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The Politics of Privatization: Wealth and Power in Postcommunist Europe

John A. Gould
The Politics of Privatization: Wealth and Power in Postcommunist Europe
ISBN: 978-1-58826-758-0
ISBN: 978-1-58826-783-2
2011/247 pages/LC: 2010049166

"An excellent and insightful overview of our best current understanding of the most important factors driving postcommunist privatization; a sophisticated argument about the interrelatedness of democratization/liberalization and privatization; and a potentially unparalleled comparative illustration of how privatization actually unfolded in multiple postcommunist countries."—Joshua A. Tucker, Slavic Review

"This book will be excellent for the classroom in courses on Central and Eastern Europe or in comparative political economy."—Patrick Leblond, EUSA Review

"This is an impressive and thought-provoking book. It covers a wide range of cases and will be of use to anyone who studies or teaches postcommunist political economy."—Andrew Barnes, Kent State University


In this remarkable story of postcommunist politics gone wrong, John Gould explores privatization’s role in the scramble for wealth and power in postcommunist Europe.

Gould engages the core debates on privatization. Does democratic development facilitate effective capitalist reform, or vice versa? How do political legacies shape privatization choices? Is simultaneous transition feasible? Offering both new empirical information and nuanced political analysis, his in-depth study reveals a surprising relationship between political liberalization and economic reform.


John A. Gould is associate professor of political science at Colorado College.


  • Introduction.
  • The Command Economy and Its Legacies.
  • Postcommunist Privatization and Politics.
  • Privatization Design in Czechoslovakia, 1990-1992.
  • The Politics of Privatization in the Czech Republic. 
  • The Politics of Privatization in Slovakia.
  • Postprivatization Entrepreneurs and the Political Economy of Ukraine.
  • The Political Economy of Regime Change in Serbia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
  • Beyond Creating Owners.