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Quasi-Proletarians and a Patriarchal Bureaucracy: Aspects of Yugoslavia's Re-Peripheralisation Author(s): Carl-Ulrik Schierup Source: Soviet Studies, Vol. 44, No. 1 (1992), pp. 79-99 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: . Accessed: 04/10/2011 23:31
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SOVIET STUDIES, Vol. 44, No. 1, 1992, 79-99

Quasi-proletarians and a Patriarchal Bureaucracy:Aspects of Yugoslavia's Re-peripheralisation

'real socialism' in Europe should be seen in the overall perspective of increasingly unequal conditions in confrontation with a global capitalist economy undergoing profound restructuring since the beginning of the 1970s. The social and economic systems of'real socialism' showed themselves incapable of commanding or developing forms of organisation consistent with the demands of the 'third industrial revolution' (the microelectronic) on increased 'just in time' flexibility, human creativity and decentralised institutional autonomy harnessed to intensified accumulation of capital in the postmodern era. This could be seen as one of the important factors undercutting their economies, leaving them hopelessly stagnating and outdated, and forcing them into rapidly increasing dependence on Western capital, knowhow and technology. This new dependence made them slide into the quagmire of the 1970s petrodollar foreign debt trap. At the same historical juncture, the vastly expanded integration of formerly 'Third World' regions into the economic orbit of transnational capital meant that the stagnating and increasingly world-market-dependent economies of 'real socialism' were rather abruptly exposed to ferocious competition from a mushrooming of new, vastly more modern plants within the classical base industries now resituated in low-wage, low-cost Asiatic and Latin American NICs (newly industrialising countries). Yugoslavia was the 'real-socialist' country in Europe longest and most intensively confronted with a number of dilemmas relating to socialist states' (re-)integration into a global capitalist economy. During the 1960s, according to a number of social and economic criteria, Yugoslavia could be described as a country aspiring to entry into the category of'core' industrial countries. There was the problem of rather extreme regional development imbalances. All parts of Yugoslavia, however, had experienced fast industrial development during the post-war period. Living standards had continuously improved, and the country had succeeded in controlling its de-agrarianisation process to a larger degree than most other NICs. A decentralising economy in combination with the social and economic incentives represented by incipient forms of industrial and local-level democracy, as embodied in 'self-management', appeared promising as a determined attempt to transform the structure of the national accumulation scheme, and to build up a strong and internationally competitive export sector. Growing



domestic research and development capacity, combined with increased international cooperation and openness to technological and organisational change, also seemed to support this promise. If we, in line with Cohen (1987, 220ff.), consider the quality, composition and reproduction patterns of the labour force at least as important as conditions for the structuringof the international division of labour as is the geographical location of the accumulation of capital, Yugoslavia would have good prospects for achieving an advanced position in the world economy, based on accumulating resources of highly skilled and qualified labour which, in contrast to other countries of'real socialism', were exposed to continuous and less restrained communication with advanced Western centres of knowledge and learning. Yet today we find Yugoslavia in a position on the edge of the modern world system, apparently not less peripheral than its position as a poverty stricken neocolonial appendix to the European core economies before World War II (cf. Schierup, 1990). A director of a large Yugoslav textile plant recently summarised the effects of this dire 're-peripheralisation' of Yugoslavia within a changing international division of labour in almost aphoristic terms: Yugoslavia... is moving into a phase which... will in a few years imply a situation of wherewe become sub-contractors the producers the Far East.And this means,in to insteadof theirs,will then cometo workfor a handfulof rice. essence,that ourworkers, In the following we take as our point of departure one of the most conspicuous aspects of this re-peripheralisation, the reproduction and simultaneous transformation of the pattern of labour utilisation which has become known in Yugoslavia under the notion of the 'peasant-worker' strategy (see further, Puljiz, 1977; Schierup, 1990). From being once an essential element of socialist economic reconstruction and an expansive process of 'self-centred' industrialisation, peasant-workers and an extended 'rural-urban symbiosis' are now situated in the context of pervasive processes of re-peripheralisation. We contest what we regard as one-sided explanations of this condition in terms of theories of world market dependence. We argue for investigation of the concrete historical conditions circumscribing the development of unique forms of class and labour relationships associated with Yugoslav 'real self-management' and their specific forms of articulation in the context of a changing international division of labour. Alongside a reaffirmation of the proto-peasant manual working class we find here a fermenting hidden economy connected with the dominance of informal relationships, a dramatic marginalisation of the technical intelligentsia and systematic attempts at 'levelling' the expectations of young people, in ways corresponding with the peripheral position of Yugoslavia in the modern world system. These are essential social conditions which have been inherited by and could be expected to be reproduced by today's motley assembly of 'post-communist' ruling coalitions. Planning strategies and the new working class Like the USSR after the October Revolution, in 1945 Yugoslavia was in a situation in which so-called 'primitive accumulation' on the basis of peasant

QUASI-PROLETARIANS AND BUREAUCRACY IN YUGOSLAVIA 81 agriculturewas regarded as an unquestionable necessity by the political leadership (Hamilton, 1968), and was to become the single most important source of socalled 'external accumulation' for industry during the first two post-war decades (Korosic, 1988).2 After the national liberation war it was the ambition of the political leadership to liberate the country from its pre-war dependence and underdevelopment through a rapid process of autonomous industrial development. The peasantry, as the all-dominant population group in by far the most important economic sector, was to have a key role in economic reconstruction and development. Agriculture would provide the new labour for industrial development and food for the growing urban population, supply raw materials for domestic industry, and export crops to pay for the import of industrial technology from abroad. In the period immediately after 1945 a number of non-economic legal and political measures were used to increase surplus production in agriculture (see Puljiz, 1977). A scheme of administratively imposed obligatory deliveries of agricultural products created considerable hostility among a peasantry that had formed the backbone of the national liberation struggle. This hostility culminated in spontaneous obstruction and protest following a Stalinist-style attempt at forced collectivisation from 1947. In the beginning, the mobilisation of industrial labour from agriculture was largely done by non-economic means, whether by administrative conscription, channelling spontaneous popular enthusiasm and a national spirit of self-sacrifice into large works of reconstruction, or a combination of both. Economic incentives for wage labour were small. The peasantry had almost completely retreated into subsistence production during the interwar economic crisis and had thus minimised their immediate needs for cash income. At the same time there was not much to offer in the form of remuneration for work, and not much to buy that the peasants themselves did not produce. From the beginning of the 1950s, however, a totally new situation was established. Administrative deliveries and forced collectivisation were abandoned and most peasant production cooperatives dissolved. From that time the peasantworker strategy became the dominant form of primitive accumulation and was to remain so until the mid-1960s (see further, Schierup, 1990). Extensive land reforms had cut down the most market-oriented top layer of the old peasantry, curtailed the forces of proletarianisation operating in pre-war Yugoslav villages, and created a numerous stratum of highly homogeneous peasant households predominantly oriented towards subsistence agriculture. A decentralised strategy of labour-intensive industrialisation brought the factories close to the villages and peasants, while cooperation between individual peasant households and the socialised sector of agriculture became the basis for a modernisation which generated a growing surplus of labour in peasant agriculture and a demand for new forms of employment. A reorientation from an initial 'Stalinist' insistence on heavy industry towards a more balanced pattern of industrial development (see Hamilton, 1968) gave more room for the production of a variety of consumption goods that a peasant-worker would be motivated to buy. Wages were high enough to attract the growing rural surplus population, but



low enough to force the worker to keep a foothold in the village and on the land. This became the basis for a continuous process of primitive accumulation and 'cyclical migration' (cf. Meillassoux, 1981), and for the peasant-workers' emergence as a major stratum of the new industrial working class (Kostic 1955; Markovic, 1974; Cvjeticanin et al., 1980; Puljiz, 1977). Owing to the partial reproduction of this large labour force within the framework of a rural subsistence-oriented economy, wages in the socialised sector of the economy could be kept low, and a 'free rent' from peasant agriculture continuously harnessed as a source of external accumulation (Korosic, 1988) for the purpose of 'socialist reconstruction and development'.3 Situational peasants and quasi-proletarians Peasant-workers officially made up close to half of the total employed Yugoslav labour force in all occupations and a dominant section of the industrial labour force in 1960. The number of industrial workers who directly or indirectly earned some of their means of subsistence from private agriculture was, however, much higher than that (Puljiz, 1977; Cvjeticanin, 1980). In reality, the majority of the population were living in a complex 'rural-urban symbiosis', as expressed by Vlado Puljiz (1987). Also, most 'non-agricultural' workers' households were more or less dependent on the village and agriculture. Hence, small-scale subsistence production provided an essential contribution to the living standards of many workers' households in the villages or on the outskirts of the towns, although these were statistically registered as 'non-agricultural'. Other non-agricultural workers' households would barter labour and other services with agriculturalhouseholds for food. Even most workers who had migrated permanently to large urban centres remained tied to their rural communities of origin by innumerable primordial bonds, and became involved in longstanding, informal rural-urban exchange patterns which were important for their subsistence. All this contributed to these people's 'domestic' sources of accumulation in Yugoslavia's post-war economic development, which was what earned them the name of 'peasant-urbanites' (see Simic, 1973). Finally, to complete the picture, many of the households statistically designated 'rural' were in fact 'mixed' peasant-worker households, for they provided a seasonal or irregularlabour force for construction projects and industries not registered in the employment statistics. Rural-urban symbiosis as a condition of re-peripheralisation It has been argued that the Yugoslav working class has conserved, or lately even reinforced, its markedly semi- or proto-rural character (Korosic, 1988, 88ff.; Cvjeticanin, 1988; Puljiz, 1987, 1988). Purely statistically, the importance of the rural population has decreased quite dramatically since the war (Puljiz, 1977; Livada, 1988). Officially also, the proportion of'peasant-workers' in the Yugoslav working class has decreased considerably since the early 1960s (Cvjeticanin et al., 1980: 22ff.). Nevertheless, most of the population still live in villages or minor

QUASI-PROLETARIANS AND BUREAUCRACY IN YUGOSLAVIA 83 urban centres. Even though they are employed outside the farm, and are officially registered as 'workers', they continue to live at the homestead, which remains an essential part of the family economy. They are the numerous village-based commuters (see Oliveira-Roca, 1984, 1988). The other characteristic fact is that the urban population still does not sell its agriculturalland,but keeps it (partly or completely), mainly to supplement an insufficient income (see Cvjeticanin, 1988) or to conserve a defensive platform of retreat in the event of misfortune or crisis (Cvjeticanin, 1980, 172ff.; CvjetiEanin, 1988). This (Korosic, (1988: 91) means that both in the village and in the town we find a population which we could call 'ad hoc' or 'situational' peasants. In the village we do not find genuine peasants, but rather surviving relics of the peasantry who more or less support themselves on the basis of the land, and in the urban-industrial areas we find elements of a peasant economy. With the intensification of Yugoslavia's economic crisis during the 1980s the relationship between the inflow of foreign loans and the drain on the economy represented by repayments and interest was to become negative. Since 1982 Yugoslavia became an exporter of capital to the old industrialised countries (OICs). Migrant remittances also decreased from the mid-1980s, both in relative and absolute terms. This renewed the importance of private agriculture, which was to become the most important 'shock-absorber'for the crisis when the urban-industrial segment of the economy was being forced to wake up after having been 'doped' by 'external accumulation' (i.e. foreign loans and migrant remittances) during the 1970s (Puljiz, 1987, p. 15). The great economic reforms and incipient prosperity of the 1960s and a conspicuous petro-dollar boom during the 1970s seemed to fade out of sight as historical intermezzos as a latent economic crisis came out into the open by 1980. At this juncture a still fairly traditionalist peasant agriculture should once again, as during the great depression of the 1930s (see Schierup, 1990), become the main bastion of retreat. Thus, as Puljiz argues, withhistoricalirony... the individualpeasantholdingwhichthe agrarian policy,during to the whole post-war period,has endeavoured beat downas a survivalfrompasttimes, has today become the main cushion for the crisis, wardingoff social misery of huge dimensions.(Puljiz, 1988, 20; see also Mitrany,1951;Schierup,1990a.) A cultural backlash and 're-traditionalisation' of all social relationships go hand in hand with the reaffirmation of a 'rural-urban symbiosis' embracing the major part of the population. Those who are the most exposed to dramatically decreasing living standards today are members of the urban population living exclusively on their wages or pensions. As the crisis makes the population rely more heavily on private land and other supplementary sources of income, the 'mixed' agricultural household and 'peasant-worker' stratum in the villages have become reaffirmed (see Cvjeticanin, 1988). Also, a large part of the urban population, symbolically and economically reinforcing their social relationships with the village population, revive their interest in inherited agricultural plots (like, for example, industrial and office workers from Zagreb, Belgrade and other large cities who go back to the villages to cultivate their inherited plots during weekends). Hence 'a



massive trend started moving in the opposite direction' of the pervasive post-war processes of industrialisation and urbanisation: 'i.e. from the non-agricultural to the agricultural sector', as Cvjeticanin (1988, pp. 128-29) tells us. From this perspective it could appear as if the wheel of history has turned full circle and is returning the Yugoslav economy to its initial post-war position with its reliance on the peasant economy as a source of 'extra accumulation'. The question now, however, is not so much about a 'primitive accumulation' directed towards a dynamic process of domestic industrialisation. Rather, a major part of the free rent reaped from a subsistence-oriented agriculture (see notes 2 and 3) is transferred directly abroad in the context of a growing transnational domination of the whole economic process. Hence, the structural context of peasant-worker strategies has been fundamentally altered. Today's increasingly widespread 'rural -urban symbiosis' is intrinsically connected with a trend of re-peripheralisation during the 1970s and 1980s. The most important mechanism for the transfer of surplus value abroad has become subcontracting, where foreign companies make arrangementswith Yugoslav firms for utilising existing production facilities, exploiting village-based labour in return for subminimal wages. Perhaps the most conspicuous example of this is the development of the textile and clothing industry (Chepulis, 1984a), which in effect means the continuation of a tradition of foreign dominance established in the inter-war period (as described by Chepulis, 1984b; see also, Schierup, 1990, pp. 39-40, 46ff.). Because of the low productivity of labour and unfavourable conditions on the world market during the 1980s, textiles have generally been exported at prices way below the cost of production, and export itself has become 'an economic sacrifice and necessity for maintaining production' (Chepulis, 1984a, p. 12). This is a direct effect of the prevailing economic policies during the 1980s which, through a number of measures, have enforced a reorientation towards 'export at any price' (Ibid.). Given these export conditions, subcontracting has become a much sought after alternative. Firms that used to market their products independently now subcontract with foreign firms which place their products on the world market. The price for this is high. dictates more than it offers. The foreign supplierdictates the whole Subcontracting However,the domesticcompany processand even physically supervises. manufacturing for must pay reimbursement any wastageor errorsthat may occur duringproduction. does since agreements madeon the already are Subcontracting not increaseemployment, this capacitieswithin the factory.More importantly, type of work is not even existing the continuousthroughout year. It is seasonallybased work,especiallyin the clothing industry,which has a maximumtime limit of six months... The momentthereis less demand for the productson the world market,factoriesengagedin subcontracting remains orders. the receivefewer,if any, subcontracting Meanwhile, production capacity it for the same-basically idle. Furthermore, is difficult a clothingfactoryto beginto look or a for new markets widenthe presentone, if it is not producing finishedproduct (Ibid., p. 13). A comparative advantage of the Yugoslav textile industry is its proximity to European markets. Nevertheless, the crisis has driven wages down to far below the

QUASI-PROLETARIANS AND BUREAUCRACY IN YUGOSLAVIA 85 minimum level of subsistence. The textile industry pays lower wages than any other industry and is said to have the 'highest level of exploitation in the world' (Ekonomska Politika, 1989, 15ff.). Thus, with an average of less than 3 dollars a day, Yugoslav textile workers' wages fell below those of countries like Indonesia, Taiwan and South Korea, which are some of Yugoslavia's main competitors on the world market (Ibid.). As in other NICs, unskilled female workers with close ties to the village and agriculture form the bulk of the labour force in the textile industry (cf. G6mez & Reddock, 1987). Most come from 'mixed' agricultural (peasant-worker) households and their wages are only a small supplement to the total family income. A question of 'world market dependence'? We regard the reaffirmation of the peasant-worker category and the spread of a 'rural-urban' symbiosis' in the 1980s, possibly more extended than ever before in the post-war period, as one of the most conspicuous phenomena of a profound reperipheralisation process under the specific economic and social class conditions prevailing in Yugoslavia-that is, in a country where large-scale socialist agriculture made only comparatively modest inroads on private peasant land ownership and where, owing to the protective measures of the state, 'classical' forms of proletarianisation of the peasantry have had only limited impact. Against this background it is important to analyse the transformation and reproduction of labour relations in Yugoslavia in a global perspective, emphasising the structural effects of a changing international division of labour and the ways in which unequal terms of trade are influencing economic and social conditions. However, this in no way implies that increased world market dependence should also be the sole or even primary explanation for the emergence of processes of re-peripheralisation and the degradation of work within particular social foundations. This would be to succumb to the kind of 'dependence theory' represented in, for example, the writings of Andre Gunder Frank (for example, 1980, 1981, 1982), explaining the crises in Third World and NIC countries onesidely in terms of dependence, based upon flows of foreign aid, foreign investment and reliance upon an unstable export-based industry subject to the domination of transnational capital. Affiliating herself to this tradition in Marxist thought, Rita Chepulis (1984b) has attempted to explain the 1980s Yugoslav crisis as a result of tightening credit markets, deteriorating terms of trade and discriminating austerity measures imposed by international financial organisations, notably continuous pressure from the IMF and World Bank on the Mediterranean countries to rely one sidedly on export-led development. This international pressure has been creating an ever growing dependence on the world market in these countries since the 1950s, resulting in economic instability and exorbitant foreign debts. In Yugoslavia, Chepulis concludes, the development of world market dependence culminated in the international monetary organisations' imposing of crushing 'super-austerity' measures during the 1980s, as well as their infiltration into and manipulation of the country's internal political development.



Chepulis also argues that this imposed export-led development has become a 'limiting factor' for future development. World market dependence has undermined the accumulative capacity of the entire economy. The increasing prices of imported raw materials since 1978 severely cut the competitiveness of the country's exports, but even more important was the steep rise in the prices of imported spare parts and components, which are of strategic importance to light industry, the backbone of the export-led development strategy. If the producers are to compensate for this by increasing their exports they are often forced to raise their competitiveness by selling on the world market below the cost of production. Export prices range from 15% to 68% below the world market prices paid for imported goods from countries like Austria, the FRG and France (Chepulis, 1984, p. 7, citing Ekonomska Politika, 1984, pp. 32-33. The response to the crisis in the export sector has thus become 'increased exports at any cost', despite the economy's falling productivity (Ibid.). In a situation where most of industry's foreign currency inflow was set aside for various taxes, including the repayment of foreign debts, its basic investment needs could be satisfied. The possibilities of substituting domestic products for imported ones, expanding production capacity and satisfying local consumer needs were severely curtailed. Falling revenues have forced an increasing number of enterprises into subcontracting with foreign transnational companies in order to secure a regular income for their employees (Chepulis, 1984). 'Exporting at any cost' was promoted at the expense of workers' incomes and through raising the prices of consumer goods on the domestic market. In 1988 a dramatic rise in inflation had brought down the average standard of living to the 1960 level. In 1983, after four years of acute crisis, many workers in the socialised sector of the Yugoslav economy were already living 'on the borderline of actual poverty'. The end result 'is none other than furnishing cheap labour to the export sector', Chepulis (Ibid., p. 8) concludes. There is no doubt that world-market dependence is a central component and major cause of the present Yugoslav crisis, as it is of the severe crises occurring in many NICs in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The weakness of the explanation, however, is its monocausality. The analysis focuses one-sidedly on the impact of global capitalist exchange structures. The result is 'a sweeping denunciation of world capitalism in terms charged with emotion' (Portes & Walton, 1981, p. 10). The dependent countries' production relationships and internal economic dynamics tend to remain a black box, the contents of which fall outside the scope of the analysis. The critical potency of the theory is greatly limited by its failure to look at the 'operation of specific historical, cultural and political forces within countries' (Dicken, 1986, p. 412). The approach is conceptually close to world-systems theory and what has been called the theory of the 'New International Division of Labour' ('NIDL', see Frobel et al., 1980). All three-dependence theory, worldsystems theory and NIDL theory-'exhibit the weaknesses of excessive "economism"... with the social and political relations that surround the production process being almost wholly neglected in favour of discussion of aggregate trade and investment transactions, which reflect the power of capital' (Cohen, 1987,

QUASI-PROLETARIANS AND BUREAUCRACY IN YUGOSLAVIA 87 p. 232). Hence, policies 'to promote exports or attract foreign capital, for instance, are seen as a result of the "needs" of capital at the centre, rather than as the outcome of local class struggle' (Jenkins, cited by Cohen, 1987, p. 232; see also Portes & Walton, 1981, p. 10). Global patterns of trade, financial aid and technological transfer do not in themselves explain the development in particular countries. It is the ways in which these various forces coincide with endogenous social forces which explain why general forms of crisis manifest themselves differently from country to country or become more destructive in one country than in another. A contradictory alliance and its inherent dilemmas In a variety of contemporary discourses on the bureaucracies of 'real socialism' we can find interesting theoretical insights into an understanding of the role of endogenous forces in shaping the retrograde types of labour reproduction so characteristic for today's Yugoslavia. One important contribution to the debate is the late Zagreb economist Marijan Korosic's 1988 book on the Yugoslav crisis. He argues that the economic horizons and organisational setup of these bureaucracies go no further than a crude primitive accumulation based on the mechanical pooling of pre-capitalist resources, and an initial widespread industrialisation based on administrative labour mobilisation in economically underdeveloped social formations. Korosic describes the historical project of actually existing socialism as a pervasive industrialisation in economically backward countries. Because of the crudeness of state bureaucratic mechanisms of economic management, however, this industrialisation can never be taken beyond the stage at which it can readily be controlled with a predominantly administrative mobilisation of resources. The concentration of the means of production takes on a definite mechanical character rather than that of differentiation and functional integration. Yugoslav socialism's chronic inability to develop functionally integrated economies of scale can therefore be explained by a continuity of bureaucratic dominance over the economy, Korosic argues. The lack of economic criteria favours a process of concentration of resource which is mainly of a mechanical nature. Hence, even though industrialist megalomania is one of the essential properties of the state bureaucracies of actually existing socialism (Korosic 1988), these societies are inherently impotent when it comes to creating functioning economies of scale. In spite of the management's overt bureaucratic centralisation, the economy becomes characterised by many parallel non-specialised units without any functional links between them. Under historical circumstances such as prevailed in Yugoslavia the ideal type of labour force for this type of economy is a numerous, low-skilled, proto-peasant working class. The step towards functionally differentiated modern economies and the economic utilisation of creative and intellectual human labour needs, in the long run, a sophisticated market economy. To be socialist this must be a selfmanaged market economy, Korosic argues, founded on social ownership and with a planning system that is not based on pedantic and autocratic administrative



voluntarism, but on minimally necessary fiscal policies in order to enforce broad democratically agreed general priorities. However, in spite of serious efforts at reform during the 1960s, this decisive change towards a self-managed market economy was never allowed to take place, Korosic laments. Instead, the general situation during the whole post-war period has been one where the market has been almost completely eliminated and replaced by a bureaucratic 'dictatorship over needs', corresponding to the general character of the economies of East European 'real socialism', as described by Feher et al. (1983). The extensive work of the sociologist Josip Zupanov discussing the formation and social character of the Yugoslav working class demonstrates, however, that these limitations of bureaucratic leadership cannot simply and solely be deduced from the social character or the ideological horizon of the bureaucracy itself or from the nature of an inflexible state administrative planning process as such. The incapacity of the post-revolutionary state bureaucracy to lead the nation beyond a certain limit of modernity is politically 'overdetermined', so to speak, owing to the type of class alliance that lies at the root of the bureaucracy's leading role in society. Bureaucracy and labour in 'real self-management' The way in which the new post-war Yugoslav working class was formed had important political consequences. Much of the old politically radical working class perished during World War II or left the ranks of the workers after the war to pass into the political and administrative structures of the new socialist state apparatus. With the massive inflow of peasants into industrial work, the working class took on a number of new features reminiscent of the southern Slav tradition of closed, corporate, egalitarian village communities; it was submissive and humble towards state power, to which it had always been tied as taxpayers and soldiers, but sufficiently far from the state to conserve a measure of internal autonomy (Korosic, 1988, p. 97; cf. Mouzelis, 1978). Zupanov (1977) locates the central dilemma for Yugoslav socialist development in the contradictory relationship between a traditionalist society in the world's economic periphery and a conception of socialism that originated from the Western labour movement (see also Katunaric, 1988, p. 153). Industrialism makes possible, at least for some time, a compromise between the two. The mediating value is an 'egalitarianism' of a traditionalist type, which starts from the perspective of equal redistribution and an image of the limited good pertaining to the local corporate community. Extensive initial economic development, especially a forced process of industrialisation, made the seeming equalisation of the different parts of the country possible over a shorter time perspective. At the same time it formed the basis of extensive employment growth, which likewise appeared to promote equal opportunities. This model of society as a whole was put into practice at the micro level in the structural unit of the working organisation. The economy was fragmented along irrational lines (of administrative and political control) into functionally disconnected and isolated 'segmentary associations' characterised by a dual power

QUASI-PROLETARIANS AND BUREAUCRACY IN YUGOSLAVIA 89 structure (Zupanov, 1969), i.e. one that is derived from the techno-structure and from self-management principles, and one that is derived from the power of informal groups. It is the latter which eventually comes to predominate in the shape of an informal corporatist coalition between localised bureaucracies and the quasi-proletarians of a fragmented and traditionalist working class, crystallising around the central values of redistribution and egalitarianism (see further, Schierup, 1990). The result is a levelling of income differences within organisations and local communities which is, however, matched by a steadily growing inequality among organisations, local communities and regions, based on the administrative favouritism of a sectional political system. This fragmenting type of social and economic development is furthered by the dominant localist conception of 'self-management' and the central political leadership's continuous obstruction of tendencies to form a trade unionism integrating the working class in a horizontal sense (Katunaric, 1988). The ideological world view of the central post-revolutionary political leadership, however, was fundamentally one of modernisation. Its dominant long-term development conception was the construction of a technically advanced society. The realisation of these visions could not forever lean towards the egalitarianist matrix of a proto-peasant manual working class, even if this was the main political basis legitimating the bureaucracy's dominant position in society in the role of redistributing the limited good. At a certain stage the elite was forced to lean more heavily towards methods of economic management based on the allocative functions of the market, income differentiation, and the selective acceptance of experts' recommendations and stimulation of creative activity. Radical market-oriented reforms in the 1960s can be seen as an attempt to exploit the preconditions for more intensive economic development which had been built up during two preceding decades through the systematic and massive education of new skilled and highly educated labour (Schierup, 1990). As such, the reforms represented even an attempt to integrate the economy into the international division of labour on more equal terms. In that sense it was a rupture with the earlier dominant trends of extensive industrial development, prevalent egalitarian social values in society and the peasant-workers strategy, as well as a rupture with state bureaucratic dominance. The effects of the reforms led to a rapid marginalisation of large sections of the manual labour force. The peasantworkers were hit from two sides in that the structural changes in industry happened simultaneously with the launching of a selective 'green revolution' in agriculture (see further, Ibid., 82ff. and 158ff.). Re-bureaucratisation and new/old coalitions The extensive economic and political reforms of the 1960s-often prematurely designated by radical Marxist writers 'the restoration of capitalism' (see for example, Carlo, 1972)-were however to be no more than an interval before a return to state bureaucratic rule. Adverse social consequences of the reform policy were to undercut traditional sources of the reforming bureaucratic elite's legitimacy among the manual working class, while simultaneously the elite found it



increasingly difficult to control new social and cultural forces unleashed by the reforms: student revolts, numerous strikes by skilled workers, increasingly centrifugal forces connected with resurrected ethnic claims. The federal elite's response became a complex combination of authoritarian repression, co-opting permissiveness and new pervasive reforms of the social, political and economic system of control from above during the early and mid-1970s. The proclamation and institutionalisation of a new phase in the development of 'self-management' was intended on the one hand to act to harness popular protest and claims for social change to a common socialist cause under the guidance of the established elite and, on the other, to curtail unwanted tendencies towards economic anarchy and 'technocratic' dominance which had resulted from the haphazard manner in which the economic reforms of the 1960s had largely been conducted (see further, Schierup, 1990). Rather than meaning a new progressive era of popular democracy and efficient economic development as claimed, however, the reforms of the 1970s very quickly came to represent a pervasive re-bureaucratisation. 'Real self-management' came to equal a flood of bureaucracy, not only in executive state institutions, but also in coordinating regional and local bodies for self-managers in Yugoslav firms (Ibid., 226ff.). This was made possible by the fragmentation of the technostructure in enterprises in the early 1970s based on the unsuccessful launch of an ambitiously conceived so-called 'self-management system of planning'. Writing in the 1980s-in the midst of social and economic crisis-Zupanov (1983b, 1985) speaks of a realignment of the old coalition between the manual working class and the political bureaucracy. Yet it is important to emphasise that this reaction was to cast Yugoslav society in a mould qualitatively different from that of the 1950s and 1960s, meaning a profound re-traditionalisation of society. Bureaucratisation during the 1970s took place mainly at the level of the republic, and became dominated by local bureaucracies without grandiose visions of internationalism, popular democracy or economic and technological self-reliance. It exploited the opportunities a transformed 'self-management system' offered for a pervasive bureaucratisation of all social relationships and could take on a profoundly localised form against the background of constitutional amendments that granted individual republics a large measure of political and economic autonomy. Paraphrasing what Tomasevich (1955, p. 47) considers characteristic of the relationship between the Serbian peasantry and a nascent Serbian bourgeoisie in the 19th century, one might say that the nascent local Yugoslav state elites of the 1970s and 1980s have ruled their incipient 'nation states' according to the motto that: 'It is possible to rule without, but not against, the working class!'. It is a coalition of unequal partners, in which the patron (the elite) 'protects' the working class by guaranteeing existing jobs, a minimal income and extensive social privileges, while the 'protected' (the workers)-the much-hailed historical 'working class' of actually existing socialism-guarantee the elite its social legitimacy (Zupanov, 1983b). Such a coalition presupposes mutual communication: labour accepts the official ideology, while the elite accepts the values of radical egalitarianism. The elite hardly accepts egalitarianism through genuine belief, but rather

QUASI-PROLETARIANS AND BUREAUCRACY IN YUGOSLAVIA 91 because a curtailment of differentiation simplifies the social system and makes it easier to administer. This communication between the political elite and labour provides a solid basis for social stability in the face of the deepening economic crisis (Zupanov, 1985). It is profoundly authoritarian in character. All that ever existed in the way of genuine workers' self-management at the enterprise level largely died out in favour of the voluntaristic regulation of a burgeoning bureaucratic apparatus. However, the republics' new bureaucratic elites, entrenched within what were increasingly looking like new local 'national states', were led by predominantly particularist motives, without long-term conceptions of development, and marked by a narrowing space for manoeuvre in relation to transnational capital. The new regimes had fundamental structuralfeatures in common with the political elites of pre-war Yugoslavia. Under the deepening shadow of economic subordination essential features of a pre-war neo-colonial ancien regime-the reproduction of state power through a network of primordial loyalties (see Tomasevich, 1955)-were from the early 1970s to blend organically with the most authoritarian features of the social and political relations of real socialism. Ironically, history had finally succeeded in giving birth to a 'ruling combination of neo-stalinist voluntarism and patriarchally territorialised corporatism leading the federation into its present condition of fragmentation and "re-peripheralisation" and causing a "degenerative" development of labour relations' (Strpic, 1988, p. 32). New 'nation states' on the margins of the world system Referring to the Yugoslav politician and economist Boris Kidric's theory of state capitalism from the early 1950s, Caslav Ocic (1983) suggests that the problem of bureaucratic particularism was a latent feature of Yugoslavia's entire post-war development-indeed one of the most fundamental structural problems of 'real socialism' (see Schierup, 1990). Kidric explains a 'localism' and economic particularism already manifest immediately after World War II as the expression of barter for the division of surplus value between different sections and levels of the state bureaucratic apparatus (see Kidric, 1952, 1969). These strive to establish and perpetuate administrative monopolies over smaller or larger sections of social property, even when this leads to economic stagnation and a waste of public resources.4 In the multiethnic community of Yugoslavia manifestations of bureaucratic particularism have been most dangerous for the socio-economic system at the level of the republic. Here lie the best opportunities to centralise social power at a sub-federal level and to give divisive power-monopolies public legitimation. Ocic (1983) sees a continuity between the manifestations of local particularism in Kidric's time and developing nationalist ideologies legitimating the separatist ambitions of the bureaucracies of single republics and autonomous provinces during the 1980s. Since the beginning of the 1970s, Ocic asserts, political bureaucracies at the republican level have succeeded in centralising power within republic borders to such an extent that the existence of a common Yugoslav economy and the very future of the federation were brought into question. As the



interests of the political bureaucracy could not effectively and legitimately be expressed through the political system of self-management, they have been forced to 'veil themselves in the disguise of different populist, "nationalist" and similar ideologies often presenting themselves as the expression of some scientific theory' (Ibid., pp. 137-138). Ocic uses his conception of bureaucratic particularism to explain the specific terms on which Yugoslavia has become an adjunct to the world economy since the early 1970s. The nature and causes of a protracted economic crisis cannot be reduced to increased balance of payments problems and foreign dependency. They are connected with the fundamentally centrifugal dynamics of a type of state bureaucratic power relationships leading to a growing disintegration of the economic system (see also Mihajlovic, 1981; Bilandzic, 1981; Horvat, 1985). Despite the Yugoslav constitution's emphasis on a unitary Yugoslav market, closed, separate, 'national' sub-economies (corresponding to territories of single republics and autonomous provinces) developed 'slowly but surely' (Ocic, 1983). This territorialisation of single autarchic economies within the federation was defended with a number of 'visible and invisible' means by competitive or complementary 'national' economic interests located in the individual republics and autonomous provinces. They produced their own legitimation through the fabrication and management of still more openly populist-nationalist and regionally particular political ideologies, Ocic argues (see also Bilandzic, 1981; Katunaric, 1988). The fragmentation and segmentation of the market for commodities and services, of which Ocic speaks, and also other factors of production like capital and labour, became more and more evident during the 1970s and 1980s, culminating in the rivalry of today's allegedly 'post-communist' republic elites. At the same time the organisational, technological, infrastructural and every other factor of economic integration and cohesion within each separate republic and province have been enfeebled. The various republics and provinces developed separate power structures, which favoured the economic autarchy of single administrative units, and, through a number of informal mechanisms, enabled them to protect themselves from competition from commodities produced in other republics. They would obstruct attempts by enterprises based in other republics to establish plants on their territory. Capital investment has increasingly taken place only within single republics, while interrepublic transfers of capital have continuously dwindled. Because of exclusiveness and an overwhelming fragmentation the Yugoslav economy lost the effects of increasing economies of scale, and of the development of functional specialisation through republic and regional comparative advantages in resources, technology, labour and skills. As each republic has endeavoured to develop its own separate 'national' economy, the Yugoslav economy as a whole has taken on the appearance of many undercapitalised, badly integrated, parallel, non-cooperating production units, which, through informal political power structures, have fiercely guarded their own republic and local markets 'at home' while they have fought and undercut one another trying to sell similar products on the world market (Ocic, 1983; Korosic, 1988). Patterns of trade have either been

QUASI-PROLETARIANS AND BUREAUCRACY IN YUGOSLAVIA 93 locked inside the borders of each single republic or have flowed from each republic in the direction of the world market (Ocic, 1983). The fragmentation and inner disintegration of the Yugoslav economy found its corollary in a growing subordination to foreign capital, of which the most important and fatal aspect became the conditions for transfer of technology.5 The corollary of the autarchy of republics and autonomous provinces, and even smaller administrative divisions within Yugoslavia, became that of single units forging individual bonds with Western partners. Production equipment, industrial licences and spare parts have been bought from foreign partners in a completely uncoordinated and haphazard manner (Mihajlovic, 1981; Oci, 1983, 110ff.). The existence of a multitude of different technical conceptions and systems, licenses and standards has acted to impede cooperation among Yugoslav partners and made Yugoslav plants increasingly dependent on foreign partners; with the collapse of any coherent development conception and policy any determined effort at technical research and development was also precluded (Durek, 1981). Thus, instead of promoting integration, 'technological progress' has been a powerful factor of disintegration for Yugoslav economy and society (Ocic, 1983, p. 110; Durek, 1981). Forming a peripheral labourforce Marginalisation of the intelligentsia Indeed, as expressed by Korosic (1988, p. 147), the specific forms of articulation between the centrifugal and particularist forces of bureaucratic management and the forces of an unequal international division of labour gave the Yugoslav crisis of the 1980s the character of a 'crisis of innovation'. In political terms this development is connected with the reaffirmation of a predominantly unskilled proto-peasant working class as the main ally and supporter of bureaucratic rule. In terms of labour relationships it came to mean the continued predominance of unskilled or semi-skilled manual labour in 'peripheral' labour processes stuctured in a growing dependence on transnational capital. At the same time, however, the development during the 1970s and 1980s represented a crisis and a marginalisation of the technical intelligentsia: a paradoxical situation where, as observed by Korosic, a huge but eventually for the most part structurally superfluous technical intelligentsia is matched by an ever decreasing number of international patents.6 At the micro-level this can be seen as a consequence of the ways in which individual 'self-managed' enterprises operated. Following Zupanov's (1983a, b) model of a coalition between the bureaucracy and the working class, Yugoslav enterprises could be described as closed protectionist enclaves employing defensive egalitarianist strategies to guard the privileges of those already employed, coupled with a reluctance to employ new skilled and technically advanced labour. Innovations and new technology have not been properly implemented and innovators easily come into conflict with their working organisations (Korosic, 1988, p. 147; see also Schierup, 1990, 141ff). Willingness to take risks has been fundamentally lacking.



Prevailing patterns of state bureaucratic intervention in the economy reinforced the closed character of individual enterprises (Korosic, 1988). Under this system firms running at a deficit could sometimes pay their workers even higher wages than firms working successfully according to economic criteria (Zupanov, 1981, p. 270). As the success of a firm came to depend more and more on administrative intervention and informal relationships with local bureaucratic power structures, so economic and functional criteria for employing new labour tended to be eliminated. Instead, 'mechanical solidarity', centred around the primordial loyalties of family, friendship, locality and ethnic group, became the most important criterion for accepting new members, while relations of 'organic solidarity' increasingly dissolved (Zupanov, 1981, p. 1952; Schierup, 1990, 141ff.). From a macro-perspective, the growing marginalisation of the intelligentsia from production had dire consequences for economic development. While earlier impressive efforts to promote large-scale research and development totally floundered and collapsed (see Durek, 1981; Horvat, 1985), no new long-term conception of an integrated education of technological personnel was conceived. New functionally integrated networks of smaller-scale, high-tech and research and development enterprises and institutions (which are now so evident in the core industrial countries) have not even been thought of, let alone begun, and apparently have not been within the horizons of the dominant bureaucratic conception of development (Korosic, 1988, p. 145). The existing technical intelligentsia have either been 'exported' to the OICs (Joksimovic, 1988), put away and pacified in some inferior administrative department (Korosic, 1988, p. 146), 'disciplined' according to the static criteria of a conservative management, or remained unemployed. The comprehensive restructuringof the Yugoslav secondary school system from the late 1970s could be seen both to reflect and systematically to reproduce this situation. Levelling aspirations Propelled by optimistic and egalitarian visions of a new modern and technically advanced social era, Yugoslavia in the 1960s witnessed an eruption of social and professional aspirations among young people and a mushrooming of all kinds of higher educational institutions. The historical result, under the conditions of reperipheralisation from the late 1960s, was 'hyperproduction' of young 'experts' and intellectuals whom a stagnating economic structure was unable to absorb (cf. Zupanov, 1981). A long-term trend towards a new, more skilled and educated reserve army of unemployed workers during the 1970s turned into a permanent structural feature of the social stratification system in the 1980s (Davidovic, 1986; see also Schierup, 1990). The school system ceased to be a channel for social mobility, and people increasingly made their way by means of other (political and traditional) mechanisms for social promotion. To make a living, young people were forced into what in effect became a massive re-traditionalisation of society, embracing all facets of life. They were driven into the informal veins of an expanding but technologically primitive underground economy (Kerovec, 1988), or forced to sustain themselves as parasites in a familistic process of barter.

QUASI-PROLETARIANS AND BUREAUCRACY IN YUGOSLAVIA 95 Not only have familyand kinshipgroupsconservedtheir centralmeaningin the life of the individual,but have recentlytaken on a still more importantsignificance... For whichthe child and example,it is the familythat mustfindrelationships meansthrough to it can enrol in schoolsfor intellectual professions, searchesfor relationships get him and into a suitablefaculty,the familyseeksrelationships directlypayssomebodyfor his entryinto a job, the familybuys his flator in otherwayssolvesthe youngperson'sneed for a place to live. Just like his peer 200 yearsago a youngpersoncannotlean on any other institutionthan his own family background...Other institutionslet him down of the -and if he has no rightsto expectand securethrough institutions society,thenhe and and mustget themby barter blackmail; herethe familyis his mainsupport (Zupanov 1981, p. 1953). An army of young, unemployed intellectuals came into conflict not only with a changing social and economic reality, but also with the prevailing political leadership's conservative view of extensive industrial development as the only strategic option (Korosic, 1988, p. 146). Such a view governed the pervasive reorientation of the educational system during the late 1970s under which an industrial labour force started to be formed, by administrative means, which would fit in with the political leadership's horizons and Yugoslavia's retrograde position in the international division of labour. Some of the main tendencies of these reforms were the following: ? drastic reduction in the number of students allowed into higher academic education; * high priority for short-term education directed towards skilled industrial employment and other skilled occupations; * replacing the secondary school's former stress on versatility and general knowledge with a system enforcing very early specialisation in extremely narrowly delimited subjects directed towards specific categories of jobs; * marked territorialisation of the whole educational process. The explicit goal of the first school reform along these lines, which was undertaken in Croatia in 1978, was to curtail 'elitist tendencies' in the old school system (for documentation, see Podrebarac, 1985). By administratively forcing about 70% of primary school leavers to enrol in schools leading to working-class professions, the educational system effectively ceased to provide a means of intergenerational social mobility (Zupanov, 1981, p. 1950). While drastically diminishing the quality of general education and the school system as a whole, there is no evidence to suggest that the specialised programmes were any better than they were before, Strpic (1988) argues. Moreover, the opportunities for youth outside the larger towns to furnish themselves with educational qualifications would diminish-and this according to a regionalist principle. The education reform law in Croatia openly envisaged that the greatly reduced numbers receiving a general education should be concentrated in large towns, a measure explicitly intended to prevent inter-regional mobility among the younger members of the population and to discourage interregional marriages (Ibid., p. 39). An intricate system of linking contracts to employment in specific organisations would oblige students to work in the same local areas in which they



started their education; 'for outside their own local area, without kinship and clan relationships, it has practically been impossible to get such contracts in the economy or in social institutions' (Ibid., p. 39). By its radical regionalisation of education and its curtailment of 'excessive aspirations', Strpic argues, the political bureaucracy increased its administrative control over the labour supply and enhanced its ideological command. At one fell swoop it managed drastically to narrow the social basis for recruiting a future technical and humanist intelligentsia, (as well as to block avenues towards social mobility for the majority of the population (Zupanov, 1981). Moreover, the educational reforms supported the reproduction and reinforcement of the existing structure of class-based dominance in society by narrowing the scope of higher and general education and restricting it to larger urban centres (Zupanov, 1981; Strpic, 1988). A few exclusive schools with good reputations were to become the prerogative of those who had the right contacts. Thus, reproduction of the social elite was not threatened. In its effects, the educational reform was well adapted to the degenerative development of the dominant economic and political processes, Strpic (1988, pp. 39-40) argues. Extensive semi-industrial and industrial production and allocation of surplus value supported the petrification of primitive accumulation of capital and, as long as it lasted, consolidated the rule of a primitive bureaucracy in alliance with foreign financial capital. The reformed educational sub-system would act as a 'systemic mediator', he concluded his critique of the Croatian educational reform saying, 'procuring suitable servants and subjects-noncreative, uncritical, unfit for high productivity, self-organisation and social action'. While the crisis in the educational system and among Yugoslav youth has deeply affected the federation as a whole, in the less developed south and southeast it has taken on specific features. Here we find the most gaping discrepancies between the educational background and expectations of numerous educated (but frustrated) young people, on the one hand, and rising unemployment and stagnating economies on the other. In addition, here new 'levelling' educational reforms had not been carried through as they had in the more economically advanced industrialised north. These disproportions are most evident in the federation's least developed unit-the Autonomous Province of Kosovo (Horvat, 1988; Schierup, 1990, 267ff.). Here huge disproportions between the aspirations of an educated young population and the depressing reality of a discriminatory Yugoslav labour market in crisis led to the build-up of an increasingly explosive social and political 'time bomb'. Demonstrations of frustrated Albanian youth in the spring of 1989 received support from protests and strikes even among Albanian industrial workers and miners. The subsequent armed repression of the Kosovo revolt triggered deep structural repercussions in the whole federation. Given the wider context of the general crisis and revolutionary transformation of 'the other Europe', the aftermath of the Albanian student protests and their brutal suppression was to be that of a general 'Kosovisation' of the Yugoslav federation, torn by increasing ethnic fragmentation and interregional conflicts. The Kosovo revolt should lead to the destabilisation of the entire political system and the crisis





and fall of outworn bureaucratic power coalitions. It inaugurated the collapse of an increasingly unstable post-war Titoist compact of 'brotherhood and unity' among nationalities and probably to the end of multiethnic Yugoslavia as a state formation.
Umed University
1 Mirjan Kozinovic, director of the Yugoslav Textile factory Zelengora, interviewed in EkonomskaPolitika, 2031 (1991), p. 31. 2 Karl Marx's notion of 'primitive accumulation'was a metaphor for the 'prehistoryof capitalism' in Western Europe. Marx conceived of 'primitive accumulation'as the historical process throughwhich the workingclass and the preconditionsfor capitalistindustrialdevelopment are formed when the agricultural producers,the peasantry,become detachedfrom the soil and from other means of production,which are appropriated capital.With referenceto Marx by the notion of 'socialistprimitiveaccumulation'was originallycoined by the Soviet economist, E. Preobrazhensky(1926), during an intense debate on Soviet industrialisation in the 1920s. was Preobrazhensky arguedthat socialismcould developin a situationwhereagriculture the main economic sector in an internationallyisolated country.He envisagedthe appropriation a free of rent from peasantagriculture, mainly on the basis of terms of trade set in favourof industry,but warned against provokingthe peasantryby undertakingdrastic administrativesteps. However, the main architectof primitive accumulationin the Soviet Union, embodied in the violent and destructiveways in which the collectivisationof agriculture enforcedduringthe 1930s,was to was be Stalin. 3 This, accordingly,representsa 'realsocialist'versionof whatthe Frenchsocial anthropologist, ClaudeMeillassoux(1981) calls 'migrationtournante'(i.e. cyclicalmigration).He arguesthat capital realizes the means of loweringthe reproductioncosts of labour in the peripheryof its globalsystem (in Third Worldcountries)via the purchaseof the cheaplabourpowerbelongingto migrantworkersfeeding themselves on the basis of peasant subsistencecrops. This householdbased food productionnever enters the capitalistmarketor burdensthe capitalists'expensesfor variable capital. It is based on unpaid household labour within a separate and qualitatively different pre-capitalistsector of production. It representsa continued primitive accumulation effected throughthe migration'of peasant-workers oscillatingback and forth between contexts dominated by two juxtaposed modes of production:that is, on the one hand, the 'rural'(precapitalist),so-called 'domestic mode of production'and the dominant capitalistone. Therefore, at the same time as capital exploits and disintegrates them, the deliberate and organised conservation of 'pre-' or 'non-capitalist'systems of reproductionexempted from the ordinary labour marketbecomes essential for continued capital accumulation. 4 An argumentsimilar to that of F6her et al. (1983). 5 Over 90%of contractswith foreign partnersto importtechnologyhave containedvarious restrictiveclauses (Ocic, 1983, 11Iff.). In 1983, for example, 62%of the contractsexcluded the export of products produced with purchasedtechnology;44% obliged the Yugoslav buyer to reportany technologicalprogressor invention connectedwith the use of purchasedequipmentto the partner with whom the contract was made; and 26% contained clauses that obliged the Yugoslavpartnersto use the purchasedtechnologyin combinationwith importedraw materials, materialsfor operationand maintenance,and sparepartsfrom sourcesdecidedby the seller.The results have been outspokentechnologicaldependency,stagnatingautonomousdevelopment of technology in Yugoslavia and decreasingcompetitive power on foreign markets (Ocic, 1983; Durek, 1981). 6 While the size of its intelligentsiais very large, during the 1980s, of all the countries of Europe, Yugoslavia had the lowest number of patents registeredin relation to the number of citizens (Ocid, 1983, p. 110).

Dusan Bilandzic, 'O osnovnim tendencijama drustvenog razvoja', Nase Teme, 25, 12, 1981, pp.

1859-1870. Antonio Carlo, 'L'esperienzajugoslava-dal collettivismo burocratico alla ristaurazionedel capitalismo', TerzoMondo, 18, 1972.



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