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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 gyorgy.peteri@ntnu.no

10.1163/18763308-04303006
/content/journals/10.1163/18763308-04303006
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1. “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.
2. 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.
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5. 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.
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7. 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.
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13. Bauman Zygmunt. 2007. Consuming Life . Cambridge: Polity Press.
14. Bencsik Imre,, and Bán Frigyes. 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.
15. Berend Iván 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 Pach Pál Zsigmond , et al. Budapest: Kossuth Könyvkiadó.
16. Castronovo Valerio. 2005. Fiat 1899–2005. Una storia del capitalismo italiano [Fiat 1899–2005. A story of Italian capitalism]. Milano: Rizzoli.
17. Fehér Ferenc,, Heller Ágnes,, and Márkus György. 1983. Dictatorship Over Needs: An Analysis of Soviet Societies . London: Basil Blackwell.
18. Galbraith John Kenneth. 1998. The Affluent Society .40th Anniversary Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
19. Háy Gyula. 1956. "“Miért nem szeretem?",” Irodalmi Ujság , 6 October 1956, pp. 34. Accessed 17 January 2016. .
20. Kellér Dezső. 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.
21. Kellér Dezső. 1967b. “"Vita kola – Coca cola".” In Pest az Pest [Budapest is Budapest—selected conferences and sketches, 1946–1964], 160162. Budapest: Szépirodalmi Könyvkiadó.
22. Kornai János. 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.
23. Kornai János. 1982. A hiány [Economics of shortage]. Budapest: Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó.
24. Péteri György. 2004. “"Nylon Curtain – Transnational and Transsystemic Tendencies in the Cultural Life of State-Socialist Russia and East-Central Europe",” Slavonica Vol 10, no. 2: 113123. [Crossref]
25. Péteri György. 2009. “"Streetcars of desire: cars and automobilism in communist Hungary (1958–1970)",” Social History Vol 34, no. 1: 128. [Crossref]
26. Péteri György,. 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 Crowley David, and Reid Susan E., 311343. Evanston, IL.: Northwestern University Press.
27. Péteri György. 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 Siegelbaum, 4768. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
28. Péteri György. 2014/2015. “"Don’t Waste the Gas!",” IWMpost , no. Vol 114: 56.
29. Pravda , 2 April 1960, quoted by A. Koseljov. 1964. Személyi tulajdon a szocializmusban [Personal ownership under Socialism], p. 182. Budapest.
30. Rainer János 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.
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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/content/journals/10.1163/18763308-04303006
2016-12-03
2018-05-21

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