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Károly Attila Soós Tributes Paid through Special Taxes: Populism and the Displacement of “Aliens” Low Mobility: The Basis of the Tribute System Around the time of its formation in May 2010, the published program of the second Orbán government emphasized “prioritizing production” as the way to reshape the employment structure of society, and, since 2011, we have heard more and more from Viktor Orbán that Hungary will become the production center of Europe. Initially, it was believed that with an orientation toward production and by grieving for services, Fidesz leaders were for the most part reminiscing in two ways. From one aspect, it recalls memories of Marxist political economic theory that they learned in their youth: the teaching that solely material production labor produces new value. From another aspect, they are allured by memories of the previously dominant industrial-oriented economy. This latter appeal could be observed not only in former communist countries that lost a considerable amount of heavy industry in the “transformational crisis,” but was also experienced in Hong Kong, where, in the last few decades of the British colonial period, the stormy growth in services pushed industry to a marginal role in the economy. Following Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997, Tung ­ Chee-hwa, a businessman who became the executive leader of the government, spoke of the need to reindustrialize Hong Kong. True, his vision never came about: the contribution of industry to the composition of GDP continued to decline, and it is well under 10% today. Rereading the Orbán government’s 2010 program today, something quickly catches the eye that not only differs from the Hong Kong example, but is directly contrary to it. Namely, export-oriented sectors had created a i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 259 2016.12.07. 15:47 260 TWENTY-FIVE SIDES OF A POST-COMMUNIST MAFIA STATE part of the Hong Kong economy’s service sector (and of course, there on the coast of the South China Sea, they were basically connected to and serving the economy of the PRC) that in Tung’s judgment was “overdeveloped” and “should be suppressed”: international trade and transport, international finance, international legal and accounting services. In the Orbán government ’s 2010 program, one type of these services, however, the “European and global service centers,” do not appear as among those that should be suppressed, but is in the same place with the “creative industries” as another desirable path for significant employment growth. Therefore, the program, which is otherwise rather unenthusiastic about imports, regards all exporting sectors as worthy of support, whether they be material producing or service providing. Of course, the program’s wording also leaves several service sectors on the other side, those which are not to be supported. For some of them, the word “nontradable” can be considered strictly valid. These include water, power, and gas providers, as well as landline telephones; in these cases, even excluding any other factors, differences in technical regulations between countries make crossing state borders virtually impossible for individual service providers. Cellular telephone providers can likewise be considered as unable to export: until roaming fees go down to zero, nobody will purchase this service from a foreign company. Of course, this list can only be continued with services for which the designation “nontradable” is only more or less valid. For example, it cannot be stated unequivocally whether domestic trade is not foreign trade, since such a thing as “shopping tourism” does exist. And the types of banking and other financial services that previously had been confined within a country’s borders, such as providing small loan amounts, have also crossed national boundaries even more extensively. Nevertheless , these areas are only very rarely specifically and to a large extent developed as export sectors (Iceland’s adventure in the banking sector was another exception, besides the very particular case of Hong Kong). Since the exporters of such services, owing to their nature, generally face serious disadvantages in export markets compared to their domestic competitors, these disadvantages can only be mitigated at considerable expense, such as in the case of banks that set up branches in their target country, if at all. The literature of tax competition between countries (and within certain countries, between territorial units entitled to levy taxes),1 differentiates between low-, medium-, and high-mobility taxpayers and taxable items. It follows from the above that the sectors referred to, and more generally i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb...

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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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