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Abstract

The most significant concept of János Kornai's oeuvre is the shortage economy theory as it was presented in Anti-equilibrium more than fifty years ago. According to this, modern economies are never in equilibrium. On the markets of goods and services, the aggregate demand is either significantly higher or significantly lower than the aggregate supply. This dichotomous model is discussed in the first part of the paper.

After the collapse of the communist system in 1989/90, shortages disappeared everywhere unexpectedly quickly. But it was also an unexpected development that the institutions of liberal democracy have not developed in several countries and/or collapsed after a short period. Regarding Hungary, Kornai issued an alarm signal at the turn of 2010/2011. He was the first who said that the Orbán regime had turned the country into an autocracy in barely a year. The second part of the paper examines whether Kornai's assertion, shared by many transition-economy specialist, that there are only two political systems (democracies and autocracies) is adequate for the entire range of post-socialist countries. The author's answer to this question is negative.

Open access

Abstract

János Kornai, the most distinguished Hungarian economist passed away on 18 October 2021. This short essay, written by a long-time disciple of Kornai tries to prioritize his scientific achievements spreading over six decades. The conclusion is that Kornai's most important contribution to the principles of economics was already presented in his 1971 book, entitled Anti-equilibrium, and without this book his most respected later works and his other original concepts, like the soft budget constraint or the shortage economy, cannot be understood.

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Abstract

After the collapse of the Berlin Wall it was conceivable that China would follow the path towards the cessation of communism, as it happened in the successor states of the USSR, Yugoslavia and the East European satellite states of the Soviet Union. But the Communist Party of China (CPC) managed to retain control and avoided the Russian and East European collapse, a full-fledged transition to capitalism and liberal democracy. For a while, China was on its way to market capitalism with the possible outcome to turn eventually into a liberal democracy. This was a rocky road, with backs-and-forth. But the shift to liberal democracy did not happen. The massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989, approved by Deng Xiaoping, was a more alarming setback than the contemporary Western observers were willing to realize. This paper presents an interpretation of the changes under present Chinese leader, Xi Jinping in a post-communist comparative perspective.

Open access

Abstract

The paper analyses the differences of COVID-19 mortality rates (MR) in 24 European countries. We explain MRs on the available, reliable ex-ante economic, health and social indicators pertaining to the year 2019 – i.e., before the outbreak of the pandemic. Using simple regression equations, we received statistically significant results for 11 such variables out of 28 attempts. Our best model with two ex-ante independent variables explains 0.76 of the variability of our ex-post dependent variable, the logarithm of Cumulative COVID Deaths. The estimated coefficient for the variable Density of Nurses shows that having one more nurse per 1,000 of population decreases cumulative COVID deaths by almost 15%. Similarly, one more unit Consumption of Non-Prescribed Medicine decreases cumulative deaths by 5%. It seems that until now those European countries were successful in minimising the fatalities where the population had a high level of health literacy, people pursue healthier lifestyle and the healthcare systems worked with a relatively large nursing force already prior to the COVID pandemic.

Open access