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The concept of the ownership in the late 'socialist economics'

Tchipev, Plamen D (2000): The concept of the ownership in the late 'socialist economics'.


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The ownership has a very controversial place in the economics' history. While it was placed in the centre of the so called "socialist political economy", (actually, the issue of its abolishment), it is still taken for granted in the orthodox economics and little attention is paid on its analysis. Contrary, the institutional economics shows all increasing interest in this par excellence 'institutionalist' economic concept - two out of ten chapters are directly devoted to the ownership in the recent E. Furobotn and R. Richter's book - 'Institutions and Economic Theory' (1997). Within the latter discourse it seems important and interesting to analyse the development of that concept in 'the economics of the socialism' - from the state, unique, single ownership through various degrees of 'relative autonomy of the state companies' and to the eventual triad of 'ownership, possession and management'. A theoretic development forced by practical economic problems - a clear case of 'a cumulative and evolutionary process unfolding in historical time', which never went that far to recognise its true purpose - to assign the role of the private property to a ideologically acceptable substitute institution. The paper tends to analyse that particular version of the ownership not only in its historical development and within the context of its 'natural' system of economic views like the 'socialist monetary relations', but also tries to draw a certain parallels to some of the contributions of the modern institutional economics like principal-agency approach. The paper also strives to outline some of the political consequences of its implementation. The main conclusion relates not as much to the unavoidability of the private property as basis for any economic system, but rather seeks to provide another piece of evidence for the importance of the institutional arrangement, and especially the ownership, for the functioning of any economic system.

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