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Modern Kazakhstan

Image and Realities

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Edited By Aydar Amrebaev, Hans-Georg Heinrich, Ludmilla Lobova and Valikhan Tuleshov

Against the backdrop of its mineral wealth, Kazakhstan has been touted a Central Asian tiger state. In contrast to most other Central Asian countries, it was able to evade civil war and large-scale bloodshed and to assume a leadership position which won international recognition and respect. At the same time, the country could not evade the global financial crisis and its human rights record is far from being immaculate. This volume analyses the economic, political and social dynamic of modern Kazakhstan as seen by insiders and Western experts. Their opinions converge on the assumption that there are hard times ahead but that Kazakhstan has the potential to weather the storm.

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Magbat Spanov, Gulnara KairbaevnaAkhmetzhanova, The Economy of Kazakhstan: Myths & Reality

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133 Magbat Spanov, Gulnara Kairbaevna Akhmetzhanova, The Economy of Kazakhstan: Myths & Reality Historical Background In order to evaluate the socio-economic development in Kazakhstan, it is necessary to distinguish some periods, differing both in the intensity of the transformation of economic relations and in the general directions of reforms: The period between the end of the 1980ies to the year 1991: Initial re- form period within the former USSR As we know, the deterioration of the economic environment in Kazakh- stan took distinct form at the end of the 80ies which was tied to the gen- eral crisis of the previous system: errors in economic policies, arms race and state paternalism in the social sphere under conditions of a non- market economic model of self-sufficient nature led to a gradual decline of the real economy and the ambient spheres. In this period reforms were undertaken on the principle of khozraschet (literally: economic ac- counting; note of the translator) in economy, which did not actually result in changes of the economic interrelations between businesses and the state. Funds, thresholds and the control of governmental offices were diminished. Product flows were continuously regulated by means of a state plan, and product prices remained fixed. The financial system was extraneous, businesses worked under conditions of soft budgetary re- strictions and centrally allotted credit resources, and the mechanism of budgetary financing was even more reinforced. Therefore the business profits could not be directed to investment objectives, severe limitations of salaries existed as well as foreign...

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