Diverging Paths, Diverging Outcomes: A Comparative Analysis of Post-Communist Transition in the Successor States of Yugoslavia
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The purpose of this investigation is to identify which republics of the former Yugoslavia have experienced the most successful transitions from economic and political communism to free markets and democracy, and why. To this end, the paper is divided into three main sections. Section One offers some background information on Socialist Yugoslavia from its inception to its dissolution, followed by various data indicating where each of its six successor states currently find themselves on the road to democratic consolidation and market capitalism. The crux of this comparative analysis, Part Two proceeds by isolating the most important factors influencing post-communist transition in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, namely (1) problems of nationhood and “stateness,” (2) the nature of pretransition economies and (3) external actors. The third and final section of this paper reiterates the theoretical significance of the former Yugoslavia to the transition literature, concluding with some doubt as to whether Western-style democracy and free markets can bring a meaningful and lasting peace to the former Yugoslavia.