Responses to global economic crisis - a verdict on "transition"
MZES University of Mannheim Mannheim, Germany
The current world financial crisis marks the end of an era in the post-communist world. "Transition" can now be assessed against the test of preparedness to face external difficulties that are affecting every country in the world, albeit in different ways. Responses to the crisis demonstrate the diverse ways in which post-communist countries have become integrated into a global economy and the specific forms of capitalist economic system that they have created. The different courses of development have led to different weak points and comparative strengths which lead to differing depths and natures of economic difficulties in the current situation. The crisis in finance has been a severe problem for only some countries, depending on their levels of private and public debt and the behaviour of their finance sectors and big enterprises. Others, however, have great difficulty coping with falling demand for goods and all are threatened by perceptions of instability across post-communist countries in general. There are specific problems for countries with greatest dependence on remittances from working abroad, from export of raw materials and semi-manufactures and from close integration into networks of manufacturing multinational companies. A comparison of countries (including information particularly on Russia, Hungary, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Lithuania) will provide a basis for generalisations on the effects of the world financial crisis and hence on the results of post-communist transformation.