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Cleptocracy

Reader comment on item: L'Institut d'Égypte – In Memoriam
in response to reader comment: Dear Mr. Ianus

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Jan 26, 2012 at 13:08

Debanjan Banerjee wrote :

> Why exactly the Eastern European states have become like that ? I mean all these countries who after the fall of the Berlin wall were so happy and cheering the fall of communism , why they have now regressed to be ruled by another sort of "fat pigs" as you say.<

There are two ways to get rid of or at least control corruption. One is an idealistic worldview which makes corruption in principle unacceptable and impossible. The old German bureaucracy was famous for its integrity for this reason and this idealistic approach was formed by German universities. If there is no idealistic perception of the world, then the only other way is ruthless punishment for corruption. Under communism graver cases of corruption were punished with death. In the mid-70-ies there was a famous case of corruption in the meat industry. The guilty ones were simply hanged which sent a right signal to other potential imitators.

What happened just after the fall of communism was the "liberalization" of law and corruption was no longer seen as a socially destructive crime worth capital punishment. Well, even sadist serial killers were not seen worth a death punishment. The lives they have destroyed were evaluated as extremely cheap by our post-communist social engineers. Anyway, at present you may get a few years in jail (under comfortable conditions also assured by the same liberal law-makers that assure that the life of honestly working people remains poor and uncomfortable) for corruption , if you're a small fish, are unlucky enough and couldn't bribe the judges on time, for what under communism you would have been dispatched to the gibbet .

The effects of these "liberal laws" were immediately evident and devastating. The so called "privatization" of state property after 1989 was by far the biggest and most outrageous public theft and fraud in the history of this country. And of course nobody -excepting few scapegoats that imprudently enough didn't want to share the swag with more potent sharks - was punished for it , let alone anybody was tempted to revise the whole "privatization" fraud and sue the guilty ones.

Since 1989 hardly a single week has passed by without a corruption scandal, embezzlement, peculation,fraud etc!!! The thieves in the capital have found eager imitators in the provinces and every town or even each village has its own mini-version of Balcerowicz or Walesa, to name just two particularly fat and corrupt pigs in the herd that was let loose from the cage in 1989.

The present system we are living under may therefore be best describe as "cleptocracy", the rule of thieves who consider the territory they rule and its population just as raw materials to be transformed into their private riches - private palaces (while many families are evicted from their homes), private planes and helicopters (while many people can't afford a bus ticket from one town to another), long exotic holidays in the Antartica or the South Seas (while most children can't even visit the Baltic seaside during their summer holidays), enormous estates (while many families live in small overcrowded flats) etc. etc. ...

Paradoxically enough, that cleptocracy is quite welcome to and supported by the so called West whose recommendations and advices have been considered since 1989 as the holy and ultimate "wisdom" in everything , no matter what devastation and damage they produce. The reason is simple and pragmatic enough. What our cleptocrats steal, they transfer to and accumulate on their bank accounts in the West, thus contributing to the stability and prosperity of the West. "Money doesn't stink" as Emperor Vespasianus used to say.

> As a resident of Eastern Europe , what exactly ails Eastern Europe now ? Is it the corrupt elites ? Is it the inability to create a replacement system that would have supplanted communism , what is the problem in Eastern Europe ?<

Seen with the Western eyes Eastern Europe that is rapidly degenerating, dying out , getting poorer and poorer with few chosen pigs getting richer and richer and swelling their Western bank accounts, the situation is , I am afraid, quite satisfactory and in keeping with the larger scheme designed in the late 1980-ies.

Seen with the local eyes Eastern Europe , or at least Poland, has suffered heavier losses in terms of depopulation, de-industrialization, degradation of its education system and destruction of its health care system and its social systems than during foreign occupation and WWII.

The reason for that lies to my mind in the wrong and double-tongued neoliberal worldview that has been adopted and imposed upon us. If your program is to concentrate 95% of wealth in the hands of some 5% of the population, then what you will get as the end result will be a cleptocratic, parasitic and dysfunctional system , which is slowly but steadily destroying those 95% who don't happen to belong to the golden 5% and some 3-5% more needed to serve those golden 5% , a system which is much more murderous,unjust and hypocritical than the system you have overthrown and which you now try to represent as the supreme evil and blame for everything, including particularly the evil that you yourself are responsible for.

> What is your take on the current situation in Hungary ? Do you suspect any worsening of situations there ?<

I have no precise information on Hungary but what they are getting through looks like our own ailment in a more severe and progressed form and whether in Hungary, Poland, Latvia or Lithuania the akin regime that has been established can't but make the situation worse and worse and nothing will change unless the fat pigs lose any political power for ever, leave the historical arena and come back to the pigsty they come from.

Submitting....

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