Understanding the rise of Orban: a lesson for western democracies in crisis – My Piece on openDemocracy

My recent piece on openDemocracy is discussing how unchecked capitalism led by elites living in their bubbles paves the way to the rise of right-wing extremist. A social crisis created by neoliberalism inherently carries a threat of an autocratic turn. In this perspective small-town Southern Iowa and the Hungarian countryside are not so far away from each other.

„Most observers seem to utterly miss the angle that makes the story of Hungary’s last decades a case-study with international implications. Viktor Orban’s electoral victories did not happen in a vacuum – they were direct consequences of the disillusionment that most Hungarians felt after 20 years of democracy. While on a superficial level Hungary looked like a fairytale of a free-market transition, the social conditions of the majority of the population entered a spiralling decline. As unchecked privatization and deregulation gave all the fruits of growth to multinational corporations and their small upper-middle class workforce, austerity measures took a heavy toll on the education and health-care systems.”

You may read the full text here.