Demand Side Abundance

On the Post-1956 Social Contract in Communist Hungary

in East Central Europe
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

In this essay, the discussion proceeds from the public image of the functionary at the end of the Rákosi era, through the Kádárist policies of ‘new sobriety’ disciplining the functionary in order not to irritate and provoke the rest of society, to the new contrat sociale established by the mid-1960s in which the party-state apparatus class and the commoners join one another in pursuing shared (consumerist) ideas of good life and happiness, within the constraints and coping with the conditions of demand side abundance (the tension between consumerist aspirations, desires and an economy of sustained shortages). The article draws on archival sources as well as texts from contemporary cabarets and an analysis of the 1964 feature film, Don’t Waste the Gas!, and its manuscript.

Demand Side Abundance

On the Post-1956 Social Contract in Communist Hungary

in East Central Europe

Sections

References

“A politikai funkcionáriusok helyzete anyagi és erkölcsi megbecsülése. Vita-vázlat” [The status of the political functionaries their economic acknowledgement and social prestige] no author and no date are specified. Papers of the mszmp kbTársadalomtudományi Intézet [Institute of Social Research of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party] mol [Hungarian National Archives] 288. f. 2. cs. 97. őe. fol. 29.

A Magyar Szocialista Munkáspárt Intéző Bizottsága 1957. év május hó 14-i ülésén az mszmp 1957. évi költségvetésével kapcsolatban hozott határozata [The May 14 1957 resolution of Executive Committee (early name of the Political Bureau the party’s top decision making body) of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (mszmp) with regard to the annual budget for 1957]—”Strictly Confidential” note addressed to pgo leader Mrs Pálné Laczkó dated June 11 1957 mol 288. F. 37/1957/1. őe. fol. 214.

Budapest Capital City Archives (bfl) Papers of the mszmp Budapest Committee xxxv (1) f. 21. őe. Minutes of the July 29 1959 meeting p. 11.

György Cserhalmi secretary of the trade union committee of the National Office of Planning [ot] “Az ot dolgozóinak szociális helyezet a szakszervezet ilyen irányú tevékenysége” [The social situation of ot employees and the relevant activities of the trade union—Report to the Executive Committee of the mszmp at the ot discussed on the latter’s October 23 1974 meeting] October 17 1974 bfl Documents of the mszmp Budapest Committee xxxv/10. f. C 232. őe. pp. 1–4.

Jenő Fock’s speech to the October 14 1957 meeting of the Department of PartyEconomy and Administration mol 288. f. 37/1957/1. őe. fol. 3.

Laczkó P. Mrs. “Tájékoztató jelentés a megyei pártgazdasági és ügykezelési osztályvezetők 1957. május 24-i országos értekezletéről” [Report on the national meeting of the party-economic and administration section leaders from the county party organizations 24 May 1957] mol 288. f. 37/1957/1. őe.

Laczkó P. Mrs. 1957a. “Suggestion to provide for the safety and material needs of the members of the Executive Committee and the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party” dated 10 May 1957 “Strictly Confidential!” pgo/305 mol 288. f. 37/1957/1. őe. fols. 184–186.

Laczkó P. Mrs. 1957b. sending her speech to be delivered at the national meeting of leaders the party-economic and administration sections of the county party organizations 24 May 1957 to Central Committee Secretary György Marosán mol 288. f. 37/1957/5. őe. fols. 27.

Lakatos Dezső. 1957. Central Committee pgo leader in the course of the meeting of the pgo section of the Budapest Party Committee 7 April 1959 Minutes of the meeting Budapest Capital City Archives (bfl) Papers of the Budapest Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party xxxv (1) f. 21. őe. p. 2.

Minutes of the 3 May 1966 meeting of the Political Bureau agenda # 4 “Javaslat a gazdasági reformmal kapcsolatos szervezeti változtatásokra” [Suggestions for organizational changes in connection with the economic reforms—presented by Rezső Nyers] hswp. molm-ks 288. f. 5/394. őe. fol. 60R.

Minutes of the 14 October 1957 meeting of the pgomol 288. f. 37/1957 1. őe. fol. 8 and after.

Speech delivered at the meeting of leaders the party-economic and administration sections of the county party organizations 8–9 September 1958 mol 288. f. 37/1958/1. őe. fol. 36.

BaumanZygmunt. 2007. Consuming Life. Cambridge: Polity Press.

BencsikImre and BánFrigyes. 1964. Kár a benzinért [Don’t waste the gas!] (stenciled film script produced in 110 copies copy in the author’s possession). Budapest: Studió 3.

BerendIván T. 1980. “Utunk a hetvenes évtizedig” [Our road to the 1970s]. In Az 1970-es évtized a magyar történelemben [The 1970s in Hungarian History] edited by PachPál Zsigmond. Budapest: Kossuth Könyvkiadó.

CastronovoValerio. 2005. Fiat 1899–2005. Una storia del capitalismo italiano [Fiat 1899–2005. A story of Italian capitalism]. Milano: Rizzoli.

FehérFerencHellerÁgnes and MárkusGyörgy. 1983. Dictatorship Over Needs: An Analysis of Soviet Societies. London: Basil Blackwell.

GalbraithJohn Kenneth. 1998. The Affluent Society.40th Anniversary Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

HáyGyula. 1956. “Miért nem szeretem?Irodalmi Ujság 6 October 1956 pp. 34. Accessed 17 January 2016. http://server2001.rev.hu/msite/msite_display_otherdoc_tanulmany_doc.asp?id=1067&docid= 18&order=1.

KellérDezső. 1967a. “Ötvenéves a kabaré” [The Fiftieth Anniversary of Cabaret]. In Pest az Pest [Budapest is Budapest—selected conferences and sketches 1946–1964]. Budapest: Szépirodalmi Könyvkiadó.

KellérDezső. 1967b. “ Vita kola – Coca cola.” In Pest az Pest [Budapest is Budapest—selected conferences and sketches 1946–1964]160162. Budapest: Szépirodalmi Könyvkiadó.

KornaiJános. 1971. Anti-Equilibrium. A gazdasági rendszerek elméleteiről és a kutatás feladatairól [Anti-Equilibrium. On Economic Systems Theory and the Tasks of Research]. Budapest: Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó.

KornaiJános. 1982. A hiány [Economics of shortage]. Budapest: Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó.

PéteriGyörgy. 2004. “ Nylon Curtain – Transnational and Transsystemic Tendencies in the Cultural Life of State-Socialist Russia and East-Central EuropeSlavonica10 no. 2: 113123.

PéteriGyörgy. 2009. “ Streetcars of desire: cars and automobilism in communist Hungary (1958–1970)Social History34 no. 1: 128.

PéteriGyörgy. 2010. “ Nomenklatura with Smoking Guns: Hunting in Communist Hungary’s Party-State Elite.” In Pleasures in Socialism. Leisure and Luxury in the Bloc edited by CrowleyDavid and ReidSusan E.311343. Evanston, IL.: Northwestern University Press.

PéteriGyörgy. 2011. “ Alternative Modernity? Everyday Practices of Elite Mobility in Communist Hungary, 1956–1980.” In The Socialist Car: Automobility in the Eastern Bloc edited by Lewis Siegelbaum4768. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

PéteriGyörgy. 2014/2015. “ Don’t Waste the Gas!IWMpost no. 114: 56.

Pravda 2 April 1960 quoted by A. Koseljov. 1964. Személyi tulajdon a szocializmusban [Personal ownership under Socialism] p. 182. Budapest.

RainerJános M. 1990. Az író helye. Viták a magyar irodalmi sajtóban 1953–1956 [The place of the writer. Debates in Hungary’s literary press 1953–1956]. (“Gyorsuló idő” series.) Budapest: Magvető Kiadó.

RavaszKároly and KaminskiGyörgy. 1973. A reklám kézikönyve [Handbook of advertising]. Budapest: Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó.

RiesmanDavid. 1964. Abundance for What? and Other Essays. New York: Doubleday1964.

3

In 1970two years after the introduction of Hungary’s New Economic Mechanism an institutional regime expected to combine market regulation and planning a representative survey was conducted among industrial firms. Responding to the question whether or not their success depended on advertising half of them answered with a resolute “No” most of them explaining this in terms of a sustained excess demand over what they can deliver (cf. Ravasz and Kaminski 1973: 50–51). Abstaining from advertising then appears to have been a way of coping with demand side abundance.

Figures

  • View in gallery

    The contemporary (1965) poster of the film depicts the ornitologist with his preowned Fiat Topolino.

  • View in gallery

    Scene from the film: Volga cars serving the comfortable mobility of the party state’s functionaries.

  • View in gallery

    Source: Mária Rédei, Keszthelyiné, Gépkocsi és életmód [The personal car and lifestyle] (“Életszínvonal-füzetek” series, nr. 8), Budapest: Statisztikai Kiadó Vállalat, July 1988. p. 13. Without data for 1984, as the statistical observation of household budget had been made biannually since 1983.

  • View in gallery

    Scene from the film: The Dissuader-Narrator entering his Chevrolet asking the movigoers not to reveal his (their shared) “secret”.

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 10 10 2
Full Text Views 96 96 46
PDF Downloads 8 8 3
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0