From Socialism to Capitalism: Eight Essays
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This title contains eight essays that are connected by various common strands. The most important one is the community of the main subject-matter: socialism, capitalism, democracy, change of system. These four expressions cover four phenomena of great and comprehensive importance. Each piece in the book deals with these and the connections between them. One of the Leitmotifs is the 'capitalism/socialism' pair of opposites. Capitalism has a history of several hundred years, while the socialist regime existed only for a few decades. But this pair of opposites was central to the history of the twentieth century. This antagonism put its stamp on political thinking, on the foreign policy and military preparedness of every country, and on some appallingly destructive armed conflicts.All these had great secondary influence on each country's economic development and the standard of living and disposition of its inhabitants. None of the studies is confined to one country - not to Hungary or to any other. Each tries to embrace the problems common to greater units. However, the greater unit comprehended is not the same in each study. One may deal with the capitalist or socialist system in general, another will all the post-socialist countries, and a third the Central East European region. But all extend the analysis beyond the borders of one country.
is virtually ruled out, as are independent critical opinions and rebellion against the superior organizations.5 To sum up the lesson common to these examples of integration and rejection: a natural selection of institutions and behavior patterns takes place, and ultimately enormously strengthens and greatly consolidates the inner coherence of the system. 5 The lines above emphasize a tendency against which countertendencies also apply. Even at a time of extreme totalitarian power, a measure of
1991 (unified) borders. The 1949 figure was not available for Poland to calculate percentage growth in 1950; the 1950s average growth rate is for the 1951–9 period. Source: OECD database accompanying Maddison (2003). 86 Kornai belívek3 4/3/08 16:00 Page 87 THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION OF CENTRAL EASTERN EUROPE Table 5.2 Growth before and after 1989, and after transformational recession GDP/NMP index (1989 = 100) Country Czech Republic Estonia Hungary Latvia Lithuania Poland Slovakia Slovenia
the elections without resistance. These procedural characteristics can be considered the minimum conditions necessary and sufficient for democracy to apply. I would like to underline what this description does not include. a) It includes no statement on how mature or developed the democracy of the system in question is. It can fulfill the minimum conditions even if it is quite rough and ready otherwise, if government is insufficiently transparent, and if direct civil participation in political
There was no broad consensus on what legal action would be fair. Ultimately, no solution was found in Hungary or any neighboring country because society was deeply divided over the desire for justice in a historical sense, according to Kende (2000). The debate gradually died down and efforts to take action were impeded by decisions of the constitutional court. The embers of the debate glowed occasionally, but soon turned to ash again.12 Let me repeat that I too was indignant when suddenly, at a
increase the nostalgia for the old order. Reform of welfare-state activity needs handling with caution, if only out of political expediency and a desire for political stability and sympathy for the new system. Many welfare activities in some countries were performed by stateowned enterprises, not central or local organizations of the state. The firm ran a kindergarten and a doctor’s surgery, paid off the pensions of its former employees, and so on. In China, it was especially common, as state