Hungarians - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Depending on the region, the rural economy was and is currently based on agriculture (including grains, tobacco, flax, peppers, melons, fruits), viniculture, animal husbandry (with a focus on raising cattle, pigs, horses), and forestry. Today, however, men and some women regularly commute between villages and urban industrial and mining centers. Also, light industrial plants were established in rural settlements, where village women work. Most village households, therefore, have wage income both from agriculture and industry. Traditional patterns of group work projects and mutual help ( kaláka ) continue to be visible in such activities as house building and harvesting, as well as weddings, funerals, and other important rites of passage.

Industrial Arts. Depending on the area, larger settlements had potters, glazed earthenware makers, furrier-embroiderers, fancy honey-cake makers, wood-carvers, and other specialists. In addition to rural craft production, larger cities boasted sophisticated traditions of crafts.

Trade. Throughout the countryside national fairs are frequently held, and there are weekly markets where villagers sell their produce and livestock. In addition, there are general and specialty stores, and in larger towns there are Western-style supermarkets. In 1973 Hungary joined the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. A decade later it was admitted to the International Monetary Fund. The country exports many of its products throughout the world.

Division of Labor. Traditionally there was a marked Sexual and age-group division of labor. In rural Hungary the eldest male was the head of household. Men's special jobs included plowing, reaping, building, and woodwork. Cooking, baking, cleaning, child rearing, weaving, and embroidering were considered the women's domain. Currently, because of out-migration and regular commuting of young and Middle-aged men, there is increasing feminization and aging of village populations. Despite the major changes within the structure of agriculture, industry, and services, much of the traditional sexual division of labor remains.

Land Tenure. Prior to 1945, land was privately owned either in small (often unviably small) plots by peasants or in large estates by aristocrats and wealthy families. In the land reform of 1945, large estates were redistributed among poor families across the country. After 1948 the Communist party and the government attempted to collectivize all agricultural properties and finally succeeded in 1961. As of the 1980s, 93 percent of arable land is cultivated in cooperative or state farms. With changes in property rights imminent, the possibility of increasing amounts of acreage becoming privatized is very likely.

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