Special Report: Hungary: A Taste of Luxury

Central planning with an old capitalist trick

With typical Magyar verve, Hungarians have managed to bring a sense of style and vitality to their brand of socialism, making it the gem of Marxism-Leninism. Fashionably tailored men and chic women bustle through Budapest's business and shopping districts, while imported autos (mostly East German Wartburgs and Soviet-made Zhigulis and Ladas) jam its streets. The city's elegant cafés and restaurants serve rich pastries and gourmet meals without the sullen service all too common in other East European cities. Billboards and newspapers (although not television) display imaginative and colorful ads urging consumers to buy a myriad...

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