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Bulgarian Economic Thought since 1989: - page 5 / 22





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over reforms were loosened; this slackening of external constraints coupled with the outburst of the global crisis in 2008 adversely affected Bulgaria’s economic indicators (Nenovsky and Ialnazov, 2009).

Understandably, Bulgarian economists have increasingly been focusing on the latest crucial events in Bulgaria. These events served as focal points of analysis, or in more complex terms as cognitive anchors, which attracted the attention and efforts of researchers. In this context, the notable events included price liberalization, restructuring of state ownership, foreign debt restructuring in 1994, problems of bad loans, financial crisis, systemic risk and currency board, efficiency of the banking sector, the issue of the conversion of external debt in 2002, integration of the euro area and EU convergence, public finance and flat tax, the global financial crisis, etc. Subsequently, the following research topics emerged: the role of institutions, corruption and shadow economy, the role of the judicial system, and economic history, and the long-run trends of the country’s economic development.

The issue of economic environment is closely related to the sociology of economic scholars i.e., the sociology of economic science in Bulgaria. Undoubtedly, irrespective of the personal fates and life histories of individual scholars, their interests and values are rather crucial or often the only factors that determine their choice of research topics, positions, ideological biases, and behaviour not only in science, but in life as well. At an individual level, a scholar’s choice and behaviour depends on the formation of their preferences and values, and their resources—material, mental, social, etc13).

Essentially, a productive classification of the economists may be to determine the extent to which they belonged to one or to the other familiar subdivisions of the communist economic theory, i.e., to “the political economy of socialism” or to “the political economy of capitalism.”

The scholars who specialised in researching the issues of the Western economies during the socialist era, i.e., the political economy of capitalism and the historians of economic thought, and those who had to lived up to the dogmas (they had to battle the “vulgar” interpretations and apologetics of Western economists), had better language abilities as well as considerably greater theoretical and practical knowledge of the emerging market economy. Moreover, they possessed the potential aptitude for understanding the subsequent changes in the theory. A few of these scholars (mainly concentrated in the Institute of Economics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) promptly emerged as the leading economists of transition, and as such, a majority of them participated in the country’s governance. A number of successful private entrepreneurs, bankers, etc., also emerged from this group14). Generally, these scholars embraced the neoclassical economy more readily since the economists who had previously—during the communist period—specialized in the field of mathematical modelling and planning found it easier to understand.

In contrast, a majority of the scholars who had previously specialized in the political economy of socialism generally remained leftists and allied with the left political forces. As a rule, these scholars lacked the competence and knowledge required to adapt to the new environment owing to the fact that the political economy of socialism was a dogmatic and senseless play of words that served as a façade for the pretentiousness of constructing a theoretical system. A majority of the scholars lacked mathematical training and the only foreign language that they could fluently speak was Russian. Initially, these scholars adapted the old theory to transition and explored the “forgotten” and “valuable” aspects of the classical Marxist theories in

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