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Pál Juhász Controlled Competition in the Agriculture Antecedents After the change of regime, the first freely elected parliament introduced laws that reshaped agricultural relations (Compensation Law, 1991, Cooperative and Cooperative Transformation Law, 1992) by giving the greater part of land ownership to people who had little to do with agriculture, and mostly lived far away from villages, instead of active members of cooperatives , thereby significantly complicating the formation of a new order of farming. No wonder, since only 4% to 5% of cooperative members were enticed by the ideals of the lawmakers—the vision of the peasant farming his own land. Most of them understood the economic (productive and logistical) benefits of up-to-date equipment and agronomically aware specialized units. There were rationalizing attempts to streamline the cooperative system, but since the Transformation Law gave the land—not only the cultivated land, but also the rights to the majority of common property— to people uninterested in the preservation of jobs, it inclined the members of cooperatives toward a forced solidarity. (If the disputes between groups seeking independence had led to bidding, the decision would have fallen into the hands of outsiders.) The agrarian policies of MDF (Hungarian Democratic Forum), SZDSZ (Alliance of Free Democrats), the Agrarian Union, and Fidesz (Alliance of Young Democrats), all intended to reform the cooperative system; the world of separate individual entrepreneurs was not the most important consideration. Though József Antall—forced into shared governance with the Smallholders’ Party, proponents of reprivatization —was unable to accept reprivatization for practical and constitui6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 345 2016.12.07. 15:47 346 TWENTY-FIVE SIDES OF A POST-COMMUNIST MAFIA STATE tional reasons, he developed the reimbursement system for all people who had lost assets. The originally practical laws introduced by the government were reformed by increasingly radical government representatives, so that it would be more profitable to spend reimbursement money on land, than on state property awaiting privatization and so the Cooperative Transformation Law would include elements of reimbursement. When at the end of 1993 they saw that 90% of the cooperative members had not, despite encouragement, left the cooperatives, they incorporated two limitations in the originally technical land law: one person may only buy 750 acres of land, and legal individuals may not buy land. They abandoned their ultraliberal ideologies that emphasized the “sanctity of propriety” in the hope that this would stop the stabilization of cooperative farming. Political Notions and Farmers’ Rationalism Although, since 2001, the deep liquidity recession that followed the agrarian economy has been avoided and it appears that the wheels are in motion to ensure the constant renewal of farming processes, what is more, since joining the EU the proportion of total income in agriculture is growing, there are serious consequences to the fact that this income and the number of people living from agriculture barely makes up 40% of the income and population of the 1980s. The population of villages was seriously affected by the rationalization of the industry and the rapid growth of productivity: they were the first to become superfluous. The pitfalls in the downward slope of settlements have become more visible: a smaller proportion of people in so-called rural (traditional ) areas make a living in agriculture than in more advanced (fortunate ) regions. In addition, those incumbent to the part-time agricultural activities of “domestic agriculture” popularized during the Kádár era faced a shrunken market further constricting the agricultural possibilities of these villages: the produce handlers, and even the organizers are far away from city markets. However, without the coordination of activities and quality services goods cannot be reliably produced. Home-grown fattening has been pushed back by the networks of official (professional) operations lining up for processing companies and village cow herding has been eradicated by food safety regulations and the collapse of pasture agriculture . The illusion that agriculture guaranteed a future for village people i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 346 2016.12.07. 15:47 347 Controlled Competition in the Agriculture has dissolved. Also, the privatization of land has affected the inhabitants of rural areas the least favorably. The children of the ambitious social layers— including the gentrifying peasants—were the first to move away from these areas. So most of the land became the property of people living far away, and they treat the land as an investment and not as the tool of their labors. From Hubris to Paranoia To better understand the current...


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