This book examines the transformation of the state in Central and Eastern Europe since the end of communism and adoption of market oriented reform in the early 1990s, exploring the impact of globalization and economic liberalization on the region's states, societies and political economy. It compares the different policies and national strategies adopted by key Central and Eastern European states, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, showing how initial internally oriented strategies of market reform, privileging domestic sources of investment, had by the late 1990s given way to externally oriented strategies emphasising the promotion of competitiveness by attracting foreign investment. It explores the reasons behind this convergence, considering the influence of internal and external forces, and the roles of interests, institutions and ideas. It argues that internationalization of the state is forged in the processes through which domestic groups linked to transnational capital attain domestic influence necessary to shape state policy and strategy. These groups
– the comprador service sector in particular – constitute and organize political, social and institutional support of the competition state in the region. Overall, this book not only provides a detailed account of the political economy of post-communist transformation in Central and Eastern Europe, but also the processes by which states adapt to the forces of globalization.
"This book develops a very coherent and rich analysis of the much-discussed process of transition from state socialism to market economies in Central and Eastern Europe. The author more than meets the challenge of finding something new to say about this topic, developing a novel approach based on a sophisticated account of structure, agency, and discourse; providing a new periodization of the steps in the transition in different societies; showing the interaction of economic and political forces in changing institutional and conjunctural contexts; identifying the key actors and forces that shape the transition and their crucial mediating role between foreign capital and states and domestic economic and political interests; and providing some insightful comments on varieties of transition. I recommend this book most warmly."
Bob Jessop, Founding Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Lancaster University
"The real innovation of Drahokoupil's approach lies in going beyond the opposition of national versus transnational explanations. His focus on the comprador sector as the site linking the two perspectives is very effective and helps to set an agenda for future studies, including on other world regions."
Don Kalb, Professor, Central European University, Budapest & Utrecht University
"Drahokoupil's book constitutes an advance in the understanding of the internationalization of states, societies and political economies. The book is well written and it provides provocative ideas on the forces of convergence in the international political economy and on the evolution of the competition state based on the insightful analysis of the Central and Eastern European countries."
Laszlo Bruszt, Professor, European University Institute, Florence
"Students of Eastern Europe's transformation and transnational integration will read this book with great interest. The book offers rich empirical data and a convincing and sophisticated argument on how the interaction among state reformers, domestic interest groups and transnational corporations shaped the emergence of the region's new transnational capitalism."
Bela Greskovits, Professor, Central European University, Budapest
Jan Drahokoupil is a research fellow at the Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung (MZES). He was a Post-Doc research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies Cologne (2007–2008).