Janus Kornai was born in 1928 in Budapest. He graduated from the University of Budapest, worked as an economic editor for Free People from 1947, and in 1955 became an employee of the Institute of Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In 1966 he was awarded the title of Doctor of Economics, in 1976 he was elected a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and in 1982 he was elected a full member.
He was invited as a visiting professor by a number of foreign universities: the University of Sussex in 1966, Stanford in the United States in 1968 and 1973, Yale in 1970, Princeton in 1972 and 1983, Stockholm in 1976-1977 and 1984. At -85 He taught at Harvard University. From 1972 to 1977, he was Vice-Chairman of the United Nations Development Planning Committee.
He held the position of Head of the Department of the Institute of Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and was also a professor at the Collegium Budapest, the Budapest University of Economics, and from 1986 at the American Harvard University. He was a member of the Economics Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the editorial board of the Journal of Economics. He was elected a foreign member of the American Academy of Sciences and Arts, the British Academy, the Royal Swedish Academy, the Finnish Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Sciences, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Turin.
Deal mainly with mathematical methods of design, the economic application of mathematics and computer science, and the theory of economic mechanism. His economic works can be read in ten languages, including Imbalances in Japanese. His most famous work is The Deficit which appeared in 1980.
Other major works: Excessive Centralization of Economic Management, Mathematical Programming of Investments, Mathematical Design of Economic Structure, Disequilibrium, Forced or Harmonious Growth, Growth, Deficit and Efficiency, Contradictions and Dilemmas, Bureaucratic Redistribution of Corporate Profits, Old and New Contradictions and Dilemmas, An Embarrassing Handbook on Economic Transformation The monetary economy of the socialist system.
His autobiography was published in 2005, followed by the Japanese version and in early 2007 the English version. In 1983 he was awarded the Hungarian State Prize and the German Alexander von Humboldt Prize for his work. In 1994 he was awarded the Széchenyi Prize. In 1997, he was awarded the rank of officer of the French Legion of Honor. He was appointed Honorary Doctor of the Stockholm University of Economics in 2001, then of the University of Economics in Varna in 2003, and of the European College in Bratislava in 2013. In 2005, he was awarded the Prima Primissima. In 2007, the Central Cross was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary on the civil oath with the star. In 2007 he was awarded the Academic Level Award, in 2008 – on his 80th birthday – with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hungarian Economic Society. In 2009, he was awarded the Twenty Years of the Republic award. In 2010, the Civil Division of the Order of Merit of the Grand Cross of the Republic of Hungary was awarded for his work, for his world-renowned achievements in research into the theory and operation of economic systems.
In 2018, Corvinus University in Budapest organized a full-day scientific conference in honor of her 90th birthday. In 2018, he was elected an honorary member of the Széchenyi Academy of Literature and Arts. His funeral will be arranged later.
Image source: MTI Photo: Kelemen Zoltán Gergely.