We spoke with the author Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan
. His book Transition Economies: Transformation, Development, and Society in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union
(Routledge, 2018) is a very interesting contribution to the understanding of Soviet economies and their transition, or transformation, as Aleksandr argues. In his book he also discusses the aspect of human transition. I started our conversation asking ‘transition towards what?’ Towards western market economies? Is the field of transition economics affected by the emergence of the successful Chinese model? We briefly discussed the variety of models among the Soviet and Eastern European nations and how differently they completed their transition.
Gevorkyan holds a doctorate in Economics from The New School and he is now Associate Professor in Economics at at the Department of Economics and Finance of the Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University in New York City. He holds the endowed position of “Henry George Chair in Economics”. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Vincentian Centre for Church and Society, a Research Fellow at the Center for Global Business Stewardship, and a Board Member at the Armenian Economic Association. Dr. Gevorkyan is also a co-editor (with Otaviano Canuto) of Financial Deepening and Post-Crisis Development in Emerging Markets (Palgrave MacMillan in 2016). He also published Innovative Fiscal Policy and Economic Development in Transition Economies (Routledge, 2013 in paperback; 2011 in hardcover).
His interdisciplinary study offers a comprehensive analysis of the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Providing full historical context and drawing on a wide range of literature, this book explores the continuous economic and social transformation of the post-socialist world. While the future is yet to be determined, understanding the present phase of transformation is critical. The book’s core exploration evolves along three pivots of competitive economic structure, institutional change, and social welfare. The main elements include analysis of the emergence of the socialist economic model; its adaptations through the twentieth century; discussion of the 1990s market transition reforms; post-2008 crisis development; and the social and economic diversity in the region today. With an appreciation for country specifics, the book also considers the urgent problems of social policy, poverty, income inequality, and labor migration.
Gevorkyan believes that the transformational experience of the “transition” economies must be studied objectively and needs to be more fully integrated within the broader field of economic development. It cannot be reduced to examples of economic models, which is the tendency in literature, but needs to be viewed in its historical continuity with many implications on social evolution.
This excellent book is an important tool for graduate students, scholars and policy makers.
Andrea Bernardi is Senior Lecturer in Employment and Organization Studies at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He holds a doctorate in Organization Theory from the University of Milan, Bicocca. He has held teaching and research positions in Italy, China and the UK. Among his research interests are the use of history in management studies, the co-operative sector, and Chinese co-operatives. His latest project is looking at health care in rural China. He is the co-convener of the EAEPE’s permanent track on Critical Management Studies.