INTRODUCTION: The people of Hungary are said to enjoy the best standard of living behind the Iron Curtain.
GV EXTERIOR Local shops in town street
SV ZOOM IN CU Tools on sale in shop window (2 shots)
SV ZOOM IN CU Vegetables on display, Coca Cola sign
SV ZOOM IN Woman hanging dresses outside boutique, jeans and other clothes (3 shots)
SV INTERIOR Chickens on sale, woman buying meat
SV Woman arranging flowers in florist's shop (3 shots)
SV/GV Car mechanic at work in garage (2 shots)
SV Factory worker filling soda water bottles (2 shots)
SV ZOOM IN Potter at work, pots in kiln for firing (3 shots)
GV INTERIOR Waiter in restaurant, drinks being served at bar (2 shots)
GV EXTERIOR Foodstuffs being unloaded from truck for export (2 shots)
SV Forklift operator loading crates into goods train
SV EXTERIOR Train leaving station
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The people of Hungary are said to enjoy the best standard of living behind the Iron Curtain. While Poland grapples with a food supply crisis their Hungarian neighbours find an abundance of most things in shops and supermarkets. The same thing applies to other consumer goods, produced by a healthy industrial network now concentrating in earnest on export markets. But one of the major ingredients of Hungary's growing prosperity has little in common with strict Communism. It is the growing acceptance of private enterprise.
SYNOPSIS: News laws were passed by the Budapest government in September. They were designed to encourage Western-style private enterprise even more. The idea was to help people set up small, self-financing businesses in any field where the state has no monopoly and would not be affected.
Before, private enterprise had been small-scale, restricted to street corner dress shops, greengrocers, tobacconists. When the new laws actually come into operation next January, people will be allowed to start business employing up to 100 people. Large firms will continue to lease premises and equipment to private bidders with both taking a share of the profits.
The aim of the government planners is to achieve a greater flexibility in their vast production system. They believe small, private business can respond faster to market demands than big state companies. Just like this florist who would know best her customers want.
But according to some experts the scheme does have drawbacks. They say there could well be a significant widening in the earnings of workers. Those in a private concern would be getting more than others in a state factory employed on only a daily eight-hour shift.
This production line factory worker is filling bottles with soda water and would be classed as semi-skilled. Another danger is that two many highly-skilled technicians could be lured away from big factories by the prospect of earning more money with a smaller private firm having longer working hours.
Despite these fears, there is little doubt that mixing socialism with a dash of old-fashioned capitalism, reminiscent of Western Europe, has improved conditions for Hungarians. The pottery workers are benefiting from a series of gradual economic reforms introduced by Communist Party chief Janos Kadar in the years since Hungary's bloody revolution against Soviet control in 1956. Kadar is said to follow strictly the Soviet line on foreign policy to get some freedom of action in economic affairs.
The result has been social stability and a relative sense of affluence. Restaurants flourish in the capital and elsewhere offering a wide range of food with different wines and spirits.
Hungary's volume of exports has also increased dramatically over the last 15 years. There are more than 800 foreign firms producing good sin joint ventures with the state. One particular firm makes jeans with 40 per cent exported, bringing in valuable foreign currency for the state to re-invest in new projects.
Overall productivity is still well below Western levels, but life in Hungary is now vastly different to the food and refugee queues of the fifties.