In This Review

East European Capitalism in the Making
East European Capitalism in the Making
By Elena A. Iankova
Cambridge University Press, 2002, 223 pp.

Eastern Europe has made its way toward capitalism without social explosions, according to the author, in large part because of three-way partnerships among government, employers, and labor that formally negotiated critical employment and social issues. Unlike the corporatism of postwar Europe, which was built on settled institutions that allowed the state eventually to recede into the background, the eastern European version has been constructed on the fly, functioning to sort out and legitimate the voices of labor and the employers. Iankova compares in detail the Polish and Bulgarian experiences, both of which benefited from different versions of this tripartite cooperation. Her analysis is particularly innovative in tracing the way "tripartism" has repeated itself at the regional level and then looped back to the national level. Integration into the European Union, she expects, will challenge central and eastern Europe's brand of corporatism but it will not destroy it -- assuming the EU reforms its own version.