Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Lajos Schmidt

First Page



A recent New York Times article describes Hungary as "the Communist world's economic showcase, with plenty of goods in the shops and a fair measure of political liberty." It points out that while Poland is struggling with idle factories and empty stores, Romania has introduced food rationing and Czechoslovakia may do the same, the Soviet Union is buying foreign grain to bridge the winter, and East Germany is feeling the impact of rising energy prices and a widening trade gap, Hungary is prospering. How can a small member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) with little mineral or natural wealth other than fertile land and the skill and willingness of its population, uphold a standard and style of living more similar to that of the West than that of the Soviet Union or the highly industrialized and heretofore quite prosperous German Democratic Republic?

For more than a decade Hungary has secured a better and freer standard of living for its population by relaxing centralized State planning. Instead, Hungary has encouraged the profit motive and decentralized the management authority of plants, farms, and cooperatives. Hungary's recent applications for membership in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are a result of her steady, liberal economic evolution.