced”, not vis-à-vis owns past. Many theories of modernization are based on this scheme by favouring either purely economic or institutional criteria.

The linear advance, however, is by no means warranted. The interplay of different cultures allows for different equilibrium points. Where will the effective encounters happen depend from the relative vitality of the “weak” and the “strong”. Experience proves that their interaction is neither smoothly nor irreversible. Actually, Transition permanently departed from the textbook case. During the Big Bang of the 1990s for instance the typically successful capitalists were not winners of competitive selections but (as a rule and for the key “positions”) appointees; every important or mid-size business remains directly or indirectly dependent from the authorities; local interests tend to form well delineated feuds; society is plagued by networking, conflicts of interest, barters of influence; Government is a vast market, investor and employer easily transformed into a partial or corrupt mediator. In brief, business and politics are not separated by effective fences, power is not tamed. Despite recent developments, truly competitive markets are scarce. Besides, “really-existing capitalism” in Bulgaria (as in comparable countries) continues to bear such stigma as smallness, chronic capital shortage and low savings, particular geopolitical status, or historical traumas. All those hallmarks draw invisible lines that can not be transgressed and generate varied forms of “communality”.

If there are no major objections to measure economic (under)development, the possibility to capture and the very existence of “societal” catching up is dubious. Attractive metaphors such as “biased modernity”, “unconscious modernization” “growth without development”, “inconclusive modernization” characterize not so much evolution stages as different puzzles of “communality” elements. The specific cultural “background noise” dilutes efficiency and rationality by “communal” practices. The resulting construct is not at all fragile: it frequently lasts and forms a distinct type of “really-existing capitalism”. For the economy (particularly the economic institutions) the time factor is essential: a latter replica is not identical to the original; like in human personality’s evolution, delayed maturing can not be fully compensated. Copying can not replace the absence of owns history, experience is accumulated, not transferred, and it is impossible to live anybody else’s past.

But the strongest blows to the linear paradigm originate in the “metropolis” itself. Western economic history is plenty of “communal” elements. A far from exhaustive list from the last decade provides prominent examples. Let just quote the ENRON case with its widespread practices of wrong (criminal) corporate governance; the emblematic Credit Lyonnais debacle; the banking crisis in Sweden; the US Savings and Loans collapse or the LTCM crisis; the dotcom bubble… When taking into account such precedents, the correct perspective is no longer the “weak (East) / strong (West)” continuity, but rather the blending of different cultures of corruption, lobbying and networking.

Even if convincing, those pieces of evidence did not seriously harm the mainstream view in the era of the liberal consensus. The Great Collapse of 2008, however, is of such magnitude that many of the fundamentals were inevitably questioned.

The impact of the crisis is certainly not the heralded “death of liberalism”. After all, the current wave of nationalisations is not ideologically inspired but essentially an urgent, unorthodox monetary policy tool. Moreover, the deep and coherent theoretical fundament of neoclassics remains unshaken: no alternative is in sight, whereas the recent intellectual “novelties” are mostly trivial remakes of Keynesianism.

What the dramatic events blatantly show and confirm is that a number of features attributed to the “weak” economies are well alive in the “strong” ones. The crisis released, as well, cavernous anti-capitalist hate and fierce anti-liberal attitudes that flooded the public space from their more or less latent retreats. The financial profession (activity) was demonized, returning the public imagery back to the XVIII c. opposition between “productive/unproductive” labour (capital), or to the Marxian notion of “fictitious capital”. Typical sins of the periphery such as massive bail-outs of irresponsible debtors and of imprudent creditors spread across the most “virtuous” economies. The implication is that the apparently one-way path of Transition is indeed reversible. The target is missed by the presumably transient societies not because of their wrongdoings, but due to a sudden rearrangement of the “communal” elements in the “advanced core”. Catching up is simply impossible with a moving, disappearing or fragmenting objective. Why to copy models that reproduce dubious behavioural patterns you are hold responsible for?

To stop here would be unproductive. Instead of blaming the system or policy-makers and to succumb to the mounting revanchisms of all species, it is preferable to seize the opportunity offered by the crisis to better understand capitalism. From one side the collapse reminds to a generation, pampered by a long series of mild recessions and tempted by oblivion that capitalist dynamics is inherently (sometimes violently) cyclical. As it had already happened in several instances, brutal shocks are needed in order to re-substantiate the – otherwise trivial – message. From another side, the events are beneficially iconoclastic. They exhibit (another well known, periodically forgotten verity) that the proudly announced mastering of risks (so far treated as a distinctive advantage of “mature” economies) is a myth. The way capitalism is supposed to work is by rewarding genuine risktakers, but it does not possess mechanisms to distinguish promptly and accurately the healthy from the irresponsible. Entrepreneurs always assume risks in some form, somewhere, and, properly speaking, that means they break “rules”. Debtors, consumers and the public at large are also attracted by risk: in a sense they like/tolerate to be defrauded because this is accompanied by the fascinating envelop of short-term gains. Crises (even more so the major of them) are the outcomes of risky conduct beyond reason. This is intrinsic to the system, not the exception: regulations are helpless. The genius of the current “villains” is that they succeeded to shift risks of previously unknown magnitude, to make them opaque, to increase leverage by an unprecedented factor, and to create a shadow bank system. They did even better by crafting a persuasive and appealing doctrine, a permissive intellectual ambiance and a loose regulatory framework.

The current rush towards stricter regulations is politically (to a certain extent also economically) understandable. But in the long run markets can not be outsmarted. They will invent new devices to transgress the rules. In this seemingly distant future only one thing is certain – the larger the weight of Government in the economy, the stronger will be the lure to socialize losses (on even more barbarous scale than today) trough the anonymous and unfair mechanics of the state.

 


1. An extensive compilation of the documents is published in: BNB (2009) Balgarska Narodna Banka. Sbornik dokumenti (2009). [Bulgarian National Bank. Selected Documents] Vol. V (Parts 1–4) (1948-1990), edited by R. Avramov, Sofia: Bulgarian National Bank and Central State Archives. A detailed account of their message is proposed in: Avramov, R., Pari i de/stabilizatsia v Balgaria 1948-1989. [Money and de/stabilization in Bulgaria 1948-1989], Sofia: Ciela.

2. Antonov, V. , Teoretichni osnovi na inflaziata pri sozializma [Theoretical foundations of inflation under socialism] , Ikonomika 1990 / June (Supplement) .

3. Cf. the NEXUS Project ( 2001-2003 ), How to Think About the Balkans: Culture, Region, Identities,www.cas.bg ; Avramov, R. (2007) Komunalniat kapitalizam. Iz balgarskoto stopansko minalo. [Communal Capitalism. Reflections on the Bulgarian Economic Past] Vol.1-3. Sofia: Foundation “Balgarska Nauka i Izkustvo” and Centre for Liberal Strategies.

4. The middle class is the natural habitat of “economic decency” (and conformism). The wider this stratum the tinier the lowest and highest margins of the society which are habitual generators of corruption and networking.

5. DIOSCURI Project (IWM, 2005-2007), Eastern Enlargement – Western Enlargement. Cultural Encounters in the European Economy and Society after the Accession,www. dioscuriproject.net

6. For an extensive case study of Bulgarian economic culture see: Avramov, R. (2007), Komunalniat kapitalizam. Iz balgarskoto stopansko minalo.

7. “Weak” and “strong” do not denote forces but qualities – following the usual notion, a “strong” culture is characterized by competitive markets inhabited by rationally behaving agents.

8. With the discrediting of the Keynesian principles and with globalization, elements of the model were incorporated in otherwise more “communal” economies. Let me mention, just as unsystematic examples, the transformations experienced since the 1980s by the traditionally rigid Swedish, Israeli or even German and French economies.

9. Avramov, R. (2007), Komunalniat kapitalizam, pp. 6-7, offers a summary of how I define a typically “communal” economy.

 

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  • Steven Beller

    Geschichte, Cambridge
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  • Naja Bentzen

    Freelance journalist, Wien
    Read more

  • Luiza Bialasiewicz

    Jean Monnet Professor of EU External Relations, University of Amsterdam
    Read more

  • Muriel Blaive

    Muriel Blaive ist seit 2012 Institutskoordinatorin des Ludwig Boltzmann Instituts für Europäische Geschichte und Öffentlichkeit.   Print

  • Andras Bozoki

    Sociology, Budapest
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  • José Casanova

    Professor für Soziologie, New School for Social Research, New York
    Read more

  • Daniel Chirot

    Soziologie, Seattle
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  • Robert Cooper

    Robert Cooper ist britischer Diplomat und derzeit als Sonderberater des Europäischen Auswärtigen Dienstes (European External Action Service, EEAS) tätig. Er ist zudem Gründungsmitglied des European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).   Print

  • Peter Demetz

    Sterling Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature, Yale University; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
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  • James Dodd

    Associate Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, New York
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  • Martin Endreß

    Martin Endreß ist Professor für Soziologie an der Universität Trier.   Print

  • Mischa Gabowitsch

    Mischa Gabowitsch (gabowitsch.net) is a research fellow at the Einstein Forum in Potsdam. He is the author of Putin kaputt!? (Suhrkamp, 2013), a study of the 2011-13 Russian protests for fair elections, and maintains protestrussia.net, which collects academic resources for the study of protest in Russia.   Print

  • Charles Gati

    Charles Gati is Senior Acting Director of Russian and Eurasian Studies and Foreign Policy Institute Senior Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C.     Print

  • Dessy Gavrilova

    Dessy Gavrilova is the founding Director of The Red House – Center for Culture and Debate in Sofia, Bulgaria.     Print

  • Keith Gessen

    Keith Gessen is a freelance writer living in Cambridge, MA.   Print

  • Gerhard Gnauck

    Warsaw correspondent for Die Welt
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  • Katya Gorchinskaya

    Managing Editor for Investigative Programming, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (REF/RL), Kyiv
    Read more

  • John Gray

    John Gray is Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics.   Print

  • Rainer Gries

    Rainer Gries lehrt und forscht als Universitätsprofessor am Historischen Institut der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, am Institut für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft der Universität Wien sowie an der Sigmund Freud PrivatUniversität Wien. Zu seinen Forschungsschwerpuntken zählen u.a. die Gesellschaftsgeschichte Deutschlands und Österreichs im 20. Jahrhundert und die Geschichte des Konsums in Europa.   Print

  • Eva Hahn

    Geschichte
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  • Gábor Halmai

    Professor of Law, Department of European Studies; Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
    Read more

  • Elemer Hankiss

    Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Eötvös Lorand Universität, Budapest; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
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  • Miklós Haraszti

    Miklós Haraszti is a writer, journalist, human rights advocate and university professor. He served the maximum of two terms as the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media from 2004 to 2010. Currently he is Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia Law School, New York. Haraszti studied philosophy and …
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  • Sabine Hark

    Sabine Hark forscht an der Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität Potsdam, Professur für Frauenforschung.   Print

  • Annemieke Hendriks

    Freelance journalist, Berlin
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  • Charles Hirschman

    Charles Hirschman is Boeing International Professor at the Department of Sociology and the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, Washington University.     Print

  • Jennifer L. Hochschild

    Jennifer L. Hochschild is Professor of Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Professor of African and African-American Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University.   Print

  • Yaroslav Hrytsak

    History, Central European University Budapest
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  • Richard Hyman

    Richard Hyman ist Professor für Politikwissenschaft an der London School of Economics.   Print

  • Vladislav Inozemtsev

    Professor of Economics at Higher School of Economics; Director, Centre for Post-Industrial Studies, Moscow
    Read more

  • Bruce P. Jackson

    Bruce P. Jackson is the founder and President of the Project on Transitional Democracies. The Project is a multi-year endeavour aimed at accelerating the pace of reform in post-1989 democracies and advancing the date for the integration of these democracies into the institutions of the Euro-Atlantic. Jackson has written extensively about the engagement of Russia …
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  • Tom Junes

    Visiting Researcher, Warsaw University, and Visiting Lecturer in Polish history, KULeuven, Belgium
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  • Alex J. Kay

    Alex J. Kay holds a PhD in History from the Humboldt University Berlin.   Print

  • Anatoly M. Khazanov

    Anatoly M. Khazanov ist Professor für Anthropologie an der University of Wisconsin, Madison.   Print

  • Cornelia Klinger

    Professor of Philosophy, University of Tübingen
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  • Gudrun-Axeli Knapp

    Professor of Social Sciences and Social Psychology, University of Hannover
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  • Jacek Kochanowicz

    Jacek Kochanowicz is Professor for Economic History at Warsaw University.       Print

  • Michal Kopecek

    International Relations, Charles University Prague
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  • János Kornai

    János Kornai is Prof. em. for Economics  at Harvard University and Permanent Fellow at the Collegium Budapest – Institute for Advanced Study. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europeae, and Foreign Member of the American, British, Bulgarian, Finnish, Russian and Swedish Academies. He has served as President of …
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  • Pavel Kouba

    Professor für Philosophie an der Karlsuniversität, Prag; Leiter des Zentrums für Phänomenologische Forschung an der Tschechischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
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  • János Mátyás Kovács

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Lecturer, Department of Economics, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest
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  • Ivan Krastev

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Chair of the Board, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
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  • Yustyna Kravchuk

    PhD candidate in Film and Media Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv
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  • Jacek Kucharczyk

    Jacek Kucharczyk ist Head of Programs am Institute of Public Affairs in Warschau.   Print

  • Aleksander Kwasniewski

    Aleksander Kwasniewski war Präsident Polens. Seine Amtszeit verlief von 1995 bis 2005 über zwei Legislaturperioden.   Print

  • Mladen Lazic

    Professor of Sociology, University of Belgrade
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  • Claus Leggewie

    Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen
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  • André Liebich

    Honorary Professor of International History and Politics, Graduate Institute, Geneva
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  • Burkhard Liebsch

    Burkhard Liebsch ist Professor für Philosophie an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum.   Print

  • Michal Luczewski

    Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, Warsaw University
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  • Charles S. Maier

    Charles S. Maier ist Direktor des Center for European Studies, Harvard University.   Print

  • Andrey Makarychev

    Andrey Makarychev ist Professor und Research Fellow am Institut Osteuropäische Studien an der Freien Universität Berlin.   Print

  • Michał Maciej Matlak

    Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute, Florence
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  • Erik Meyer

    Erik Meyer ist seit 2000 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Sonderforschungsbereich ‘Erinnerungskulturen’ an der Justus-Liebig Universität Gießen.   Print

  • Krzysztof Michalski

    IWM Founding Rector
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  • Hans J. Misselwitz

    Hans-Jürgen Misselwitz ist ein deutscher SPD-Politiker und Gründungsmitglied des Instituts Solidarische Moderne.   Print

  • Alessandro Monsutti

    Alessandro Monsutti is an associate professor of anthropology and development sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, as well as research associate at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. He worked as a consultant for several nongovernmental and international organizations, icnluding UNHCR. His book War and Migration: Social Networks …
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  • Jan-Werner Müller

    Professor of Politics, Princeton University

    Visiting Fellow
    (September 2016 – June 2017)
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  • Rainer Münz

    Professor für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
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  • Sighard Neckel

    Professor of Sociology, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
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  • Katherine Newman

    Katherine S. Newman is the James B. Knapp Dean of The Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. She is a widely published expert on poverty and the working poor who led major interdisciplinary initiatives at Princeton and Harvard universities.     Print

  • Pierre Nora

    Pierre Nora lehrt Geschichte an der École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris.   Print

  • Tereza Novotna

    Political Science, Boston University
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  • Ewald Nowotny

    Ewald Nowotny is Governor of the Austrian National Bank.   Print

  • Thomas Nowotny

    Thomas Nowotny teaches Political Science at the University of Vienna. He has been Austrian diplomat, private secretary to Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, senior political counselor to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and consultant to the OECD.   Print

  • Vlad Odobescu

    Freelance journalist, Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, Bucharest
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  • Andrzej Paczkowski

    Professor für Geschichte, Institut für Politische Studien, Polnische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Warschau
    Read more

  • Emilia Palonen

    Politics, University of Essex
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  • Irina Papkova

    Irina Papkova is a Research Fellow of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. She spent five years teaching at the Department of International Relations and European Studies at Central European University, Budapest.   Print

  • Agnieszka Pasieka

    Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the Martin Luther University, Halle/Saale
    Read more

  • Gleb Pavlovsky

    President, Center of Effective Policies; Member, Public Chamber of the Russian Federation; Editor-in-Chief, The Russian Journal (Moscow)
    Read more

  • György Péteri

    Professor of Contemporary European History, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
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  • Tanja Petrovic

    Tanja Petrovic works at the Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana.   Print

  • David Petruccelli

    PhD candidate in History, Yale University
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  • Alexander von Plato

    Alexander von Plato ist ein deutscher Philosoph und Historiker. Er gründete das Instituts für Geschichte und Biographie an der Fernuniversität Hagen, das er bis 2007 leitete. Von 1996 bis 2000 war er Sekretär der International Oral History Association, von 2006 bis 2008 deren Vizepräsident. Er ist Mitherausgeber und Redakteur von BIOS – Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral …
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  • Andrei Plesu

    Andrei Plesu ist Rektor des New Europe College, Bukarest. 1989- 1991 war er rumänischer Kulturminister und 1997- 1999 rumänischer Außenminister.   Print

  • Martin Pollack

    Martin Pollack, geb. 1944 in OÖ, studierte Slawistik und osteuropäische Geschichte. Er war von 1987 bis 1998 Redakteur des “Spiegel” in Warschau und Wien und lebt heute als Schriftsteller und literarischer Übersetzer in Wien und Bocksdorf im Südburgenland. 2011 erhielt er den Leipziger Buchpreis zur Europäischen Verständigung und 2012 den Stanislaw-Vincenz-Preis. Zuletzt erschien von ihm …
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  • Krzysztof Pomian

    Krzysztof Pomian is Professor of History at the Nicolaus Copernicus University (Toruń) and Academic Director of the Museum of Europe in Brussels.   Print

  • Romano Prodi

    Romano Prodi war von September 1999 bis November 2004 Präsident der Europäischen Kommission.   Print

  • Lipin Ram

    PhD candidate and teaching assistant in Anthropology and Sociology of Development, Graduate Institute, Geneva
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  • Mykola Riabchuk

    Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies, Academy of Sciences, Kyiv
    Read more

  • Edelbert Richter

    Edelbert Richter ist deutscher Theologe, Politiker und war Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages.   Print

  • Paul Ricoeur

    Paul Ricoeur ist Philosoph und war Professor Emeritus an der University of Chicago und an der Sorbonne. Er war Mitglied der Académie Francaise und Mitglied des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats des IWM. Er starb 2005.   Print

  • Michel Rocard

    Michel Rocard, former First Secretary of the French Socialist Party and a member of the European Parliament for 15 years, was Prime Minister of France from 1988 to 1991.   Print

  • Akos Rona-Tas

    Akos Rona-Tas is professor at the Sociology Department of the University of California, San Diego and a research associate at Met@risk, INRA, Paris. He is the author of the books Plastic Money: Constructing Markets for Credit Cards in Eight Postcommunist Countries (with Alya Guseva, 2014) and Surprise of the Small Transformation: Demise of Communism and …
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  • Lew Rubinstein

    Lew Rubinstein lebt als Poet und Essayist in Moskau. Nach dem Studium der Philologie war er als Bibliothekar tätig. Seit Ende der 1960er-Jahre verfasst er poetische Arbeiten, seit 1974 serielle Textzyklen als so genannte Kartotheken. Zusammen mit Andrej Monastyrskij, Dimitrij A. Prigov und Vladimir Sorokin gilt er als wichtigster Vertreter des Moskauer Konzeptualismus. Print

  • Jacques Rupnik

    Geschichte und Politikwissenschaft, Paris
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  • Claudia Šabi?

    Claudia Šabi? ist Politikwissenschaftlerin und Ethnologin. Seit 1998 ist sie Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main. Print

  • Ranabir Samaddar

    Ranabir Samaddar is the Director of the Calcutta Research Group. His research focuses on migration and refugee studies, the theory and practices of dialogue, nationalism and post-colonial statehood in South Asia, and new regimes of technological restructuring and labour control. Among his many publications are Marginal Nation: Trans-border Migration from Bangladesh to India (1999), Politics of Dialogue: Living under …
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  • Paul Sanders

    Paul Sanders is a historian and management scholar. He is a full-time professor at Reims Management School in Reims, France. He has published across the disciplines of history, international relations and leadership.   Print

  • Karl Schlögel

    Karl Schlögel war Professor für Osteuropäische Geschichte zuerst an der Universität Konstanz, dann an der Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. Nach seiner Emeritierung arbeitet er an einer Archäologie des Kommunismus und einer Geschichte des Wolgaraumes. Zurzeit ist er City of Vienna/IFK Fellow am IFK in Wien.     Print

  • Thomas Schmid

    Thomas Schmid is the publisher of the WELT Group, Berlin. He worked for various newspapers, among them as editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. From 2006 to 2010 he was Editor-in-Chief of Die Welt.   Print

  • Margit Schratzenstaller

    Margit Schratzenstaller is senior researcher at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) and is currently coordinating (together with Karl Aiginger and Stefan Ederer) ‘WWW for Europe’, a 4-year research project within the 7th Framework Program funded by the European Commission.   Print

  • Dieter Segert

    Dieter Segert ist Professor für Transformationsprozesse in Mittel-, Südost- und Osteuropa am Institut für Politikwissenschaft der Universität Wien. Seit September 2007 ist er Mitglied des Vorstandes des IDM Wien, seit Juni 2008 Mitglied der Leibniz-Sozietät der Wissenschaften zu Berlin.   Print

  • Victoriya Sereda

    Sociologie, Ivan-Franko-Universität, Lviv
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  • Michel Serres

    Michel Serres ist Philosoph und Mitglied der Académie Française.   Print

  • Marci Shore

    Associate Professor of History, Yale University
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  • Sławomir Sierakowski

    Director, Institute for Advanced Study, Warsaw; Founder, "Krytyka Polityczna" movement
    Read more

  • Sara Silverstein

    Ph.D. Candidate in Modern European and International History, Yale University
    Read more

  • Aleksander Smolar

    Political Science, Paris
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  • Timothy Snyder

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Bird White Housum Professor of History, Yale University
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  • George Soros

    George Soros is a pioneer of the hedge-fund industry, investor and philanthropist, he is the author of many books, including Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays (2012), The Soros Lectures: At the Central European University (2010), The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Finance Markets (2009).   …
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  • Robert Spaemann

    Robert Spaemann ist Professor em. für Philosophie an der Universität München.   Print

  • Pawel Spiewak

    Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Philosophy, Warsaw University
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  • Wilfried Stadler

    Wilfried Stadler ist Unternehmensberater, Wirtschaftspublizist und Honorarprofessor an der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. Bis 2009 war er Vorstandsvorsitzender einer österreichischen Spezialbank für Unternehmensfinanzierung.   Print

  • Rudolf Stamm

    Rudolf Stamm war von 1975 bis 1988 Korrespondent der Neuen Zürcher Zeitung für Osteuropa und Österreich, anschließend bis 1999 für Italien, dann bis zu seiner Pensionierung 2002 für die USA mit Sitz in Washington D.C. Er starb 2010 in der Schweiz. 1985 erscheinen seine NZZ-Reportagen aus Osteuropa in dem Band Alltag und Tradition in Osteuropa. …
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  • Paul Starr

    Paul Starr ist Professor für Soziologie an der Princeton University und Mitherausgeber von The American Prospect. Er ist Pulitzer-Preisträger.   Print

  • Martina Steer

    ÖAW APART Fellow (History)
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  • Kristina Stoeckl

    Research Director
    APART Fellow, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Department of Political Sciences, University of Vienna
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  • Roman Szporluk

    Roman Szporluk is Professor em. of Ukrainian History at Harvard and Professor em. of History at the University of Michigan. He is a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine. His research focuses on modern Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish history, and on Marxism and nationalism in Eastern Europe.   Print

  • Charles Taylor

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Professor em. of Philosophy, McGill University, Montréal
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  • Maria Teteriuk

    PhD candidate in Mass Communications and senior lecturer in Media Studies, National University of 'Kyiv-Mohyla Academy', Ukraine
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  • Philipp Ther

    Junior Professor of Polish and Ukrainian Studies, Europa-Universität Frankfurt / Oder
    Read more

  • Maria Todorova

    Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
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  • Balázs Trencsényi

    Balázs Trencsényi, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Department of History, CEU. His research focuses on the comparative history of political thought in East Central Europe and the history of historiography. He is co-director of Pasts, Inc., Center for Historical Studies at CEU and Associate Editor of the periodical East Central Europe (Brill). He was …
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  • Stefan Troebst

    .
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  • Marius Turda

    Lecturer in the Education Abroad Program, Eötvös Lorand University, Faculty of Humanities, Budapest
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  • Andreas Umland

    Andreas Umland ist Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Euro-Atlantische Kooperation Kiew sowie Herausgeber der Buchreihe Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, ibidem-Verlag Stuttgart. Print

  • Victoria Vasilenko

    Assistant Professor of Contemporary History and International Relations, Belgorod National Research University
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  • David G. Victor

    David G. Victor is a Professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego, where he directs the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation.   Print

  • Harald Welzer

    Harald Welzer ist Forschungsprofessor für Sozialpsychologie an der Universität Witten/Herdecke und Direktor des Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research am Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts Essen.   Print

  • Karolina Wigura

    Adjunct of the History of Ideas, University of Warsaw; Co-Editor of Kultura Liberalna
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  • Volodymyr Yermolenko

    Volodymyr Yermolenko is a Ukrainian philosopher and essayist. He has a degree in Political Science from the EHESS, Paris, and teaches at Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kyiv. He is the author of the book Narrator and Philosopher: Walter Benjamin and his time (2011, in Ukrainian). Print

  • Oksana Zabuzhko

    Free-lance writer, Kiev
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  • Tatiana Zhurzhenko

    Research Director, Russia in Global Dialogue / Ukraine in European Dialogue
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