The Soviet Union's dramatic collapse in 1989 was a pivotal moment in the complex history of Central and Eastern Europe, and Ivan Berend here offers a magisterial new account of the dramatic transformation that culminated in ten former Soviet Bloc countries joining the European Union. Taking the OPEC oil crisis of 1973 as his starting point, he charts the gradual unravelling of state socialism in Central and Eastern Europe, its ultimate collapse in the revolutions of 1989, and the economic restructuring and lasting changes in income, employment, welfare, education and social structure which followed. He pays particular attention to the crucial role of the European Union as well as the social and economic hurdles that continue to face former Eastern-bloc nations as they try to catch up with their Western neighbours. This will be essential reading for scholars and students of European and economic history, European politics and economics.
Ivan Berend not only studied the collapse and transformation of Central and Eastern Europe, but also participated in it. He chaired the committee that prepared the first marketisation and privatisation plan for Hungary, and has been a member of governmental advisory bodies since the early 1990s. He is currently Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Introduction; 1. The economic factors of the collapse of state socialism and the new international environment, 1973-1991; 2. Transformation and policy mistakes: dramatic economic decline; 3. Towards better times: the European Union and its policy of eastwards enlargement; 4. Recuperation and growth: the role of foreign direct investment; 5. Economic restructuring: transforming main sectors, economic recovery, weaknesses and growth; 6. Transformation and social shock; 7. Lasting social changes in income, employment, welfare institutions, educational and settlement structure; Epilogue: the future of catching-up in the European 'melting pot'.