The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Varga, Evgeny (Jenö) (1879–1964)

  • Rudolf Nötel
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95189-5_1398

Abstract

Soviet economist, political activist and analyst, Varga was born in Nagytétény, Hungary, on 6 November 1879, and died in Moscow on 7 November 1964. He was a college teacher, economic journalist, Professor of Political Economy (1918) and People’s Commissar of the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919. He was forced to leave Hungary in the first days of August 1919 for Austria (where he was detained for several months). While in exile, he worked for the Secretariat of the Communist International in Moscow and the Soviet Trade Mission in Berlin. From 1927 to 1947 he held the position of Director of the Institute of World Economy and World Politics, and from 1929 to 1964 he was a Full Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

Soviet economist, political activist and analyst, Varga was born in Nagytétény, Hungary, on 6 November 1879, and died in Moscow on 7 November 1964. He was a college teacher, economic journalist, Professor of Political Economy (1918) and People’s Commissar of the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919. He was forced to leave Hungary in the first days of August 1919 for Austria (where he was detained for several months). While in exile, he worked for the Secretariat of the Communist International in Moscow and the Soviet Trade Mission in Berlin. From 1927 to 1947 he held the position of Director of the Institute of World Economy and World Politics, and from 1929 to 1964 he was a Full Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

In feudal-capitalist Hungary of the declining Habsburg Monarchy and two subsequent short-lived revolutions, Varga systematically covered all vital economic policy issues, including industrialization (1912), land reform, and inflation (1918). His experience as Commissar he summed up in ‘The economic policy problems facing the proletarian dictatorship’ (1920).

In the following period of capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, fascism and war, he found confirmation for many basic tenets of Marxism: in The Great Crisis and its Political Consequences. Economics and Politics, 1928–1924 (1935) he empirically demonstrated the validity of the theories of exploitation, imperialism, class warfare and crises, and correctly foresaw the inescapable drift towards war and revolution.

After decades of exceptionally intensive research and varied experience (which permitted him to become one of the chief architects of Hungary’s spectacularly successful Forint stabilization), he published ‘Changes in the Capitalist Economy following the Second World War’ (1946). Now he attributed lasting importance to reinforced state control, rising consumption shares, decolonization and the increased role of international credit in the capitalist economy and, accordingly, doubted the fatality of world crises and world wars.

These conclusions were officially rejected in the Soviet Union and he was demoted from his leading Institute position (1947). But after some interruption he resumed scientific work and restated and extended his theses (1953, 1964). His Selected Works were posthumously published in three volumes (1974).

Selected Works

  • 1912. Az ipartelepülés és Magyarország iparosodásának problémája (The location of industry and the problem of Hungary’s industrialization). Közgazdasági Szemle 303–313; 393–411.

  • 1918. A pénz: uralma a békében, bukása a háboruban (On money: Its peace-time power and war-time collapse). Budapest: Népszava.

  • 1920. Die wirtschaftspolitishen Probleme der proletarischen Diktatur (The economic policy problems facing the proletarian dictatorship), 2nd ed. Vienna: Verlag der Arbeiterbuchhandlung.

  • 1935. The great crisis and its political consequences. Economics and politics, 1928–1934. London: Modern Books.

  • 1946. Izmeneniia v ekonomike kapitalizma v itoge vtoroi mirovoi voiny (Changes in the capitalist economy as a result of the Second World War). Moscow: Gospolitizdat.

  • 1953. Osnovnye voprosy ekonomiki i politiki imperializma – posle vtoroi mirovoi voiny (Basic problems of imperialist economics and politics – After the Second World War). Moscow: Gospolitizdat.

  • 1964. Politico-economic problems of capitalism. First published in Russian. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1968.

  • 1974. Kapitalizm posle vtoroi mirovoi voiny. Izbrannye proizvedeniia (Capitalism after the Second World War). In Selected works. Moscow: Nauka; includes a bibliography listing 749 titles.

Bibliography

  1. Sociological Institute of the CC of the HSWP. 1979. Varga Jenömüveinek bibliográfiája. A bibliography listing 1158 titles and editorial contribution to 30 volumes. Budapest: MSZMP KB Társadalomtudományi Intézete. variable capital. See Constant and Variable Capital.

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rudolf Nötel
    • 1
  1. 1.