Viability, Economic Transition and Reflection on Neoclassical Economics

26 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2005

See all articles by Justin Y. Lin

Justin Y. Lin

Peking University - China Center for Economic Research

Abstract

Many transition policies, based on the existing neoclassical economic theories, failed in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and China. This paper argues that the failure is due to the implicit viability assumption of neoclassical economics. The existing neoclassical economics implicitly assumes that a firm is expected to earn a socially acceptable profit in an open, competitive market as long as the firm has normal management. However, many firms in socialist as well as transitional economies are not viable, that is, they will not be able to earn a socially acceptable profit in an open, competitive market even if they are under normal management because they are in sectors that are inconsistent with their economies' comparative advantages. Under the viability assumption, neoclassical-based reform policies focus on issues related to property rights, corporate governance, government interventions and other issues that may obstruct a firm's normal management. However, many of these issues are in fact endogenous to the firms' viability problem. Therefore, without resolving the firms' viability problem, such reforms fail to achieve their intended goals. Not only in socialist and transition economies but also in many developing economies there exist many nonviable firms. This paper suggests that the viability assumption in neoclassical economics should be relaxed when analyzing socialist, transition and developing economies.

Suggested Citation

Lin, Justin Yifu, Viability, Economic Transition and Reflection on Neoclassical Economics. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=708682

Justin Yifu Lin (Contact Author)

Peking University - China Center for Economic Research ( email )

No. 38 Xueyuan Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

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