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03 June 2023

Do-It-Yourself Socialism: Home Construction Credits, Private Property and the Introduction of the Self-Build Programme in Hungary, 1954–1956

Contemporary European History
Do-It-Yourself Socialism: Home Construction Credits, Private Property and the Introduction of the Self-Build Programme in Hungary, 1954–1956

Ideology and state ownership are supposed to have characterised socialist housing. This article argues that economic and monetary constraints were also dominant in shaping housing policy in early socialist Hungary. These factors increasingly compelled the regime to promote private home ownership through state-subsidised credits. Despite high public interest in the programme, however, neither wealth, personal connections nor ideology alone could condition the outcome of home-build applications due to severe shortages. This impasse put the regime at a crossroads of whether to pursue needs-based housing or to introduce ‘profitability’ considerations in credit checks for self-build. This article argues that the Nagy government's pursuit of the latter option increasingly undermined the ideological basis of communism. The scheme's failure not only made citizens receptive to radical change in 1956 but also put the regime on a new trajectory where private wealth accumulation and self-provisioning became inseparable from the economic legitimacy of communism in Hungary.

Source: Radi S. (2023) Do-It-Yourself Socialism: Home Construction Credits, Private Property and the Introduction of the Self-Build Programme in Hungary, 1954–1956. Contemporary European History. 17 April: 1-21

Source web-site: https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/2AE7CC6A9593C7F9EA5C8C8F7A1AE702/S0960777323000164a.pdf/doityourself_socialism_home_construction_credits_private_property_and_the_introduction_of_the_selfbuild_programme_in_hungary_19

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