Central and Eastern Europe: Europeanization and Social by François Bafoil (auth.)

By François Bafoil (auth.)

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Housing became the major target of redistribution policies, to which was added the policy of subsidized prices for basic products. These three programs constituted the main thrust of social policies during the first 20 years of socialism. From the 1970s onward, a number of obvious lags emerged by comparison with Western policies. These were in the area of pensions, on the one hand, and family policies, on the other. The policy pursued, from this moment on, was deliberately one of a “union of the economic and the social,” to quote the East German slogan.

The second has seen “overt” crises as proof of the existence of societies massively opposed to the political order. These two schools of interpretation are to a great degree mutually exclusive, since the former stresses the history of everyday life, while the latter highlights long-run history. It will be the aim of the penultimate chapter of this book to show that the definition of societies before 1989 has largely determined the conceptions of civil societies after 1989. Political Economy—Soviet-Style Socialism 27 Nonpolitical Societies It is certainly the case that civil society did not exist in the sense in which Liberalism understands it in the wake of Locke, Montesquieu, or Tocqueville.

Much was made of the employment of entire families in the same company, their technical specialization, and their social mobility. The sense of “communitarization” of the enterprise was thereby reinforced, in direct proportion to the paternalism of the leaders, who found in it the source of their legitimacy. The equilibria of the villages rested on the same mechanisms. 24 The informal compromises that were typically struck in the working environment have been the subject of many analyses by sociologists (Polish and Hungarian ones in particular).

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