>Rent seeking and political continuities in post-communist states

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Came across an interesting online review of book of essays by Hayekian economist Peter Boettke (Calculation and Co-ordination: Essays on Socialism and Transitional Political Economy, New York, Routledge, 2001), one arguing that USSR and shifts in late Soviet politics understandable less in terms of rational central planning and various rebounds from its failure (perestroika period etc) than the ‘sale’ and ‘resale’ of monopolies by a collective (in Stalin’s case personal) dictator – i.e. that USSR was an extreme form of mercantilism understandable through existing political economy categories (same kind of argument used in relation to late socialism by Friedman and following him Klaus). Point of interest for me is that it highlights essential continuity with rent-seeking forms of post-Soviet capitalism and illiberal democracy described in Hellman’s famous ‘Winner Takes All’ article, less well known work by John Gould and probably many others. Is – how is – Boettke’s argument applicable to apparently more transparent and liberal-democratic CEE, where there is a more subtle admixture of clientelism, liberalism and rent-seeking.

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