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The Currency of Socialism


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Table of Contents

Part I. Production: 1. Making and unmaking money: monetary theory and economic planning in East Germany; 2. Accounting and accountability: financing the planned economy under Honecker, 1971-80; 3. Parsimony and the prince: crisis and stability, 1980-5; 4. The currency of decline: the disintegration of the East German economy; Part II. Consumption: 5. The vehicle of desire: the Trabant, the Wartburg, and the discipline of demand; 6. Consuming ideology: the intershops, Genex, and retail trade under Honecker; 7. Appealing to authority: the citizens' petition and the rhetoric of decline.

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This book explores the East German attempt to create a perfect society by eliminating money and explains the reasons for its failure.

About the Author

Jonathan R. Zatlin is Assistant Professor of History at Boston University. He previously taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley. He has published articles in German History, German Politics and Society, Theory and Society, Bulletin of the German Historical Institute, and H-German, among other journals. Zatlin was a co-winner of the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize awarded by the Friends of the German Historical Institute in 2001.


"a meticulously researched, well-written account of the economic ills of the former German Democratic Repulic... Highly recommended." -Choice "Jonathan Zatlin, an assistant professor at Boston University, has assembled many remarkable insights into the history and collapse of the German Democratic Republic. Based on archives, interviews, and an extensive secondary literature, this book is excellently researched and illustrated, and is highly readable." -Mark Harrison, Journal of Economic History

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