Economic discussions at the periphery




University of National and World Economy, Sofia
Le STUDIUM, University of Orleans
ICER, Torino
June/September 2010


The history and analysis of the theoretical discussions and policy interpretations of Bulgarian economists during the  Great Depression has rarely been an object of study. My ambitions here are  I present my views on two main issues. The first deals with the question of how the Bulgarian academic community interprets the Great Depression, in what theoretical models Bulgarian economists think and the practical solutions they offer. This involves elaborating typical elements leading to their theoretical and practical models, highlighting the specific Bulgarian interpretation of depression and the contribution of Bulgarian economists. And most importantly, what makes them gradually realize the structural characteristics of the crisis and in what socio-economic model they see the future state of the economy. The second issue is concerned with identifying the main channels, the main factors leading to the formation of these models and of the Bulgarian knowledge of crises and depressions. It touches primarily on the role of the economic and social reality, the economic, political and social problems of the Bulgarian economy in that period. The second main channel relates to the sources of intellectual and theoretical concepts that form the theoretical baggage of Bulgarian economists, what schools and ideas influenced them, and how this happened. Such theoretical investigation could give information and ideas of how economic knowledge is formed in general and in peripheral countries in particular. This could help us judge about the value of knowledge and the role of small and peripheral countries for the development of economic science. The monograph is organized in seven chapters. The first one offers a brief survey of the Bulgarian economy prior to the Depression. The second, respectively, presents the Bulgarian economic thought on the eve of
the Depression grouped in five intellectual traditions. In the third chapter we present two main models of interpretation of the Great Depression (cyclical and structural), as well as different forms of the structural model (“German planning”,  “Keynesian discretion”, or  “Marxists revolution”). The last three sections explain the evolution of economic thinking following the main phases of the crisis (deflation and agrarian crisis; monetary and banking crisis, and, finally, administrative economy within the German zone). In the final section we discuss the specificities of the Bulgarian interpretations of the Great Depression and provide some concluding observations.

Key words: history of economic thought, Great Depression, Balkans economies, Bulgaria
JEL codes: B 10, B 20, B30, N13, N14, G01