Monthly Archives: January 2012

János Kornai on centralization and decentralization. Part II

Yesterday I dealt with János Kornai’s ideas on centralization and decentralization. I stopped about halfway through the essay, the place where Kornai on the basis of eight criteria discussed the theoretical pros and cons of centralization versus decentralization.

Today we continue with the specifics of the centralization that is taking place in Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. This “unbridled” centralization is an instrument for “the more complete seizure of power and once that has taken place to hold onto this power for as long as possible.”

What are the requirements for building … Read the rest

János Kornai on centralization and decentralization. Part I

It was just a little over a year ago that I summarized an important article by János Kornai, the best known Hungarian economist, on the first ten months of the Orbán government. It was entitled “Taking Stock.” In it Kornai talked about the political and economic consequences of Viktor Orbán’s revolution in the voting booths. Kornai was one of the first people to call Orbán’s regime an autocracy.

Now Kornai is focusing on the centralization tendencies of the current Hungarian government. More than fifty years ago Kornai began his career … Read the rest

Jobbik’s Gábor Vona tells all: they are the enemies of democracy

Jobbik had quite a day yesterday. The party held a large indoor gathering, setting the stage for a new year of political activity. Gábor Vona, the chairman of the party, made a speech. I don’t know how many foreign papers will cover it, but I believe it was a noteworthy speech that warrants an audience beyond the borders of Hungary. The message was: “We are not communists, we are not fascists, we are not national socialists, but we are not democrats either.” Clear talk, no beating around the bush.

Well, … Read the rest

Renewed international effort at turning Hungary around and the reaction of Viktor Orbán

International criticism is pouring into the Hungarian ministries nowadays. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, in addition to the United States government, have serious misgivings about the way the Orbán government is steering the ship of state. Viktor Orbán made up his mind, most likely a long time ago, that given the opportunity he would remake the country in his own image. The opportunity was given and a rapid-fire parliament passed law after law. Orbán wanted to make the transitional period as short as possible. … Read the rest

History lesson: Hungarians and the outbreak of World War I

One of the readers of Hungarian Spectrum got into a heated debate about the Treaty of Trianon and Hungary’s role in the war that Hungary, along with Austria, lost. He argued that the conduct of foreign policy was in the hands of the Austrians and thus Hungary was dragged into the war against its will.

I promised at that point that I would write something about the topic because it is becoming evident that a fair number of Hungarians, old and young alike, have a very distorted view of Hungarian … Read the rest

A few words about the current state of the Hungarian media

She looks nice enough until she opens her mouth. I’m talking about Karola Kiricsi who accepted the unsavory job of being the spokeswoman for the new Media Council. I understand that most people need a job in order to eat but still…

Kiricsi Karola

Karola Kiricsi, spokeswoman of the Hungarian Media Council

It is not only what she says, that’s bad enough, but how she says it. Anyone who would like to hear her in her own voice should listen to her interview with Olga Kálmán on ATV’s Egyenes beszéd (Straight Talk). … Read the rest

Reality check: IMF’s yearly assessment and the EU media advisory panel’s findings

This morning Viktor Orbán in an interview with The Wall Street Journal claimed that currently he is facing the biggest intellectual challenge of his political career because of the economic and financial difficulties the country faces. However, he thinks that with “the economic policies we have today, the budget we have, we are on the right track.” The problem is that the IMF doesn’t think so.

The IMF yearly survey on Hungary’s economic outlook, which was released today, starts with these sentences: “External financing risks are rising in the wake … Read the rest