The Logic of Reform Thought — from Economics to Politics
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In practice, from the very beginning, economic reform had been closely bound up with a process of political change. At first, the extent of that political change was quite limited. As we saw in Chapter 4, the essential precondition of the acceptance of economic reform as official policy in Czechoslovakia and Hungary had been a profound disturbance of the political self-confidence of the Party leaderships. Mounting economic difficulties reaching crisis proportions had challenged the assumptions of Party omniscience and of hierarchical discipline as the guarantee of order and progress. In the interests of their own self-preservation, of political stability, the political leaders came to recognise the need for expert advice from specialists. As a result, the status and political influence of intellectuals were considerably enhanced. But the political implications of economic reform did not end there, for it was not only a question of conceding greater autonomy to experts, but of implementing their advice. The content of their advice had wide-ranging general implications, which will be discussed in this chapter.
KeywordsTrade Union Leading Role Economic Reform Socialist Economy Central Authority
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