The subject of this book is the economic backwardness of Poland and Eastern Europe in the modern era. The studies in the first part analyse various aspects of the region's economic and social history in the period from the 16th to the 20th centuries, such as the nature of peasant economics, the character of economic evolution, and the ambiguity of social and economic relations between Poland and "the West". The second part deals with the change following the fall of state socialism. Papers in this part argue that, for understanding the present, it is necessary to take into consideration historical legacies. It is also important to look at the process of this recent change comparatively, both within Eastern Europe and comparing this region with other parts of the world. Professor Kochanowicz's contention in these essays is that the so-called transformation has had to cope not only with the effects of state socialism, but also with a much longer legacy of backwardness.
Contents: Introduction. Backwardness: The peasant family as an economic unit in the Polish feudal economy of the 18th century; Between submission and violence: peasant resistance in the Polish manorial economy of the 18th century; The Polish economy and the evolution of dependency; Could a Polish noble become an entrepreneur? Mentality, market and capital; The economy of the Polish Kingdom: a question of dependence; Globalization and Eastern Europe: 1870-1914, 1970-2000; Poland and the West: in or out? Modernization: Transition to market in a comparative perspective: a historian's point of view; Reforming weak states and deficient bureaucracies; Modernization from above: the end of the road? Leviathan exhausted: ideas on the state of the post-communist transformation; New solidarities? Market change and social cohesion in a historical perspective; Incomplete demise: reflections on the welfare state in Poland after communism; Trajectories of East European transformation: global influence and local legacies. Index.