"J. Barkley Rosser, Jr." <rosserjb at jmu.edu>: current Yugoslav economy

James Farmelant farmelantj at SPAMjuno.com
Thu Sep 2 16:11:52 MDT 1999

--------- Begin forwarded message ----------
From: "J. Barkley Rosser, Jr." <rosserjb at jmu.edu>
To: <pkt at csf.colorado.edu>,
<lbo-talk at lists.panix.com>,<pen-l at galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Subject: current Yugoslav economy
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 17:42:53 -0400
Message-ID: <008001bef58c$1c68a840$41517e86 at rosserjb-b000.jmu.edu>

     Have just returned from the Twelfth World Congress
of the International Economic Association in Buenos Aires.
Among other things, had fairly extended conversations with
some economists from Yugoslavia, in particular from the
Economics Institute in Belgrade.  A few observations
based on those conversations:
     1)  The Yugoslav economy "has been completely
destroyed."  Current Yugoslav GDP is about 30% of
what it was in 1989.
     2)  The economic system is broadly in three different
forms.  There is a completely private sector that is mostly
small businesses (and also agriculture, dating from before
1989).  There is an intermediate sector of mostly intermediate
sized firms, the "social enterprise sector."  These firms
are officially owned by the state but are effectively under
the control of their managements who are hoping to
"nomenklatura" privatize them in the way that was done in
Croatia, a highly corrupt economy.  These firms are being
stripped of assets.  Then there is a command socialist
sector of the economy involving most of the largest firms.
However, there is no central planning.  These "commands"
take the form of orders from state ministries.  This command
form appeared in the 1990s since the breakup of the
former Yugoslavia.
     3)  Workers' management is dead.  The "social
enterprise" sector is where it would be most likely to
exist, a sector that could be formally described as
"market socialist," however the managers have full control.
     4)  There is profound alienation for most people.
They hate Milosevic but they also hate the West that
bombed them.
     5)  Recently the European Union organized a meeting
of representatives from Balkan nations in the hopes of
organizing them into their own economic union.  Those
represented included Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia,
Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Croatia.
Of the former Yugoslav republics, Slovenia did not attend
as it on a fast track to join the Eu itself, unlike these others.
Barkley Rosser
James Madison University

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