What Were the Outcomes of the Self-Managed Economy in Socialist Yugoslavia?
In this chapter, Aleksandar Jakir and Anita Lunic seek to address the economic system of socialist Yugoslavia that from the 1950s onwards was labeled workers' self-management. It is argued that economic crisis and reforms in socialist Yugoslavia triggered a slide towards political disintegration that can be traced back to the implementation of the social and economic system of self-management that was supposed to function as a kind of market socialism. The structural problems of this type of economy, with its contrast between the so-called developed and less-developed republics, brings the authors to the conclusion that it seems necessary to re-examine the system of self-management in the light of the fact that the socio-political system obviously produced increasingly greater inequalities. At the same time, this economy provided the political and economic elites in all republics with the possibility of obtaining a kind of »legitimation« from their »basis« by pointing to the given contradictions that were caused, and by stirring up national sentiments as the easiest way to explain why the results were far from expected. The chapter addresses the historiographical and sociological perspective of the Yugoslav economic system, the system of self-management, its concept and implementation, as well as the competition between the »developed« and the »underdeveloped«, portraying the socialist republics and provinces of Yugoslavia as political and economic (f)actors, and the position of workers within the system of workers' self-management is discussed, as well as strikes that arose from economic inequalities. It is argued that for a better understanding of the history of the disintegration of socialist Yugoslavia the connection between ethnic differentiation and prosperity or poverty has to be considered. Actually, it is not until economic conflicts had taken hold that we can find evidence of national mobilization of large parts of the population, so it seems justified not only to research historical, linguistic and cultural arguments in the process of disintegration but also the specific economic system of Yugoslavia's socialist self-management economy.