Socialism—The Tragedy of an Idea

Possible? Inevitable? Desirable?

Authors: Bokros, Lajos

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  • Combines historical facts and theoretical views and ideas
  • Examines the conflict between liberty and equality
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About this book

This book explores the idea of socialism from three angles and raises the questions if socialism is possible, inevitable, and desirable. Socialism as an economic and societal system was possible based on the two most important pillars of Marxian political economy: State ownership in the means of production and mandatory central planning (command economy). Nevertheless, these two characteristics are compatible only with dictatorship. On this basis, socialism is neither inevitable nor desirable, because it excludes competition, freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.
The three questions are analyzed through the academic work of five towering figures: Joseph A. Schumpeter, Karl Polanyi, Friedrich A. Hayek, Karl Popper, and Hannah Arendt. The theoretical findings and inferences resulting from this analysis are compared with the reality of socialism as it existed rather than an imaginary uncontroversial blueprint of socialism.
The book discusses the evolution of Soviet communism and its attempts with market reforms to solve its inherent contradictions. It concludes that totalitarian regimes tend to fail in reforms because market freedom is inconsistent with totalitarian control. The author makes a strong case against dictatorship, also in the context of the spreading of nationalist populism around the globe. This book is a must-read for everybody interested in a better understanding of the ideas of socialism, totalitarianism, and populism.

About the authors

Lajos Bokros is professor of economics and public policy at the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria) and at Babes-Bolyai University (Cluj, Romania). He was a member of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2014. Before, he served as chairman of the economic council of the largest university in Hungary, ELTE, from 2005 to 2009, was director of the World Bank between 1996 and 2004, and Hungarian Minister of Finance from 1995 to 1996. From 1991 to 1995 he was the CEO of Budapest Bank and the first chairman of the Budapest Stock Exchange from 1990 to 1995. He also served as the deputy head of department and managing director at the National Bank of Hungary from 1987 to 1991 and was a research fellow and division chief at the Financial Research Institute of Hungary between 1980 and 1987.

Table of contents (5 chapters)

Table of contents (5 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-57843-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-57842-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Socialism—The Tragedy of an Idea
Book Subtitle
Possible? Inevitable? Desirable?
Authors
Copyright
2021
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-57843-5
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-57843-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-57842-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 164
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations
Topics