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Megrendelés Lemondás
1 "Teach Hungary"--ad in Harper's (mind)  19 sor     (cikkei)
2 Wages (mind)  34 sor     (cikkei)
3 Hungarian origins (mind)  71 sor     (cikkei)
4 Horn shooting his mouth off again? (mind)  16 sor     (cikkei)
5 Witness Once Again (mind)  76 sor     (cikkei)
6 Re: Wages (mind)  11 sor     (cikkei)
7 Comparing Hungary to the CR (mind)  93 sor     (cikkei)
8 Re: "Teach Hungary"--ad in Harper's (mind)  14 sor     (cikkei)
9 Re: Comparing Hungary to the CR (mind)  10 sor     (cikkei)

+ - "Teach Hungary"--ad in Harper's (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

I noticed this in the March Harper's.  I apologize if this is a

                        TEACH HUNGARY
                Cultural immersion through teaching

An excellent opportunity for recent college graduates, retired
teachers or anyone yearning for an international experience with the
profound benefits that only a long-term stay in a foreign country can
now the largest annual suppliers of critically-needed English
to Hungary and Romania.  We are currently seeking teachers for our
1995-96 programs.  Prospective teachers must have a B.A., some exper-
ience in TESL or TEFL and a strong interest in East Central Europe.
German and French teachers are also encouraged to apply.  For infor-
mation and applications, contact Lesley Davis, Director, TEACH
175 High St. Ste. 433, Belfast, ME 04915  Tel/Fax (207) 338-6852
+ - Wages (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

Greg Grose writes:
> : Wages are not slightly lower -- they are considerably lower
> : if you consider that most Hungarians get extra income from the
> : private/grey economy, while their Czech counterparts don't.
> Is this a proper comparison?  Aren't you discussing "incomes"?  It
> was my impression that "wages" measured pay per unit of production or
> labor. Or have I misunderstood and you are suggesting that p/g market
> wages are higher and just not tabulated or reported?
In the context where it appeared (prices lower in the Czech Republic,
therefore Czechs must be better off) comparing total incomes is not
unrealistic.  As for the measure you suggest, wages/unit of production I
think this is what is called productivity, and it tends to be considerably
higher in the private sector. How productivity of the average Hungarian
wage-earner in the big state-owned factory compares to that of his Czech
counterpart I'm not sure, but I suspect that in that sector the Czech worker
is more productive.  How productivity of the average Hungarian vs. Czech
worker in the private/grey economy compares is even harder to guess, but I
suspect the two to be roughly equal. In tabular format (numbers are
fictitious, but the proportions are intended as realistic):

     state-owned  private
Hung. |   1      |    3   |
Czech |   1.5    |   3.5  |

So let's say the Czech worker is more productive than his Hungarian
counterpart both in the private and the state-owned sectors. However, if the
proportions of these sectors are very different, say 80% state-owned vs. 20%
private in the Czech Republic, 50-50 in Hungary, overall productivity in
Hungary will still be higher (as I suspect it is).

Andras Kornai
+ - Hungarian origins (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

... the sheer distance in time (some 3000 (!) years
between the last traces of the Sumers and the first reliable information
the Hungarians) makes me entirely sceptical about the whole idea.

          Charlie Pinter


My primary aim in this debate was to stir a up a healthy dose of
I hope, however, that this skepticism will carry over into the
relationship with your Vogul cousins.
I succeeded, now I can shut up!

Just kidding!

And that reminds me: you mentioned    Geza Komoroczy, who can be chased
out of the world with the Sumer relation idea. He published many articles
to refute these theories.

Well, for starters, I think trying to refute something is not very
constructive, don t you agree? Just look at the example of those trying to
refute the Hungarian -- Finno- Ugrian relationship.

Would not all that refuting energy be spent a lot more constructively in
doing a comparative research between Sumerian and Hungarian, exploring
every avenue and idea, hoping for the possibility that they MIGHT  be
related? In other words, the hypothesis should be that they ARE  related
and go from there. That s what researchers usually do, and you get lot
better results that way; unless, of course, he is desperately trying to
disprove the relationship for political (or other non- scientific
reasons.)  Still, my sources tell me: there is no university department in
Hungary for comparative studies regarding Magyar and Sumerian. And that s
a pity: such controversial and hotly disputed theory should be VERY
thoroughly researched.  Above mentioned professor KOMOROCZY  must be a
scholar in another disciple, so his work in Sumerology probably is  to
prove the negative.  And that s a pity, too. Or am I wrong?

Most scholars assume the Sumerian ceased to be a spoken (living) language
in Mesopotamia around 2,000 B.C. For comparison, this was the age of
Abraham, the beginning of the Hebrew history. The time gap between the
Abraham and the Khazars is considerable indeed. However, those French,
English, Irish, German scholars establishing the relationship between the
Sumerian and  Hungarian languages never claimed direct descendance; they
regarded the two languages as cousins, heirs of a much more distant and
ancient people possibly located in Central Asia hundreds, if not
thousands, of years before the civilization  between the rivers  was

Back to the Huns: no doubt many in Hungary like the theory of the Hun
relationship because of certain romantic sentiments.  This is beside the
point, however, from the scientific point of view. As I stated before, the
close Hun- Hungarian relationship was a prevailing scientific consensus
until the second half of the last century, and not only in Hungary. The
prevailing theory now attributes a Turkic dialect to the main tribe of the
Huns. Either way, the relationship can t be denied. Both Turkish and
Hungarian are members of the Ural- Altaic group of languages. And no
matter where your ancestors lived in the first millennia A.D, they had to
be part of the Hun Empire stretching from Korea to Central- Europe for
centuries, so the intermixing of blood and way of life must have been
considerable. The difference we are talking about, therefore, is in the
DEGREE of relationship.

Sorry, this message is already too long.

Tomorrow is another day,

+ - Horn shooting his mouth off again? (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

>Gyula Horn said during his visit last week to Brussels that Hungary
>could become a member of NATO as early as 1996, Reuters reports on 14
>February. "The relevant NATO decision, even if of merely orientational
>character, could come at the end of this year or in the first half of
>next year." Horn said. "In this case it is not completely excluded that
>we will be members of the North Atlantic Organisation as early as 1996."
>NATO is expected to complete its year-long study on the requirements for
>membership in December. Horn said meeting the European Union's
>requirements would be tougher and only under an optimistic scenario
>would Hungary join before the year 2000. * Michael Mihalka

This could be pretty embarrassing as the Western denials start coming
in, don't you think?

+ - Witness Once Again (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

As I have a bit of time - here is a report copied
from the Guardian/17/02/95. It caught my attention as
Witness was a brilliant film, I've seen it three times at least.


Lucy Hooker reports from Budapest on a film satire that brings home
some bitter truths about life without the communists

When Peter Bacso's 1969 film Witness wos first screened in the early 80s,
it's portrayal of a man mercilessly manipulated by an absurd stalinist
burocracy won it a cult following.

By ridiculing the early, most severe, years of communism, it allowed
a new generation to laugh at the past.
Now, just as the film is losing relevance in post communist Hungary,
Mr Bacso has come up with the sequel.

Witness Once Again shows the main character, Jozsef Pelikan, fourty years
on, living in ppeaceful retirement on an island in the Danube. But
Hungarians are not finding this one so funny.
I the most famous scene from Witness, the authorities give Pelikan the
task of cultivating oranges to prove communism is keeping pace with
progress in the West. But the one orange he manages to produce is stolen
and replaced by a lemon.
Unflustered, the authorities pretend nothing has happend and pronounce
it a yrue Hungarian orange.
The "orange" became a symbol for the hypocrisy of communism.

Now Pelikan has grown a whole tree of oranges in his conservatory,
Hungarian style communism wasn't so hard on him and he is happy.
Than suddenly a smarmy entrepreneur arrives on his doorstep, oozing cash
and fast-talk, and Pelikan is thrown into a series of events over which
he hes no control. He is hoodwinked into co-operating with the
entrepreneur's grandiose business plans and in the process loses his
privacy, his friends and eventually, his house.

"The message is pretty much the same" says Kriszta Fenyo, aged 27.
"You, as an average person are at the mercy of history under both
regimes: first the dictatorship and then the new capitalism."
"But this one was sadder, than the first, I think it's because we
are still in this period. You don't see a way out, an end of it."

The euforia that followed the collapse of communism wore off fast,
when it became clear, that there were going to be winners and losers.
Mr Szipak, the smooth entrepreneur in the film, views it philoso-
phically. "If you decide to become a whore, don't cry if you get
screwed. That is capitalism."

Most Hungarians recognize the caricature of the smart guy who made his
first bucks with dodgy business during the transition and now plans to
open a Hong Kong joint venture leisure complex on Pelikan's peaceful
But more of them sympathise with Pelikan and his catch-phrase:
"Life is no cream cake, it is just hard to give it up."

Western business tycoons and cell-phone carrying opportunists have not
won much affection in the hearts of ordinary Hungarians, for whom
the only tangible effects of the free market are rising prices and
dwindling welfare benefits.

To them privatisation is synonymous with corruption or unemployment.
Only a third of Hungarians actually welcome foreign investment,
according to a poll published in a nwespaper Magyar Hirlap. The rest
see it as a necessary evil, or disapprove of it entirely.

Even film-makers are not exempt from the exigencies of the free
market. After five years scraping togetherfunding for the film, Mr Bacso
was forced to seek business sponsorship.
So, ironically, a film which mocks the free market, is littered
with brand names.
"It was very bitter experience and I want to forget it. Maybe
it was lucky I couldn't get the money together earlier. The film
would have been quite different, not quite so bitter and sad at the
"In 1990 I had more illusions for the future."
+ - Re: Wages (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

Andras Kornai wrote:

: In the context where it appeared (prices lower in the Czech
: therefore Czechs must be better off) comparing total incomes is not
: unrealistic.

Oh, absolutely, I was only doing my bit for clarity, aka nitpicking:)

+ - Comparing Hungary to the CR (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

>> However, if I may play the devil's advocate...  Why is it that the Czech
>> privatisation has managed to keep many strategic areas of the economy in
>> Czech hands without the same reaction that we've seen in Hungary?
>Because of the coupon-based privatization scheme that Hungary, IMHO very
>wisely, did not adopt. What makes privatization attractive is the appearance
>of an *owner*, a person who actually has a great deal invested in the
>proper running of the enterprise. To replace one distant owner, the state,
>by other distant owners (coupon holders) contributes nothing to making the
>enterprise more efficient -- chances are it will be run by the same managers
>who used to run it for the state, and they are not motivated by the proper
>greed and fear that only true ownership seems capable of generating.

Except that ownership is more broadly distributed, how are coupons different
from stocks?  They both represent ownership in a company, they can both be
freely traded, and their relative worth rises and falls with the fortunes of
the company.  Surely market forces guide both stock and coupon holders...

>What the Czech government has perfected is liberal rhetoric without
>significant liberalization. Unemployment is kept artificially low by keeping
>all the loss-making state-owned industrial dinosurs operating. What little
>privatization (besides shuffling paper) actually took place was the result
>of a few large deals, such as the Volkswagen-Skoda deal, which were (and
>still are) micromanaged by the government. The only exception is real
>estate, where Hungary had a crazy quilt of coupon schemes (with mostly
>disastrous results) while the Czechs did the hard thing. Now that Gyula Horn
>has succeeded in reinstating a similar level of government meddling, Hungary
>has nothing to be proud of, but the fact that Vaclav Klaus has this great
>pro-market-forces patter doesn't make the Czech Republic an attractive place
>for the serious investor.

That's true, and Hungary still attracts much more foreign investment than
the CR.  Also, the Germans have come to dominate foreign investment in the
CR as no one nation has in Hungary.  This, needless to say, makes the Czechs
a bit uncomfortable.

>> The Czechs worry about when to REvaluate, not when to devaluate.
>For the sake of keeping social unrest at bay, the Czechs maintain an
>artificially high exchange rate (something that the Antall government also
>did for a while -- at least in this respect Horn knows better). The black
>market rates of Forint vs. USD is pretty much the same as the official
>rate, while nobody in their right mind buys Koronas at the official rate.

The Czech Republic, unlike Hungary, has a trade surplus.  Revaluation would
raise Czech wages, and lower *competitiveness*.  This would seem to me as a
rather confident move on the part of the government, and signal stability
both to currency speculators and foreign investors.  And yes, people do buy
Koronas at the official rate.

>> Unemployment is still relatively low, and inflation is under control.
>Yes, but these would be signs of a healthy economy only if it had a
>reasonably competitive product mix. The steady heartbeat of a catatonic
>patient is not something his doctor should be proud of.

If you don't measure economic health by trade balance, growth rates,
or inflation, what should we measure it by?  There is a rather healthy
variety of products in the Czech Republic, and the market seems much
more articulated.  If you want to create a new kind of "misery index",
looking not only at inflation and unemployment but the hours needed to work
to buy food, utilities, etc., Hungary and the CR are probably about equal,
but they're going in opposite directions.

>> This might not be the most objective measure of a country's economic
>> success, but just go into a Czech food store and notice how inexpensive
>> everything is compared to the Hungarian ABC. (Wages are slightly lower).
>Absolutely true, it is (a) cheaper (b) not at all a good measure of economic
>success. If anything, low prices are a reflection of low presence of
>expensive high-tech equipment in the production process and of the
>prevailing low wages. Wages are not slightly lower -- they are considerably
>lower if you consider that most Hungarians get extra income from the
>private/grey economy, while their Czech counterparts don't. Comparing the
>average Hungarian ABC to the average Czech store is also a sobering
>experience in terms of what is on sale -- outside the tourist spots it is
>hard to find anything occupying shelf space in a Hungarian store that has no
>obvious buyers. You might find the lack of Syrian mint liqeuer regrettable,
>but to me it is the sign of a store owner who actually understands the
>basics of her business.

Mr. Kornai is obviously confusing the Czech Republic with Romania...
It's hard to beat a discount German food store for affordability and
quality... I've never seen cheaper, and yet German wages aren't exactly low.
In today's economy, efficiency is more of a price factor than labor costs.
(How else could high-wage economies like the German and Japan maintain a
trade surplus?)  This is anectodal, but food prices in the South of the US -
where labor costs are depressed - are higher than, for example, in the
more unionized North.  As to the availability in the average Czech ABC:  I
spent much time in Ostrava, the Miskolc of the CR, and found the variety of
goods superior to that available in Szeged.   This doesn't mean I'd rather
live in the Czech Republic, but I do think it represents the benchmark of
what can be accomplished in a post-communist economy.  It's all the more
unfortunate because Hungary represented this benchmark for so many years,
and now seems to be falling into the second tier.

+ - Re: "Teach Hungary"--ad in Harper's (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)


I recently have joined this discussion. Last year I spent 4 weeks
in Budapest and had the pleasure to meet many Teach Hungary folks.

They are all having a great time and you get a really nice

My question is about how many folks in this discussion group
are in Hungary?


Harry G. Osoff
+ - Re: Comparing Hungary to the CR (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

Marc Ellingstad wrote:

: Except that ownership is more broadly distributed, how are coupons
: from stocks?

Yeah, I wondered about that too, the answer is coupon holders have no
voting rights?