HUNGARY: Mathematics for the Millions

If Premier Ferenc Nagy and his fellow Cabinet members had paid their return trip from New York to London in Hungarian currency, it would have cost them 14,250,000,000,000,000 pengös apiece.*In Hungary's abysmal inflation— the worst in modern history—one U.S. dollar last week bought 38 trillion pengös. Bookkeepers used a new word: "Mil-pengö" (one million pengös), because their figures no longer fitted the ledgers.

Some 4% of Budapest's citizens live in morbid, black-market-borne luxury, nightly jam the few remaining big hotels, famed restaurants like Gundel's or the Cafe Michel, theaters, cabarets and movie houses. For the rest of the people,...

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