Neoliberals argue that rapid liberalization and privatization can transform postcommunist economies into Western-style capitalist systems. Organizational sociologists argue that these policies produce a unique variety of capitalism, while world-systems theorists argue that they lead to underdevelopment. This article advances a social structural alternative in a crucial case. Poland’s relative economic success resulted from prolonged state ownership and an interventionist state employing various industrial policy tools that facilitated efficiency-enhancing market-oriented restructuring before ushering in beneficial foreign direct investment. The resulting capitalist system closely resembles the typical pattern found in most late industrializers.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2006, University of Chicago Press. This article first appeared in American Journal of Sociology: 112:3 (2006), 751-801.

Please note that downloads of the article are for private/personal use only.