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Balkan next ?

by vbo Thu Apr 7th, 2011 at 04:31:16 AM EST

Bloomberg:Serbians Wait for Prosperity 10 Years After Milosevic Arrest (Apr 1, 2011)

Ten years after Slobodan Milosevic's March 31 arrest for war crimes, citizens are still waiting for authorities to make good on promises to create jobs, stamp out corruption and build trust in the Balkan nation's institutions. No cabinet since Milosevic's ouster has lasted four years, the government is struggling to sell state assets, borrowing costs are the highest in Europe and entry into the 27-nation bloc is years away.

...

"Citizens are most afraid of uncertainty and have reached a high level of distrust," said [Svetlana] Logar [of Ipsos Strategic Marketing]. "People are unhappy because of a sense of injustice."

...

That sense of injustice has prompted about 3,000 people to sign up on the social-networking website of Facebook Inc. to protest on April 4 in one of Belgrade's main squares, the venue of many opposition protests in the past.

Looks like Balkan is next to explode in protests as it's not much better in Croatia not to mention others like Bosnia...

On top of this catastrophic economic situation Julian Assange is about to reveal some interesting cables and he thinks that "Middle East" type of protests will definitely shake Balkan...

front-paged by afew


[editor's note, by Migeru] fixed copyright violation, added link to source.

Display:
The situation is not only "not much better" in Croatia but protests have been going on for weeks there.

The Guardian [UK]:Croatia protests show failure of political promise (2 April 2011)

Economic slump and institutionalised corruption have invited anti-capitalist sentiments for the first time since socialism
To make this an issue of "anticapitalist sentiment" is to completely miss the point.
Twenty years after declared independence and its first multi-party elections, after ecstatic promises of prosperity and freedom under parliamentary capitalism, Croatia finds itself in the midst of a wave of mass protests with news that unemployment is forecast to rise to 20% at the end of March.

...

The feeling on the streets is best exemplified by the nickname of one of the Facebook protest page admins, "I want the future". Older generations feel tired and cheated, while the younger ones see no prospects, no future. Jobs are easy to lose, very hard to come by, and having one for most workers means being able to afford only the basics. Even the average foods for the EU standard, like cheese, meat and fruits, look more and more like luxuries for increasingly large sections of the population. Many struggle to educate their children at university level, while significantly reduced state services, such as the health system, are rife with bribes.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 3rd, 2011 at 05:56:53 AM EST
He doesn't say it's solely an issue of "anti-capitalist sentiment", but that certainly is a relevant issue:


The background to the protests is 20 years of economic slump. Initially, this was driven by the 1989 pro-market economic reforms and the war, which disrupted the entire state and its industry; later it resulted from consequent governments shattering the economy under the auspices of privatisation.

...
The protesters are a diverse crowd. While those who are against capitalism, privatisation and the EU, and support direct democracy and social welfare, are currently in a minority, I suspect these voices will grow.
...
 Instead of authoritarian regimes (as in Tunisia, Egypt), in Croatia it is parliamentary capitalism that may end up on trial by the people. The protests continue.



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Apr 3rd, 2011 at 06:37:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
I didn't say he says it's "solely" about capitalism, but he does mention in in the subhead as if it were the most important of the various factors. It is among the least important. The most important is the widespread perception of systemic corruption and incompetence robbing people of a future.

If anti-capitalism were the issue you wouldn't have the central banker Željko Rohatisnki (who, in my opinion, shares in the responsibility for the crisis by making Croatia's Euro peg the overarching monetary policy concern) enjoying among the highest popularity of public figures in Croatia.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 4th, 2011 at 05:46:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]

In the bits I quoted, first he indicates the role of capitalism in the development of the current situation.

Then he clearly states that anti-capitalism is currently a minority concern


While those who are against capitalism, privatisation and the EU, and support direct democracy and social welfare, are currently in a minority, I suspect these voices will grow.

That seems VERY clear to me. You now say:


he does mention in in the subhead as if it were the most important of the various factors.

Journalists don't usually write such things, sub-editors do. What's important is what's in the article.

Then you say:

The most important is the widespread perception of systemic corruption and incompetence robbing people of a future.

This is related to the capitalist privatisation and he goes on to refer to this corruption:


Former prime minister Ivo Sanader is currently in prison in Austria, awaiting trial for an alleged kickback from the Austrian Hypo bank. The Croatian government has in the past year launched several large-scale investigations, arresting a number of former ministers and corporate directors.

Despite this you say:

"If anti-capitalism were the issue ..."

Clearly he's NOT saying it is THE issue; just that he "suspects" that anti-capitalist voices, which he says are currently a "minority" - "will grow".

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Apr 4th, 2011 at 03:54:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That seems VERY clear to me.

It's clear to me that that's what he's saying. But he seems to think that capitalism means privatisation and that direct democracy and capitalism are opposites. Maybe the people (or the minority he talks of) don't think that way?

Journalists don't usually write such things, sub-editors do

Normally I'd agree completely. But this is Comment is Free, not really part of the paper. Does anyone know how headlines are done in this section?

BTW, I just checked on the writer. Turns out he's not a journalist but a PhD candidate at a business school.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Apr 4th, 2011 at 04:41:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know why people are having such trouble reading this article:


But he seems to think that capitalism means privatisation

What he actually says is:

The background to the protests is 20 years of economic slump. Initially, this was driven by the 1989 pro-market economic reforms and the war, which disrupted the entire state and its industry; later it resulted from consequent governments shattering the economy under the auspices of privatisation. Industries have been torn to pieces, manufacturing and production wound down, while banking, telecommunications and other services have been sold off cheaply.



and that direct democracy and capitalism are opposites.

Again, he doesn't say that; he says:


The protesters are a diverse crowd. While those who are against capitalism, privatisation and the EU, and support direct democracy and social welfare, are currently in a minority, I suspect these voices will grow.


Normally I'd agree completely. But this is Comment is Free, not really part of the paper. Does anyone know how headlines are done in this section?

  Is it really important? Do you really think it's likely to be any different from in the paper ?



BTW, I just checked on the writer. Turns out he's not a journalist but a PhD candidate at a business school.

And so ? Clearly it's closer to a bit of journalism (Marx did some too) than a Ph D and heartening that he wrote this though studying at a business school.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
later it resulted from consequent governments shattering the economy under the auspices of privatisation. Industries have been torn to pieces, manufacturing and production wound down, while banking, telecommunications and other services have been sold off

Isn't that the same trend in western countries?
At least here in Australia this sounds so familiar. Whatever they did not have time to privatise they are privatising as we speak...and Labour is in power (in Queensland and on federal level)...Maybe they do not sell that cheap but the result is the same. Less employment, outsourcing jobs, lower salaries...less of the service...Manufacture...what's that? Maybe we should ask Chinese? They are outsoaring high tech jobs to India as we speak...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 06:13:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't that the same trend in western countries?

Definitely. But the difference is that the West does have other traditions of capitalism other than NCE variety to refer to. In ex-Soviet countries you can talk about capitalism and privatisation in the same sentence thus implying that they are the same thing and that the protesters are trying to go back to a failed communist past. (If you're studying at a business school you probably aren't even aware of what you're saying.)

While we are of course trying to read behind what he actually said, the last sentence pretty much gives it away.

Instead of authoritarian regimes, in Croatia it is parliamentary capitalism that may end up on trial by the people.
Parliamentary capitalism rather than parliamentary privatisation? Evidence please?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Apr 6th, 2011 at 03:14:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You say
But the difference is that the West does have other traditions of capitalism other than NCE variety to refer to. In ex-Soviet countries you can talk about capitalism and privatisation in the same sentence thus implying that they are the same thing
... in which case it is seems evident that one possible outcome is
Instead of authoritarian regimes, in Croatia it is parliamentary capitalism that may end up on trial by the people.

Of course, every time we talk of the major ism's, we run into dueling background visions different people have of those ism's.

Setting the ism's to one side, democratic decision making and capitalist decision making are alternative bases for making a decision, so independently of how much of a mixed economy is in someone's vision of "normal capitalism", the drive to increase the range of capitalist decision making is necessarily a drive to take those same decisions out of the range of alternative bases for making a decision, including democratic decision making.

The point of a mixed economy is the premise that a suitably constrained scope for capitalist decision making can yield a range of presumed benefits of capitalist decision making without suffering from the long term nonviability of a purely capitalist system. The challenge for the mixed economy vision is how to accomplish that without eventually seeing those with greater power within the capitalist sphere undermining the constraints in pursuit of immediate self interest and so rendering the system nonviable over the longer term.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Apr 6th, 2011 at 02:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 In ex-Soviet countries you can talk about capitalism and privatisation in the same sentence thus implying that they are the same thing

However in HIS  sentence he does NOT imply that they are "the same thing", he makes a distinction between "pro-market reforms", implying capitalism, and later "privatisation".


The background to the protests is 20 years of economic slump. Initially, this was driven by the 1989 pro-market economic reforms and the war, which disrupted the entire state and its industry; later it resulted from consequent governments shattering the economy under the auspices of privatisation.



If you're studying at a business school you probably aren't even aware of what you're saying.

I don't think there's any need for this kind of comment, particularly when you don't seem to be "aware" of what he's saying, as I point out here and above.


While we are of course trying to read behind what he actually said,

As I've pointed out, it would be enough if you just paid more attention to what he actually says, rather than trying to misinterpret him at any opportunity.


the last sentence pretty much gives it away. Parliamentary capitalism rather than parliamentary privatisation? Evidence please?

It doesn't give anything away. The fact that privatisation isn't the only form of capitalism does not entail that privatisation is not a form of capitalist policy. Parliamentary capitalism is a perfectly adequate general description of a system formed by "pro-market reforms" and "privatisation".

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Apr 6th, 2011 at 04:35:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And then he concludes by establishing a opposition (his, or his interpretation of the protesters?) between capitalism (with no qualifications) and privatisation on the one side, and social welfare on the other. The best interpretation I can put on this is that he's confused and that the confusion shows through. Probably the protesters are also confused, but this article doesn't shed any light one way or another.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Apr 7th, 2011 at 01:19:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to this that may well "grow" the socialist camp. Tito and his government are remembered by many Serbians and Croatians as practically a golden age - especially as compared to the setbacks of the last 20 years. My evidence is my wife's cousins' opinions, some candid conversations in several Istrian experiences, and - see it as you like - a couple of interviews with Serbian and Slovenian guides in Rick Steves' latest tour videos for the region.

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Mon Apr 4th, 2011 at 07:35:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a certain leftist conventional wisdom in The West™ which lionizes Tito and other "non-aligned" leaders. In fact, Tito was a totalitarian dictator of the worst kind. The level of brainwashing in his regime was spectacular. Here's how he forced the Yugoslav people to celebrate his birthdays, every year:

In an Orwellian fashion, his birthday was denominated "Day of Youth" and the slogan was "Youth, Nation, Party and Army". Big brother indeed.

Here's Tito visiting his best pal in North Korea, another totalitarian Big Brother regime:

Apparently he was also best friends with Gaddafi. Tellingly, there was a small demonstration in support of Gaddafi in Belgrade yesterday, in which Tito's children took part.

Makes one wokder whether the :non-aligned movement" was not a high-fallutin' excuse for totalitarian megalomaniacs.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 4th, 2011 at 07:58:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in that they were too power mad to be subservient to any of the great power blocs? its an idea that has its own internal logic.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Apr 4th, 2011 at 08:40:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you call this "totalitarian dictator[ship] of the worst kind"? That terrible: those young folks singing praise to Tito in the stadium, then making naive multinational love in their dormitories, without knowing that they will have to forget everything (brainwashing or not) except attention for money, face color and evacuation roots, without knowing that their children will have very different youths, and even if they would see a better material non-exploding life, that would be soon poisoned (for the most, except rather few lucky) by recessionary debt burden or pure job alternatives. Were they not brainwashed more later?

And besides, what was immediately special about Gaddafi and North Korean regimes in the 1970s? Ironically, Saddam Husein was at "his best" right then, and enjoyed his best backing from the West at once.

by das monde on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 12:40:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course there aren't videos of people being disappeared live on Yugoslav TV.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 02:20:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tito was a dictator, never the less of a better kind (ha-ha). We were significantly better off than those in Eastern Europe ( better standard of living, right to travel all over the world)...no one was in trouble if he stays out of the politic or join the only existing party - communist party. There was significantly less criminal then today by any means. In his early years after WWII he killed and imprisoned a lot of people to get rid of opposition. Later, sitting comfortably in power after sorting out things with Russians and West he could afford to give us more freedom and more money ( specially during 70s). There was opposition back then but it was carefully hidden in art (movies, theatre plays, songs...).
When he died everything quickly collapsed because leaders of all those nations wanted to be "Caliph instead of Caliph".It was not possible and we had a war.
Now can anybody tell me about Gaddafi. These days there is an e mail flowing around telling that in Libya under Gaddafi people had:
  1. Loans without interest
  2. While they are studying (university I suppose) they had allowance in the amount of salary for that profession.
  3. If they do not find job after finishing university they were paid as if they are working.
  4. Merried couple would get apartment or house.
  5. They could by car at factory prices
  6. Libia did not own any money to anybody
  7. Free education and health care
8 25% of people had university degree.
9.40 breads cost $0.15
10. 18 l of quality petrol costs $1
E mail goes farther saying:
"In 2011 will be the end of contract that Libya had to sell oil with dumping prices and Gadafi said he'll sell now by market prices. That's the reason why he has been attacked.
Now all this looks like BS to me but is there a grain of truth in this?


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 01:48:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
no one was in trouble if he stays out of the politic or join the only existing party - communist party.

So that's all right, then.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 02:22:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People could adopt. Now they are free to disappear quietly in forsaken province towns, half-abandoned homes with lost gas and electricity, enjoying their shortened lifespans and occasional snacks from relatives kindly visiting on a short vacation from abroad.
by das monde on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 02:48:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, at the end of the 1980s Yugoslavia experienced hyperinflation. Is it not possible or likely that had Tito live he would have presided over the hyperinflation? Or he may have done like that other darling of Western leftists, Ceausescu, who doggedly paid down the external debt incurred in the 1970s to the point of starving his country and ending up with this
a mass meeting was staged. Official media presented it as a "spontaneous movement of support for Ceaușescu", emulating the 1968 meeting in which Ceaușescu had spoken against the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact forces.

The mass meeting of 21 December, held in what is now Revolution Square, degenerated into chaos. The image of Ceaușescu's uncomprehending expression as the crowd began to boo and heckle him remains one of the defining moments of the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. ...

...

The Ceaușescus were executed by a firing squad consisting of elite paratroop regiment soldiers: Captain Ionel Boeru, Sergant-Major Georghin Octavian and Dorin-Marian Cirlan,[13] while reportedly hundreds of others also volunteered. The firing squad began shooting as soon as they were in position against a wall. The firing happened too soon for the film crew covering the events to record it.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 02:53:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paying out external debts while starving the population? These things do not depend on the political spectrum, apparently. The Romanian starvation now is only better that you can run away to the West - if only you find a "job" there.

Inflation was already in double % digits in Yugoslavia since 1970. How did socialist banking systems exactly function?

by das monde on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 03:22:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not for being repeated over and over all over is the tale less tragic: Communist Romania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the early 1960s, Romania's communist government began to assert some independence from the Soviet Union. Nicolae Ceauşescu became head of the Communist Party in 1965 and head of state in 1967, assuming the newly-established role of President of Romania in 1974. Ceauşescu's denunciation of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and a brief relaxation in internal repression helped give him a positive image both at home and in the West. Rapid economic growth fueled by foreign credits gradually gave way to austerity and political repression that led to the fall of the authoritarian government in December 1989.
And what a fall it was. A leader so in denial or so out of touch that he (or his handlers) organise a rally at which he gets heckled and a few days later hundreds of soldiers fall over themselves to be on the firing squad and can't hold themselves long enough to actually record the execution...

And only 15 years later he was receiving Eurocommunist leaders for Potemkin village tours.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 04:13:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
15 years laterearlier


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 04:27:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever was inflation prior we did not know about it till late 80s when we first experienced inflation "on our own skin". Then I suppose debts had to be paid and shortages of all sorts became reality (no electricity, no coffee, no detergents...). Then came Ante Markovic...Oh God that short time of his was a best time in our lives. I can only assume that it was last chance given to Yugoslavia by west and he obviously had some agreements with west. In the end, I suppose he could not cut a deal with lunatic leaders of our republics (Milosevic being first of them but not only he but all of them opposed Markovic). And we ended up as we ended. Inflation during 80s was a piece of cake comparing with Milosevic's inflation of 1993 when he robbed us of all our savings.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 04:32:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fascinating stuff...

Ante Marković - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

When LCY broke up in January 1990, Marković had only his popularity and the apparent success of his programme on his side. In July 1990, he formed the Union of Reform Forces (Savez reformskih snaga), a political party supporting a reformed Yugoslavian federation. According to a poll conducted by the Federal Executive Council (SIV), this party had support of 14% of the people in Bosnia, and less than 5% in other republics.[4]

This decision was not well received. Borisav Jović, then the President of Yugoslavia, commented

The general conclusion is that Ante Markovic is no longer acceptable or reliable to us. No one has any doubts in their mind any longer that he's the extended arm of the United States in terms of overthrowing anyone who ever thinks of socialism, and it is through our votes that we appointed him Prime Minister in the Assembly. He is playing the most dangerous game of treason.[5]

Jović's conclusion on Marković's role

He was no doubt the most active creator of the destruction of our economy, and to a large extent a significant participant in the break-up of Yugoslavia. Others, when boasted of having broken up Yugoslavia wanted to take this infamous role upon themselves but in all these respects they never came close to what Marković did, who had declared himself as the protagonist of Yugoslavia's survival[5]

Later, his programme was sabotaged by Slobodan Milošević who

had virtually sealed Markovic's failure by December 1990 by secretly securing an illegal loan woth $1.7 billion from Serbia's main bank in order to ease his reelection that month. The loan undermined Markovic's economic austerity program, undoing the progress that had been made toward controlling the country's inflation rate.[6]

Or, as Christopher Bennet tells it in Yugoslavia's Bloody Collapse[7]:

Quite simply, the bank printed whatever money Milošević felt he needed to get himself reelected and the size of the 'loan' became clear a few weeks later when inflation took off again throughout the country. As the economy resumed its downward slide, Marković knew his enterprise had failed [...]



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 04:39:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Worst Episode of Hyperinflation in History: Yugoslavia 1993-94

Under Tito, Yugoslavia ran a budget deficit that was financed by printing money.  This led to a rate of inflation of 15 to 25 percent per year.  After Tito, the Communist Party pursued progressively more irrational economic policies [...] By the early 1990s the government used up all of its own hard currency reserves and proceded to loot the hard currency savings of private citizens [...]

All of the government gasoline stations eventually were closed and gasoline was available only from roadside dealers whose operation consisted of a car parked with a plastic can of gasoline sitting on the hood.  The market price was the equivalent of $8 per gallon. Most car owners gave up driving and relied upon public transportation.  But the Belgrade transit authority (GSP) did not have the funds necessary for keeping its fleet of 1200 buses operating [...] Despite the government's desperate printing of money it still did not have the funds to keep the infrastructure in operation.  Pot holes developed in the streets, elevators stopped functioning, and construction projects were closed down.  The unemployment rate exceeded 30 percent.

The government tried to counter the inflation by imposing price controls.  But when inflation continued, the government price controls made the price producers were getting so ridiculous low that they simply stopped producing.  In October of 1993 the bakers stopped making bread and Belgrade was without bread for a week [...] When farmers refused to sell to the government at the artificially low prices the government dictated, government irrationally used hard currency to buy food from foreign sources rather than remove the price controls.  The Ministry of Agriculture also risked creating a famine by selling farmers only 30 percent of the fuel they needed for planting and harvesting.

Later the government tried to curb inflation by requiring stores to file paperwork every time they raised a price.  This meant that many store employees had to devote their time to filling out these government forms.  Instead of curbing inflation this policy actually increased inflation because the stores tended to increase prices by larger increments so they would not have file forms for another price increase so soon [...] In November of 1993 the government postponed turning on the heat in the state apartment buildings in which most of the population lived.  The residents reacted to this by using electrical space heaters which were inefficient and overloaded the electrical system.  The government power company then had to order blackouts to conserve electricity.

[...] The pensions were to be paid at the post office but the government did not give the post offices enough funds to pay these pensions.  The pensioners lined up in long lines outside the post office.  When the post office ran out of state funds to pay the pensions the employees would pay the next pensioner in line whatever money they received when someone came in to mail a letter or package.  With inflation being what it was, the value of the pension would decrease drastically if the pensioners went home and came back the next day [...] About this time there occurred a tragic incident.  As usual, pensioners were waiting in line. Someone passed by the line carrying bags of groceries from the free market.  Two pensioners got so upset at their situation and the sight of someone else with groceries that they had heart attacks and died right there.

This change to the market economy appears to be especially inept and traumatic. Savings got wiped out through all Eastern Europe. It is asif all your labour and savings were declared worth only so little. Was is that the communist leaders suddenly forgot all social duties and grabbed the wild chances of the new order? Or were the socialist economies so run down (either with austerity or profligation) that there was no alternative but to pull the utopia plug out? (Or was it a self-interested welcome of Western ivestors?)  

by das monde on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:01:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
This change to the market economy appears to be especially inept and traumatic.
Maybe the socialist economy was also run ineptly to avoid trauma. das monde:
Under Tito, Yugoslavia ran a budget deficit that was financed by printing money. This led to a rate of inflation of 15 to 25 percent per year.
So, the savings that were wiped out after the transition to a market economy were the result of unsustainable deficits funded by printing money?
After Tito, the Communist Party pursued progressively more irrational economic policies
It appears that macroeconomics is hard and a socialist economy doesn't make the problems go away.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:09:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that is a genuine possibility. But the process was hidden for those experiencing it, and then obscured by the unexpectedly chaotic change to market economy. The socialist system was not trying to survive, so to speak - it was literally stopped and plugged out. Maybe the leaders saw statistical inevitabilities, threw up hands and said: "Let's cut this out in 5 years." Or perhaps the new leaders raise to their positions already corrupted by foreseeable or promised benefits of free management.

So the socialist collapse is different from the ongoing capitalist collapse, where the system is going to assert its viability till the very last.

by das monde on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:24:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
So the socialist collapse is different from the ongoing capitalist collapse, where the system is going to assert its viability till the very last.
I don't think it's that different. The Socialist leaders asserted that their regimes were the end of history (or on the way to Communist Paradise) until they didn't any more, at which point the collapse of the system accelerated.

The political leadership in The West™ is now beginning to behave as if they don't actually believe in the continuation of the system. "The multicultural experiment hasn't worked", we're claimed not to be able to afford levels of social protection that were affordable in the aftermath of WWII, the state itself is being desmantled in places all in the name of austerity and paying down impossible debts incurred by kleptocracy, control fraud and macroeconomic nonsense...

Give it 5 years.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:32:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is one thing to retain your system stubbornly, and other thing is talk about it as "the end of history" (till the last day) while watching that no one actually believes you.  

I agree that abandoning the "Swedish welfare" model looks similar: they just don't wait for an example of this social (or multicultural) model failing. But the Randian variety of capitalist utopia is so aggressive. Even if it probably is the actual root of the escalating disarray, it will keep claiming its exclusive viability. And the move had already started in the 1980s, when no one was thinking of Soviet collapse!
 

by das monde on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is particularly hard if you base your economy - and access to critical resources for your economy (like oil) - on your position as a go-between between two powerful sides, and one side decides to take you down.

Economy of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The collapse of the Yugoslav economy was partially caused by its non-aligned stand that had resulted in access to loans from both superpower blocs. This contact with the United States & the West opened up Yugoslavia's markets sooner than the rest of Central and Eastern Europe. Despite Belgrade's non-alignment and its extensive trading relations with the European Community and the US, the Reagan administration targeted the Yugoslav economy in a "Secret Sensitive" 1984 National Security Decision Directive (NSDD 133), "Us Policy towards Yugoslavia." A censored version declassified in 1990 elaborated on NSDD 54 on Eastern Europe, issued in 1982. The latter advocated "expanded efforts to promote a 'quiet revolution' to overthrow Communist governments and parties," while reintegrating the countries of Eastern Europe into a market-oriented economy.[27]

Western trade barriers dramatically reduced its economic growth. In order to counter this, Yugoslavia took on a number of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans and subsequently fell into heavy IMF debt. As a condition of receiving loans, the IMF demands "liberalisation" of Yugoslavia. By 1981, Yugoslavia had incurred $19.9 billion in foreign debt.[citation needed] However, Yugoslavia's real concern was the unemployment rate, at 1 million by 1980. Real earnings in Yugoslavia fell 25% from 1979 to 1985.[17] By 1988 emigrant remittances to Yugoslavia totalled over $4.5 billion (USD), and by 1989 remittances were $6.2 billion (USD), making up over 19% of the world's total.[28][29]

In 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Yugoslav federal Premier Ante Marković went to Washington to meet with President George Bush, negotiating for a new financial aid package. In return for assistance, Yugoslavia agreed to even more sweeping economic reforms, including a new devalued currency, another wage freeze, sharp cuts in government spending, and the elimination of socially owned, worker- managed companies.[30] The Belgrade nomenclature, with the assistance of Western advisers, had laid the groundwork for Marković's mission by implementing beforehand many of the required reforms, including a major liberalization of foreign investment legislation.



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Apr 7th, 2011 at 01:49:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
1993 was horrific...life turned in to the hell. I hope no one will have to experience anything like that ever...
1993 was a year when we applied for permanent residence in New Zealand. My mother in law said "It is so far away" ...I said" Farther the better"...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 07:33:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was is that the communist leaders suddenly forgot all social duties and grabbed the wild chances of the new order? Or were the socialist economies so run down (either with austerity or profligation) that there was no alternative but to pull the utopia plug out? (Or was it a self-interested welcome of Western ivestors?)

All of it...
Communist leaders were just a people...if they had some real intentions for social justice ever they would quickly forget it when they would come to power and they became opportunists (take every opportunity to grab money and power). People had "free"(percentage taken from their salaries) education and health system...what else they could need?
Socialist economies were run down for many reasons...I wouldn't know where to start to explain.
Self interested welcome of western investors ... yes. Those in power are now not there for life...their political life span is shortened (all tho not that much)...so now is a time and opportunity and they can't wait for others to sell cheap...soon there will be nothing for sale...

 

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Apr 7th, 2011 at 06:47:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've just got another e mail saying that:
"EU and USA are 200 billion in debt for Libyan petrol and Gaddafi asked for money to be paid or he'll take concessions from EU and USA oil companies and give it to others. That's the reason for "humanitarian intervention" there. Now this may be BS but can easily be truth.
What do you think is there some "money wise" reason for intervention or do you think it's strictly political...or both...Who are the rebels? What to expect from them even if Gaddafi is gone at some point?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:22:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Gaddafi had really said that, he should surely have known that this would increase the chances of US intervention. He would have to have been really stupid to do that, and whatever he is, he isn't stupid.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:35:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He may not be stupid (stayed in power for so long) but we can give him a "credit" of being crazy...And he is now one foot at the grave...He can afford this.
As for his son seen in an interview sitting in front of golden walls he does not seem to be very smart but he may negotiate at some point...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Apr 7th, 2011 at 07:11:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
200 billion is peanuts.

The combined GDP of the EU and US is at least 20 trillion, so we're talking about 1% of GDP, presumably with a maturity of several years.

For comparison:

Cost of Libya 'hundreds of millions' so far, says Nato commander | World news | The Guardian (29 March 2011)

American officials said the military intervention has cost the Pentagon an extra $550m with bombs and missiles accounting for most. Of the additional spending, about 60% was "for munitions, the remaining costs are for higher operating tempo" of US forces and of getting them there, Commander Kathleen Kesler, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said.

There are no official figures for the UK share of the cost, but at least £25m will have been spent by British forces, most accounted for by weapons.

As of Monday, the 10th day of the intervention, the US had launched 192 long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles from Mediterranean naval positions at a cost of about $1m to $1.5m each. The US had also flown 983 sorties, 370 of those bombing missions against Gaddafi military sites and forces.

So for $200bn they can keep going at the same rate for a number of years.

Afghan war costs now outpace Iraq's - USATODAY.com (13 May 2010)

Pentagon spending in February, the most recent month available, was $6.7 billion in Afghanistan compared with $5.5 billion in Iraq. As recently as fiscal year 2008, Iraq was three times as expensive; in 2009, it was twice as costly.

The shift is occurring because the Pentagon is adding troops in Afghanistan and withdrawing them from Iraq. And it's happening as the cumulative cost of the two wars surpasses $1 trillion, including spending for veterans and foreign aid. Those costs could put increased pressure on President Obama and Congress, given the nation's $12.9 trillion debt.

So the US public debt is of the order of the US GDP. The same is true of the EU. So we're talking about Libya accounting for 1% of the EU and US public debt (but the debt is likely to be by private oil companies - in addition, the country with the biggest dependence on Libyan oil is Italy).

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:41:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If one looks at this numbers question arise "who is stupid here?" Either there is something I (we) cannot see here or spending this kind of money in the Middle East looks like plane stupidity. Fuck the oil at this price! There must be some mathematic in all this... Not to mention how much is it going to cost to keep those marionettes of governments in Middle East even  when military action is finished ( if ever)...
Except that the entire weapon spent would be a waste of money to produce if it's just lying around not used and except that few are making huge money in logistic (like in Iraq and Afghanistan) what would be the smart reason for these interventions? Just do not tell me "it's humanitarian", please...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 09:55:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see any reliable sources here: http://www.google.com/search?q=EU+US+owe+libya+200+billion+oil+delivered

Only comments in youtube, facebook, and a CNN blog post Do you think the U.S. should arm the Libyan rebels? - Global Public Square - CNN.com Blogs (April 4, 2011)

Lazar Panic

The European Union is facing huge financial problems and one by one European country declaring bankruptcy. Euro zone has been severely shaken in serious trouble. America has all its resources spent 12 years in advance because it is owed to individual countries in the world of 36,000 billion dollars. The European Union and America owe the Libyan government for fuel delivered nearly 200 billion dollars. 2012 beats the concession of large oil companies that claim to Libyan oil. Gaddafi called for returning the debt or to enter into international agreements with other countries and companies. Therefore, this unprecedented destruction of Libya



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 12:39:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not say that it's reliable source, I said that e-mail is going around and it could be BS as far as I am concerned...but I could not find reliable source on this matter too. It would be interesting to know the truth.
Because all kinds of interesting stuff comes out when you follow the money...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 06:49:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some more numbers: Libya's GDP is under $100bn, so are we supposed to believe Libya is owed twice its GDP in unpaid oil deliveries? Libya's exports are under $50bn. Are we supposed to believe Libya is owed 4 years' worth of its whole export income just in unpaid oil bills?

Economy of Libya - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oil resources, which account for approximately 95% of export earnings, 75% of government receipts, and over 50% of GDP.


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 12:44:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah...but they have freedom of speech (nobody cares anyway what they have to say) and they can join political party where local criminals are leaders...Joy, joy, joy...
Democracy seems to be so irrelevant when you are straggling for your next meal...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 06:19:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, of course not...at least it was not all right for me and my family, that's why we instantly joined opposition party when Milosevic tried the same.
I just tell it as it was...
As I said after WWII real opposition was murdered, went to exile or was imprisoned. Later it was easy ride for Tito to brainwash ordinary people.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 03:01:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So people were brainwashed, then?

The fact that Tito was running a personality cult is a tell-tale sign that all was not well in Yugoslavia, despite the freedom to travel and the relatively high standard of living.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 03:13:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Personality cult", yes it was...Many people hated it...But you have to understand the circumstances after the WWII...it did not look that anything will change EVER in geopolitical sense. People had to live what they were given. In 1968 there was a student protest but it turned ugly after all. Tito was too strong...he was a dictator. Anti capitalism feelings are not that strong I would say (except in older generation) but people did not expect "wild west" type of capitalism that they've been served now. They expected European capitalism with strong social security ...they did not get it. So they now feel betrayed and socialism starts to look like "good old days". They know they can't go back, but they want law and order and some kind of security, but even more they want chance to work and earn for goog living. This is life fool of stress. It's not USA (where people did not care for more security because there were plenty of jobs...not any more).

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 04:06:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo:
Anti capitalism feelings are not that strong I would say (except in older generation) but people did not expect "wild west" type of capitalism that they've been served now. They expected European capitalism with strong social security ...they did not get it. ... They know they can't go back, but they want law and order and some kind of security, but even more they want chance to work and earn for goog living. This is life [full] of stress.
I think you're describing the effect that the Reagan/Thatcher revolution has had over everyone since 1980. It's just that some countries started out with a better standard of living than others.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 04:31:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just that some countries started out with a better standard of living than others.

Increasingly it looks to me that the capitalism then is more different from the capitalism now than from socialisms then. If economic deterioration for the masses will continue everywhere, the 1970s will look like a golden age for any country. That does not necessarily mean that socialisms were keeping up with improvement of living standards by themselves, as Western technologies "found" various discount ways to the socialist block. But living standards were indeed improving basically everywhere (except perhaps South America), dynamically or "slugishly", sustainably or not.

by das monde on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:13:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
Increasingly it looks to me that the capitalism then is more different from the capitalism now than from socialisms then.
That's a point made in all its gory detail by John K Gabraith in The New Industrial State. But futurism is hard: the future evolution Galbraith envisaged didn't come to pass, the romantic market worshippers he mocked (including, by name, Milton Friedman) came to dominate economic thought after the crisis of the 1970s, and the technocratic elite Galbraith saw was replaced by a kleptocratic MBA class...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:18:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
If economic deterioration for the masses will continue everywhere, the 1970s will look like a golden age for any country.
Not for all countries according to Hans Rosling.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:35:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, the 70s are known in the West as the time of stagflation, the Dutch disease and such things. Never again, right? But on the other hand, no one would claim that the West in the 70s were worse off than the socialist East, so that terrible stagflation must have been peanuts compared with the financial depression we have now. People were not loosing their homes, were able to buy food even without Walmart. It was just that the "investing way of life was neither in high performance or regard.
by das monde on Wed Apr 6th, 2011 at 02:03:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now when I think about it, how can you say that citizens of western (capitalist) states are not brainwashed? They are so much so. They are driven to believe so many wrong things...
For example they are brainwashed to believe that the only purpose in life is to get rich. Kids nowadays all dream of becoming not millionaires but billionaires (look at the movies and even cartoons). People are deluded to believe that billionaires are our superheroes because if we cut the taxes for them and if they have more billions on their hands we (people) will have more jobs through their investments. No one is saying that thanks to globalisation those investments and jobs are very far away from our country. We are brainwashed to believe that it's OK for governments to bail out bankers when thanks to their enormous greed they ruin complete financial system in our own countries instead of imprisoning them.
We are tricked to believe that we should sacrifice our solders around the globe because it is in interest of our country and when this fail to work now we are to believe that military interventions are " humanitarian"... sounds so good because we'll kill less people then those dictators. I assume in Iraq USA intervention killed more people then Saddam had time to kill in all those years in power, but does not matter...we are bringing democracy...WTF? How can you bring democracy in societies that are not ready for it? Now we have them killing each other in masses.
So many wrong things we are lead to believe simply because we are corrupt with "our way of life". We are lead to believe that we are better off than others because we have a nice place to live (forget the mortgage), new car model (forget the loan), all cheap gadgets (made in Asia) and we can afford to eat all that junk...Now we are pushed to understand that we had this "way of life" because governments were borrowing huge amount of money. No one cares to explain how yesterday millionaires became billionaires... We are even deluded to believe that we are making decisions politically trough democracy when we even do not have any choice to vote for. Left and right (centre) is the same. And it's the same everywhere. It's minor difference and it comes to how little they are prepared to put on people's plate...Lately we are told that whatever benefits and rights we managed to achieve for the last 100 years are unsustainable. Governments can't afford them any more...

I can go for ever like this.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Apr 6th, 2011 at 08:40:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking back, how exactly were the East Europeans brainwashed? What was eventually the practical handicap of the Tito cult and beliefs in bright communist future? Were those beliefs genuinely present at all?

If the communist leaders were serious about brainwashing people into having confidence in the communist future and rejecting capitalist goods, they have done this job awfully bad. People were more than ready to shed any pretentiousness to communist righteousness and accept (certain) free market expectations. What puzzles me that already in the 1980s people in my native country (Lithuania) were quite focused into material gains such as homes, cars, and they were particularly keen with seeking jobs abroad from the 1990s, valuing then present industrial production and local opportunities for nothing. This is usually explained by knowledge of empty shop shelves, pure choice of cars and other goods, long queues to desired housing. But if these longings are entirely natural and rational, how did the people massively got into such loosing positions now? On a certain level, East Europeans were naive to embrace the rules of Western leaders and investors. They objectively did not know what's coming, and the "natural" aspirations only ensured that most people would loose badly and societies will deteriorate, even though the same aspirations were the only chance to win big.

Ok, I myself got quite the best from the West (and the Far East) but for science reasons; I might say, moving out of economic need did not consciously cross my mind much. When I was watching my former countrymen frantically seeking any "real" job in the West back then, I had a feeling that the people are kind of... brainwashed. The emigration and disintegration tsunami fulfilled itself right, of course. But does that really make long term evolutionary sense, to focus so narrowly on "selfish" interests at the expense of own nation and culture, and own children as well - since often they are being raised back home by grandparents or other relatives, with parents far away (and probably split up) and a lot of foreclosure and other social-economic traumas around?  

by das monde on Thu Apr 7th, 2011 at 01:29:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think all East European regimes brainwashed their populations to the same extent, or equally successfully. In connection with vbo's comment about Westerners being brainwashed, I remember being in the US before 2005 and talking to my Czech then-partner she would observe "at least in Communist Czechoslovakia we knew we were being lied to". Did Yugoslavs know they were being lied to?

Do the North Koreans know they're being lied to? Are they brainwashed or do they act the part for self-preservation?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 7th, 2011 at 04:44:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What would you name as a successful brainwashing in Eastern Europe? Do Red State conservatives realize think-tank ready brainwhashing?

Cuba might be the good example to ask about.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that North Koreans are still patriotic when studying in Japan. Its people probably don't think that they live in the most dark, poor, hungry, backward and dangerous country in the world.

by das monde on Thu Apr 7th, 2011 at 05:43:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
What would you name as a successful brainwashing in Eastern Europe?
I don't know, I would have to gather impressions from people who were living under the respective regimes.

Anecdotal evidence includes personality cults and the absence of an opposition visible from outside. You could say that the very prominence of Solidarity indicates that Poland in the 80's was not brainwashed.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 7th, 2011 at 07:13:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is this different to the West's Market Cult and "there is no alternative" consensus?

Just because we swap our bobble heads every few years, and we don't have giant metal signage with inspiring slogans attached to public buildings, doesn't mean the political dynamics aren't similar.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 7th, 2011 at 08:27:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As for Yugoslavs during Tito it is not that simple. First of all there was a history behind us that wouldn't easily put us together if Tito was not dictator and allowed (by west and Russia) to do what he has done to "unite" us. As I said he murdered opposition and sent them to exile. Others just had to take their fate. It was horrific after the WWII but the country needed to rise from ruins and young people enthusiastically took a role in it. Tito tricked people after WWII that they'll have real elections...it was false. Later seating comfortably in power he went straight to one party system. He was smart enough to make us believe that he said " NO" to Russia in 1948 and he gave us passports to travel to the west...We were able to see Hollywood movies and listen to western music. Not many people had money to travel but lot of us could  go at least to Italy (Trieste) to buy jeans and stuff. Some went to work as "guest workers" to Germany, Sweden, France...They brought some money back. We had a chance to see how life was in Western Europe...at least those younger at the time. And obviously we wanted life like that...So in that way we were not brainwashed, except older generation, and they were young during WWII and did not even remember time before the war. Also many people abandoned rural parts of the country and came to the cities thanks to industrialisation. It was a big improvement for them. Later it was obvious that something is wrong because no matter how hard one would work he would still stay pretty poor and instead of capitalists now there was a new class- political rich. Many people realised that. But system was so strong...with a police and military on its side. Opposition has to be hidden. Nighter Serbs or Croats or others (except maybe some Bosnian Muslims) liked Tito ... but for the different reasons.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Apr 7th, 2011 at 06:21:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now can anybody tell me about Gaddafi. These days there is an e mail flowing around telling that in Libya under Gaddafi people had:
Loans without interest
While they are studying (university I suppose) they had allowance in the amount of salary for that profession.
If they do not find job after finishing university they were paid as if they are working.
Merried couple would get apartment or house.
They could by car at factory prices
Libia did not own any money to anybody
Free education and health care

That just tells you Gaddafi had a lot of oil, but anyway if life was so grand under Gaddafi why did people revolt?

This may just be propaganda, but look:

Petroleum revenues contribute up to 58% of Libya's GDP.[37] Governments with "resource curse" revenue have a lower need for taxes from other industries and consequently feel less pressure to develop their middle class. To calm down opposition, they can use the income from natural resources to offer services to the population, or to specific government supporters.[38] Libya's oil wealth being spread over a relatively small population has allowed for a relatively high living standard compared to neighbouring states.[39] Despite one of the highest unemployment rates in the region at 21% (latest census), there was a consistent labour shortage with over a million migrant workers present on the market.[40] These migrant workers formed the bulk of the refugees leaving Libya after the beginning of hostilities.
Libya's purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP per capita in 2010 was US $14,878; its human development index in 2010 was 0.755; and its literacy rate in 2009 was 87%. These numbers were lower in Egypt and Tunisia.[41] Indeed, Libyan citizens are considered to be well educated and to have a high standard of living.[42] This specific situation creates a wider contrast between good education, high demand for democracy, and the government's practices (perceived corruption, political system, supply of democracy).[41] ...

Gaddafi amassed a vast fortune during his 41-year rule.[45]

Much of the state's income from oil, which soared in the 1970s, was spent on arms purchases and on sponsoring militancy and terror around the world.[46][47] According to The Economist, the eastern parts of the state, once a breadbasket of the ancient world, have fared badly under Gaddafi's economic theories.[48][49] Libya's corruption perception index in 2010 was 2.2, which was worse than that of Egypt and Tunisia, two neighbouring states who have faced an uprising before Libya.[50]

According to the 2009 Freedom of the Press Index, Libya is the most-censored state in the Middle East and North Africa.[51]
Dissent is illegal under Law 75 of 1973. Gaddafi has asserted that anyone guilty of founding a political party would be executed.[52] The Basic Congresses and their Committees are overseen by Revolutionary committees which report to Gaddafi via a Permanent Revolutionary Committee. Revolutionary committees are embedded throughout most government-controlled organizations including enterprises and the education sector. According to the U.S. State Department, 10 to 20 per cent of Libyans work in surveillance for these committees, a proportion of informants on par with Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Kim Jong-il's North Korea.[52] The regime has often executed opposition activists publicly and the executions are rebroadcast on state television channels.[52][53] Engaging in political conversations with foreigners is a crime punishable by three years of prison in most cases.[citation needed] During late 1980s and early 1990s western languages were removed from the school curriculum.[54][55] The government has reportedly paid for assassination of its critics around the world.[52][56] As of 2004, Libya still provided bounties for critics, including US$1 million for Ashur Shamis, a Libyan-British journalist.[57]

Delightful. Where do I sign up?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 02:34:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the case of Iraq under Saddam Hussein in his later period, intellectual opposition was not an easy life style, but still fulfilling and not exactly life threatening - quite in contrast with the subsequent explosive democracy. Women had fulfilling opportunities as well. Similar things can be said about Iran (still until today) and Afghanistan (before the Soviet invasion).
by das monde on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 03:02:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Next you'll tell me that life in Spain was better against Franco.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 03:14:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again I have no doubt that Gaddafi is a mad man in power (always was and it was always my opinion) but I am telling what this e-mail is telling. I do not believe it and your post clear a little bit this situation.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 03:04:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like all the other guys running personality cults.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 04:33:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometime the personality cults are started against the opinion of the Dear Leader - in the 60's during the much celebrated Ho Chi Minh birthdays, he made sure to be vacationing in China... Also, his wishes were to be burned, and the leaders of Viet Nam only revealed that part of his will twenty five years later !

Personality cult is the logical consequence of authoritarian rule, where you always have to show not only agreement with the authority figure, but more agreement than your fellow party member if you want any kind of career... Of course some leaders will enjoy the cult more than others.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 04:47:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you can see above how Tito liked to bask in the glow of the (surely spontaneously) incensed masses...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 04:49:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(I don't know anything about Tito, so no reason to suspect he wasn't into the cult)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:46:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Tellingly, there was a small demonstration in support of Gaddafi in Belgrade yesterday, in which Tito's children took part.
Well, not yesterday but more like two weeks ago.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 04:35:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes...you can find some small pro Gaddafi demonstration anywhere else...nowadays...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:09:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like in London:

http://www.demotix.com/news/632573/pro-gaddafi-demonstration-london

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:11:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But in this specific case they're demonstrating for the good old days of the Non Aligned Movement when Tito could collect wild animals in his private zoo, Gaddafi could vacation on the Adriatic and they could all periodically visit Kim and praise Juche.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 05:12:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru, thank you for fixing this...I do not actually know enough about copy rights and stuff...
It is catastrophic in Serbia...people really lost their hope and do not see the light...Obviously it is very similar in Croatia. Bosnia...oh my God, whatever I hear from there make me speechless. Such poverty...
Governments now have good excuse..."look at the Greeks and others in Europe and around the world...everyone is in trouble" but it seems to rapidly become unbearable for people to live. They would protest in huge numbers but they can't see the purpose...practically all political parties have already been in power and it did not change much for people...no new political parties on the scene...So all people can do is to vent their anger trough protests and destroy few banks and few landmarks of capitalism. They expected capitalism of developed countries, better paid jobs, more opportunities for entrepreneurs...Instead one still need to have good connections (bribe money) to get a job, to get bank loans, to see the doctor...and it's not as cheap as it used to be under Milosevic. They did get new shopping centres with EU brands but they lost their jobs or are paid so miserably that can only buy cheap stuff on flea market from Chinese. Most of them. Their children can't find jobs, can't marry and have family...Desperate situation. That's why socialism looks so good now from the distance...People did not have much but they felt secure. Now it's a day by day survival with no prospect of better life any time soon.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Apr 3rd, 2011 at 08:35:55 AM EST
Well, it boils down to "don't copy the entire article without linking".

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 3rd, 2011 at 11:44:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
do you think that there will be a chance of something better arising from all this. I'm interested cos everything you describe is exactly the same in Bulgaria next door. When the country is so corrupt, almost all economic opportunity is wrecked.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 3rd, 2011 at 03:39:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately I do not see anything good on the horizon. As I said same old players are in power over and over again and they proved to be practically the same corrupt bunch of thieves. Money that Milosevic and his ilk took from the people had not been recovered even better his ilk is in power (coalition) again. So who ever stills now knows that nothing will happen to him as long as he is playing by these state mafia rules. People are powerless. They would not care that much (same as people in West Europe and USA being robbed by their bankers and superrich) if they can manage to survive. But they are close to not being able to... a lot of them. Too many of them...So they'll probably just vent (like in UK) and nothing will change...At this point there is no war on Balkan on the horizon to take attention from most important thing for people - economic slam.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 01:03:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 02:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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