This book examines the economic reforms and material progress made since the Central Asian republics became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. Without some of the neo-liberal reforms recommended by the "Washington Consensus" and with an authoritarian presidency, Uzbekistan, the largest of these countries, has nevertheless achieved modest economic growth, stability, and a relatively impressive degree of income equality. The country has also preserved its economic and political independence from the great powers — Russia, China, and the USA — who are rivals for influence and energy in Central Asia. Human rights have been poorly enforced, though occasional thaws have also taken place.
In second half of the book features a comparative analysis of four Central Asian states, all super-presidential authoritarianisms but with very different resource endowments and external commitments. A separate chapter deals with the energy resources of the region and the challenges of bringing oil and gas to the world market, and the question of whether Central Asian states will return to the Russian sphere of influence or seek closer ties with Asia or Europe is examined. The book concludes with prospects for future political and economic progress in the key Central Asian states.
Table of Contents
1. Geographical and Historical Introduction – From the Beginnings of Turkic Settlement to Russian Conquest. Religious and Language Background Explored 2. The Soviet Legacy – Uzbekistan’s Social Progress under a Colonial, Communist Regime, 1917-91 3. The "Uzbek Road" to Economic Reforms 4. Growth, Income, and Social Consumption 5. Human Rights in Uzbekistan and its Central Asian Neighbors 6. Comparisons with Central Asian Neighboring States [Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan] 7. Energy in Central Asia 8. International Economic Relations in Central Asia 9. Conclusion
Martin C. Spechler is Professor of Economics, IUPUI, and affiliate of the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, Indiana University. He has worked as consultant and researcher for the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Global Development Network, and USAID. Author of more than 100 articles, he is an editor of Comparative Economic Studies.