Struggle and Hope


Struggle and Hope

Essays on Stabilization and Reform in a Post-socialist Economy

9781840641400 Edward Elgar Publishing
János Kornai, Allie S. Freed Professor of Economics, Harvard University, US and Permanent Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Collegium Budapest, Hungary
Publication Date: 1999 ISBN: 978 1 84064 140 0 Extent: 304 pp
This major new book presents an objective and penetrating economic analysis of stabilization and reform in Eastern Europe, combined with a compassionate plea for individual rights and solidarity.

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This major book presents an objective and penetrating economic analysis of stabilization and reform in Eastern Europe, combined with a compassionate plea for individual rights and solidarity.

János Kornai – one of the most famous Hungarian economists of his generation – focuses on two main issues: first, the problems of stabilization and adjustment, which are painful but necessary conditions of sustainable growth and second, the reform of the ‘premature welfare state’ of Eastern European countries, which is disproportionately large in relation to the resources available and which was hitherto managed in a highly centralized, bureaucratic and paternalistic way.

Struggle and Hope goes beyond most other books on the transition process by placing considerable emphasis on the understanding of the ethical implications and the historical roots of each problem, and also the political conditions and consequences of change. Although economic efficiency is extremely important, it is not the exclusive criterion; ethical principles of individual sovereignty and solidarity must also receive particular attention.

Professor Kornai’s insightful analysis will become required reading for all those concerned with the process of post-socialist transition.
Critical Acclaim
‘. . . he [the author] presents an interesting and original analysis of the transition to a post-socialist economy. . . . The book presents an illuminating analysis of the macroeconomic and social policy options in the process of change from a centrally planned, socialist economy to one based on the market and private enterprise.’
– Dharam Ghai, International Labour Review

‘This book could profitably be read by more than economists or specialists on Hungary. It does not require a sophisticated technical knowledge, and it goes well beyond a country study. What Kornai makes clear is that post communist transition is a process of worldwide significance to be explored with the whole array of tools provided by the social sciences.’
– Marie Lavigne, Slavic Review

‘. . . a thorough and judicious analysis of major problems and possible solutions.’
– M. Bornstein, Choice

‘Those of us who have admired the courage and good sense of János Kornai for many years will greet this compilation of his 1994–1996 articles and interviews with warm anticipation. Chapters 5 and 6 offer us the best account I have seen of the “gradualist” road to reform and system change in Hungary.’
– Martin C. Spechler, Comparative Economic Studies
Contents: 1. Eliminating the Shortage Economy: a General Analysis and Examination of Developments in Hungary 2. Lasting Growth as Top Priority: Macroeconomic Tensions and Government Economic Policy in Hungary 3. A Steep Road: an Interview by László Zsolt Szabó on the Stabilization Programme 4. The Dilemmas of Hungarian Economic Policy: An analysis of the Stabilization Programme 5. Paying the Bill for Goulash Communism: Hungarian Development and Macro Stabilization in a Political-Economy Perspective 6. Adjustment without Recession: A Case Study of Hungarian Stabilization 7. The Responsibility of the Individual and Society: An Interview by Mihály Laki on Social Issues 8. The Citizen and the State: Reform of the Welfare System Index
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