Keywords: economics, education, management, markets, privatisation, technology, transition economy
Transition, privatisation and economics as a management technology
One of the basic technologies that will determine the direction and extent of privatisation is the education of the policymakers designing it and the managers implementing it. It may seem obvious from the intellectual roots of the movement toward privatisation that such participants have an understanding of market economics since it explains why they are doing what they are doing. However, participants in the economies where the most extensive privatisation is underway have little or no recent experience with markets and virtually no training in market economics, unlike their counterparts in more market-oriented economies who live and work by those principles daily. As an indication of the value that education in the subject (or adoption of that technology) might have, this paper reviews a number of familiar lessons from market economics that not only provide a rationale for privatisation itself but also give helpful decision rules for management, especially for those emerging from an era of state-controlled resource allocation. In the process, it considers the value of "the economic way of thinking". The paper also presents a number of relatively novel topics in economics that illustrate the breadth of the subject's relevance to both managers and citizens. Finally, it considers the developing field of the new institutional economics which suggests that the economic system most appropriate for a community depends upon its norms, values, and traditions; privatisation and market-based allocation need not fit everywhere, and the economic content of management education must allow for that.