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Balázs Krémer The Social Policy of the Mafia State and Its Impact on Social Structure Introduction In the first part of this chapter I would like to demonstrate the changes in the social structure in Hungary during the Fidesz government. I will do this by analyzing changes in income inequality, relying mainly on the (secondary ) analysis of publicly available data. In the second part I will point to certain changes which show a strong statistical correlation with the changes in income structure, and which can therefore be interpreted as “factors,” components of the changes in the income structure. In the third part I will continue to analyze statistical data and point to changes—essentially social and economic damage—that are related to these developments and that go beyond the transformation of the income structure. I will conclude by going beyond the analysis of statistical data, venturing into less secure territory, to sketch the political background of these phenomena. For that, I will have to touch upon certain legal and institutional changes and define certain concepts and their use, to finally conclude by articulating my interpretations with regards to social policy. To sum up the main point of my analysis: what I am trying to prove is that although the economic crisis resulted in the polarization of inequality almost everywhere, the dramatic growth of the income gap in Hungary happened differently there than in other countries. I will merely touch upon the fact that while other EU member states mostly strived to reduce the negative effects of the economic crisis—increasing poverty and i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 181 2016.12.07. 15:47 182 TWENTY-FIVE SIDES OF A POST-COMMUNIST MAFIA STATE inequality—as much as they possibly could, the interventions of the mafia state significantly contributed to increasing inequality, an outcome, I will argue, that was even more significant than the crisis itself. All this has done great damage to the (already quite vulnerable) social and economic resources and opportunities of the country, and it has been “functional” in building the power structure of the mafia state, in the unscrupulous growth of the “godfather” and the “adopted family,” and the imposition of state power on the population. The Growing Gap in Income Inequality in Hungarian Society Before embarking on the analysis of income distribution in Hungary, let me share some background knowledge with readers who are not well-versed in this topic, knowledge that experts in this field take for granted. Our data about income and income inequality mostly come from two basic sources: the records of TÁRKI’s Household Monitor Survey, a biannual dataset, and the household expenditure records of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH). Since KSH has not gone out of its way lately to make its data publicly available, we have increasingly had to rely on Eurostat data based on these former data. Questionnaire data are not very reliable , partly because of the high proportion of people who do not disclose their real income, and especially because the margin of error is higher than average at the two extremes, among the very rich and the very poor. It is impossible to present representative data for these two extremes (homeless people or tenants who do not pay rent are not possible to find on the basis of their registered address; and the very rich, including oligarchs on the highest level of the mafia, cannot be interviewed as the security guards do not let the pollster enter their gated communities). Also, whatever data we have concerning these groups are more distorted than the average as uneducated, poor people who live from day to day have no structured image of their income—for them, “money just comes and goes”—whereas the rich are more strongly inclined than the average to conceal their income, especially income that they derive from their property. As income data are of dubious authenticity, it is not the “absolute sums” we use for analysis but rather the distribution and the time series. If we suppose (even though we are far from convinced) that nondisclosure of income is more or less proportionate to actual income in each income i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 182 2016.12.07. 15:47 183 The Social Policy of the Mafia State category, then the distribution of the declared income is identical, “parallel ” with the distribution of the actual income. Regarding the time series, despite the distortions and statistical errors, if data are collected...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9786155513619
Related ISBN
9786155513626
MARC Record
OCLC
959552378
Pages
660
Launched on MUSE
2017-03-28
Language
English
Open Access
No
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