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banking | John Feffer
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Roma as Consumers

As the history of segregation in the United State demonstrates, the business community can be just as racist as anyone else – even if it undercuts their profits to refuse to serve minorities. Gradually, however, the business community began to see minorities as consumers and thus vital to their bottom line. Hollywood, for instance, realized the potential of African American audiences in the...
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The Misrule of Law

The success of the free market reforms that took place in East-Central Europe after 1989 was predicated to a large degree on the rule of law. The privatization of state assets, for instance, required a high degree of transparency and a strong set of regulations. Otherwise corrupt individuals and groups could easily vacuum up the assets at low prices and make a killing. Two decades after these...
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Hungary’s Economic Leap

In the late 1980s, Hungary was widely considered to be the economic trendsetter in Eastern Europe. The “goulash Communism” of Janos Kadar, introduced at the end of the 1960s, had gradually morphed into a hybrid form of market socialism. I spent a month in Budapest in 1985 and was startled by the profusion of goods in the stores. It wasn’t exactly Vienna, but it was a far cry from Warsaw or...
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