Thursday 1 July 2021

Neoliberalization and the Kádár Regime

The Institute of Political History organizes a conference with the title The Semi-Permeable Iron Curtain on 1st July, 2021. My lecture is about the neoliberalization of the Kádár regime.


The project is financed by the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund (NKFIH – Nr. 125374)

1st July, 2021

14:00 CET – 8:00 Ohio
Chair: Péter Csunderlik

Opening – Gábor Egry

Róbert Takács: The Urge and Burdens of Openness – Hungary and the World in the 1970s and 1980s

Theodora Dragostinova: Bulgarian Culture in the West in the 1970s: From Ideology to Universal Values

Evgeniya Kondrashina: Music from beyond the Curtain: Soviet Music Recordings and Cold War Cultural Relations 1950-80

15:30 CET – 9:30 Ohio – Break

16:00 CET – 10:00 Ohio
Chair: Róbert Takács

Attila Antal: Neoliberalization and the Kádár Regime

András Pinkasz: The Bridge Model and the Consolidation of the Kádár Era

Péter Csunderlik: The Hungarian Schorske? – Péter Hanák and the Western historiography

Erzsébet Takács: “One must research only if they are curious about something and does not know the final results.” Possibility space of Familiy Sociology in Hungary During the 1970s and 1980s

Neoliberalization and the Kádár Regime

The lecture is based on the approach that neoliberalism is an economic, political and cultural sets of ideas embedded into the West and East and linked to the centre and the (semi-)periphery of global capitalism. It aims the fundamental transformation of social arrangements. Neoliberalism is based on the fundamentalism of the self-regulating market. This has provoked considerable social resistance throughout the history of global capitalism, Károly Polányi argues in this The Great Transformation social self-defence and its counter-wave raised against the market processes. In my view, one of the explanations for the success of the neoliberal approach in the Kádár regime is that when the state socialism began to make conscious and organised use of expert knowledge, it already has a very strong neoliberal charge and (more importantly) the MSZMP can no longer provide an adequate ideological alternative (or ideological hegemony) to the influx of neoliberal approaches, as the state party gradually loosed its monopoly on ideological formation and this provided the opportunity for a neoliberal ideology wrapped in a professional cloak to become hegemonic. The various economic and political steps (the New Economic Mechanism, the financial integration to IMF and World Bank, the history of state debt crisis) will be investigated here as the procedure of neoliberalization. Moreover, I put an emphasize on that the neoliberalization of the Kádár regime has taken place as an ideological and intellectual project which was dominated by the reform economists of the regime as organic intellectuals in a Gramscian sense. It was in the context of the political and economic opening of the Kádár regime to the West in which the neoliberalization process began, this ended the state socialist welfare system before the regime change and laid the foundations for the policy of continuous austerity after 1989.