A New Capitalist Order: Privatization and Ideology in Russia and
Eastern Europe. By Hilary Appel. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh
Press, 2004. 248p. $27.95.
This book provides a valuable analysis of the role of ideology in the
development of mass privatization programs in postcommunist countries.
Mass privatization was a unique program that defined postcommunist
economic transitions in the 1990s and was adopted in numerous countries.
Launched first in the Czech Republic in 1991, this innovative method of
privatization was adopted in many other postcommunist countries. The
rationale for mass privatization was simple: Since people did not have the
money to buy state-owned enterprises, the state could give them away. To
distribute ownership widely throughout the formerly expropriated
population, the state would distribute shares in state-owned enterprises
to millions of small shareholders in exchange for free or nearly free
vouchers. Mass privatization would divest the state of thousands of state
enterprises, while creating a broad-based class of shareholders after
decades of communism.