szerző:
hvg.hu

"Businessmen should stick to business," said Viktor Orban at a village party meeting, and though he didn't say it explicitly, the second sentence was implicit: "...and not govern." This view of leadership is thought-provoking. Because it disqualifies people in certain professions or jobs from taking part in public affairs. Which begs the question: who is suited to run the country?

It's well known that over the past two centuries, apart from 1918-19 and 1945-90, the country has been run mainly by lawyers, rich aristocrats and from time to time by professional soldiers. After the regime change of 1989 there came a museum curator, hospitality industry experts, former communist diplomats, lawyers, economist-bankers, and a well-connected Socialist businessman. And that's fine, because these gentlemen were chosen by the people. It's true that Ferenc Gyurcsny came to power not via direct election but following a party putsch. So whilst his position is politically vulnerable, there is no legal question over his legitimacy.

Now let's come back to Orbn's statement. If I understand rightly, certain businessmen are not suited to playing a part in public affairs. So who is suited? I see three approaches.

The first is to assume that nobody is born to be Prime Minister. So the PM is the individual who plays the game correctly, chosen as a result of a free election and party horse-trading. The second approach is to look at professional qualifications. Since 1990, our prominent politicians have come from various backgrounds, but they were all MPs. It's also true that most younger MPs have never held down an 'honest job', as the man on the street would say. This doesn't mean, of course, that an 'old hand' (and here I think of Pter Medgyessy) necessarily performed better than his predecessor or his successor, neither of whom is an economist.

The third approach is the key. Whilst a politician spends taxpayers' money, a businessman puts his own money and his own employees' economic well-being at risk. So fiscal caution and careful risk assessment should characterise the businessman's approach to the common kitty, at least in a functional market economy. This is something worth reflecting on.

To conclude: why should it be that a lawyer is necessarily better at economic policy than a former businessman? I ask because it's not just the PM's performance that affects citizens and foreign investors, it's the performance of other ministers too.

I learned little from last summer's prime ministerial debate, since the discussion was not about economic growth, but about how to spend money. And so it would be nice if in the coming campaign, we didn't talk about professional suitedness, but about clearly defined economic alternatives.

RUDOLF ToKeS
(Political scientist, university professor)
hvg.hu English version

HUF 336billion?

In the worse case, the government will have to repay HUF336bn to National Motorway Rt., but it is trying to withhold some HUF100bn of this.

hvg.hu English version

Interview

Hungary's government recently increased its budget deficit targets for 2006 and beyond, after the EU required to...

hvg.hu English version

Shoddy workmanship

"Building a home is an art," says one of the leading property investors. And it would seem to be a popular art form, given that there have never been so many new homes to choose from on the market. An estimated 10-11,000 apartments are on sale in Budapest. But with growing supply, ever more buyers are complaining of poor quality.

hvg.hu English version

Unconstitutional?

It will be left to the next parliament to modify the agents' law it voted for in May, after the Constitutional Court ruled parts of it unconstitutional. Despite this, there will be plenty of talk of former agents in the coming election campaign.

hvg.hu English version

Opinion

Following the Polish Left's spectacular defeat, and now that our elections are fast approaching - where there's a good chance of a right-wing government taking the place of our current left-wing party - people are once again pointing to the parallels. It began in 1993, when a post-communist party defeated the party of the regime change.

Szokjunk hozzá, hogy ezt a nyarunkat tönkreteszik a szúnyogok

Szokjunk hozzá, hogy ezt a nyarunkat tönkreteszik a szúnyogok

Ez történt: Putyin adott egy pofont a szabad internetnek

Ez történt: Putyin adott egy pofont a szabad internetnek

Fejjel lefelé fordított whoppert reklámoz a Burger King, és jó oka van rá

Fejjel lefelé fordított whoppert reklámoz a Burger King, és jó oka van rá

Leszúrta egy 13 éves lány az apját Galgahévízen

Leszúrta egy 13 éves lány az apját Galgahévízen

Orbán válasza alapján nem úgy tűnik, hogy Lázár János átveszi Kásler helyét

Orbán válasza alapján nem úgy tűnik, hogy Lázár János átveszi Kásler helyét

Fél nap kimaradás után tért vissza az áram 50 millió dél-amerikaihoz

Fél nap kimaradás után tért vissza az áram 50 millió dél-amerikaihoz