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The aim of the study is to prove that agents organised by market forces tend to create and even more so deepen economic disparities over time. Empirical studies do not reliably describe the trend and causes of interpersonal global inequality in recent decades. Hence, the attention is turned to general economic theory with inspiration from Schumpeterian and neoclassical theories. The results indicate that pure market economy logic will tend to lead to multi-level divergence.

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Mature market economies have thrived on very diverse systems of corporate governance. Transition economies in Central and Eastern Europe have entered the market economy with a special historical inheritance, and critical political decisions of key institutions that have a bearing on the new systems of governance evolving in the region. In this paper, I use an analytical stakeholder approach (different from a normative approach) to identify how the specific conditions in countries in transition have influenced the evolution of specific governance structures, and how this influences the workability of the system. I employ a broad definition of enterprise governance that incorporates fixed, residual and appropriated rights among a broad range of different stakeholders. The governance system is a function of the markets that the firm operates in, by state regulation, and by other specific firm and stakeholder conditions. Based on this definition, I analyse some general determinants behind the governance structure in a market economy, focussing on the distribution of rights among stake- holders. Governance systems in Western countries are used as a benchmark to explore the specific conditions for governance structures in economies in transition. Governance structures changed over different stages in the transition process, with privatisation being the single most important determining factor. Consequently, the role of different stakeholders varies across countries, and has evolved considerably over time. The specific conditions of the transition process have favoured insider ownership mostly in the form of management ownership, but in some cases, also broader employee ownership. However, the relative strength of insiders, especially employees, has declined considerably in later stages of the transition.

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The paper analyses Hungary's competitiveness in international comparison by focusing on the supply-side factors determining competitiveness. Although it attaches outstanding importance to the business-friendly general economic environment mainly in terms of the transition to the market economy and attracting foreign direct investments, the interrelationship among labour productivity, labour costs and nominal and real exchange rates are in its focal point. Its main conclusion is that it is labour productivity which determines international competitiveness in the long run. However, appropriate economic-policy measures are required to prevent the erosion of relative international competitiveness by increasing labour costs and the real appreciation of the national currency.

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Acta Oeconomica
Authors: Csilla Varga, György Lengyel, and Viktória Vásáry

Grzegorz W. Kolodko: Emerging Market Economies: Globalization and Development (Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate, 2003, 281 pp.) - Reviewed by Csilla Varga); Mihály Laki - Júlia Szalai: Vállalkozók vagy polgárok? A nagyvállalkozók gazdasági és társadalmi helyzetének ambivalenciái az ezredforduló Magyarországán (Entrepreneur or Citoyen? Ambivalences of the Economic and Social Position of Great Entrepreneurs at the Turn of the Millenium in Hungary) (Budapest: Osiris, 2004, 271 pp.) - Reviewed by György Lengyel; Guido van Huylenbroeck - Guy Durand (eds): Multifunctional Agriculture. A New Paradigm for European Agriculture and Rural Development (Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2003, 239 pp.) - Reviewed by Viktória Vásáry

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Society and Economy
Authors: Ágnes Hofmeister Tóth and Léna Simányi

The nature and structure of values is a topic of continuous interest in marketing. Contemporary marketers recognised that values are criteria for sorting out the options and for implementing a certain mode of behaviour rather than others. Values are learned during the purely human process of socialisation, along with cultural classifications of reality and cultural code of behaviour.  According to Rokeach (1973) some values are relatively permanent, but others undergo continuous change. In Hungary, the transformation from the socialist system to market economy has opened the country to the West and triggered major changes: political and consumer freedom, privatisation and an increased level of information. The citizens of Hungary were to cope with the new economic system, adopt the norms and the logic of market economy, but they were, however, subject to the legacy of the old system and to the trauma of its displacement. The values in transition are of particular interest to marketing professionals because they often create or change the size of market segments for products or cause changes through advertising, product range or service offering. The objectives of this paper is first to give an overview of the literature on values research and their measurement, with special attention given to theories of values in transition, second to demonstrate the main results of our longitudinal research into changing values, and finally to present our attempt to develop a new instrument for monitoring and tracking the changes in consumer values, which, in turn, affect consumer attitudes and behaviour.

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Society and Economy
Authors: Huseyin Karaoguz and Xuanbo Dong

2001 Schneider, B. R. (2009): Hierarchical Market Economies and Varieties of Capitalism in Latin America. Journal of Latin American Studies 41: 553

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Large retail chains have become the dominant purchasing places for Hungarian consumers. At the same time when the first large scale retail unit was opened in Hungary the first critical voices were heard on the environmental effects of hypermarkets. In the new century economic critiques have overtaken the environmental ones. In countries with longer history of retail chains and market economies the most intensive discussion is about the social effects of big box retailing. Nonetheless these social debates have had almost no effect on the Hungarian regulation of large retail chains, yet some of the problems are addressed by self-regulation. This paper consists of two parts. First it gives an overview of the critical academic literature on the effects of large retail chains on the environment, on communities and on local economies. Second it analyses how these problems are reflected in industrial self-regulation, namely in the codes of ethics of retail companies.

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The paper discusses the frameworks and development of the introduction of the Euro in Central Europe, with a focus on pre-entry countries (Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Croatia). The main elements of monetary integration maturity are the state of real-integration (possibilities of large saving in transaction costs), meeting the criteria of functioning market economy and the single market; macro-economic stability and meeting the Maastricht criteria; and shortcomings of absorption (integration) capacities of the EU. Controversial questions are also discussed, such as requirements concerning inflation, the budget deficit or exchange rate stability. The paper argues that the countries under scrutiny show diverging courses of action and policies, public support is also unclear, and the interests of TNCs and political elites contradict each other. Cultural, legal, security or emotional factors will pay a key role in eventual adoption, and prospects also depend on the solution of the current debt and migration crises.

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Over 1.8 billion people — from Central Europe to East Asia — have been involved in the great systemic transformation to market economy, civic society and democracy, lasting already a generation. The process has evolved more by chance than by design, and has brought mixed fruits. The diversification of the current situation is a result of both the legacy from the past and the different strategies and policies executed in particular countries over subsequent periods. These polices have been based on different assumptions and followed the advises of alternative schools of economic thought. Consequently, there are theoretical lessons to learn, as well as policy implications, from this vast experience. The paper, written from the comparative perspective and exercising counterfactual history analyses of the multi-track process of the great Post-Communist change during the last two decades, provides some forecasts and propositions for the next generation.

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Keynesian policy was quite successful in the post-war decades in Western Europe, but by the late 1960s lost its efficiency due to changes in conditions rather than its mistaken logic. The lesson from the first global crisis erupting in early 1970s and also from the subsequent several crises since then is that the increasing crisis propensity of the world economy is rooted in its inherent disequilibria stemming from deep inequalities, asymmetrical interdependencies and disintegrated socio-economic structures. In view of the failure of the prevailing methods of crisis management, particularly those undifferentiated, antisocial austerity measures corresponding to a neo-liberal monetarist concept which neglects this lesson, many economists prefer the Keynesian recipe. However, since global crises need global solution, and the spread of conspicuous consumption modify the demand constraint, its application must be adjusted to reality, and requires some global governance which may pave the way for a global oeco-social market economy.

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