Fifteen years after the Global Financial Crisis: Recessions and Business Cycles in the History of Economic Thought

Bulgarian economists and the Great Depression: in search of a new economic and social model

Marinova Tsvetelina, New Bulgarian University

The Great Depression in the Balkans, including Bulgaria, has not been the subject of any special analysis in the Western literature. Nevertheless, the Bulgarian economy and society during these years have been the theme of a number of in-depth studies by Bulgarian authors from different periods. The ideological and scientific preferences of the authors, characteristic of each period, inevitably left their mark on their interpretations. Nevertheless, each of them has contributed to the overall illumination of the profound changes that occurred in Bulgaria between the two world wars. The Great Depression caught the Bulgarian economists in a state of conceptual and theoretical diversity in conceptual and practical terms. It can be summarised into five groups, - (i) classical liberals, (ii) adherents of the historical and evolutionary school, (iii) adherents of the subjective Austrian school, (iv) scholars with quantitative and monetary views, and (v) Marxists-Leninists. In their majority (with the exception of the Marxists), at the beginning the Bulgarian economists considered the Great Depression as a cyclical phenomenon, related to the disturbance of the equilibrium of the market and prices, as a result of changes in supply and demand. They did not see the depth of the crisis. The main objective of the paper is to present the major ideas and theories developed by the Bulgarian economists in the context of the general dynamics of the Great Depression, The first part is focused on the causes and factors that have given specific shape to its manifestation in the country. The second part analyses the phases and forms of the crisis as well as the subsequent structural change and trajectory of the Bulgarian economy and society. The third part discusses the prevailing ideas and theories among the Bulgarian scholars at that time that were incorporated in the economic policies to overcome the depression.

Area: Eshet Conference

Keywords: Great Depression, Bulgaria, crisis, economy, society