Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Review of: János Kornai, By Force of Thought: Irregular Memoirs of an Intellectual Journey. Cambridge (Mass.): The MIT Press, 2007

Chilosi, Alberto (2007): Review of: János Kornai, By Force of Thought: Irregular Memoirs of an Intellectual Journey. Cambridge (Mass.): The MIT Press, 2007. Forthcoming in: History of Economic Ideas , Vol. 2007, No. No. 2

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Abstract

Kornai's autobiography presents an interesting perspective of the intellectual environment of a Central European country of real socialism such as Hungary, from the Stalinist after-war years to the progressively more relaxed, but still constraining, atmosphere of the sixties and later. Of specific interest for the economist is Kornai's inside witness of the actual functioning of a “real” socialist planned economy, and of the political processes related to it. In the intellectual side of the autobiography Kornai retraces the research process that to an almost life-long research project into the mathematical theory of socialist planning.

A further interesting aspect of Kornai's tome is his picture of the academic economic profession in the West seen with the eyes of an outsider turned insider, a kind of truly anthropological work.

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