The official website of Oszkár Világi

Open society

The principle of an open society for me personally has a deep meaning. As a member of the former Federal Assembly I was at it's very birth. The rule of one party which was setting rules for parliamentary democracy was changing, even whet it was happening with all of it's negative side effects. Attending the inauguration of Mr. Václav Havel as the first non-totalitary president, or seeing laws that do not force parents to enter the party for currency commitments and other advantages being adopted was a great satisfaction. In order to understand how an open society works, we first have to accept the very necessity of its' existence.And that has in my opinion so far been described best by the mentioned Václav Havel: "The best way to one's misfortune is to close his eyesnot to see misfortune of others". We did this for 50 years, we were all happy, satisfied, but it was all fake, because fools and lazy people could earn just as much as the wise and industrious. People, for whom the essence of freedom was stronger than a holiday trip to Yugoslavia just did not exist, because all of us, to say it in Mr. Havel's words, were closing our eyes. Theforeign media (of course only in places where there was no jammer) was our only way to get to know a world without censorship. Well, and the social securities were getting weaker year by year (since milk did not cost 20 haliers as it had cost before, but 2 Kčs etc.). The big pyramid game was closing to it's end. Perestrojka, however well it had been meant, was just a smile on the lips of a "corpse," some attempt of a generational exchange in the dissolving party structures of the Soviet imperium. Today, we live in an open society. Although it is not just what we dreamt of, quoting a classic: "No one has so far invented anything better". The term "open society" was for the first time used by the philosopher Henri Bergson and then readopted by Karl Popper. By literary definitions, political mechanisms in an open society are transparent, in other words - every decision of the Government and other authoritiesshould be available for every citizen, even though he or she is not directly involved in that process.

In his book "The Open Society and its' Foes," Popper defines the fundamental principle of such a society – that political leaders may be cast down without the neccesity of a bloodshed. The myth, that the tender revolution happened without any victims and thus a change of the regime was unnecessary crumbles upon confessions of many former chiefs that without clear rules, after Gorbatchov's arrival, the regime became "weary" and "stiff". Luckily! On the contrary, in Romania, the influential but lonely Ceauchescu put a huge debt on the country and subsequently let people starve in order to lower this debt. A revolution with thousands of dead live on the Hungarian state TV irritated the whole world. Perhaps this could also be a scenario for Czechoslovakia then, if the change would have happened ten years earlier and if our country would not have been bound tight to decisions of Moscow, at that time being humanized by Gorbatchov. If, if...


For many, wealth is a fetish that does ot bring any happines if thought of every day, hour, every minute. I try to look at money and wealth as at something that exists, but you can not spend it foolishly only because you own it and want to prove the world you do.

I come from a normal family where money was never wasted. You never get the upbringing from your head and that is one of the reasons that today I stand with my feet on the ground. Even now I stick to the Latin saying, that the greatest wealth is granted to those who do not ask for any. I never had any plan to earn quickly and much, I rather focused on a particular detail or an actual goal – to finish the job, make a deal and move on. I remember that as a young lawyer I was blaming myself for not starting with advocacy earlier, that the circle of top lawyers had closed. It was not true. Along with Erika Csekes we started to think more complex. We did not only want to be "lawyers," but to offer a "full service" for foreign companies – from preparing all documentation through economic and legal analysis to entries in cadasters and business registries. Continuously, we got more and more clients, among others for instance US Steel Košice and MOL. There was no time to think about wealth or money, we were too busy. And that has not changed until today. And that is also the reason why I dedicate this little space to the abstract concept of "wealth".


The Central European Foundation is an independent NGO. Establishing the foundation in 1994 was our reaction to the social status quo, which as far as its' values are concerned was very deep down. Support of culture, healthcare, science, education from the state (and I think this still remains) was percieved as a neccessary appendix being inherited from generation to generation. Attempts to "raise" the best and support them do not dominate. Instead of that, the state tries to "equally" split the few so that everyone remains unsatisfied. I define this phenomenon as an acoustic balance.

What is a typical victorious view on running the state by its' financemasters? All shout that they can not effectively run their resorts with the amount of money provided by the state, but their voices are equally loud which means that nobody has been prioritized neither neglected. Such a deformed system may even work for decades until eventually the melancholy vanishes and we find out that our children are uneducated, that we have nearly no top sportsmen and are forced to visit a ballet or opera in Vienna. One more point on the state subsidiary system: I cannot get rid of the impression that the state acts as if it was counting on private donors and sponsors. Well, the pity is that except for the possibility to assign 2 % out of the private and corporate taxes, it does not make it any easier for us.

Even if it might sound pathetic, I never try to do things just ebcause they are trendy or for a social status. There are many people in the world, who had earned their fortune due to their skill and afterwards retreated from business, laying on the beach of some exotic island the whole day and sipping margharita. Those who know me also know that for me, this would be a suffering that I could stand for no more than 30 minutes. I am a social person, which means that I care about the circumstances that influence this country and its' future direction. And therefore I do see charity more a moral than a social duty.

Through the Central Europen Foundation, we have since its' creation supported more than 600 projects exceeding 5 mil. €. Thanks to this money, we put several progressive educational methods into practice, helped starting artists from various spheres of culture, helped sportsmen, scientists etc. A big thanks goes to donors as Slovnaft, ZSE, The Visegrad Fund, companies Optys, Null and partner foundations: Foundation of Ján Langoš, The Orava society for Democracy in Education and the Dutch Felix Meritis Foundation. For all supported projects and donees, THANK YOU!!!


Since my working at the former Federal Assembly in the beginning of the 90 's, politics has changed dramatically. The basic attribute of the change is the fact that it has somehow lost enthusiasm and passion for public issues. The only passion left is that for party issues and that does not help democracy very much. Attempts to gain as many votes as possible in the elections have grown into an imperative to which all other is subdue. Opinions, gestures, speeches of today 's politicians, their political and ethic decisions and media wars adapt to the majority 's will, respecting the motto "we act and say what our voters accept". Unfortunately, today we do not have any Churchills nor Walesas or Havels with their visions presented whatever the political marketing schemes say. In their speeches, you would not find "keywords" like social responsibility, national pride, responsibility, legitimity, tax equity, cheaper bread, higher wages, more labour that are frequently used today. From the mouth of many politicians, these words do not offer any solutions, but confirm what we long know: the more these values are mentioned, the worse the actual situation is. But I have to confess, that even today there are many politicians who do not only use these words, but try to help them come to life. They are not many and usually the media provide them less space.

We would surely find many more arguments confirming that the political evolution in Slovakia brings a variety of negative effects. But again, quoting theclassic "nobody has so far invented a political system better than democracy". I incline to the opinion that we at least partially learnt from the biggest political mistakes. And that is why most of the parties with radical power and economic ideas end up on a political junkyard. Even if not all...

The idea that the country would be governed and run only by the smartest and best experts in economy, education, healthcare, law etc. is too unclear from the mandate acquiring point of view and therefore can practically not be carried out. Unless the elected politicians would hand their mandates and power over to the better, smarter and more experienced specialists. But that is already too far from reality and close to the story of a book by Thomas More called "Utopia".