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Transition in Central Asia: Growth with Increasingly Greater Inequality?

Author(s): Max Spoor

Journal: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals
ISSN 1133-6595

Issue: 70-71;
Start page: 69;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: Asia Central | economía | transición | desarrollo

This article analyses the economic evolution of the former Soviet states of Central Asia since their independence, especially in regard to growth and in comparison with growing inequality. The following topics are considered: first of all, the initial conditions in whichthe economic transition of these countries began; secondly, the transformations of widely varying scope (different “routes of transition”) that these economies have experienced, from an almost non-reform (Turkmenistan) or a gradual or partial reform (Uzbekistan and Tajikistan), to a large-scale reform (Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan); and thirdly, the economic performance of the Central Asian states, which, with the exception of Uzbekistan, has been quite poor and has generated what we could call two kinds of “duality”: one which is generated by the expansion of extracting industries (oil, gas and metals), to the detriment of other sectors fundamental to the countries’ development, and another one originating from the growingunequal distribution of income among the population. While the first of these “dualities” cannot be maintained as a long-term development strategy, the second one could culminate in social agitation and instability, even in the medium term, which could contribute to thedestabilisation of the already fragile and volatile region of Central Asia.
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