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Bulgarian Economic Thought since 1989: - page 13 / 22





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If we attempt to systematize the recent studies on the basis of their outlook with respect to the world and its ideologies, it is possible to distinguish between those economists who primarily hold a liberal outlook and those who are in favour of a greater degree of state interference in the economy (over time, the Marxist ideology, at least linguistically, has almost disappeared). The first group comprises the economists from IME, the Centre of Liberal Strategies (Roumen Avramov and Georgi Ganev), from the Hayek Society, a few of the economists from the Centre for the Study of Democracy, and a majority of the researchers at the BNB (at least for the period immediately following the introduction of the currency board arrangement)). The second group comprised the scholars at the Institute of Economics of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and a majority of the university lecturers44). It is interesting to note that the standpoint in terms of being “in favour of or against” the currency board or the flat tax has become the basis of distinction between the rightist and the leftist economic views.

Moreover, owing to the eclectic character of the perspectives and the obvious difficulties in defining the various paradigmal frameworks of economic thought, it is extremely challenging to identify and group individual scholars. A consolation, to me at least, is the position of the great scholar of economic thought, Luigi Einaudi, expressed of course on a different occasion, but relating nevertheless to the assessment that we give to every economist. Einaudi believes that it is not important to ascertain which group the scholars belong to, but to ascertain their contribution to economic theory. In this context, he stated “I stand behind my assertion that an author should be judged on their own account for their contribution to science: Adam Smith not as the head of the Liberal School, but for his contribution to this theory; Ricardo not as a classic, but as the propounder of the theory of incomes, production costs, and paper money; Cantillon not as a forerunner of Physiocrats or of Liberals, but as the father of the entrepreneur doctrine or of the doctrine of the gradual and increasing influence, over time and space, of gold production” (Einaudi, 1956,  34).

Here, a few notes regarding the economic periodicals in Bulgaria have been presented. The collapse of the old system had an extremely adverse impact the economic periodicals; the intellectual standards of the old journals in Bulgaria deteriorated and subsequently these journals disappeared altogether, which was in contrast to the situation of journals in other countries. Moreover, no new journals were published. Economic Thought was the only major economic journal in Bulgaria that continued to be published as a single annual edition in English. The other economic journal, Economic Studies, which was conceptually more theoretical, encountered a few problems; however, since 2001, its structure and procedures are comparable to that of a modern referenced journal45). According to me, although these journals gradually attained a relatively satisfactory level, they hardly offered any inventive theoretical studies of true merit (This implies studying economic issues outside Bulgaria). In contrast, Sociological Issues, which is a sociologist journal published in Bulgaria, features significantly more interesting and original economic research papers. University journals (Economic Alternatives, UNWE; National Economic Archive (Academy of Economics, Svishtov)) continue to be published. All eminent Universities issued their year-books and collections of studies, which also featured theoretical articles46). I would like to emphasize the merits of the electronic interdisciplinary journal, Dialogue (Svishtov), which was launched in 2001; it publishes a number of original articles and translations of classical authors from the Austrian School primarily on the initiative of Ivan Vurbanov47).

With respect to translated books, a number of classic books have been translated by authors such as John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, Joseph Schumpeter, Friedrich Hayek,

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