Cativa cititori m-au indrebat despre cauzele pentru care Romania socialista a ajuns practic in faliment in 1981. Teza lui Ute Gabanyi este interesanta dar pana nu vad sursele raman sceptic. Recent am trimis la publicare un articol academic pe tema respectiva, in care atac teza potrivit careia regimul ar fi cazut prada euforiei indatorarii care cuprinsese multe state in curs de dezvoltare. Iata ce spuneam acolo:
“The second oil shock of 1979 and the debt crisis triggered by monetary policy changes in the developed capitalist core put an end to the buffering effect that these factors had in the case of Romania. The second oil crisis affected the Romanian economy more than the first because of the unprecedented industrial expansion of the 1970s increased the demand for oil. For example, the 1975 World Bank loans were invested mostly in energy–intensive industries whose increasing operating costs caused by the 1979 oil shock put the public budget under unprecedented pressure. As a result, although Romania had maintained a low level of the debt-service ratio by the standards of both newly industrializing and East European countries, in 1978 it began to increase its level of foreign debt to pay for the imports demanded by growing excess demand.
The exogenous supply shock represented by the 1979 oil crisis also coincided with a peak in Romania’s oil production and increasing dependence on Soviet oil, a turn that questioned one of Ceausescu’s core foreign policy priorities: autonomy from the Soviet Union (Linden 1986). Between 1948 and 1963 the regime’s foreign policy had been thoroughly subservient to Moscow but the autonomous turn in foreign policy inaugurated in the late rule of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej had been consolidated during Ceausescu’s rule after 1965. While this foreign policy objective was genuine and served well the domestic and international legitimacy of the regime, it put its relations with the Soviet Union under strain. To the prospect of sacrificing its prided autonomy from Moscow, the regime preferred instead to turn inwards.
Most importantly, however, the effects of the 1979 oil crisis were compounded by a capital shock: in 1979 private international capital became considerably more costly following the United States move to suddenly increase interest rates. This led to a dramatic debt crisis throughout the developmental states of Latin America, Asia and Africa (Balassa 1985; Easterly 2001). In a world awash with petrodollars at discouny interest rates, the Ceausescu regime followed other developing countries in the race for development finance, especially after the 1979 oil shock. Between 1976 and 1981 Romania’s foreign debt went from .5 billion dollars (or 3 perent of GDP) to 10.4 billion dollars (or 28 percent of GDP), with most of the increase dating back to 1979, the year of the oil shock. The Fed’s decision to sharply increase interest rates shot up interest rates throughout the world, with developing countries taking devatstating hits.
Romania was no exception. By 1982, interest rates were worth 3 billion dollars, while they had been barely worth 8 million six years before.For Eastern Europe the consequences were even more dramatic as a result of the “second cold war” inaugurated by the early Reagan presidency, who showed much less leniency towards the development strategies of socialist states than the détente administrations of the past two decades. As a result, by 1982 Western credit to Eastern Europe had nearly dried up. Romania and Poland were consequently forced into debt rescheduling, with Hungary narrowly escaping the credit drama by joining the IMF (Tyson 1986; Norgaard 1984).