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Demand Side Abundance

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On the Post-1956 Social Contract in Communist Hungary

image of East Central Europe

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.

Affiliations: 1: Norwegian University of Science and Technology


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29. Pravda , 2 April 1960, quoted by A. Koseljov. 1964. Személyi tulajdon a szocializmusban [Personal ownership under Socialism], p. 182. Budapest.
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31. Ravasz Károly,, and Kaminski György. 1973. A reklám kézikönyve [Handbook of advertising]. Budapest: Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó.
32. Riesman David. 1964. Abundance for What? and Other Essays . New York: Doubleday, 1964.

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