Varga, Eugene Samuilovich

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(18791964), major figure in the Soviet economics establishment and expert on the world capitalist system who fell afoul of Stalinist dogma.

Eugene Varga was educated at the universities of Paris, Berlin, and Budapest, receiving a doctoral degree from the last in 1909. He joined the Hungarian Social Democratic Party in 1906 and was a writer and editor on economic matters for its central organ. When the communists came to power in Hungary in 1919, he served as commissar of finance and then as chairman of the Supreme Council of the National Economy. After the regime fell he moved to the USSR.

Varga's specialty was capitalist political economy and economic conditions in the capitalist world, on which he was an influential and authoritative spokesman during the interwar period. He was elected a full member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1939 and was director of its Institute of World Economics and Politics until 1947, when the institute was shut down because of the views he expounded in Changes in the Capitalist Economy as a Result of the Second World War. Varga defended himself vigorously at a conference of economists held to attack him, but was forced to recant. In the post-Stalin period Varga was ultimately restored to a position of honor, and in 1959 his eightieth birthday was celebrated as a notable jubilee presided over by Academician Konstantin Ostrovitianov, who had orchestrated the attack on him in 1947. In 1963 he was awarded the Lenin Prize for "scientific treatment of the problems of modern capitalism."

Despite his independence in analyzing economic developments in the capitalist world, and his courage in fighting Stalinist dogmatism, Varga was a thoroughly orthodox Marxist, and a critic of the ideas of Soviet econometricians and mathematical economists.

See also: marxism


Domar, Evsey. (1950). "The Varga Controversy." American Economic Review 40:132151.

Robert W. Campbell

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Varga, Eugene Samuilovich

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