Széll Kálmán Foundation - Introduction

2011. 10. 03.

Dear Visitors,

 

The Széll Kálmán Foundation is a non-public, invitation-only discussion club. It was founded eight years ago with the aim of enabling members to conduct deep and profound social-economic discussions with the involvement of experts instead of the so often compendious and superficial discussions that are designed to target the general public.

The aim of the foundation is to give a forum to creative people to promote and advance Hungary in the region and in the wider environment as an equal partner. It is a sincere and critical intellectual meeting point for members to share the latest information and knowledge on social sciences, social philosophy and practical issues. There are times and special events when our gates are open to the general public either because of the relevance of the subject matter or the eminence of the presenter as was the case on 1 March 2011 when - headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán -  the Government presented the members with the Széll Kálmán Plan.

 

We want to give a real opportunity to creative people who share the conviction that the purpose of their work and effort is to improve the quality of life, to make their children and grandchildren free, i.e. to enable them to live in dignity in full control of their lives.

 

The life work of the conservative Kálmán Széll, who lived between 1843 and 1915, hallmarks our objectives. He was an exceptional man. A politician, minister of finance, and prime minister. He was an economist who founded and operated banks, created a model agricultural farm. In addition to this, he never forgot his birthplace, and established a general grammar school in Szentgotthárd. In order to improve the life chances in the region, he successfully campaigned for the construction of the Győr-Szombathely-Graz railway line, which was in operation already in 1873. His motto as prime minister: "Law, Rights, and Justice" echoes throughout his entire life career and is now the slogan of the Foundation as well. It is not without interest that we mention that in the beginning of his career, it was Ferenc Deák, who - with great foresight - advised him to study economics beside law as this seemed to be the key to the future at the time.

 

The words of Alert Berzeviczy give a true description of the eponym of the Foundation in his appraisal delivered at the commemorative convention of the National Public Education Council in 1928: As minister of finance, "he had a tough task to manage, but he persevered and succeeded with determination and assuredness. The balance of public finances had to be restored with means that did not violate the primary interests of the government and which could also guarantee the long-term sustainability of the restored balance. (He had to) restore our sunken credibility."

 

130 years later, these sentences are as relevant as back then.

 

The success of a country depends on being well organised, on the calculable and effective operation of the institutional system that is designed to serve the freedom, prosperity and security of the people. The basic institutions promoting prosperity include the protection of property and the freedom of enterprise. They are both needed to minimise bureaucracy and corruption, which drain creativity and dispirit the individual.

 

Politics is not merely about the forceful rejoicing of people for selfish or ideal gains, but - to quote Max Weber - is about the mediation of interests in which good causes are managed well.

 

The Foundation is not a public organisation and it does not wish to participate in public debate and discussion. The board of trustees of the Széll Kálmán Foundation comprises eight members; from January 2011, its president is Csaba Lantos, businessman.

The board of trustees