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Far right advance due to flawed economic model

April 17th, 2014

An economist warns that Jobbik is the only political party that has managed to raise the real problems most poor people face in their day to day lives, although it has not offered any viable solutions. The government is trying to get rid of a flawed model of economic development, he believes, but the Left mistakenly interprets that effort as a drive to restore Communism.

On Átlátszó, economist Zoltán Pogátsa thinks millions of people feel worse off as a result of the past 25 years of democratic and market transition. “And they are right, ” he adds. He believes that the only answer to the country’s problems which past governments could imagine was to attract foreign capital, in the hope that it would create jobs and help Hungary catch up with west European countries. But only the first half of the equation was correct. The result is that while employment is below the EU average, the distance between Hungary and the West in terms of per capita GDP is increasing. The government now intends to replace some multinationals with largely publicly owned Hungarian enterprises, a policy reminiscent of one time French President Charles de Gaulle’s strategy or the methods applied by successful Far Eastern countries. Meanwhile, it keeps “selling the Hungarian workforce cheap, to the multinationals”. Left-liberal critics who experienced Communism mistakenly believe that what is happening is a restoration of the centralised economy. But they have nothing to offer as an alternative, other than the old model of dependence on foreign capital. That is precisely the model which millions of people blame for their plight. Jobbik, on the other hand, used words in its campaign like “make both ends meet”, “bring the culprits to justice”. Although they offered no viable solutions, they reflected ordinary people’s criticism of the system as a whole. It is not capitalism as such that they reject, Pogátsa remarks, just the kind of capitalism they have seen which “produces abject misery”.

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