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On postsocialist capitalism

Abstract

© 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht Unlike recent tendencies to specify the variety of postsocialist trajectories, this article attempts to characterize the common features of postsocialist capitalism, as it has developed since the 1990s in Eastern Europe. Using conceptual tools of economic sociology, the postsocialist socio-economic organization is analyzed as embedded economy, the institutionalization of capitalism as a moral project, and the pervasiveness of informality from the networks and culture perspectives. Economic development is viewed as dependent, simultaneously, on the system’s structural, political and cultural features. For postsocialist capitalism, these features include lack of state autonomy due to close coupling of political and economic roles; the embrace of greed and self-interest as legitimate motives for action; and persistence and bolstering of informality as modus operandi. Stipulations about developmental consequences are provided in the conclusion.

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