By the end of 1991, the West’s significant other was replaced by fifteen independent countries undergoing experiments of remaking complex social structures, what one group of scholars called a “quadruple transition” (D’Anieri, Kravchuk, and Kuzio 1999): transforming economies (marketization), polities (democratization), state structures, and political identities and communities (nations and ethnicities). This event, whose echoes reverberate, is among the most important events for the social sciences, as these experiences provide social laboratories to study theories of economics and politics (unfortunately for those enduring the experiments). Yet social science failed to address adequately the massively complex process unfolding there. On the economic front, early predictions, hopes, and analyses growing out of the neoliberal model (Lipton et al 1990; Lipton, Sachs, and Summers 1990; Fisher and Gelb 1991; Åslund 1995) could not adequately account for confusion, conflict, and multiple trajectories in their overly simplistic and normative accounts of economic and political life.
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