This work offers a detailed, critical account of the economic transformation of the Czech Republic since 1989. It follows the development and implementation of a reform strategy based on "shock" therapy and rapid privatisation, set against the background of turbulent political change and conflict. The aim of the government in the mid 1990s was the creation of a "Czech" capitalism, with Czech-owned business empires and banks. A detailed analysis of developments in banking and industrial enterprises shows how the chosen strategy led instead to continuing inefficiency, flawed management decisions and uncontrolled profiteering. These combined factors contributed to serious economic difficulties in the latter part of the decade, with success stories largely confined to foreign-owned firms. After 1998, a new government attempted to encourage economic revival based upon a fresh strategy which emphasised the sale of banks and industrial enterprises to foreign owners. Even with this new reform strategy, the author concludes that the results were, at best, mixed.
Throughout the analysis, the author provides in-depth commentary on a variety of topics including the sources of economic growth, the role of the central bank, developments in banking and industrial enterprises and the impact of inward direct investment.