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Bulgarian Economic Thought since 1989: - page 6 / 22

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order to subsequently establish themselves in niche areas such as Keynesianism, institutional economics, etc. A number these scholars also became successful businessmen and politicians either of remarkable integrity or of no integrity at all.

Another aspect that necessitates attention is the lack of ability of a majority of the scholars for conducting empirical, statistical, and econometric researches, which, as a matter of fact, prevents researchers even today from investigating real problems. Interestingly, sociologists were generally more successful in studying the complexities of the economy and in constructing theoretical models (for example, the original model of the second social networks applied to transition; Tchalakov and Bundzhulov, 2008). Moreover, sociologists have also come closer to reality as compared to economists. In addition, the achievements of investigative economic journalism are noteworthy. Investigative journalists have easier access to the foregoing transition practices adopted by bandits and is in fact the only way to extricate truthful information regarding the actual processes for cases where statistical data is unavailable, unable to reflect actual processes, or is predominantly misleading.

In addition, it is important to note that throughout the transition period, almost all the Bulgarian economists were connected in one way or another, to the government, political parties, and political power in general. Power, politics, and government were the main fields of realization for the economic scholars and their interests since there were no independent intellectuals. At least three Prime Ministers were economic scholars—the economic historian Lyuben Berov (for the period 19921994), Reneta Indzhova (for the period 19941995), the economist-mathematician Ivan Kostov (for the period 19972001), and the first Managing Board of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) that was led by Todor Valchev (for the period 19911996)15) was almost entirely composed of representatives of the academia; in 1991 the Agency for Economic Analyses and Forecasting (AEAF) was established, where Bulgaria’s economic policy was created entirely by economic scholars (Ventsislav Antonov, Roumen Avramov, and Lyubomir Christov). This association between economic scholars’ and political authority is typical of communist countries owing to inertia from the past; traditionally, politics were considered to be superior to economics. Evidently, this relationship also displays an opposite direction of causality since economic science seemingly dominated political decisions. Generally, the close association between economic scholars and political power is not a characteristic of communist countries alone: for example, this has long been observed in Italy, although to a lesser degree (Faucci, 2000), which in turn contrasts with the relative independence of scholars in the Anglo-Saxon countries and France (the economists were either primarily associated with private businesses or were independent intellectuals). An interesting explanation of the economic scholars’ involvement with the government during the initial years of transition was given by the Polish politician, Leshek Balcerowicz, who believes that non-standard situations or periods bring to the fore non-standard politicians or non-political politicians who understand the so-called extraordinary politics (Balcerowicz, 1995).

Now, let us examine the cognitive channel for the formation of economic thought in Bulgaria, or which, under certain conditionality, Faucci would have termed internal history of economic thought. The cognitive channel refers to the internal history of economic thought or the manner in which the models of economic thought are created. Evidently, this cognitive channel is closely associated with the sociology of scholars and although we have briefly discussed this earlier, we will augment that information here. The cognitive channel may be subdivided into the following two sub-channels: the first one deals with the past knowledge

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