1st Edition

Socialist Entrepreneurs? Business Histories of the GDR and Yugoslavia

Edited By Vladimir Unkovski-Korica, Saša Vejzagić Copyright 2025
    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book breaks new ground, taking business history where it has only reluctantly gone in the past. The introduction reviews the small, but growing, literature, based on fresh archival materials, which investigates the history of business organisation in the Global East, or the Second World in the Cold War. It argues that there is already a great variety of approaches that go beyond the view of the Soviet-style firm as primarily a production function.  Focusing on East Germany and Yugoslavia, seven chapters showcase new directions in the field, and demonstrate that the combination of business history with other historical and disciplinary approaches can help unpack the diversity of historical experiences, explain geographical variances, and offer new avenues for synthesis. The volume’s exploration of different historical eras, including those of postwar reconstruction, through globalisation, to transformation, also shows that the Global East should not be treated as disconnected from the rest of the world, but as part of wider, global trends. As such, the volume makes a plea for the utility of studying the Global East to business history and the utility of business history to the study of the Global East.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Business History.

    Introduction: Business history goes East

    Vladimir Unkovski-Korica and Saša Vejzagić


    1. Persistent centralisation of decision-making in the age of industrial atomisation and self-management on the case of construction company Industrogradnja Zagreb (1966–1980)

    Saša Vejzagić


    2. Tensions between plan and market in a political factory in socialist Kosovo

    Pieter Troch


    3. Management of technological innovation: High tech R&D in the GDR

    Dolores L. Augustine


    4. Workers against technocrats: The failed economic reform and the rise of consumer socialism in the German Democratic Republic

    Eszter Bartha


    5. Entrepreneurs as saviours of socialism? The complicated relationship between East German state socialism and entrepreneurship

    Max Trecker


    6. Losing the global: (Re)building a Bosnian enterprise across transition

    Anna Calori


    7. Varieties of capitalism or variegated state capitalism? East Germany and Yugoslavia in comparative perspective

    Gareth Dale and Vladimir Unkovski-Korica



    Vladimir Unkovski-Korica is Senior Lecturer based in Central and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow. His first book The Economic Struggle for Power in Tito’s Yugoslavia: From World War II to Non-Alignment was published by I.B. Tauris in 2016.


    Saša Vejzagić earned a PhD in History and Civilization from the European University Institute in Florence in 2021. He is interested in economic, business, and social history of the 20th century in Yugoslavia. Currently he is a research associate at the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.