Friday, March 9, 2007

The Memoirs of János Kornai

The Hungarian economist János Kornai that started his career believing that "Central planning must be more efficient than market anarchy", then "he came to reject first the brutal methods used by the regime and later the justificatory ends and theories as well. He went through a process of "emotional and intellectual restructuring that lasted several years." He also ceased to be a Marxist, unlike many Western intellectuals who, while rejecting communist systems, insisted that Marxist theory was wholly innocent of the wrongdoings committed on its behalf. Mr. Kornai was not one of those fighting "desperate rearguard actions" to salvage comforting beliefs. He quoted with approval a contemporary Hungarian philosopher who said that he came to reject Marxism "not because [the Party] did the whole beastly business in the name of Marxism, but because Marxism does not explain what is going on around me.""

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