May 1997 - The successor states to the former Yugoslavia may be unanimous in their opposition to any political project even hinting at its recreation, but they still face a set of surprisingly common economic problems. (On the emergence of the successor states from the collapse of Yugoslavia, see Yugoslavia and After: A Study in Fragmentation, Despair, and Rebirth, edited by David A. Dyker and Ivan Vojvoda [New York: Longman, 1996].) For one, there is the obvious absence of the economic boom that a postwar recovery period often generates. As a partial solution, business enterprises are turning back toward their nearest neighbors, their former compatriots. Even this movement faces two further problems. First, their transitions to a market economy based on private enterprise are in the best case half-finished and have in the worst cases created new vested interests grounded in political power and corruption. Second, while private entrepreneurship has indeed grown apace, its enterprises are typically too small or too closely linked to political or outright criminal networks to press effectively, from below, for a legal market framework.
February 2002- With the exceptions of Macedonia and Poland, 2001 was not a bad year for Central and Eastern Europe, especially in light of all the economic turmoil throughout the rest of the world. Ironically, after a tumultuous decade in the 1990s, in 2001 the transition economies have been relatively immune to economic recession. In Central Europe in 2001, economic growth accelerated in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to 3 percent or more. PlanEcon projects Hungary will post a final figure of 4 percent and Slovenia will register 3.4 percent growth for 2001, commendable performances in both cases, although lower rates than in 2000. In addition, these two countries enjoyed better balance in their economies. Inflation has fallen. Hungary's current account deficit has narrowed sharply; Slovenia's deficit has turned to surplus.
The series of articles that follows confront a fundamental question of socio-political development, the nature of social allegiances and the two main systems of classification that have been proposed to explain them: class and nation. All of the articles revolve around issues raised by Roman Szporluk in his book "Communism and Nationalism: Marx vs. List," published by the Oxford University Press in the spring of 1988.
September 1999 - The war in Kosovo internationalized the dilemma of democracy - how to treat non-democratic forces that act against democratic premises. Or, how tolerant can one be against intolerance?
January 2007 - When Serbian artillery began pounding Sarajevo in spring 1992, Bosnian Muslims struck back by destroying a potent symbol of Serb nationalism: the footprints marking the exact spot Gavrilo Princip stood when he shot dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The infamous June 28, 1914 assassination aimed to remove Austria-Hungary from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and thus clear the way for a unified Yugoslav (South Slav) state. Yet the consequences were far more than Princip and his co-conspirators had bargained for: this event became the euphemistic "spark that lit the fuse," igniting the First World War. Yugoslavia, with the help of the Great Powers, was indeed born out of that war, and so too was the short, but troubled twentieth century.
In 1991, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia—two multinational Communist federal states with comparable histories of indigenous revolutions and similar nationality policies—disintegrated. As the only two countries that fully implemented the system of ethno-territorial federalism, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia shared important structural features. In both cases, the basic political-administrative units—the republics—were organized along ethnic lines and were seen as the quasi-national homelands of the titular nations.
This working paper examines the economic aspect of state-building in the former Yugoslavia. It hypothesizes that during the process of division and in the first four years of economic independence each of the five successor states chose economic policy options which are leading to divergent patterns of economic growth. As a result, after four years, five distinct economies have emerged, each pursuing increasingly diverging growth paths. This divergence is even more striking when we remember that each of the successor states began with the same institutional framework, a common transition path, and a comparable level of macroeconomic instability.
September 2000 - In his opening remarks, Zbigniew Brzezinski outlined three categories of democracy: functioning, malfunctioning, and fictitious. Functioning democracies are characterized by political and economic pluralism. Poland represents one of the most successful "functioning democracies" in the post-communist world. Malfunctioning democracies, such as many former Soviet states today, may aspire to democracy, but are crippled by legacies of the communist past. In fictitious democracies, the organs of the Communist Party remain but the regime pursues limited, reformist economic and social policies, such as in China. Brzezinski also pointed out that wide-scale, growing poverty impedes the movement toward democracy in many post-communist countries.
February 2009 - This is an interesting time in Bosnia and Herzegovina; interesting in the sense of the old Chinese curse—may you live in interesting times. Another High Representative has just resigned. The future of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) itself hangs in the balance. Will it close this summer, as many want? Or will it stick around even longer than everyone thought a few years back? I do not have the answers to these questions, but I would like to offer few thoughts on why we are still having this debate 13 years after the war in former Yugoslavia came to an end and why we should perhaps not slam the door on OHR quite so fast.
Experts review new publications.