Wéber Kati

Acta Oeconomica, Vol. 6l (1) pp. I 2 (2011)
DOI: 10.1556/AOecon.6l.2011.1.1



András Bródy was born in a well-to-do family in Budapest, Hungary in 1924 and he died on December 3, 2010. His family owned the Hungária Publishing House that became his first place of employment. In the meantime, he graduated in mathematics at Pázmány Péter University. His professor was Lipót Fejér, an outstanding Hungarian mathematician. He was enacted as general director of Hungária Publishing House after World War II when most companies, including his family business, had been nationalised by the Hungarian government. But he left his leading position and started working as a turner at Ganz Mávag Locomotive Works in 1949. He was enrolled at the Budapest University of Economics in 1948 where he graduated in 1953. The communist Hungarian government established the Institute of Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1954 where Bródy began to work in 1955. The Institute remained his sole workplace until his death.

Bródy was invited by several famous universities all around the world as visiting professor and he had the opportunity to work with Wassily Leontief at Harvard University and with Richard Stone at Cambridge University. He was one of the co-founders of the International Input-Output Society in 1987 and its journal, the Economic Systems Research in 1989.

Bródy's first scientific paper discussed one of the burning issues of the planned economy, the end-of-month rush in companies. He gave a logical explanation for the forced rush that became the point of departure of several research papers on the topic. Then he turned to more comprehensive issues of general equilibrium and cycles. In his main work, Planning Prices and Proportions (Amsterdam, North-Holland,1970) he further developed the model of Piero Sraffa and applied the advanced tools of input-output analysis. He developed a mathematically exact model of Marx's labour theory of value. Then his interest turned to the cyclical development of market and non-market economies. He gave an elegant explanation of the so-called Kondratiev-cycles (50- to 70-year-long cycles) in Közgazdasági Szemle in 2007. He also dealt with control theory in his second book Ciklus és szabályozás (Cycles and Control) [Budapest, Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó, 1980] where he applied the tools of thermodynamics to economic problems. His most popular works, Slowdown: About our Economic Maladies (Budapest, HAS Institute of Economics, 1982) and Near Equilibrium (Budapest, Aula Könyvkiadó, 2004) were translated to several languages.

András Bródy was a Marxist but not of the "dogmatic" type, first of all from a methodological point of view. He took Marx's theory of reproduction and cycles as a point of departure and further developed it into a rigorous model. He mastered the tools of input-output analysis and he largely contributed to the elaboration of the dynamic version of I-O models. He also incorporated John Neumann's turnpike theory into the analysis of economic dynamics.

His colleagues frequently called him the enfant terrible of Hungarian economics. Bródy was a free minded scientist who always wanted to remain unleashed from dogmatic ideas and from school discipline. Many of us learned a great deal from him without Bródy being a formal teacher of the younger generations. It is a shame of Hungarian education establishment that he never had a chair at any Hungarian university. His free and unleashed mind allowed him to wander in territories of economics where others never did. But being free also had a drawback. Bródy put much less on paper than would have been desirable and feasible, had he been more disciplined. We may just hope that his students will complete his work. He will be missed from economics as a brilliant mind and as a joyful human being by all of us.

Ivan Major

Acta Oeconomica 61 (2011)