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The Incomprehensible Post-Communist Privatisation

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One of the most important claims of the neoliberal policy prescriptions for Central and East European states in the early 1990s was that ‘communist’ property should be ‘privatised’. I contend that this policy prescription was based on a number of false assumptions about what ‘communist’ property was and about communist law. As a result, the post-communist process of privatisation was plagued by many unintended and negative effects. The consequence was the great enrichment of the former communist managers who were able to benefit from ‘privatisation’ at the expense of the public, in a process which was not ‘rights based’ or ‘democratic’. I argue that the reality of ‘communist property’ was totally different from that assumed by neoliberal agents and policies. The distinctiveness of communist property arrangements resided not in the absence of private property, which was tolerated under communism, but in the organisation of property as an administrative matter.

Affiliations: 1: The University of Warwick, Warwick, UK,


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