Books

Rendszerváltozás a közgazdaságtanban - közgazdaságtan a rendszerváltozásban

Rendszerváltozás a közgazdaságtanban - közgazdaságtan a rendszerváltozásban

This book consists of two independent parts and provides an analysis of the evolution of post-war Hungarian economic thought along a single line of analysis, which is the economic order. It addresses the intriguing issue of innovation and imitation and searches for the original contribution of Hungarian authors to the economic science.

On pp17-73 László Szamuely provides an overview of the evolution of the 1945-70 period. He describes the processes in which, from and not only from the Communist takeover of 1949 – major representatives of traditional Hungarian economics of various orientation have been excluded from academic life and replaced by party activists. Following the 1949-53 period of silence the “new course"? of Imre Nagy allowed for the study of reality and produced important contributions, such as the book “Overcentralization"? by János Kornai and the works of György Péter. Following the revolution of 1956 the Expert Commission on Economics, headed by the non- Marxian István Varga elaborated the market socialist model, that actually was implemented from 1966. Still, Communist power remained ambivalent to research, with the Prime Minister publicly reprimanding one of the lasting insights of the l96os, of Ferenc Jánossy, describing the contemporary stage as quasi-development.

In the rest of the book László Csaba shows the gradual radicalization of Hungarian economics, based on experience and learning, and to a much smaller extent on importing ready-made solutions. He shows how the need for radical economic opening and reorientation, as well as the introduction of private property emerged by the late 1970s. With the advocacy of capital markets and currency convertibility Hungarian academics of the early 1980s have surpassed the limits conceivable under any brand of socialism. It is demonstrated that most of the insights emerged on the base of analyzing the fallacies of neither plan nor market solutions rather than copying available western knowledge.

Following the systemic change consensus and diversity emerged. Consensus covered such basic issues as privatization, EU membership, and the need to avoid any form of shock therapy and mass privatization. Diversity emerged in terms of the rebirth of intellectual schools, with liberals being more neo-institutionalists, and conservatives being more statist/Keynesian. Cultivation of mainstream economics was though growing, however its contribution was, at that time, marginal as yet, despite the wholesale conversion of university curricula to standard western lines. One of the defining features of the field is the lack of defining personalities/except for J.Kornai/ and a large number of contributions by individuals, adding up into a fairly coherent line of reasoning. Transition specific issues were though analyzed, however these issues have never gained to such a prominence, as one would have expected from a longtime reform-frontrunner country. The full overlap with mainstream, especially American academic approaches has never materialized. Diversity of schools, including libertarians and neo-Marxists has remained a lasting feature of the field.

The book provides a very broad selection of sources thus can serve as a reference volume for several years to come for historians and economists interested in the postwar intellectual development of Hungary.

Publisher: Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány

Year: 1998

Number of pages: 185

ISBN: 963 04 9790 5

Reviews

Péter GedeonMagyar Tudomány, vol. 132, no. 6, pp749-752, 1999Details

Language: Hungarian

Sándor SzakácsKülgazdaság, vol. 43, no. 3, pp73-77, 1999Details

Academic monthly of KOPINT FoundationLanguage: Hungarian

Gábor KarsaiNépszava, April 3, 1998Details

Language: Hungarian

Rendszerváltozás a közgazdaságtanban - közgazdaságtan a rendszerváltozásban