Dynamics of an Authoritarian System

Hungary, 2010–2021
ISBN: 
978-963-386-577-4
cloth
$105.00 / €88.00 / £75.00
Publication date: 
2022
July, 375 pages, 31 figures, 21 tables

This conceptually synthetic and empirically rich book demonstrates the vulnerability of democratic settings to authoritarianism and populism. Six scholars from various professional fields explore here the metamorphosis of a political party into a centralized authoritarian system. Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party needed less than ten years to accomplish this transformation in Hungary. In 2010, after winning a majority that could make changes in the constitution – two-thirds of the parliamentary seats, they evolved and stabilized the system, which produced again the two-thirds majority in 2014, 2018, and ultimately in 2022. The authors reveal how a democratic setting can be used as a device for political capture. They show how a political entity managed to penetrate almost all sub-fields of the economy to arrive at institutionalized corruption, and how the centralized power structure reproduces itself.

With the help of a powerful empirical apparatus—among others analyses of more than 220,000 public tenders, redistributions of state subsidies, and the interconnectedness of those privileged with the political elite — the authors detail the functioning of a crony system and the network aspects of political connections in the rapid enrichment of politically-linked businesses. Their studies demonstrate the role of political capture in this redistribution and how this capture leads to a new social stratification.

Preface
Introduction

PART I. METAMORPHOSIS OF A PARTY INTO A SYSTEM
Paths to Political Capture and Institutionalized Corruption in Hungary, 2010–2021
System evolutions in comparative perspective
Political-economic context of systemic evolution
From political dominance to political capture
Diffusion of political capture into autonomous national, local and grass-roots institutions
Forced resource redeployment as instruments of self reproduction of the evolving system
Politically selective resource distribution and those most privileged by forced resource redeployment
The domestic and external factors of persistent self-reproduction during evolution
Conclusions

PART II. REPRODUCTION THROUGH REDISTRIBUTION
Redistribution and Integration
Introduction
Welfare redistribution, social integration and inequalities
Project-based redistribution
Recombinant redistribution
Conclusions

Cronyism in the Orbán Regime
An Empirical Analysis of Public Tenders, 2005–2020
Introduction
Literature
Data and Indicators
The Orbán Regime and MGTS+ companies: descriptive statistics
Models and estimations
Conclusions
References
Annex

Political Connectedness in Hungarian State Capitalism:
The Case of the “Fidesz-Connected” Mészáros Group of Companies
Introduction
Methodology: data collection and processing
Fidesz-connected entrepreneurs on the list of the 100 wealthiest Hungarians
Regulatory and procurement advantages or favors
Lőrincz Mészáros: family and business

Annex
Summary