Loose Ends in Economics

Syndicate content
- Predrag Rajsic's BlogPredrag Rajsichttps://plus.google.com/111344577455283605694noreply@blogger.comBlogger209125LooseEndsInEconomicshttps://feedburner.google.com
Updated: 2 hours 44 min ago

Koga je šokirao Charlottesville, taj živi pod staklenim zvonom

Sun, 20/08/2017 - 08:14
U jeku nedavnih događaja u Charlottesvilleu, mnogi progresivno orijentirani Kanađani su sa zgražanjem komentirali te događaje. Stanje šoka je bilo očigledno, "virtue signaling" također. Fraze jakog emotivnog naboja poput "Prvo su došli ..." su prštale na sve strane. Meni lično je bilo zabavno to gledati jer otkriva, po meni, mnogo ozbiljniji problem.

Nisam komentirao nedavne incidente u Charlottesvilleu jer mi to nije ništa šokantno, ništa novo što prije nisam znao. Kao imigrant, naviknut sam na latentni rasizam koji je posvuda. Zabrinjavajući nisu oni koji su svjesni svog rasizma, poput onih čije nasilje smo upravo vidjeli. Odrastao sam okružen takvim ljudima. 

Više me brinu oni koji nisu svjesni svog rasizma jer je njihovo ponašanje u ekstremno kriznim momentima teško predvidjedi, a mnogo je takvih. Nihova nesvijest se najbolje vidi u načinu na koji se obezvrijeđuju iskustva useljenika, a sve pod etiketom "objektivne znanosti". Na primjer, u beskrajnom nizu ekonomskih studija koje analiziraju ekonomske efekte imigracije, pitanje uvijek ide ovako: "Da li imigranti uzrokuju smanjenje plaća domaćeg stanovništva?" Implicitno je da se to podrazumijeva kao vrijednosno neutralno pitanje, objektivno, bez prejudiciranja ko je u ovoj priči manje ili više bitan. 
Meni, koji sam šesnaest godina sa druge strane ovog "znanstvenog" pitanja, kao dan je jasno da se ovoj gore konstrukciji imigranti implicitno tretiraju kao mrtva materija koja, eto, sama od sebe dođe pa onda snizi plaće domaćeg stanovništva. Implicitno je takođe i to da se snižavanje plaće domaćeg stanovništva smatra lošim. Da se ne smatra lošim, ne bi se mi ekonomisti toliko trgali izučavajući taj "problem". A zašto je loše? Pa valjda zato što u prvi plan stavljamo tog domaćeg radnika i brine nas što je njegova plaća snižena.
U međuvremenu, nitko mi nikada nije rekao nešto poput: "Čovječe, pa ti imigranti su izgleda spremni pretrpjeti puno boli kada gotovo nikad ne odbijaju raditi za manje plaće i pod gorim uvjetima od domaćeg stanovništva!" Nitko, koliko je meni poznato, nije analizirao znanstevno pitanje: "Da li bi plaće imigranata bile veće kad bi se domaći radnici s njima manje natjecali za iste poslove?" Ovo je isto ono prvo pitanje, ali iz perspektive inigranata. Dakle, pod krinkom znanstvene neutralnosti se provlači latentna netrpeljivost prema doseljenicima. 
Drugi čest slučaj latentnog rasizma je kad se senzacionalistički izdvajaju slucajevi "dobrog susjeda inigranta." Nedavno je cijelu Kanadu obišao tekst sa pričom u kojoj se govori o Sirijcu koji je pomogao svojim kanadskim susjedima tijekom olujnog nevremana. Ono što je meni, kao nekadašnjoj izbjeglici, odmah palo na pamet su sljedeća pitanja: Što? Postoji nešto izvanredno u useljeniku kao dobrom susjedu? A što ako nije dobar susjed? Ima li i on jednako pravo biti šupak kao i bilo tko drugi?

Da pojasnim, iako se čini dobrom idejom ukazati na pozitivna djela izbjeglica, ovakav pristup šalje rasističku poruku. Prvo, to podrazumijeva da je važno posebno istaknuti da je dobronamjernik bio izbjeglica, kao da ne bismo očekivali da izbjeglice pomažu svojim susjedima. No, zašto izbjeglica ne bi pomogla? Članak pokušava reći onima koji ne vole izbjeglice: "Vidi, izbjeglice su dobri ljudi". Time se podrazumijeva da je nužno uvjeriti druge da izbjeglice mogu biti dobre, kao da se izbjeglice nekako razlikuju od ostalih i moramo potvrditi njihovu ljudskost.

Mnogi vjeruju da su takve priče potrebne jer postoji mišljenje da neke izbjeglice neće pridonijeti svojim novim domovima i društvima. No, većina rođenih Kanađana neće pridonijeti svom susjedstvu na poseban način i to se smatra sasvim OK. Većina Kanađana ne zna ni imena svojih susjeda, ali se njihova pristojnost ne dovodi u pitanje zbog toga. Ne moramo pridonijeti našem susjedstvu na poseban način da bi nas smatrali pristojnim ljudima. Podrazumijeva se da smo dobri ljudi sve dok ne učinimo nešto loše. Međutim, članci poput onog koji sam prethodno povezao podrazumijevaju da izbjeglice trebaju pokazati dodatni napor samo da bi došli do razine na kojoj je ostatak nas po defaultu. 

Ovo su samo dva manja primjera latentnog rasizma na koji se svaki useljenik navikne kao što se ljudsko tijelo navikne na atmosferski pritisak zraka. Ali, bude nam zabavno kad se ti isti latentni rasisti svi nakostriješe na one rasiste koji su bar iskreni, jasni i glasni u svojim pobudama. 
Categories: Srbija

Šta je bilo u smeđoj plastičnoj kutiji?

Thu, 27/07/2017 - 08:48
O bježaniji iz Krajine početkom avgusta 1995. pisali su mnogi. Svi znamo kako je to bilo, iz milion perspektiva. Tako sam bar mislio jutros dok sam sporim hodom koračao od auta do kancelarije. Koračao sam sporo jer sam se nadao da ću do kancelarijskih vrata uspjeti da završim misao. I tada me strefi! Za mene taj događaj postoji ne kao vremenska linija nego kao niz scena koje pamtim, ali taj niz se iz godine u godinu skraćuje i svaka scena gubi poneki detalj. Siguran sam da je postojalo vrijeme kad sam znao šta je bilo u toj smeđoj plastičnoj kutiji u mojoj vitrini iza knjiga. Moralo je biti nešto važno kad je dospjelo na listu stvari po koje bih se vratio čak iz Bosanskog Novog u Petrinju te subote 5. 8. 1995.

U Bosanski Novi smo stigli dan prije, kada "je počelo", tetkinim Golfom dvojkom preko Šamarice, tetka, njeno dvoje djece, mama i ja. Išli smo "da se sklonimo u pozadinu dok ne prođe." U Bosanskom Novom smo se, sa još nekoliko porodica, smjestili u stanu nekih ljudi koji su se poznavali ili su bili rodbina sa nekim tetkinim komšijama, ali ja nisam imao pojma ko su oni, a ni sad ne znam. Kako je vrijeme odmicalo, i kako su vijesti za vijestima na TV-u promicale, postajalo je sve jasnije da se mi u Petrinju nećemo skoro vratiti. Ne znam kako i kad, ali tada je na snagu stupio plan B: da se neko od nas vrati i iz kuće pokupi najvažije stvari dok se još u Petrinju može. Pošto sam ja muško, a po godinama sam bio blizu vojnoj sposobnosti, odučili smo da ipak ide samo mama, a ja da ostanem u Novom. "Šta znaš kakvih budala ima pa te mogu napasti što ne braniš ognjište, tj. termoakumulacionu peć."

Dakle koji su to najvažniji artikli pokretne imovine šesnaestogodinjeg mene uspjeli da se probiju na tu listu? Kad biste me sad pitali da se sjetim, vjerovatno ne bih mogao, ali srećom, došao sam u posjed originalnog dokumenta koji je moja mama čuvala sve ove godine. Tu sve piše, plavo na bijelo i to šifrirano, u slučaju da poruka dodje u ruke nekome neželjenom. Šta ti je psiha tinejdžera odraslog u ratnoj zoni!


Lista prvo navodi glavne lokacije gdje se šta nalazi. Vitrina i fotelja u mojoj sobi su glavne lokacije. Dalje, vidimo da se nešto nalazi na petstotoj stranici enciklopedije u mojoj vitrini. Znate šta je tamo? Tamo je određena svota njemačkih maraka koje sam štedio za Leviske 501. Koliko je tačno bilo ne sjećam se, ali očito još ne dovoljno. Dalje, vidi se da mi je bilijarska kugla koja je bila u akvariju bila jako bitna. Nju sam ukrao u nekom bilijar-klubu, ali da me ubijete sad, ne mogu se sjetiti kojem. Samsung kazetofon je takođe našao svoje mjesto na listi. Ima dvije glave. Može da presnimava sa kasete na kasetu, a može i sa radija da snima. Zvučnici se odvajaju. Sva dugmad rade. Na kraju, vidimo da je bilo jako važno naći kaiš u ladici moga stola. Taj kaiš nije bio obični kaiš nego onaj sa nitnama. Vole ga i dizelaši i pankeri. Dakle a "must have item".  

Sigurno ste primijetili da sam nešto preskočio. Preskočio sam smeđu plastičnu kutiju u dnu vitrine iza knjiga, a preskočio sam je s razlogom. Ja nemam pojma o kakvoj kutiji se radi i šta je u njoj. Tom šesnaestogodišnjem meni je njen sadržaj očigledno bio vrlo bitan. Šta je u toj smeđoj plastičnoj kutiji u dnu vitrine iza knjiga? Ne bi šesnaestogodišnji ja to tako zakamuflirao da nije nešto važno. Opet, vidite po listi mojih prioriteta da bi se moglo raditi o nečemu vrlo "bitnom" kao što je još jedna bilijarska kugla.

Bilo kako bilo, izgleda da nikad nećemo saznati šta je bilo u toj smeđoj plastičnoj kutiji iza knjiga u mojoj vitrini. Možda zna onaj ko je u moju kuću prvi ušao poslije "Oluje". Ako slučajno pročita ove retke, nadam se da neće da mi otkrije tu misteriju. Ljepše je ovako.
Categories: Srbija

Poverty is a state of mind

Sun, 16/07/2017 - 05:58
Have you noticed that the phrase "pissing on the poor" is mostly used by people with above-average incomes? I deliberately use the term "people with above-average incomes" and not "people who are not poor". If someone called me poor in the 1990s, I would never have looked at him again. Why? Because to label someone as poor means to not recognize his control over his own life. As long as we don't consider ourselves poor, there is hope for us.

Some would argue: "Don't you think that our wealth depends on the system in which we live? For example, a slave is poor because the system has made him poor."

First, wealth and being poor are two different categories. Wealth is an objective category that can be measured in dollars, or any other monetary unit. Being poor is a subjective category. It is a state of mind. A person is poor when he perceives himself only as a victim of external circumstances. This person does not believe that he has any power over his own life.

A slave has very little wealth, but this does not prevent him from choosing how he is going to view the world. Put yourself in his position. Imagine that you know that you will spend your entire life as a slave. Are you going to choose to spend your only chance at being alive on viewing yourself as a victim of the system or will you choose make the best of what you have? I would have opted for the latter. That's why I gave a figurative “f… off” to all the UNPROFOR soldiers who pitied me as a victim of war and to all those who later pitied me as a refugee.

One might argue that this worldview does not motivate us to change the system. But, this interpretation would be wrong. When is the likelihood that people will change the system greater: when people are depressed and convinced in being complete victims of the system or when people are full of life energy? The fact that a slave may be full of life energy does not mean that he loves being a slave. It just means that if there is an opportunity for him to change his position, he will likely notice and take that opportunity. He will not wait for others to rescue him from his misfortune.

I know many of Canadians who could not fathom that someone could be happy in the conditions in which I once lived. When I told them that I was not desperate at the time and that I did not feel inferior to the people who lived in better conditions, they looked at me in disbelief. In fact, I was quite happy during that time. To them, I looked  like a slave who chose to view himself as the master of his domain.

Since the sense self-ownership, even in the worst of times, is still fresh in my memory and it feels quite real, I have no problem imagining, say, an American slave at the beginning of the 19th century, who feels this kind of self-ownership. I can fully understand his deliberate refusal to be "poor" even though his wealth and his freedom of movement were very limited. A person who is a slave in his own mind can not fight for physical freedom, and a person who is poor in his own mind can not fight for financial freedom.
Categories: Srbija

My debate with a CNN journalist who was justifying wars

Sun, 09/07/2017 - 08:05

This e-mail exchange was a response to the article "World's Right to Intercede,” an editorial  
posted on Monday, May. 28, 2007 in Philadelphia Inquirer. (http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20070528_Worlds_right_to_intercede.html). The article has been removed from the original address, but I am copying it at the bottom of this post.  

The author of this article is Frida Ghitis, a frequent contributor to CNN Opinion, and a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. She is a former CNN producer and correspondent.
My view, which I explained here, is that any justification for any war is just a nice wrapper in which to put the bodies of innocent victims. Unfortunately this is not the claim of those who start wars or those who support them or justify them. It is also unfortunate that many people don’t have the time, energy, or necessary information to unwrap this nicely wrapped package. We often support, or simply fail to oppose, something that sounds good from the mouth of a politician, while not being aware what it really entails. I have seen the suffering and death of the innocent who felt the military “humanitarianism,” and I fail to understand how one person’s misery can be justified by claiming it was a necessary means for preventing another person’s misery. Well, it can’t, but the “wrapper” in which this claim is packaged looks nice and shiny. And, we humans tend to like shiny things. 

The email exchange between Ghitis and I:

On 5/28/07, PREDRAG RAJSIC wrote: Dear Ms. Ghitis, I was in Serbia in 1999. I don't find the humanitarian bombing argument convincing. One of the reasons is: Croatia was not pressured not to expel 250,000 Serbs August 4th - 7th, 1995. There was no bombing then. There were no serious consequences to Croatia. The other reason are civilian targets and casualties of NATO bombing in 1999. One murder does not justify another. You have probably seen the pictures. The third reason is that most of the Albanians killed in Kosovo before March 24th 1999 were members of KLA, thus, not civilians. The fourth reason is that the real exodus of Albanians started after March 24th, 1999. The fifth reason is that there are much bloodiest conflicts in the world > that are not being addressed. If we follow the principle of human rights protection, there should be no discrimination among regions. All this is not to say that there were no crimes against Albanians in Kosovo but these crimes, in my opinion, had little to do with the reasons for the bombing. If you could please explain the humanitarian nature of NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, that would be greatly appreciated.   Regards, Predrag Rajsic Rresponse by Ghitis: Dear Mr. Rajsic, I too was in the region during that time and, as you know, my view is different. The fact that action should have been taken in another place during another time, doesn't mean it was wrong to take it later. If it was wrong to do nothing in 1995, it doesn't make it wrong to take action in 1999. The fact that there were civilian casualties from NATO also doesn't mean it was wrong for NATO to intervene. Every war has innocent casualties. But war is sometimes justified to stop even worse atrocities. That's the humanitarian rationale. Humanitarian intervention is an evolving concept and it is definitely not applied evenly. You are certainly right about that. That doesn't mean it is wrong to apply it at all. Regards, Frida  My response to Ghitis:Dear Ms. Ghitis, You say:"But war is sometimes justified to stop even worse atrocities. That's the humanitarian rationale." This implies that you can predict the outcome of non-action and compare it to the outcome of action. Furthermore, this implies that there is a unit of measurement of atrocities.  It looks to me than the question whether bombing of Yugoslavia was right can never be answered because it is not known against which alternative outcome it would have to be measured...and how it would be measured.  Following the same argument, the operations of the YU army and police were of humanitarian nature because they were trying to protect Kosovo non-Albanians from the KLA. And as evidence they could use 200,000 Serb refugees and about 3,000 killed after 1999. The question is not whether the bombing was right or wrong but whether the humanitarian argument was the real reason for the bombing. The same way the killing of Franz Ferdinand was not the real reason for WWI, I don't believe that the Racak "massacre" was the real reason for bombing of Yugoslavia. Regards, PredragI received no response from Ms. Ghitis after this.
The article that prompted my comment was this:



World's right to intercede
NATO's intervention in Serbia in 1999, to rescue ethnic Albanians,established a new doctrine: Genocide trumps sovereignty. That's why theU.N. will likely make Kosovo independent.

Frida Ghitis writes on foreign affairs
In a few months, a new 10-foot statue of Bill Clinton will take its placeoverlooking Bill Clinton Boulevard - in the city of Pristina, capital ofthe breakaway province of Kosovo. Remember Kosovo? For a few months, itcaptured our attention. Now, while the American public looks elsewhere, theprovince is again becoming a test case for how much say the internationalcommunity will have within the borders of a sovereign nation. The surprising answer - in Kosovo as in Darfur, and perhaps elsewhere - isthat this community can and must have a say. Kosovo may be the turningpoint that lays noninterventionism down to a quiet sleep. In 1999, the United States led a NATO force in a bombardment that"persuaded" Serbian forces to leave the ethnic Albanian enclave in acrumbling Yugoslavia. Kosovo was a province of Serbia. Unlike the Serbs,however, the Kosovars were ethnic Albanians, Muslims, who had resented thecentral government in Serbia for years. When ultra-nationalist SlobodanMilosevic took Yugoslavia by military storm after the end of the Cold War,separatist guerrillas in Kosovo came under ruthless attack from his army. The world had done too little too late to protect civilians in other partsof the now-defunct Yugoslavia, allowing thousands of Bosnians and Croats todie and millions to become displaced in independence wars against Serbs.Faced with renewed carnage in the Balkans - Serbian forces had killed about10,000 Kosovars - Clinton finally decided to act. With its NATO allies, the United States went to war to protect Muslims.After a 78-day bombardment, Serbian forces withdrew, and Kosovo became aninternational protectorate. Now, eight years later, the time has come to decide whether Kosovo will bean independent nation - as the overwhelming majority of its populationwants - or remain an autonomous region in Serbia, as the Serbs demand, withstrong support from Russia. Serbia considers Kosovo a spiritual, historical center of the nation. Butethnic Albanians have always made up the vast majority of the population.In a tragic, ironic turn of events, ethnic Albanians, the beneficiaries ofWestern help, have expelled 200,000 ethnic Serbs from the province sincewar ended. In March, U.N. Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari, a former president ofFinland, proposed granting de facto independence to Kosovo under Europeansupervision. The plan envisions full independence and acceptance of bothKosovo and Serbia into the European Union. The Serbian government has emphatically rejected the plan. With theexception of Russia, which holds veto power, it appears that all othermembers of the U.N. Security Council plan to vote for approval. The principal objection from Belgrade and Moscow is that the plan sets adangerous precedent. If the international community can vote in favor of aseparatist movement, slicing away a big piece of a country, what's to stopit from doing it elsewhere? Moscow worries about places like Chechnya,where Russian forces have waged a brutal war against separatists. Russia may be justified in worrying about Chechnya, but the larger worry -about international interventionism - is probably a decade too late. Thefact is, the international community already has accepted thatinterventionism will be part of its future. When NATO took on what was adomestic conflict in Serbia in 1999, it was breaking one of the cardinalrules of international politics: Never interfere in a country's internalaffairs. A new doctrine is evolving. When a central government engages inthe massive slaughter of its own people, it loses the right to be leftalone by the international community. Genocide trumps sovereignty. That'swhy Kosovo deserves independence from Serbia. Incidentally, this is alsowhy Sudan, the tormentor of Darfur, has lost the right to keep foreignforces off its soil. The threshold for foreign intervention in another country's domesticaffairs should be high, but not unreachable. Kosovo already served as atest case for military intervention. It now stands as another marker in thehistory of international affairs. The fact is that despite Serbian andRussia opposition, everyone knows that Kosovo will become an independentnation - a Muslim nation with streets, statues and people honoring anAmerican president. How's that for unusual?


Categories: Srbija