Online ISSN 2286-0266
Print ISSN 1223-0685
Copyright © 2019
Œconomica by SOREC
Matei Alexandru APĂVĂLOAEI
Academia de Studii Economice din Bucureşti
In 2018, Romania will celebrate 100 years since the provinces of Bessarabia, Bucovina, and Transylvania joined the Kingdom of Romania, with its recently added territories of Dobrogea and Southern Dobrogea (the Cadrilater), to form Greater Romania. Anticipating this celebration by one year, in 2017, professor Boia has written a book that aims to put the events that took place almost a century ago into a broader, European perspective.
In a relatively small number of pages, Boia offers his readers a glimpse of the complex political issues posed by the intermingled nationalities that inhabited Central and Eastern Europe and by the bellicose nation-states that emerged in this region after the collapse of the three multinational empires that had dominated this part of the Old Continent for centuries. Boia does not attempt to take any sides in any of the historical cases he presents but tries to argue, most of the times by making use of census data, that the situation in the whole region, with Romania being no exception, was complicated. Also, things were bound to degenerate if geometrical solutions like language, natural borders or geostrategic interests were used for drawing new national frontiers. Such means have proved themselves to be unsuited for peaceful coexistence and left the entire region open to inner-military tensions, irredentism, the attempt to forcedly integrate or eliminate minorities and, finally, conquest by larger nations such as Germany and the USSR.
In the following, we are going to briefly look at some of Boia’s main arguments and compare them with Mises's analysis of the question of nations, frontiers, and minorities, mainly as presented in his 1919 book Nation, State, and Economy.
We will see that, although written almost a century apart, the two books present the general problems that followed 1918 in similar terms. However, when it comes to identifying solutions for the dire situation that the countries in Central and Eastern Europe have put themselves into, Mises goes into more details than Boia. He makes ample use of economic insights to argue that only radical solutions can work: either self-determination pushed to the furthest extent possible, or, in the case of unavoidable intra-regional tensions and external threats, only a centralized supra-national entity can prove itself a viable solution.

ŒCONOMICA no. 4/2017
Boia and Mises on the Question of Nations, Frontiers, and Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe