teleological thinking

"The collapse of state socialism throughout Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 are among the most significant major historical transformations, ending the Cold War division of the world and changing the political map of the globe. In many academic studies as well as popular portrayals, this "great transformation" has been described in a discourse of capitalist "triumphalism" that entails a certain linear, teleological thinking in relation to the direction of change: from socialism or dictatorship to liberal democracy, from a plan to a market economy. Not only does this perspective reproduce Cold War binaries and structural oppositions, but it also assumes a particular trajectory of change. The electoral success of former communists in several postsocialist states, the escalating unemployment rates throughout the region, the difficulties in establishing new businesses for many would-be entrepreneurs, the return to a barter (indeed, mafia) economy in the most economically devastated areas, and the slow improvement in most countries' gross national products are but a few examples of the uncertain outcome and ongoing nature of postsocialist transitions tha reflect the inadequacy of teleological thinking."

Daphne Berdahl (2000). Altering States. Ethnographies of Transition in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union.

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