Bought and Sold: Living and Losing the Good Life in by Patrick Hyder Patterson

By Patrick Hyder Patterson

Yugoslavia used to be specific one of the communist international locations of the chilly warfare period in its openness to blending cultural components from either socialism and capitalism. not like their opposite numbers within the international locations of the Soviet Bloc, usual Yugoslavs loved entry to a variety of customer items and providers, from outfits and home equipment to go back and forth enterprises and discotheques. From the mid-1950s onward the political weather in Yugoslavia approved, and later from time to time inspired, a consumerist way of life of procuring, spending, buying, and having fun with that engaged the general public on a daily foundation via sleek advertisements and revenues strategies. In Bought and Sold, Patrick Hyder Patterson finds the level to which socialist Yugoslavia embraced a client tradition frequently linked to capitalism and explores the function of consumerism within the federation's cave in into civil struggle in 1991.

Based on impressive study and that includes awesome examples of Yugoslav print advertisements and mass tradition, this ebook reconstructs in usually dramatic element the increase of a tradition within which consumers' wishes trumped real human wishes. Yugoslavia, Patterson argues, grew to become a land the place the symbolic, cultural price of client items used to be a first-rate consider person and crew id. He exhibits how a brand new, competitive company institution promoted consumerist developments that normal electorate eagerly followed, whereas the Communist management alternately inspired and restricted the shopper orientation.

Abundance translated into civic contentment and appeared to end up that the regime may provide items and prone equivalent to these of the capitalist West, yet many Yugoslavs, either inside and out the circles of legitimate energy, frightened in regards to the contradiction among the population's include of intake and the dictates of Marxist ideology. the outcome used to be a heated public debate over creeping consumerist values, with the recent lifestyle discovering fierce critics and, unusually for a communist state, many passionate and vocal defenders. Patterson argues that consumerism was once one of many severe components that held the multiethnic society jointly throughout the years of the Yugoslav "Good existence" of the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies. With the industrial downturn of the Nineteen Eighties, notwithstanding, the reliance on increasing consumerism eventually ended in sour disillusionment, stripping the original Yugoslav version of its legitimacy and priming the population for mutual resentment, ethnic clash, and war.

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Additional info for Bought and Sold: Living and Losing the Good Life in Socialist Yugoslavia

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Indeed, until 1950 the policies pursued by Yugoslav com m unist leaders rem ained quite faithful to the m odels established by their erstw hile Soviet patrons. If a tight alliance w ith the Soviet bloc was quickly disappearing as an option for Yugoslav C om m unists in the w ake of the 1948 split, the country’s leaders a t first seemed reluctant to acknow ledge th at fact, and they w orked hard to reestablish their credentials and return to the fold. Both during th at cam paign and even later, once such efforts had proved futile, the party leaders grouped a rou n d T ito seemed determ ined to establish them ­ selves as u ltra-orthodox— thoroughly conform ist if n o t C om inform ist— and to hew as closely as possible to the already clearly dem arcated lines of M arxist-Leninist thought and practice so as to elim inate any doubts as to the ideological propriety of their positions.

This w as a period o f au th o rita ria n p o ­ litical control and centralized econom ic decision m aking. But beginning in 1950 the Yugoslav leadership set o u t on an exceptional new p ath . T he next fifteen years w ould see the establishm ent and e lab o ratio n o f an innovative new system of “ w orkers’ self-m anagem ent,” accom panied by decentraliza­ tion, liberalization, and the first tentative m oves to w ard the a d o p tio n of m arket m echanism s. These tendencies w ould be intensified du rin g a third phase th at began in 1965, w hen new legal reform s b ro u g h t a b o u t a m ore far-reaching engagem ent w ith the m arket.

Accordingly, even very early on, the legal fram ew ork o f self-m anagem ent ap p ears to have left enough practical leeway to directors and their staffs to encourage the developm ent L ivin g It I 25 of a pattern o f deference to m anagerial authority. 6 Even well into the 1970s Com m unists were com plaining th at the accum ulation of m anagerial power and prerogatives w as, in effect, subverting self-management. ” 7 Paradoxically, perhaps, the one pow er the w orkers’ councils did retain , and did use, w as the right to fire enterprise employees as unnecessary o r uneconom ic.

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