János Kornai

János Kornai (til 1945 J. Kornhauser, 1928), is an Hungarian economist noted for his analysis and criticism of the command economies of Eastern European communist states.From 1958 onward Kornai received many invitations to visit foreign institutions, but he was denied a passport by the Hungarian authorities and was not allowed to travel until 1963, after political restrictions had begun to ease. From 1967 until 1992 he was a Research Professor at the Institute of Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He became corresponding member (1976), member (1982) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Kornai joined the faculty of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, in 1986 and was named the Allie S. Freed Professor of Economics in 1992. He retired from Harvard in 2002. In the same year, he became a Permanent Fellow of Collegium Budapest, Institute for Advanced Study. He is also a Distinguished Research Professor at Central European University. He was a Member of the Board of the Hungarian National Bank (central bank) until 2001, and has authored many economics-related books and papers. In 2007 he published a memoir, By Force of Thought, on his research and the social and political environments in which he did his work.

Taking Stock

Barely eight months have passed since the new parliament was formed – and since then the words and deeds of the party and government new in power have turned the political life and the workings of the state and the economy upside down. We keep being perplexed; we have not even woken up from the astonishment caused by a political step yesterday when shocked by another new announcement or measure today. It is difficult to absorb the whirlwind of events. Let us stop for a moment, let us take a deep breath, and let us re-consider what has actually happened. […]