Balázs Szepesi held three lectures in the last month, in Torockó Economist Camp in Romania, in the Elit 2020 Conference and in the Eötvös College for Advanced Studies.
The main topic of the discussion in Torockó and in the Eötvös College was about core characteristics of Hungarian economy. The lecture focused on the potential task and role of intellectual elite. Hungary is one of the most open economies in the World, thus global economic, social and cultural trends reach us in a fast and direct way. The formal institutions in Hungary are relatively weak thus many spheres of life function mostly in informal way.
Small businesses face several obstacles; the economic environment is more favourable to big companies. Ability to initiate and to respond could be the key to success in this situation. Hence we need economic and social actors that are motivated to find and try new ways and means to achieve their goals. It requires motivation, open mindedness and knowledge – both on individual and organizational level. The students who will become the members of the intellectual elite have a crucial role to create and disseminate ideas that can create this supporting environment.
The Elit 2020 Conference hosted a round table discussion about the future’s Hungarian elite, inviting Balázs Szepesi and Miklós Koren, researcher of Central European University and founder of the blogsite, DeFacto. The moderator was Gergely Brückner, journalist of Figyelő. Szepesi’s lecture asked how to improve our knowledge on the nuts and bolts of Hungarian society. His starting point was that the elite can be defined as the group of people who have the privilege to choose their faith. This opportunity has consequences because their choices shape the whole community.
He argued that social sciences lack the respect and credibility in the decision-making processes. It has its reasons: our intellectual life does not motivate and organize projects to reveal applicable knowledge on economic and social processes of Hungary. Our best scientists join to the global intellectual enterprises, many of our academic institutions focus on maintaining their position instead of taking risk and launch debates on practically relevant but intellectually unveiled issues. It is a problem because there is a lot to do: the institutional framework does not favour entrepreneurship and cooperation although both are necessary to make our community prosperous in an open and dynamic global setting.