Based on an analytical narrative, and utilizing macroeconomic and new institutional economic theory, this exposition studies the Bulgarian economy during the decades after 1989. The three decades are placed in the context of the century-and-a-half-long Bulgarian development and convergence dynamic. They are then presented in terms of clearly defined sub-periods, and each sub-period is analyzed in detail. The analysis for each period focuses on three sets of issues: macroeconomic developments, microeconomic developments, and institutional changes. The exposition ends by applying the insights from the analysis to the question of whether the state of the economy in Bulgaria as of 2019 gives grounds for pessimism (Bulgaria will continue the cycles of unsuccessful convergence) or for optimism (Bulgaria will achieve an unprecedented degree of convergence in the coming decades). The answer is that at present both expectations can be supported by sets of serious arguments.