It is with deep sadness and sorrow that we inform you about the passing of our Founder and first President, Professor János Kornai. He left us two days ago, on October 18, 2021, at the age of 93.
Professor János Kornai had a great ideological impact on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and became an influential theorist of the post-Soviet economic transition. He has been a journalist and a researcher prohibited from teaching in Hungary for a while.
Disenchanted with communism, Professor Kornai published Overcentralization (1956), the first book written by someone living behind the Iron Curtain to be openly critical of Soviet-style economics. Although it was attacked in Hungary, it was hailed by Western economists. The Kornai-Lipták theory on two-level planning captured the attention of mathematical economists. Professor Kornai went on to publish the Anti-Equilibrium (1971), a critique of the general equilibrium theory underpinning mainstream economic analyses of markets, Economics of Shortage (1980), The Road to a Free Economy (1990), and the summary of his lifetime research, The Socialist System (1992). An intellectual emissary between East and West, Proffessor Kornai commuted between Harvard and Budapest for many years and became the one and (so far) only tenured Hungarian professor at Harvard.
Professor János Kornai was a Széchenyi Prize-winning economist, a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Professor Emeritus of Harvard University and Corvinus University, holder of the French Legion of Honour, honorary member of the Swedish, American, and other Academies.
Professor Kornai was the Founding Father of our Club. His memory is a treasure that we will hold. His legacy will live on and guide us.