Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Cooperatives and socioeconomic development: the influence of Mikhail Tugan-Baranovsky and Vahan Totomianz on the Bulgarian scholars during 20th century

Marinova Tsvetelina Marinova, Nouvelle Université Bulgare, LEFMI, Université de Picardie Jules Verne

In the 20th century, the accelerated growth of the cooperative movement was accompanied by a strong intellectual dynamic in the main European countries. The Balkan countries have also been part of this development, which has been influenced by the cross-fertilization of ideas and practices from Western and Russia. Cooperative ideas were an integral part of Balkan economic thinking and European economic tradition at the end of the 19th century and especially in the 20th century. The place and role of cooperatives in the economy have been at the centre of the concerns of Balkan economists, particularly during the interwar period. The cooperative sector was considered as a leading and often alternative mechanism to the capitalist economy and the market economy. In many cases, cooperatives were considered as a third way, a compromise between capitalism and state socialism (Bolshevism). In this respect, cooperative ideas represented an important part of the discourse on the economy. In addition, they were linked to the transplantation of Western European and Russian institutions and practices into the Balkan countries during the 20th century. In the Interwar period the Bulgarian theoreticians and activists of cooperatives scrupulously studied the ideas of leading European scholars and adherents of cooperatives including Charles Gide, Mikhail Tugan-Baranovsky, Vahan Totomianz, Ernest Poisson, Edgar Milhaud and skilfully conveyed them and distributed in the country. Their major translated into Bulgarian were also of great importance for the development of cooperative ideas and culture. This study aims at discussing the influence of two of the major theoreticians of cooperatives – Mikhail Tugan-Baranovsky (1865-1919) and Vahan Totomianz (1875-1964) on the development of cooperative ideas in Bulgaria.

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Keywords: cooperatives, socioeconomic development, economic thought, Bulgaria, Russia