The foundations of hybrid authoritarian state capitalism in Hungary

This article is a revised version of a previous report published by the Transnational Institute (Challenging Authoritarianism Series, no 1, April 2028).

stmm. 2020 (1): 119-131

UDC 316.33


Gábor Scheiring - Academic Fellow, Department of Social and Political Sciences & Dondena Centre Bocconi University (Milano, Italy).


Abstract. Authoritarian capitalist practices are gaining foothold not only in non-democratic states, such as China, but even in countries with strong liberal institutions. From Greece to the US, an increasing number of countries show its symptoms: curtailing democratic contestation in order to stabilise accumulation. Hungary is one of the most puzzling cases. Hungarian elites followed the good governance blueprints of international institutions, implementing liberal political and economic reforms between 1990 and 2010. For long, the country was considered to be a frontrunner of the third wave of democratisation, yet now it is seen as the prime example of the illiberal turn. Orbán’s political-economic model, hybrid authoritarian capitalism institutionalised by the accumulative state, has been stable for eight years now. To understand the emergence, stability and potential vulnerability of this regime, this article digs deeper into the contradictions of post-socialist liberal policies.

Keywords: authoritarian capitalism, illiberalism, democratic backsliding accumulative state, Hungary.

Publication in: eng


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