Does a ‘reform’ socialist legacy serve as an asset or a liability for democratic transformation? Considering some roots of ‘Orbanism’
Péter Ákos Bod
Post-Communist Economies, 2022, vol. 34, issue 6, 736-755
A commonly held assumption in the transition literature suggests that earlier successes with reforms in Central and East European countries would serve as an asset when the regime changed. Taking Hungary as a case in point, the author revisits the legacies from pre-transition period, calling for differentiating between short and long-term effects of the reform legacy. Emphasised is that Western stakeholders tended to misjudge the starting position of transition nations, generally. This inquiry exposes the role of institutions of democracy, market order, and rule of law in socio-economic transformation, highlighting the contradiction between formal institutional conformity with EU rules and the diverging tendencies in some countries concerning substance of market (e.g. competition) and liberal democracy (checks and balances, separation of constitutional branches). The Hungarian case assists in explaining the emergence of symptoms of a crony state, and the seemingly high-level of tolerance for organised corruption and favouritism.
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