From football to fear: Recent opinion polls in Hungary

Today is devoted to polls. Please don’t worry, the post will not be full of numbers. I will concentrate on the big picture.

My first topic is Hungarians’ feelings for football. I think that talking about football today is especially timely because, as 444.hu’s sportswriter put it yesterday, the Swiss team “walked all over the Hungarians,” whose game was apparently full of “glaring mistakes.” It was only during halftime that the Swiss didn’t score a goal, as he put it sarcastically. Hungarian football is apparently not worth watching, and there is a point when even nationalism isn’t enough to keep interest alive. Just as there comes a time when the lure of a better life outside of the country cannot keep an awful lot of Hungarians at home.

Ever since 2010 an incredible amount of money has been spent on sports and sports facilities in general, but naturally  Viktor Orbán’s favorite sport, football, received the most. 24.hu calculated the amount of money spent between 2011 and 2017 on five sports– football, handball, basketball, water polo, and hockey–from just the so-called TAO offerings. Large companies, in lieu of taxes, can donate money to support one of these five sports, but given Orbán’s penchant for football, half of the 415 billion forints of TAO money went to football clubs. And then there are all those football stadiums, 32 of which will be built by 2020 and will cost 215 billion forints. Yet all that money didn’t improve the quality of Hungarian football, and consequently there are mighty few Hungarian fans at games.

Given the enormous outlays for football, does it serve any useful purpose? We know that the quality of play hasn’t improved and that the number of fans who show up in these new stadiums is small. Republikon Intézet conducted a poll to find out how people feel about Hungarian football. The pollsters asked two questions: (1) How true is the following statement: “I follow Hungarian football and I’m proud of it” and (2) Do you think it is worth investing in sports facilities in Hungary? The result most likely greatly saddened Viktor Orbán: the people are not grateful. Even Fidesz voters are not that proud. More than half of them are decidedly not proud, and they don’t follow the games at all. Only 22% are enthusiastic. And if that is the word from the Fidesz voters, you can imagine what the left-liberals think: 73% of them want nothing to do with the sport. Two-thirds of the Jobbik voters are also left cold by Hungarian football.

When it comes to the stadium-building mania of the prime minister, the figures are not at all encouraging. It seems that Viktor Orbán was able to convince 37% of Fidesz voters that investing in sports facilities is worthwhile, but 27% of them think it’s a waste of money. The majority of Jobbik and socialist-liberal voters disapprove of the incredible spending on stadiums and other sports facilities. What’s amazing is that Orbán, who is normally very sensitive to public opinion, seems to be utterly oblivious to the unpopularity of spending taxpayer money on his personal hobby.

Another poll that aroused my interest was conducted by Medián. The goal was to measure the extent of endangerment Hungarians feel when it comes to the perceived threat from the “migrants,” George Soros, “NGOs financed by foreigners,” the European Union, Russia, and the United States. Respondents were able to choose among five possibilities, ranging from “no threat at all” to “very big threat.” I’m sure that no one will be surprised to hear that 49% of Hungarians absolutely dread the migrants, while only 6% are not afraid of them at all. George Soros is greatly feared by 32% of the respondents. Even the mild-mannered members of NGOs are greatly feared by 17% and somewhat feared by an additional 20% of the population. The amazing finding is how successful the Orbán government has been in convincing Hungarians that Putin’s Russia poses no danger to Hungary. This is especially surprising given the recent Russian annexation of Crimea and Russian military aid to the rebels in the Donbass region of Ukraine. Only 9% of respondents consider Putin’s Russia a serious threat, the same percentage that consider the United States a serious threat.

444.hu, which commissioned the poll from Medián, rightly points out that “the government propaganda is working perfectly because people are afraid of exactly those things Fidesz wants them to be afraid of.” Perhaps the most telling proof of the success of the propaganda campaign is a pair of questions. One is about the threat to Hungary from the European Union and a second, from “Brussels.” Since the European Union is popular among Hungarians and because the Orbán government didn’t want to be too blatantly antagonistic to the EU in its anti-EU campaigns, they used “Brussels” instead of the European Union in their propaganda campaigns. And behold, 37% of the respondents are afraid or very afraid of “Brussels,” while only 25% fear the European Union. This is how effective propaganda is.

As for those feared NGOs, László Földi, one of the three “security experts” used by the state and Fidesz media to frighten the population to death, is ready to do them in. Földi, I’m convinced, is not quite of sound mind. He is a former intelligence officer from the secret service apparatus of the Kádár regime who spreads his outlandish views not just on the refugee question but on Hungary’s security in general. In Földi’s view, the world is full of spies, internal as well as foreign, who are trying to undermine the present government of the country.

Well, a few days ago Földi was the guest of Echo TV, which was purchased recently by Lőrinc Mészáros. Mind you, the change of ownership from Gábor Széles to Mészáros made no difference. The station has been a hub of far-right journalists and commentators all along. The conversation was about Islam in Hungary. In passing, Földi talked about the “migrants” and those civilians who try to help them, specifically the Helsinki Committee and Migration Aid. Földi came out with the following absolutely mind-boggling statement: “We are at war and these people are collaborators, war criminals, traitors, and so on. This is a very different conceptual system. A human trafficker in war is not a human trafficker but in effect a saboteur who has no legal status. In brief, they can be freely liquidated. This is what the code of war says: we don’t take spies or saboteurs to court but we immediately eliminate them.” He is an adviser to István Tarlós, mayor of Budapest. Enough said.

October 8, 2017
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Member

A large portion of the money earmarked and paid for “sports”, especially football (soccer) is going directly to the wealthiest Fidesz businessmen and their well paid people distributing the corruption moneys. The soccer players (and others in the sports, where most of the money just disappear in unknown pockets) are well paid for mediocre performance too, as long as they keep their mouth shut.
Seven years of spending on sports and on the sports events (including the Hungaroring, the Formula 1, FINA WC and Red Bull Air races to mention a few) and the stadions if added to the budget of the Educational and Health System, would have lifted Hungary in the forefront in education and healthier living standards.
If the pople of Hungary tolerate all of this, they deserve what they got.

Aida
Guest

They do.
Also read the latest input from Zsolt Semjen in which he openly challenges Comissioner Navracsics. I found it in Nepszava.

Istvan
Guest

László Földi was certainly not looking at the Geneva Convention I have read. Rule 107, on Spies very clearly indicates they must have a trial and be “treated with humanity.” No where in the Geneva Convention is summary execution allowed, under all military law, summary execution is illegal in almost all circumstances.

The only exception might be in a situation of martial law where a formal declaration has been made. Even in that situation if some type of hearing by an officer is not conducted prior to execution with a minimal record kept those military personnel carrying it out could be tried for war crimes. However, the terms of the declaration of martial law themselves can be declared a crime against humanity and the civil authorities that authorized it prosecuted.

I am not saying that in practice this has always been followed, even by US forces. But Földi just made this up or is using the Arrow Cross, Red Army or national socialist laws of war. Which are no laws at all but justification for murder.

dos929
Guest

The monies spent on sport related investments are not simply a waste of money… Firstly, they are not ‘wasted’; they are simply fattened up the already bursting FIDESZ pockets. Most importantly however, these monies are taken away from national developments, from maintaining the hospitals and the health system in general, repairing the ailing infrastructure, etc… etc… What Orban and the FIDESZ are doing is simply criminal at its utmost level. Robbing a whole country, and doing this without anyone interrupting this mafia activity is the greatest crime against one’s country that equals to treason. In a perfect world these people should have been put on trial after their first actions, such as replacing the Constitution without conferring with the country’s citizens. Sadly, this is not a perfect world, and Orban and his cronies were and are working 24/7 that it will be less and less perfect for everyone, but them…

wrfree
Guest
Re: 2—-1——5 …… B I L L I O N .. ft Such coffers of profligate spending. But as we know anything done that is ‘forced’ is not worth doing. There cannot be any talk of success in that environment. There’s no ‘heart’ in it. Especially when it comes to working from visions that come out of the mists of past time where certain stars were aligned for the success that followed. To recreate it once again is impossible. In the case of football, it is a sorry attempt to achieve a past greatness with empty concrete. It is also shaky as spectators are seeing shots that have an aversion to the onion bags. Not a good sign when ‘GF’ stands for 0. All that is simply a blueprint for relegation. And usually with that it’s apparent who goes…….the manager. Much better to direct the monies towards society’s benefit. along quality of life issues namely updating medical institutions , new treatment centers or jumpstarting new ideas in medical research. Then the area of developing educational opportunities for all. These are where the forints should be spent as the payback will return tenfold to the citizenry and to the entire country.… Read more »
Farkas
Guest
The distribution of political power in contemporary Hungary is eerily similar to that in the prewar an war years. Fidesz occupies the place of the old Party of Unity (Egységpárt) founded in 1921 by Bethlen, which became the Party of National Unity (Nemzeti Egységpárt) in 1932 under Gömbös, then the Party of Hungarian Life (Magyar Élet Pártja) in 1939 under Teleki. Orbán has not as quite achieved the status of Horthy (or Kádár), but unfortunately he is getting there pretty fast, mafia or no mafia, and sport or no sport. Jobbik occupies the space of the old Arrow Cross Party (Nyilaskeresztes Párt – Hungarista Mozgalom) and the various other Hungarist factions that operated in prewar and wartime Hungary, while the smashed up and fatally splintered political left has taken the space of the prewar Social Democrats, the Szocdems. Unfortunately, the political left in contemporary Hungary couldn’t organize itself out of a wet brown paper bag even if it tried. As the old Greeks used to say, there is nothing new under the sun. Hungarians get what they crave, or get it by default as the inheritors of the mantle of Pató Pál úr, and perfectly deserve what they get, including… Read more »
Farkas
Guest

I just recalled that in Hungarian the correct name of the old Party of Unity was Egységes Párt, while that of the Party of National Unity was Nemzeti Egység Pártja.

Shades of the “System of National Cooperation” (Nemzeti Együttműködés Rendszere or NER) promulgated and enforced by Fidesz-KDNP since 2010.

Farkas
Guest

As I see it, Orbán has taken a page out of the old Bethlen/Gömbös/Teleki/Horthy book in setting himself up as the next beloved Regent of the Hungarians, and his motley crew of corrupt politicians and oligarchs as the next dynasty of ‘nobility’ to lord it over the Hungarians in the coming decades. And many Hungarians appear to be lapping it all up from him. They truly deserve what they get.

Guest

“They truly deserve what they get.”

The Hungarians didn’t ask to be misinformed and brainwashed by the Communists and by Fidesz. It is unjust to say hat they deserve what they get.

Farkas
Guest

The Hungarians could inform themselves and de-brainwash themselves if they really wished, particularly in this day and age of the internet. But they don’t, except for the very few. Why? Because they are perfectly happy to swallow the misinformation and to live in brainwashed bliss. Historically they always have, and as far as I see, they always will, in future too.

Most of them also do not think that acquisition of foreign language competency in one of the major world languages is worth the effort, thus they have no access to alternative narratives, even if they were the slightest bit interested in them. Given this ignorance in bliss, I see no choice but to assert again that yes indeed, they deserve what they get.

Farkas
Guest

@Jean P
October 9, 2017 9:42 am

And with respect Jean P, it was not just the Communists and Fidesz, but also the irredentist and anti-Semitic ultra-right governing parties in the interwar and war years, and even the governing parties under the Dual Monarchy run by liberal aristocrats who hoever catastrophically mishandled the nationalities question, but justified that with the ostrich policy of nationalist propaganda and coercion, as has the government of Kossuth and Szemere in 1848/49, the illusions of the Hungarian Age of Reform, and all the way down to late medieval and renaissance times, when Hungary could never get its act together, except occassionally, such as under Louis I of Hungary (Nagy Lajos) or Matthias Rex (Mátyás király).

A truly progressive tradition indeed, or “haladó hagyomány” as they would have termed it under the Commies.

Marty
Guest
Farkas, this is an extremely simplistic view, one which has nothing to do with reality. It is human nature avoid facing the harshness of reality. The entertainment industry offers an escape from the everyday reality because people need it. They can’t just read non-fiction books and watch CNN and debate classics all day. 700,000 Hungarians already moved abroad most of whom didn’t speak a word in English and German. Yet they went leaving their lives behind for good. People do take efforts. But collective action is an extremely complex problem especially in poor, backward countries lacking an independent middle class. People are in a subordinate position especially in rural regions and the economy is bad (contrary to all propaganda). Sure, the choices Hungarians made were often bad but only from a rational, retrospective point of view. People are not rational, never were and poor, uneducated people are especially not rational. They have limited opportunities to tell their complex views (basically two votes every 4 years). The Brits decided to vote for Brexit, the Germans voted for Hitler and applauded WWII, Americans elected Trump and the Republican party has already collected twice as much donations for 2018 than the Democrats did… Read more »
Farkas
Guest

OK, OK Marty. Understood. And agreed for the most part.

Although I still do not understand why for instance the Romanians or the Slovaks always seem to land on their feet, while the Hungarians always seem to land on their collective bottoms and in some kind of poo. For the past half a millennium or so. I know, I know, there are excuses aplenty, but still.

But perhaps I have been far too long out of Hungary to have any adequate feel for the contemporary realities on the ground there.

Marty
Guest

Good questions. I have my ideas but I think there are no general rules. It was individual circumstances which helped Slovakia and Romania. I could give you 10 different reasons. Hungary has a host of social, historical, geographical, economical issues many of which Slovakia and Romania lack.

Hungary’s real peer is Serbia, another landlocked, rather arid small state which was “big” once but was cut up recently (in the case of Hungary after the WWII most recently) by big powers.

Guest

What issues?
Hungary was great once – when Budapest was a Jewish/German/Hungarian melting pot – but since then the march of Nationalism began, essentially under Horthy and destroyed all this!

Marty
Guest

Yes, but you can’t humiliate a nation like they did with Germany or Hungary back in 1920. You just can’t. No matter the costs, no matter the risks, such nations (the people) will want to rise again. People would rather be be poor than not proud. Russia’s recent rise as a military power is very much based on its perceived humiliation after the falling apart of the SU – now Russia is back with a vengeance, no matter the costs to its citizens. Same with Serbia, people didn’t care they became poor and lost everything, they wanted big Serbia and supported Milosevic for very long.
Voters are not rational. Slovakia and Romania are very lucky in that sense that they only gained in these treaties while Hungary was humiliated which totally derailed its public discourse. It doesn’t matter that the Hungarian Kingdom would’ve fallen apart anyway or that the secession efforts were justified – Hungarian voters just felt humiliated and to this day they couldn’t get over this trauma. They probably never will – because there’s huge political and psychological interests in keeping the flame alive.

Farkas
Guest

@Marty
October 9, 2017 3:28 pm

This space is getting too narrow. See my response below.

:-)))

Farkas
Guest

@Marty
October 9, 2017 1:08 pm

Thanks Marty. Very good points.

Ferenc
Guest

OT – Csepel as example of level of sanity
Can this be seen as example of decreasing sanity?
In Csepel at one end of the Aradi vértanúk útja, was in 2001 erected a memorial plaque for the Aradi vértanúk (Martyrs of Arad) pretty nicely integrated in the fence along the walkway. In 2017 it was deemed necessary to be renewed, and on Oct.06 the new version was ceremonially revealed.
Some things:
1.mistake in dates on new plaque, has year 1848 while all happened in 1849 (note: old plaque had it correct)
2.new location, direct in corner of road, instead in fence along walkway
-a.is this OK from a traffic safety point of view??
-b.people on walking on the walkway can’t read the plaque, one has to be on the road…
3.these sort of things getting more and more pompous…

Source: https://444.hu/2017/10/08/ket-helyen-is-hibas-48-as-emlektablat-avatott-csepelen-nemeth-szilard
2012 pictures some showing old plaque: https://get.google.com/albumarchive/100537460859575863404/album/AF1QipPptqWm3dZaHbjLyY6KFvu_8bdUUeEzZYQPLmWz?source=pwa&authKey=CLuMgMiu-NSuBg
2017 pictures: https://www.csepel.hu/hireink/kozerdeku/item/10561-az-aradi-vertanukra-emlekeztek-a-nemzeti-gyasznapon
Martyrs of Arad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_13_Martyrs_of_Arad

Guest

This reminds me of the 1956 memorial which is being built in our vicinity – for this a well kept wall and the children’s playground behind it had to be destroyed …
I’m still wondering why this was necessary and who’s paying for it. As it looks now the playground won’t be usable any more – well, there are almost no children in the village there anyway …
The “speed” with which the work was done is also rather grotesque – once every few weeks someone appeared for work, most of the time the place was empty and everybody wondered what was going on.

bimbi
Guest
Wrfree, 11:13 a.m. “Humour: the great antidote” ??? Well try this one for a good belly-laugh. The winner of the new electoral season’s “Nutty as a Fruitcake” Award goes to Mr. András Aradski, who in a speech in parliament now embellishes the Great Orban lie about Orban’s (falsely) so-called Soros Plan, the SATAN/SOROS PLAN !!! But, thanks to the Mighty Budapest Beacon and Benjamin Novak, let Nutter-in-Chief Aradski (annointed by the Holy Virgin Mary herself), tell it in his (or her) own words…. https://budapestbeacon.com/satan-using-soros-plan-brussels-usher-apocalypse/ “In an address titled “The Christian duty to fight against the Satan/Soros Plan,” Aradszki made the following remarks: • According to the Three Secrets of Fátima, Satan’s greatest and final attack against the Church will be the attack against families. • “We see this with abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and the forced politicization of gender theory. The Soros mercenaries do not cite the Holy Father’s thoughts on this. We see the great European attacks against families, in which Soros and his comrades want to destroy the independence and values of nation states for the purpose of watering down the Christian spirit of Europe with the forced settlement of tens of millions of migrants. But the fight… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

Fascinating. Ironic that Mr. Aradski excoriates a made up Satanic Soros. It’s enough though to know that there seems to be plenty of those who willingly have trust in themselves to indulge and carry on good ‘Mephistophelian’ work.

Joe the plumber
Guest

To tell the truth, Trump and the American military machine scares the shit out of me far more than Putin, migrants, terrorism and Soros put together. And my opinion is based on reading the guardian and the independent rather than Russia today.

Guest

Marty: “…you can’t humiliate a nation like they did with Germany or Hungary back in 1920. You just can’t.”

When a nation has thrown itself blindly into humiliation it must try to come to terms with realities in stead of steering into a new humiliation.

Farkas
Guest
@Marty October 9, 2017 3:28 pm You are quite right, of course. Hungarian nationalism (as most other nationalisms) might well be based in numerous false premises and wrapped in a fog of self-serving myths, but as you say most people are neither rational, nor able to evaluate their own situation in any kind of objective manner. And least of all nationalists in the mini-states on Europe’s Eastern periphery, like most Hungarians. I am not saying that a healthy kind of nationalism does not or cannot exist. There is Scandinavia for instance, or for that matter Canada, Australia or New Zealand. But my perspectives on Hungarians are perhaps very badly skewed because I cannot bring myself to forgive and forget the Hungarian hatred of Jews that came to dominate the interwar years; the Hungarian ‘Jew Laws’ and the role of non-Jewish Hungarians in crushingly humiliate, then looting and exterminating two thirds of Hungarians of Jewish descent, among them most of my relatives; and the continuing visceral and vicious, albeit sly and shifty anti-Semitism of Hungarians not just in the Commie fifties, but even in 2003 when I last visited there, not to mention what I hear and read on this topic… Read more »
Farkas
Guest
@Marty Continuing the above train of thought, however, there is perhaps a point on which I would beg to disagree with you, Marty, along with Jean P. It is where you say that “…you can’t humiliate a nation like they did with Germany or Hungary back in 1920. You just can’t.” Since the war, the Germans have fully and honestly confronted their past history, and come to terms with it, despite all the personal and national humiliations they had to endure in the process. Consequently, I have no hard feeling whatsoever toward this generation of Germans. On the contrary, I have nothing but the highest respect and admiration for them, and I never had the slightest problems working with and for Germans inside Germany or outside of it. In sharp contrast, Hungarians had not been able to fully and honestly confront their past history, and thereby come to terms with it. The personal and national humiliation involved in that would apparently be beyond Hungarian endurance. Consequently, my attitudes toward this generation of Hungarians haven’t changed either. There are also a couple of historical points to consider. The Swiss appear to have found quite a workable solution for their internal religious,… Read more »
Guest

Farkas (funny that your name is similar to mine …), thanks for those remarks re Germany!
Of course we in West Germany were helped by the quick economic “resurrection” aka the Wirtschaftswunder – as we see from the AfD numbers many of the less lucky Eastern Germans harbour similar feelings as the Hungarians …
We’ve talked about the Marshall Plan before – I even worked for the German KfW which even today (!) still manages the money that was invested with US help!

Farkas
Guest
Good to hear, Wolfi! And yes, it was always West Germans only that I worked with and for, from Hanover and environs. Worked in Wunstorf, lived in Bad Nenndorf, and drove a big company Merc on the autobahns at speeds unthinkable in Australia, because if I didn’t, there was always a West German behind me in a second honking like crazy!! I myself was a real leadfoot all my life and hugely enjoyed driving round at 250 kilometers per hour. Wow!!! Weekends I was exploring the nearby forests, of listening to beautiful choir practice in Celle cathedral, or was off to the Harz Mountains or places like Hameln and Minden in the Weser Valley. Wonderful memories indeed. The West Germans I got to know were absolutely wonderful people, each and every one of them. Tremendous work ethic, straight as a die, very kind hearts and loads of fun to be with. And very good looking to boot, both the ladies and the gents. And the German food was absolutely fantastic. I myself am a pork and sausage and beer man, with a smoked eel thrown in here and there for good measure, so I had a real ball gorging myself… Read more »
Marty
Guest
Look, a rich country can always be generous, revisit old wounds, can afford to be wise. People are happy to compromise (as we say jut is, marad is). If people’s lives get better every year, when people consume more and more then most people are OK with facing some difficult questions, issues of conscience. They don’t like it, but what the heck, we live better (aka Trente Glorieuses, Wirtschaftswunder, the Italian economic miracle etc. ), politicians have the political capital to push for such national reconciliation. But when the economy is in a bad shape there’s no room for it in politics. To the contrary when the economy is bad and I don’t mean the statistics, I mean when people are frustrated nationalism and related issues tend to get more important. It’s like an iron law of politics. If politicians can’t keep the populace preoccupied with consumption, they immediately start spending time on made up nationalistic myths. Don’t forget that Hungary never really had a prolonged uninterrupted growth period in the last 30 years. The period after the Bokros-package in 1995 was perhaps such but Fidesz changed course in 1998 and then came the dot com bust in 2001 (so… Read more »
Guest

Marty, your observations are correct – but I’m still wondering: Why?
Obviously (at least to me …) Hungarians have been better off after 1989, just look at all these shiny new cars – and even the old ones imorted used from Germany are better than the Trabants they had before …
And the breadth of offers at the Lidl or Spar must look to them like a wonderland after the Communist “Mangelwirtschaft” – or are they taking all this for granted and want more, more?

Rather OT:
I still remember those jokes like:
Customer asks:
Don’t you have any oranges today?
Saleswoman answers:
No, we don’t have any bananas today!

My wife and I often talk about this – when did she see/eat her first Greek/Spanish/Mexican food, stuff like olives and later pineapples, avocados, you name it …

Farkas
Guest
OK, Marty. But . . . Blaming others and other things has always been and still is a national pastime in Hungary – as is hating Jews. There is always excuses and excuses and excuses, and hard luck stories and sob stories about a poor little Hungary which used to be such a proud giant in the olden days, and about its luckless people who always cop it in the neck for no fault of their own. Israel, South Korea, Taiwan or Singapore, among others, clearly prove that “no excuses” determination, hard work, resourcefulness and brains can overcome even the greatest of adversities and triumph over all. This, however is a totally alien concept for the people of Hungary, be they benighted nationalists, benighted socialists or benighted left-liberals. Incidentally, it is of course most unfortunate that there really are no other political factions in Hungary to choose from, political factions that could potentially steer Hungary toward a measure of general prosperity and a measure of sanity. And then there is the ever present and pervasive looting and corruption so favoured by Hungarians. Looting has always been another national pastime among Hungarians, ever since the Hungarists decided after WWI that the… Read more »
Guest

Farkas, you’re totally right!
To illustrate your points re the “Communists” here is the story of my wife’s father who had a small bakery in eastern Hungary (he had learned his business in Vienna …).
Of course some time after 1945 the Communists took his business and all his belongings – my wife still shows me what they left:
A “dirty” metal bowl where the wife who sold bread kept the change – they didn’t realise it was silver …
Then they wanted him to continue working in his former business as an underling under the party secretary who was stupid and incompetent. He declined and looked for a job as a baker in the neighbouring town – he still had his pride …
A bit OT:
My wife’s hometown in Eastern Hungary is still disadvantaged – there is no real competition in shops and supermarkets, only those crappy CBAs and one Lidl, no Spar, Aldi, Tesco, nothing – and no jobs either …
No wonder people are leaving in droves …
So if you don’t have a car you’re screwed!

Marty
Guest
This is a major question of development studies. Only a handful of middle income countries could ever become high-income countries (without having access to natural resources). There is a small number of Asian exceptions (Taiwan, Korea, Singapore) with very special geographical, political and historical circumstances. Also maybe Ireland and Finland in Europe. Slovakia could become one example. But South Italy is as far from North Italy as its ever been. I think it’s a vicious circle, without the economy society won’t change but the economy cannot improve without the society changing beforehand. Probably there are 50 different issues which a government would have to do right (education, better policies to incentivize work, investment in institutions and infrastructure, prosecute corruption etc.) and then it would take many years. Fidesz’ strategy is the total opposite what is necessary for sustained growth. There are cultural issues as well, sure, I agree that Hungarians are less hard-working, “dolgos” than Slovaks or Germans, they are more content with low quality “igénytelen” – but this is just one out of 50. As wolfi said people have shiny cars whereas they didn’t have anything before 1990. But right now 40% of the Hungarians live below the poverty… Read more »
Farkas
Guest
@Marty I totally agree that Hungary is in every way part of the Balkans, rather than of East Central Europe. That is totally obvious except for the Onward Christian Soldiers of the Fidesz-KDNP who keep beating their breast about Nándorfehérvár while conveniently forgetting about Mohács, and of course the ever so ‘európéer’ left-liberal bubble in Budapest, which is as out of place in that viscerally Balkan environment as fish out of water. Metternich had well recognized this back in the eighteen thirties, when he proclaimed that Asia began in the mud on the Hungarian border. I disagree that you can compare the trauma and shock of the regime change to Trianon. After all, Hungarians were aching to join the fleshpots of the West and were welcoming the regime change with open arms until their chosen leadership had managed to totally screw up the transition. Unlike Poland, for instance, where they managed not to screw it up. Also, I don’t believe that there was even one citizen in Hungary who had new borders move above his head during the regime change, so he suddenly found himself citizen of a foreign land, as had his great grandparents in 1920. As to your… Read more »
Farkas
Guest

And anyway, if we are into comparisons, I believe that the shock and trauma of defeat in WW2 was incomparably greater than that of the regime change in 1989. ; The front moving across the country, leveling Budapest to the ground; a colonizing Red Army rampaging across the country, raping thousands of Hungarian women, and dragging off thousands of Hungarian men for malenki robot in Siberia; the return of tens of thousands of Hungarian soldiers, defeated, wounded and crippled in both body and soul; and the return of the vicious red terrorists of 1919 vintage, apostate ex-Jews the lot of them, on the back of the Red Army, to seize political power on behalf of Stalin, WELL, if all of that was not an incomparably more humongous shock and trauma for Hungarians than the regime change, I am prepared to eat my hat.

Marty
Guest

This is why I suggested you read Svetlana Alexievich. Her book Secondhand Time is about the psychological trauma of the falling apart of a world (the SU) people knew. Traumas are experienced individually, subjectively – one cannot compare them by objective means (ie. how many deaths). (By the way the extra deaths due to increased alcoholism etc. can be measured and is a meaningful number in Hungary.) It was a huge trauma believe me. I’m not listing excuses but potential reasons which also apply to Argentina, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Peru etc. It’s extremely difficult to become a high-income country.

Guest

Re education:
Aren’t Hungarians (or at least a majority of them …) interested in it?
My wife and I just went for a walk through the village and discussed this among other topics – her family seems different, all the children were told to go to the ymnasium and many went on to university – though the father was just a baker as I described above …
And then I remembered my friends at the gymnasium in Germany: One was the single son of a simple widow living in the neighbouring village (a very nice woman though not “cultured”) who had chicken to add some money to her minmal pension and also worked in a small factory – one of those which later was moved to Hungary.
He now retired as a zoology prof …
The other was the son of simple peasants in another village – he went into the miltary and retired as head of a naval academy.
What they had in common, also with me and my sisters, was that the parents wanted us to “have a better life” than they themselves, just like my wife’s parents in Hungary.
Is that something which typical Hungarians don’t want to achieve?

Farkas
Guest

@Marty

Szóval nem kell olyan sokat nyafogni a rendszerváltásról Marty. A folyamatos maszatolást, hazudozást meg kifogások találását pedig hagyjuk csak a magyar parlamentben lézengő jelenlegi képviselők sáskahadának. Sokkal jobb, célszerűbb és egyszerűbb a sok hápogás helyett egyszerüen bevallani, hogy sz*r a helyzet Magyarországon és mindig is az volt, éspedig a mi saját hibánkból, illetve ügyetlenségünkből. Ez lenne az első konkrét lépés egy igazi pozitív változás irányában, és ha fokozatosan egyre több ember gondolkodna így, akkor viszonylag hamarosan be is következhetne egy igazi pozitív változás nálatok.

Marty
Guest

Jó lenne, de az emberek nem így működnek. Nem lehet kényszeríteni őket, hogy lássák be, hogy hülyeséget csinálnak, hogy rossz döntést hoznak, hogy hosszabb távon ez vagy az rossz lesz. Csak dühösek lesznek, ha valaki figyelmezteti őket. Utálják a szakértőket, az okos embereket, aki megmondja, hogyan kéne élniük. A rendszerváltás pedig nem nyafogás hanem trauma. Ez tény. Javaslom Svetlana Alexievichet (irodalmi Nobel 2015) vagy Masha Gessent olvasni Oroszországról – nagyon sok a párhuzam Magyarországgal. Nem akarom felmenteni a magyar választókat, csak azt mondom, hogy nagyon sok oka van egy bizonyos kimenetelnek.

Farkas
Guest

@Marty

Back to English. :-)))

I fully understand. And thanks for the conversation. It was genuinely informative and highly interesting.

Much thanks Marty.

Marty
Guest

Farkas, no problem. Thanks too and sorry to be a smartass at times. Btw Financial Times had a good article a few weeks back about East-Germany, why AfD is so popular there. I recommend that if you have access to it.

Farkas
Guest

Sorry, Wolfi, I clicked the wrong button for my above message to Marty. The message is in Hungarian this time, just for the heck of it. Nothing mysterious or confidential, as your good wife could readily attest it for you.

:-))

Guest

This is one of many articles in the Financial Times on AfD and East Germany:
https://www.ft.com/content/d18213e0-a105-11e7-b797-b61809486fe2
I’ve said it before – the deplorables in the former DDR are similar to Hungarians. Maybe in fifty years time they will accept democracy and human rights …

Marty
Guest

Interesting facts:

East Germany had over 15m citizens in 1989 now it has about 12m. East Germany received over 2,000 billion euros since 1990. This is an amount that cannot be comprehended.

Hungary which has now somewhat less than 10m people received 40bn euros from the EU (from Germany basically) and most of it was stolen.

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