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2021 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

8. Situations of Dependency, Mechanisms of Dependency Governance, and the Rise of Populism in Hungary and Poland

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Abstract

The rise of populism has cast doubt on the sustainability of the marriage of liberal democracy and neoliberal capitalism. There is an urgent need to understand how developmental bottlenecks foster populist social coalitions. This paper builds on the dependency research program to demonstrate how the commonalities and differences in Poland’s and Hungary’s dependent integration into the global economy gave rise to two varieties of populism. While the two countries employed different industrial policies leading to different levels of domestic economic disintegration, they were more similar in the dimension of social policies before the populist breakthrough, giving rise to profound social disintegration in both countries. The disillusionment of the working class with the dependent liberal regime destabilized the social coalitions that were sustaining liberal democracy. The severe disintegration of the economy in Hungary also induced support for national-populism in the domestic business class, leading to a new compromise with transnational capital in the technological export sectors. Poland did not experience such economic disintegration; thus, the alliance between the domestic business class and national-populists is more ambivalent. Hungary’s populism redistributes significant resources upward, while Poland’s populism is more open to redistributive demands of the popular classes.
Footnotes
1
A thoroughly revised and extended version of this chapter is forthcoming in Europe-Asia Studies (Scheiring, 2021).
 
2
This chapter defines populism as ‘a form of political claims-making – that is, a way of formulating appeals to a mass public using a Manichean logic that opposes the virtuous people to corrupt elites and affiliated out-groups’ (Gidron & Bonikowski, 2013: 24).
 
3
This chapter defines illiberalism as a process, a set of contemporary political practices of government and social relations in the economy and culture, comprising a divergence from the norms and practices of pluralist, constitutional liberal democratic governance leading to varying degrees of regime change towards hybrid or autocratic regimes. Weaker forms of illiberalism might still fall within the limits of democracy (Zakaria, 1997), while stronger forms of illiberalism are better captured by the notion of competitive authoritarianism (Levitsky & Way, 2002). This definition of illiberalism resonates with the definition of autocratization provided by Lührmann and Lindberg (2019) who see autocratization as a process that leads towards less democratic regimes. My definition of illiberalism also includes social and economic spheres not just the polity.
 
4
Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség, Fidesz—Hungarian Civic Alliance.
 
5
Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, Law and Justice.
 
6
In this chapter, exclusionary neoliberalism is one of the variants of neoliberalism that prioritizes upward redistribution over ‘embedded neoliberalism’ that incorporates welfare policies to pacify the victims of neoliberalism (see Bohle & Greskovits, 2012). Exclusionary neoliberalism excludes politically defined outgroups from redistribution and decreases the overall level of social protection.
 
7
In this chapter, welfare chauvinism refers to policies that exclude politically defined outgroups from redistribution while at the same time increasing the overall level of social protection directed towards politically defined ingroups. Right-wing populists in Western Europe commonly use this approach to label migrants as ‘undeserving’ outgroups, thus excluding them from welfare policy. However, right-wing populists use the same ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ framing in countries without significant immigration, such as Poland, arguing for protecting and extending welfare to social groups that meet populists’ definition of worthy citizen. Therefore, welfare chauvinsim does not only apply to anti-immigrant welfare rhetorics.
 
8
Although later, the migration crisis unfolding since 2015 clearly contributed to the political fortunes of populists in the region.
 
9
As the chapter will highlight, there are different ways of managing  ‘international economic integration’; some of those ways do not necessarily lead to internal disintegration.
 
10
This chapter borrows the notion of disintegration (also called ‘disarticulation’ in development sociology) from structuralist economics, where it is sometimes called ‘economic dualism’ (for more details on structuralist economics see Blankenburg et al., 2017).
 
11
This concept is frequently used in the dependency research program and goes back to Raul Prebisch’s work on the unequal diffusion of technology in the global economy (for further details see the selection of texts in Bielschowsky, 2016).
 
12
Magyar Szocialista Párt, Hungarian Socialist Party.
 
13
Social divestment and new disciplinary social policies, flat personal income tax, corporate tax reduction, austerity, labor market liberalization, traditionalist family policies targeting the upper-middle class, direct and indirect financial subsidies to firms, increased public investment, property rights actions—these are some of the most important policies of the Orbán regime (Scheiring, 2019; Szikra, 2018).
 
14
Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, Democratic Left Alliance.
 
15
Platforma Obywatelska, PO.
 
16
It is beyond the scope of this chapter to reflect on the question whether PiS actually steered away from neoliberalism or whether it merely applied popular policies and discourses to bolster up the crumbling hegemony of neoliberalism.
 
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Metadata
Title
Situations of Dependency, Mechanisms of Dependency Governance, and the Rise of Populism in Hungary and Poland
Author
Gábor Scheiring
Copyright Year
2021
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-71315-7_8

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