Over 1.8 billion people — from Central Europe to East Asia — have been involved in the great systemic transformation to market economy, civic society and democracy, lasting already a generation. The process has evolved more by chance than by design, and has brought mixed fruits. The diversification of the current situation is a result of both the legacy from the past and the different strategies and policies executed in particular countries over subsequent periods. These polices have been based on different assumptions and followed the advises of alternative schools of economic thought. Consequently, there are theoretical lessons to learn, as well as policy implications, from this vast experience. The paper, written from the comparative perspective and exercising counterfactual history analyses of the multi-track process of the great Post-Communist change during the last two decades, provides some forecasts and propositions for the next generation.
Economics is not only a means of interpreting the past, but it must become an instrument for shaping the future, too. It should show inevitable future economic processes, with their links to culture, technology, and environment. With theoretical knowledge of this area, strategies of economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable development can be put in place. In the future, heterodoxy is bound to dominate, and economics will become increasingly interdisciplinary. Future generations need economics of moderation and a theory describing it, as opposed to the thus far prevailing economics of either deficiency or excess. We need the New Pragmatism.
One of the most often committed mistakes in economic reasoning is the supposition about the continuity of economic processes. However, what dominates in reality is a process of permanent changes, which sometimes proceed in a cascading manner rather than linearly. It must be acknowledged that the capitalist market economy by its very nature is involved in periodical crises. They must occur from time to time, yet the magnitude of the recent crisis is a result of inappropriate institutions and wrong macroeconomic policies based on neoliberalism. While the underlying causes of the crisis and the ways out of it at the era of interdependent global economy is discussed vividly in countless books and papers, yet it ought to be clear that the world is moving from one crisis to another. Thus, one must consider not only the economics of crisis, but also a kind of crisis of economics. There is a need for a New Pragmatism, based on the better understanding of economics as science, describing the economy as a system of forces and flows which contantly give feedback and influence each other.
In the era of irreversible globalisation, the worldwide economic and political rules of play must take into account of the growing importance of China. Rather than fight the country, one should pragmatically cooperate on solving the mounting global problems. Contemporarily, both China should adapt to the external world and the world itself should adapt to China. There is no possibility of imposing on it a model developed elsewhere, especially that these days liberal democracy is experiencing a systemic crisis in many countries. Neither is there a chance to impose the Chinese model on others, though it seems tempting to a country; it is not an exportable ‘commodity,’ but its elements may prove useful elsewhere. China is not aiming for global domination; instead, it is consistently integrating with the world to maintain its own development. The only reasonable way forward is thorough observation, mutual learning and pragmatic collaboration based on the non-orthodox economic thought.
To join the Eurozone (EZ), a candidate country has to fulfil five nominal Maastricht convergence criteria and ensure compliance of national legislation with the acquis communautaire. With this regard special difficulties pose the fiscal criterion relating to the maximum allowed budget deficit of 3 per cent of GDP. If it is not met, the European Commission launches the Excessive Deficit Procedure. Currently, such formula applies to France, Spain and the United Kingdom. Although the issue is not absolutely certain, one can assume that euro will weather the present difficulties and will come out stronger, though the economically unjustified Euro scepticism of some countries is not helping. It may be expected that in the 2020s the European Monetary Union will be joined by all countries that are still using their national currencies and that the EU will be extended to include new member states, enlarging the euro area further. In this article authors are discussing the issue whether Poland will join the EZ in the coming years, considering the challenges of meeting all Maastricht criteria, on the one hand, and the reluctance of the government to give up the national currency, on the other. A mixed method combining the results of qualitative and quantitative research has been used to empirically verify the research question presented.