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Pogátsa, Zoltán

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Élet és Irodalom - Hungary | 08/02/2013

Zoltán Pogátsa on high prices and low salaries in Eastern Europe

Salaries in Eastern Europe are lower than in Western Europe, yet consumer prices in the East are at the same level as in the West, economist Zoltán Pogátsa points out in the left-liberal weekly Élet és Irodalom, highlighting the miserable state of affairs in post-communist Europe: "The argument that salaries are low in Eastern Europe, but so are the prices, stands in no relation whatsoever to reality nowadays. ... Because prices are now at similar levels all over the EU, it is possible to define a subsistence level for all Europe. That would be an annual income of between 5,000 to 6,000 euros. Living below that minimum can be detrimental to physical and mental health. In Eastern Europe, around a third of the population lives below this limit; in Western Europe no one does. In Hungary, around four billion people live below the poverty line. These people also have to deal with physical privation."

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