The metaphor which can be found as the title of this volume is a reference to the work of Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation. The transformation which took place in Hungary in the 1990s in the economy, society and in the political-institutional system, in one respect following the market, and in another veering towards a democratic institutional system, may not be too great in their size, but very "great" in their importance for Hungary. Moreover, internal changes were accompanied by significant changes which took place under international circumstances, both in the wider and narrower environment of Hungary. These changes have brought about exacting requirements regarding the Hungarian adaptation to the international environment. The authors of the volume - mostly professors and researchers of the Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration - have examined the process, the factors, and the internal and external conditions of Hungary's "small transformation".
The previous two volumes of the series Transition, Competitiveness and Economic Growth dealt with the micro- and macroeconomic aspects of the transformation which took place during the last decade in Hungary. The objective of this volume is to present findings concerning the social and economic aspects, the political field and the changes in international circumstances. Accepting the statement that economic action is embedded in social relations, the studies in this volume touch upon a broad spectrum of social questions, from classes and elites to social deviance and inequalities, from the sociological investigation of markets to the political-institutional system and the development of a civil society. As a result of Hungary's openness, and its geopolitical features, the transition cannot be separated from the changes in the international environment.
This volume offers useful reading material for those who are interested in the social and political aspects of the Hungarian transformation process, as well as in the changes which have occurred in Central and Eastern Europe, and in the international system over the last decade.