Università di Bologna Facoltà di Scienze Politiche “Roberto Ruffilli”
Hungary from sociological point of view
After the post-socialist transition
Written by: Ilya Schneider 2010
“We have to think about socio-economic change in Eastern Europe as a path-dependent transformation. Post-communist societies are not building capitalism by design ‘on the ruins of socialism’; they are creating a new, workable economic system ‘from the ruins of socialism’.” – Iván Szelényi
The following paper on transformations taken place in Hungary after the post-communist transition is divided into four parts. In the first part I will take into consideration briefly the theories coping with the replacement of political elites in the time of transition. I will compare the situation of Hungarian cadres with the ones in Poland and Czechoslovakia observing the causes that led to different particularities in each country. Furthermore, I will try to answer the question who benefits from privatization. Is it indeed the former communist nomenclature who succeeds in converting its political capital into private economic wealth? What if the important question is not who owns what, but who controls what? In the second part I will show the main factors that contributed to a peaceful and democratic transition in Hungary. Then, in the third part I will talk about social capital and its approaches mentioning some results of empirical researches that describe the level and structure of trust of the Hungarian population. Finally, I will highlight two main handicaps inherited from the communist era which are still causing great problems regarding the development of Hungary.
The Theory of Elite Reproduction
Both Hankiss and Staniszkis (Hankiss 1991; Staniszkis 1991) argue that in the years immediately following the collapse of Communist parties, members of the former nomenclature were able to use their political power to accumulate wealth by using loopholes in the legislation. On the one...