Potemkin Capitalism

How do we see a society is ill? Well, in Romania - at a glance. Looking at the traffic is enough: pedestrians thank the few drivers who stop to allow them crossing on zebras. An act not only normal, but mandatory by law, got to be considered a gesture of great generosity and magnanimity.

Going in-depth, a society is very ill when people are educated in a certain way, and it operates in another way, even completely opposite.  For instance, if you were educated to lie, steal and kill and you do just that, you couldn’t say that the society is insane.

But if you have been brought up in the spirit of not committing such crimes, and you ignore that, it’s what they call double-dealing. Thus, our transition to capitalism is ostensible, while we’re still in communism.

The rulers said they will make laws to allow the society to work ethically, not discretionary. To move away from the base of adverse selection and moral hazard. Unfortunately, the “capitalist” laws only adopted some notions resonant with a market economy, but it remained unchanged in its spirit.

We hear and learn bombastic or technical terms, but use them only to grandstand. We only adopt the notions in language, without actually advancing to capitalism. Some terminology exists, but not the skills to operate with the terms. These are used without knowing their meaning, like parrots do. We’re still in the sequence of “Mircea, pretend you’re working” (as seen on TV during the 1989 Revolution), which is why our society is ill.

And there are other reasons for it, too. If property existed, and the ability to do things with capitalist instruments, Romania could have avoided austerity. But because those instruments operate discretionarily, not naturally, because the society is not organized as indicated in the instructions for use, we went into recession, like Poland.

Actually, the whole fault is in the attempt to preserve a pole of power. That’s why the electoral offer is inadequate. It is kept that way to be convenient for the ruling pole, in an attempt to make the voters believe that the guys on the ballot are good. The hoax even uses an increase of the number of parties. Nevertheless, many - actually most - voters are not gullible.

So this is the source of the pathogen that makes the society ill. An economic collapse is still avoidable by socializing the losses; the moral one isn’t. Meritocracy doesn’t operate, the poles of power do not change, and only one is cultivated discretionarily, like in communism. We have institutions and the statute of market economy, but actually we never left communism. Romania is frozen in the same obedience and fear, especially on the fiefdoms of local barons; just the scenery is shifted in the background, to suggest motion. Like in the villages of Prince Potemkin, who built staging on a huge scale, showing homes and gardens of diligent people to send Empress Catherine the Great vibes of prosperity.

As a matter of fact, you cannot really expect a Leftist party to take Rightist steps; but you can warn them that a feasible governing program leads towards something. What happens when the direction is unknown? If so, it means the problem is the narrow horizon of governing, from day to day. We’re still ruled on emergency scenarios. So we don’t stand any chance to get well.

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