Monthly Archives: October 2013

Krugman: Kako so se mogli ekonomisti tako zmotiti

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?


Published: September 2, 2009

It’s hard to believe now, but not long ago economists were congratulating themselves over the success of their field. Those successes — or so they believed — were both theoretical and practical, leading to a golden era for the profession. On the theoretical side, they thought that they had resolved their internal disputes. Thus, in a 2008 paper titled “The State of Macro” (that is, macroeconomics, the study of big-picture issues like recessions), Olivier Blanchard of M.I.T., now the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, declared that “the state of macro is good.” The battles of yesteryear, he said, were over, and there had been a “broad convergence of vision.” And in the real world, economists believed they had things under control: the “central problem of depression-prevention has been solved,” declared Robert Lucas of the University of Chicagoin his 2003 presidential address to the American Economic Association. In 2004, Ben Bernanke, a former Princeton professor who is now the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, celebrated the Great Moderation in economic performance over the previous two decades, which he attributed in part to improved economic policy making.

Last year, everything came apart.

Few economists saw our current crisis coming, but this predictive failure was the least of the field’s problems. More important was the profession’s blindness to the very possibility of catastrophic failures in a market economy. During the golden years, financial economists came to believe that markets were inherently stable — indeed, thatstocks and other assets were always priced just right. There was nothing in the prevailing models suggesting the possibility of the kind of collapse that happened last year. Meanwhile, macroeconomists were divided in their views. But the main division was between those who insisted that free-market economies never go astray and those who believed that economies may stray now and then but that any major deviations from the path of prosperity could and would be corrected by the all-powerful Fed. Neither side was prepared to cope with an economy that went off the rails despite the Fed’s best efforts.

And in the wake of the crisis, the fault lines in the economics profession have yawned wider than ever. Lucas says the Obama administration’s stimulus plans are “schlock economics,” and his Chicago colleague John Cochrane says they’re based on discredited “fairy tales.” In response, Brad DeLong of the University of California, Berkeley, writes of the “intellectual collapse” of the Chicago School, and I myself have written that comments from Chicago economists are the product of a Dark Age of macroeconomics in which hard-won knowledge has been forgotten.

What happened to the economics profession? And where does it go from here?

As I see it, the economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth. Until the Great Depression, most economists clung to a vision of capitalism as a perfect or nearly perfect system. That vision wasn’t sustainable in the face of mass unemployment, but as memories of the Depression faded, economists fell back in love with the old, idealized vision of an economy in which rational individuals interact in perfect markets, this time gussied up with fancy equations. The renewed romance with the idealized market was, to be sure, partly a response to shifting political winds, partly a response to financial incentives. But while sabbaticals at the Hoover Institution and job opportunities on Wall Street are nothing to sneeze at, the central cause of the profession’s failure was the desire for an all-encompassing, intellectually elegant approach that also gave economists a chance to show off their mathematical prowess.

Unfortunately, this romanticized and sanitized vision of the economy led most economists to ignore all the things that can go wrong. They turned a blind eye to the limitations of human rationality that often lead to bubbles and busts; to the problems of institutions that run amok; to the imperfections of markets — especially financial markets — that can cause the economy’s operating system to undergo sudden, unpredictable crashes; and to the dangers created when regulators don’t believe in regulation.

It’s much harder to say where the economics profession goes from here. But what’s almost certain is that economists will have to learn to live with messiness. That is, they will have to acknowledge the importance of irrational and often unpredictable behavior, face up to the often idiosyncratic imperfections of markets and accept that an elegant economic “theory of everything” is a long way off. In practical terms, this will translate into more cautious policy advice — and a reduced willingness to dismantle economic safeguards in the faith that markets will solve all problems.


The birth of economics as a discipline is usually credited to Adam Smith, who published “The Wealth of Nations” in 1776. Over the next 160 years an extensive body of economic theory was developed, whose central message was: Trust the market. Yes, economists admitted that there were cases in which markets might fail, of which the most important was the case of “externalities” — costs that people impose on others without paying the price, like traffic congestion or pollution. But the basic presumption of “neoclassical” economics (named after the late-19th-century theorists who elaborated on the concepts of their “classical” predecessors) was that we should have faith in the market system.

This faith was, however, shattered by the Great Depression. Actually, even in the face of total collapse some economists insisted that whatever happens in a market economy must be right: “Depressions are not simply evils,” declared Joseph Schumpeter in 1934 — 1934! They are, he added, “forms of something which has to be done.” But many, and eventually most, economists turned to the insights of John Maynard Keynes for both an explanation of what had happened and a solution to future depressions.

Keynes did not, despite what you may have heard, want the government to run the economy. He described his analysis in his 1936 masterwork, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money,” as “moderately conservative in its implications.” He wanted to fix capitalism, not replace it. But he did challenge the notion that free-market economies can function without a minder, expressing particular contempt for financial markets, which he viewed as being dominated by short-term speculation with little regard for fundamentals. And he called for active government intervention — printing more money and, if necessary, spending heavily on public works — to fight unemployment during slumps.

It’s important to understand that Keynes did much more than make bold assertions. “The General Theory” is a work of profound, deep analysis — analysis that persuaded the best young economists of the day. Yet the story of economics over the past half century is, to a large degree, the story of a retreat from Keynesianism and a return to neoclassicism. The neoclassical revival was initially led by Milton Friedman of the University of Chicago, who asserted as early as 1953 that neoclassical economics works well enough as a description of the way the economy actually functions to be “both extremely fruitful and deserving of much confidence.” But what about depressions?

Friedman’s counterattack against Keynes began with the doctrine known as monetarism. Monetarists didn’t disagree in principle with the idea that a market economy needs deliberate stabilization. “We are all Keynesians now,” Friedman once said, although he later claimed he was quoted out of context. Monetarists asserted, however, that a very limited, circumscribed form of government intervention — namely, instructing central banks to keep the nation’s money supply, the sum of cash in circulation and bank deposits, growing on a steady path — is all that’s required to prevent depressions. Famously, Friedman and his collaborator, Anna Schwartz, argued that if the Federal Reserve had done its job properly, the Great Depression would not have happened. Later, Friedman made a compelling case against any deliberate effort by government to push unemployment below its “natural” level (currently thought to be about 4.8 percent in the United States): excessively expansionary policies, he predicted, would lead to a combination of inflation and high unemployment — a prediction that was borne out by the stagflation of the 1970s, which greatly advanced the credibility of the anti-Keynesian movement.

Eventually, however, the anti-Keynesian counterrevolution went far beyond Friedman’s position, which came to seem relatively moderate compared with what his successors were saying. Among financial economists, Keynes’s disparaging vision of financial markets as a “casino” was replaced by “efficient market” theory, which asserted that financial markets always get asset prices right given the available information. Meanwhile, many macroeconomists completely rejected Keynes’s framework for understanding economic slumps. Some returned to the view of Schumpeter and other apologists for the Great Depression, viewing recessions as a good thing, part of the economy’s adjustment to change. And even those not willing to go that far argued that any attempt to fight an economic slump would do more harm than good.

Not all macroeconomists were willing to go down this road: many became self-described New Keynesians, who continued to believe in an active role for the government. Yet even they mostly accepted the notion that investors and consumers are rational and that markets generally get it right.

Of course, there were exceptions to these trends: a few economists challenged the assumption of rational behavior, questioned the belief that financial markets can be trusted and pointed to the long history of financial crises that had devastating economic consequences. But they were swimming against the tide, unable to make much headway against a pervasive and, in retrospect, foolish complacency.


In the 1930s, financial markets, for obvious reasons, didn’t get much respect. Keynes compared them to “those newspaper competitions in which the competitors have to pick out the six prettiest faces from a hundred photographs, the prize being awarded to the competitor whose choice most nearly corresponds to the average preferences of the competitors as a whole; so that each competitor has to pick, not those faces which he himself finds prettiest, but those that he thinks likeliest to catch the fancy of the other competitors.”

And Keynes considered it a very bad idea to let such markets, in which speculators spent their time chasing one another’s tails, dictate important business decisions: “When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”

By 1970 or so, however, the study of financial markets seemed to have been taken over by Voltaire’s Dr. Pangloss, who insisted that we live in the best of all possible worlds. Discussion of investor irrationality, of bubbles, of destructive speculation had virtually disappeared from academic discourse. The field was dominated by the “efficient-market hypothesis,” promulgated by Eugene Fama of the University of Chicago, which claims that financial markets price assets precisely at their intrinsic worth given all publicly available information. (The price of a company’s stock, for example, always accurately reflects the company’s value given the information available on the company’s earnings, its business prospects and so on.) And by the 1980s, finance economists, notably Michael Jensen of the Harvard Business School, were arguing that because financial markets always get prices right, the best thing corporate chieftains can do, not just for themselves but for the sake of the economy, is to maximize their stock prices. In other words, finance economists believed that we should put the capital development of the nation in the hands of what Keynes had called a “casino.”

It’s hard to argue that this transformation in the profession was driven by events. True, the memory of 1929 was gradually receding, but there continued to be bull markets, with widespread tales of speculative excess, followed by bear markets. In 1973-4, for example, stocks lost 48 percent of their value. And the 1987 stock crash, in which the Dow plunged nearly 23 percent in a day for no clear reason, should have raised at least a few doubts about market rationality.

These events, however, which Keynes would have considered evidence of the unreliability of markets, did little to blunt the force of a beautiful idea. The theoretical model that finance economists developed by assuming that every investor rationally balances risk against reward — the so-called Capital Asset Pricing Model, or CAPM (pronounced cap-em) — is wonderfully elegant. And if you accept its premises it’s also extremely useful. CAPM not only tells you how to choose your portfolio — even more important from the financial industry’s point of view, it tells you how to put a price on financial derivatives, claims on claims. The elegance and apparent usefulness of the new theory led to a string of Nobel prizes for its creators, and many of the theory’s adepts also received more mundane rewards: Armed with their new models and formidable math skills — the more arcane uses of CAPM require physicist-level computations — mild-mannered business-school professors could and did become Wall Street rocket scientists, earning Wall Street paychecks.

To be fair, finance theorists didn’t accept the efficient-market hypothesis merely because it was elegant, convenient and lucrative. They also produced a great deal of statistical evidence, which at first seemed strongly supportive. But this evidence was of an oddly limited form. Finance economists rarely asked the seemingly obvious (though not easily answered) question of whether asset prices made sense given real-world fundamentals like earnings. Instead, they asked only whether asset prices made sense given other asset prices. Larry Summers, now the top economic adviser in the Obama administration, once mocked finance professors with a parable about “ketchup economists” who “have shown that two-quart bottles of ketchup invariably sell for exactly twice as much as one-quart bottles of ketchup,” and conclude from this that the ketchup market is perfectly efficient.

But neither this mockery nor more polite critiques from economists like Robert Shiller of Yale had much effect. Finance theorists continued to believe that their models were essentially right, and so did many people making real-world decisions. Not least among these was Alan Greenspan, who was then the Fed chairman and a long-time supporter of financial deregulation whose rejection of calls to rein in subprime lending or address the ever-inflating housing bubble rested in large part on the belief that modern financial economics had everything under control. There was a telling moment in 2005, at a conference held to honor Greenspan’s tenure at the Fed. One brave attendee, Raghuram Rajan (of the University of Chicago, surprisingly), presented a paper warning that the financial system was taking on potentially dangerous levels of risk. He was mocked by almost all present — including, by the way, Larry Summers, who dismissed his warnings as “misguided.”

By October of last year, however, Greenspan was admitting that he was in a state of “shocked disbelief,” because “the whole intellectual edifice” had “collapsed.” Since this collapse of the intellectual edifice was also a collapse of real-world markets, the result was a severe recession — the worst, by many measures, since the Great Depression. What should policy makers do? Unfortunately, macroeconomics, which should have been providing clear guidance about how to address the slumping economy, was in its own state of disarray.


“We have involved ourselves in a colossal muddle, having blundered in the control of a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand. The result is that our possibilities of wealth may run to waste for a time — perhaps for a long time.” So wrote John Maynard Keynes in an essay titled “The Great Slump of 1930,” in which he tried to explain the catastrophe then overtaking the world. And the world’s possibilities of wealth did indeed run to waste for a long time; it took World War II to bring the Great Depression to a definitive end.

Why was Keynes’s diagnosis of the Great Depression as a “colossal muddle” so compelling at first? And why did economics, circa 1975, divide into opposing camps over the value of Keynes’s views?

I like to explain the essence of Keynesian economics with a true story that also serves as a parable, a small-scale version of the messes that can afflict entire economies. Consider the travails of the Capitol Hill Baby-Sitting Co-op.

This co-op, whose problems were recounted in a 1977 article in The Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, was an association of about 150 young couples who agreed to help one another by baby-sitting for one another’s children when parents wanted a night out. To ensure that every couple did its fair share of baby-sitting, the co-op introduced a form of scrip: coupons made out of heavy pieces of paper, each entitling the bearer to one half-hour of sitting time. Initially, members received 20 coupons on joining and were required to return the same amount on departing the group.

Unfortunately, it turned out that the co-op’s members, on average, wanted to hold a reserve of more than 20 coupons, perhaps, in case they should want to go out several times in a row. As a result, relatively few people wanted to spend their scrip and go out, while many wanted to baby-sit so they could add to their hoard. But since baby-sitting opportunities arise only when someone goes out for the night, this meant that baby-sitting jobs were hard to find, which made members of the co-op even more reluctant to go out, making baby-sitting jobs even scarcer. . . .

In short, the co-op fell into a recession.

O.K., what do you think of this story? Don’t dismiss it as silly and trivial: economists have used small-scale examples to shed light on big questions ever since Adam Smith saw the roots of economic progress in a pin factory, and they’re right to do so. The question is whether this particular example, in which a recession is a problem of inadequate demand — there isn’t enough demand for baby-sitting to provide jobs for everyone who wants one — gets at the essence of what happens in a recession.

Forty years ago most economists would have agreed with this interpretation. But since then macroeconomics has divided into two great factions: “saltwater” economists (mainly in coastal U.S. universities), who have a more or less Keynesian vision of what recessions are all about; and “freshwater” economists (mainly at inland schools), who consider that vision nonsense.

Freshwater economists are, essentially, neoclassical purists. They believe that all worthwhile economic analysis starts from the premise that people are rational and markets work, a premise violated by the story of the baby-sitting co-op. As they see it, a general lack of sufficient demand isn’t possible, because prices always move to match supply with demand. If people want more baby-sitting coupons, the value of those coupons will rise, so that they’re worth, say, 40 minutes of baby-sitting rather than half an hour — or, equivalently, the cost of an hours’ baby-sitting would fall from 2 coupons to 1.5. And that would solve the problem: the purchasing power of the coupons in circulation would have risen, so that people would feel no need to hoard more, and there would be no recession.

But don’t recessions look like periods in which there just isn’t enough demand to employ everyone willing to work? Appearances can be deceiving, say the freshwater theorists. Sound economics, in their view, says that overall failures of demand can’t happen — and that means that they don’t. Keynesian economics has been “proved false,” Cochrane, of the University of Chicago, says.

Yet recessions do happen. Why? In the 1970s the leading freshwater macroeconomist, the Nobel laureate Robert Lucas, argued that recessions were caused by temporary confusion: workers and companies had trouble distinguishing overall changes in the level of prices because of inflation or deflation from changes in their own particular business situation. And Lucas warned that any attempt to fight the business cycle would be counterproductive: activist policies, he argued, would just add to the confusion.

By the 1980s, however, even this severely limited acceptance of the idea that recessions are bad things had been rejected by many freshwater economists. Instead, the new leaders of the movement, especially Edward Prescott, who was then at the University of Minnesota(you can see where the freshwater moniker comes from), argued that price fluctuations and changes in demand actually had nothing to do with the business cycle. Rather, the business cycle reflects fluctuations in the rate of technological progress, which are amplified by the rational response of workers, who voluntarily work more when the environment is favorable and less when it’s unfavorable. Unemployment is a deliberate decision by workers to take time off.

Put baldly like that, this theory sounds foolish — was the Great Depression really the Great Vacation? And to be honest, I think it really is silly. But the basic premise of Prescott’s “real business cycle” theory was embedded in ingeniously constructed mathematical models, which were mapped onto real data using sophisticated statistical techniques, and the theory came to dominate the teaching of macroeconomics in many university departments. In 2004, reflecting the theory’s influence, Prescott shared a Nobel with Finn Kydland of Carnegie Mellon University.

Meanwhile, saltwater economists balked. Where the freshwater economists were purists, saltwater economists were pragmatists. While economists like N. Gregory Mankiw atHarvard, Olivier Blanchard at M.I.T. and David Romer at the University of California, Berkeley, acknowledged that it was hard to reconcile a Keynesian demand-side view of recessions with neoclassical theory, they found the evidence that recessions are, in fact, demand-driven too compelling to reject. So they were willing to deviate from the assumption of perfect markets or perfect rationality, or both, adding enough imperfections to accommodate a more or less Keynesian view of recessions. And in the saltwater view, active policy to fight recessions remained desirable.

But the self-described New Keynesian economists weren’t immune to the charms of rational individuals and perfect markets. They tried to keep their deviations from neoclassical orthodoxy as limited as possible. This meant that there was no room in the prevailing models for such things as bubbles and banking-system collapse. The fact that such things continued to happen in the real world — there was a terrible financial and macroeconomic crisis in much of Asia in 1997-8 and a depression-level slump in Argentina in 2002 — wasn’t reflected in the mainstream of New Keynesian thinking.

Even so, you might have thought that the differing worldviews of freshwater and saltwater economists would have put them constantly at loggerheads over economic policy. Somewhat surprisingly, however, between around 1985 and 2007 the disputes between freshwater and saltwater economists were mainly about theory, not action. The reason, I believe, is that New Keynesians, unlike the original Keynesians, didn’t think fiscal policy — changes in government spending or taxes — was needed to fight recessions. They believed that monetary policy, administered by the technocrats at the Fed, could provide whatever remedies the economy needed. At a 90th birthday celebration for Milton Friedman, Ben Bernanke, formerly a more or less New Keynesian professor at Princeton, and by then a member of the Fed’s governing board, declared of the Great Depression: “You’re right. We did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, it won’t happen again.” The clear message was that all you need to avoid depressions is a smarter Fed.

And as long as macroeconomic policy was left in the hands of the maestro Greenspan, without Keynesian-type stimulus programs, freshwater economists found little to complain about. (They didn’t believe that monetary policy did any good, but they didn’t believe it did any harm, either.)

It would take a crisis to reveal both how little common ground there was and how Panglossian even New Keynesian economics had become.


In recent, rueful economics discussions, an all-purpose punch line has become “nobody could have predicted. . . .” It’s what you say with regard to disasters that could have been predicted, should have been predicted and actually were predicted by a few economists who were scoffed at for their pains.

Take, for example, the precipitous rise and fall of housing prices. Some economists, notably Robert Shiller, did identify the bubble and warn of painful consequences if it were to burst. Yet key policy makers failed to see the obvious. In 2004, Alan Greenspan dismissed talk of a housing bubble: “a national severe price distortion,” he declared, was “most unlikely.” Home-price increases, Ben Bernanke said in 2005, “largely reflect strong economic fundamentals.”

How did they miss the bubble? To be fair, interest rates were unusually low, possibly explaining part of the price rise. It may be that Greenspan and Bernanke also wanted to celebrate the Fed’s success in pulling the economy out of the 2001 recession; conceding that much of that success rested on the creation of a monstrous bubble would have placed a damper on the festivities.

But there was something else going on: a general belief that bubbles just don’t happen. What’s striking, when you reread Greenspan’s assurances, is that they weren’t based on evidence — they were based on the a priori assertion that there simply can’t be a bubble in housing. And the finance theorists were even more adamant on this point. In a 2007 interview, Eugene Fama, the father of the efficient-market hypothesis, declared that “the word ‘bubble’ drives me nuts,” and went on to explain why we can trust the housing market: “Housing markets are less liquid, but people are very careful when they buy houses. It’s typically the biggest investment they’re going to make, so they look around very carefully and they compare prices. The bidding process is very detailed.”

Indeed, home buyers generally do carefully compare prices — that is, they compare the price of their potential purchase with the prices of other houses. But this says nothing about whether the overall price of houses is justified. It’s ketchup economics, again: because a two-quart bottle of ketchup costs twice as much as a one-quart bottle, finance theorists declare that the price of ketchup must be right.

In short, the belief in efficient financial markets blinded many if not most economists to the emergence of the biggest financial bubble in history. And efficient-market theory also played a significant role in inflating that bubble in the first place.

Now that the undiagnosed bubble has burst, the true riskiness of supposedly safe assets has been revealed and the financial system has demonstrated its fragility. U.S. households have seen $13 trillion in wealth evaporate. More than six million jobs have been lost, and the unemployment rate appears headed for its highest level since 1940. So what guidance does modern economics have to offer in our current predicament? And should we trust it?


Between 1985 and 2007 a false peace settled over the field of macroeconomics. There hadn’t been any real convergence of views between the saltwater and freshwater factions. But these were the years of the Great Moderation — an extended period during which inflation was subdued and recessions were relatively mild. Saltwater economists believed that the Federal Reserve had everything under control. Fresh­water economists didn’t think the Fed’s actions were actually beneficial, but they were willing to let matters lie.

But the crisis ended the phony peace. Suddenly the narrow, technocratic policies both sides were willing to accept were no longer sufficient — and the need for a broader policy response brought the old conflicts out into the open, fiercer than ever.

Why weren’t those narrow, technocratic policies sufficient? The answer, in a word, is zero.

During a normal recession, the Fed responds by buyingTreasury bills — short-term government debt — from banks. This drives interest rates on government debt down; investors seeking a higher rate of return move into other assets, driving other interest rates down as well; and normally these lower interest rates eventually lead to an economic bounceback. The Fed dealt with the recession that began in 1990 by driving short-term interest rates from 9 percent down to 3 percent. It dealt with the recession that began in 2001 by driving rates from 6.5 percent to 1 percent. And it tried to deal with the current recession by driving rates down from 5.25 percent to zero.

But zero, it turned out, isn’t low enough to end this recession. And the Fed can’t push rates below zero, since at near-zero rates investors simply hoard cash rather than lending it out. So by late 2008, with interest rates basically at what macroeconomists call the “zero lower bound” even as the recession continued to deepen, conventional monetary policy had lost all traction.

Now what? This is the second time America has been up against the zero lower bound, the previous occasion being the Great Depression. And it was precisely the observation that there’s a lower bound to interest rates that led Keynes to advocate higher government spending: when monetary policy is ineffective and the private sector can’t be persuaded to spend more, the public sector must take its place in supporting the economy. Fiscal stimulus is the Keynesian answer to the kind of depression-type economic situation we’re currently in.

Such Keynesian thinking underlies the Obama administration’s economic policies — and the freshwater economists are furious. For 25 or so years they tolerated the Fed’s efforts to manage the economy, but a full-blown Keynesian resurgence was something entirely different. Back in 1980, Lucas, of the University of Chicago, wrote that Keynesian economics was so ludicrous that “at research seminars, people don’t take Keynesian theorizing seriously anymore; the audience starts to whisper and giggle to one another.” Admitting that Keynes was largely right, after all, would be too humiliating a comedown.

And so Chicago’s Cochrane, outraged at the idea that government spending could mitigate the latest recession, declared: “It’s not part of what anybody has taught graduate students since the 1960s. They [Keynesian ideas] are fairy tales that have been proved false. It is very comforting in times of stress to go back to the fairy tales we heard as children, but it doesn’t make them less false.” (It’s a mark of how deep the division between saltwater and freshwater runs that Cochrane doesn’t believe that “anybody” teaches ideas that are, in fact, taught in places like Princeton, M.I.T. and Harvard.


Meanwhile, saltwater economists, who had comforted themselves with the belief that the great divide in macroeconomics was narrowing, were shocked to realize that freshwater economists hadn’t been listening at all. Freshwater economists who inveighed against the stimulus didn’t sound like scholars who had weighed Keynesian arguments and found them wanting. Rather, they sounded like people who had no idea what Keynesian economics was about, who were resurrecting pre-1930 fallacies in the belief that they were saying something new and profound.

And it wasn’t just Keynes whose ideas seemed to have been forgotten. As Brad DeLong of the University of California, Berkeley, has pointed out in his laments about the Chicago school’s “intellectual collapse,” the school’s current stance amounts to a wholesale rejection of Milton Friedman’s ideas, as well. Friedman believed that Fed policy rather than changes in government spending should be used to stabilize the economy, but he never asserted that an increase in government spending cannot, under any circumstances, increase employment. In fact, rereading Friedman’s 1970 summary of his ideas, “A Theoretical Framework for Monetary Analysis,” what’s striking is how Keynesian it seems.

And Friedman certainly never bought into the idea that mass unemployment represents a voluntary reduction in work effort or the idea that recessions are actually good for the economy. Yet the current generation of freshwater economists has been making both arguments. Thus Chicago’s Casey Mulligan suggests that unemployment is so high because many workers are choosing not to take jobs: “Employees face financial incentives that encourage them not to work . . . decreased employment is explained more by reductions in the supply of labor (the willingness of people to work) and less by the demand for labor (the number of workers that employers need to hire).” Mulligan has suggested, in particular, that workers are choosing to remain unemployed because that improves their odds of receiving mortgage relief. And Cochrane declares that high unemployment is actually good: “We should have a recession. People who spend their lives pounding nails in Nevada need something else to do.”

Personally, I think this is crazy. Why should it take mass unemployment across the whole nation to get carpenters to move out of Nevada? Can anyone seriously claim that we’ve lost 6.7 million jobs because fewer Americans want to work? But it was inevitable that freshwater economists would find themselves trapped in this cul-de-sac: if you start from the assumption that people are perfectly rational and markets are perfectly efficient, you have to conclude that unemployment is voluntary and recessions are desirable.

Yet if the crisis has pushed freshwater economists into absurdity, it has also created a lot of soul-searching among saltwater economists. Their framework, unlike that of the Chicago School, both allows for the possibility of involuntary unemployment and considers it a bad thing. But the New Keynesian models that have come to dominate teaching and research assume that people are perfectly rational and financial markets are perfectly efficient. To get anything like the current slump into their models, New Keynesians are forced to introduce some kind of fudge factor that for reasons unspecified temporarily depresses private spending. (I’ve done exactly that in some of my own work.) And if the analysis of where we are now rests on this fudge factor, how much confidence can we have in the models’ predictions about where we are going?

The state of macro, in short, is not good. So where does the profession go from here?


Economics, as a field, got in trouble because economists were seduced by the vision of a perfect, frictionless market system. If the profession is to redeem itself, it will have to reconcile itself to a less alluring vision — that of a market economy that has many virtues but that is also shot through with flaws and frictions. The good news is that we don’t have to start from scratch. Even during the heyday of perfect-market economics, there was a lot of work done on the ways in which the real economy deviated from the theoretical ideal. What’s probably going to happen now — in fact, it’s already happening — is that flaws-and-frictions economics will move from the periphery of economic analysis to its center.

There’s already a fairly well developed example of the kind of economics I have in mind: the school of thought known as behavioral finance. Practitioners of this approach emphasize two things. First, many real-world investors bear little resemblance to the cool calculators of efficient-market theory: they’re all too subject to herd behavior, to bouts of irrational exuberance and unwarranted panic. Second, even those who try to base their decisions on cool calculation often find that they can’t, that problems of trust, credibility and limited collateral force them to run with the herd.

On the first point: even during the heyday of the efficient-market hypothesis, it seemed obvious that many real-world investors aren’t as rational as the prevailing models assumed. Larry Summers once began a paper on finance by declaring: “THERE ARE IDIOTS. Look around.” But what kind of idiots (the preferred term in the academic literature, actually, is “noise traders”) are we talking about? Behavioral finance, drawing on the broader movement known as behavioral economics, tries to answer that question by relating the apparent irrationality of investors to known biases in human cognition, like the tendency to care more about small losses than small gains or the tendency to extrapolate too readily from small samples (e.g., assuming that because home prices rose in the past few years, they’ll keep on rising).

Until the crisis, efficient-market advocates like Eugene Fama dismissed the evidence produced on behalf of behavioral finance as a collection of “curiosity items” of no real importance. That’s a much harder position to maintain now that the collapse of a vast bubble — a bubble correctly diagnosed by behavioral economists like Robert Shiller of Yale, who related it to past episodes of “irrational exuberance” — has brought the world economy to its knees.

On the second point: suppose that there are, indeed, idiots. How much do they matter? Not much, argued Milton Friedman in an influential 1953 paper: smart investors will make money by buying when the idiots sell and selling when they buy and will stabilize markets in the process. But the second strand of behavioral finance says that Friedman was wrong, that financial markets are sometimes highly unstable, and right now that view seems hard to reject.

Probably the most influential paper in this vein was a 1997 publication by Andrei Shleifer of Harvard and Robert Vishny of Chicago, which amounted to a formalization of the old line that “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.” As they pointed out, arbitrageurs — the people who are supposed to buy low and sell high — need capital to do their jobs. And a severe plunge in asset prices, even if it makes no sense in terms of fundamentals, tends to deplete that capital. As a result, the smart money is forced out of the market, and prices may go into a downward spiral.

The spread of the current financial crisis seemed almost like an object lesson in the perils of financial instability. And the general ideas underlying models of financial instability have proved highly relevant to economic policy: a focus on the depleted capital of financial institutions helped guide policy actions taken after the fall of Lehman, and it looks (cross your fingers) as if these actions successfully headed off an even bigger financial collapse.

Meanwhile, what about macroeconomics? Recent events have pretty decisively refuted the idea that recessions are an optimal response to fluctuations in the rate of technological progress; a more or less Keynesian view is the only plausible game in town. Yet standard New Keynesian models left no room for a crisis like the one we’re having, because those models generally accepted the efficient-market view of the financial sector.

There were some exceptions. One line of work, pioneered by none other than Ben Bernanke working with Mark Gertler of New York University, emphasized the way the lack of sufficient collateral can hinder the ability of businesses to raise funds and pursue investment opportunities. A related line of work, largely established by my Princeton colleague Nobuhiro Kiyotaki and John Moore of the London School of Economics, argued that prices of assets such as real estate can suffer self-reinforcing plunges that in turn depress the economy as a whole. But until now the impact of dysfunctional finance hasn’t been at the core even of Keynesian economics. Clearly, that has to change.


So here’s what I think economists have to do. First, they have to face up to the inconvenient reality that financial markets fall far short of perfection, that they are subject to extraordinary delusions and the madness of crowds. Second, they have to admit — and this will be very hard for the people who giggled and whispered over Keynes — that Keynesian economics remains the best framework we have for making sense of recessions and depressions. Third, they’ll have to do their best to incorporate the realities of finance into macroeconomics.

Many economists will find these changes deeply disturbing. It will be a long time, if ever, before the new, more realistic approaches to finance and macroeconomics offer the same kind of clarity, completeness and sheer beauty that characterizes the full neoclassical approach. To some economists that will be a reason to cling to neoclassicism, despite its utter failure to make sense of the greatest economic crisis in three generations. This seems, however, like a good time to recall the words of H. L. Mencken: “There is always an easy solution to every human problem — neat, plausible and wrong.”

When it comes to the all-too-human problem of recessions and depressions, economists need to abandon the neat but wrong solution of assuming that everyone is rational and markets work perfectly. The vision that emerges as the profession rethinks its foundations may not be all that clear; it certainly won’t be neat; but we can hope that it will have the virtue of being at least partly right.

Novinar s poslanstvom – A journalist with a mission

Published: October 31, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO — A young American lawyer comes to Brazil in 2005, falls in love, finds that his gay relationship confers greater legal rights than back home, starts a blog called Unclaimed Territory focusing on illegal warrantless eavesdropping by the U.S. National Security Agency, takes a place in the hills of Rio with a bunch of rescue dogs, denounces the cozy compromises of “establishment journalists,” gets hired to write a column by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, is sought out by the N.S.A. whistleblower Edward J. Snowden, becomes the main chronicler of Snowden’s revelations of global American surveillance, is lionized for work that prompts a far-reaching debate on security and freedom, files repeated thunderbolts from his leafy Brazilian perch, and ends up in just eight years as perhaps the most famous journalist of his generation.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Roger Cohen

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These things happen. At least they happen in the empowering digital age, and they happen to Glenn Greenwald.

With his gray shirt, black backpack, regular features and medium build, he merges into the Rio crowd, the ordinary man. Over a Thai lunch, he tells me he is sleeping five hours a night, running on adrenalin. So what does he do to relax? “Roll around in the mud with my 10 dogs.”

Unwinding is hard. The five months since he met Snowdenin Hong Kong have been relentless; they talk almost every day. He lives in limbo. “I feel like if I went back to the United States there is a more than trivial chance I would be arrested,” he says. “Not one of 20 lawyers I have spoken to has said, ‘Oh, you are being paranoid, of course they would never think of arresting you.”’

Would Greenwald enjoy First Amendment protection after publishing top-secret information? The record of the Obama administration is ominous. He says his lawyers are unable to get clarification. His mother in Florida asks: “What if I am on my deathbed and cannot see you?”

Greenwald lives with a sense of exile but is pesky in his determination not to relent. He has been embraced as a hero by Brazil after revealing U.S. spying on President Dilma Rousseff (who postponed a planned state visit to Washington) but has resisted one request to hand over documents and is determined, here as elsewhere, to keep his distance from power.

He is on a double mission: to push back in the name of freedom against the post-9/11 “surveillance state” with its dragnet data trawling, and to reinvigorate journalism through “an aggressive and adversarial position to political and corporate power,” an undertaking he will pursue through a new online publication backed with $250 million from the eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar, the same amount Jeff Bezos of Amazon paid for The Washington Post (a sobering reflection on the standing of legacy newspapers today.)

On the first of these fronts, he says he is only halfway through the reporting of Snowden’s documents “with a lot of huge revelations to come.” On the second, explored in a recent exchange with my colleague Bill Keller that will be taught in journalism schools, he has already made about 10 hires. (He and Omidyar have never met, which must be some sort of first for such a venture.)

“Our style will be to encourage and empower combative journalism that can be a real force against powerful people,” he says. “We want our journalists to follow their passion.”

He continued: “The reason why journalism is important, why it is protected in the Constitution, is to be one of the institutional checks on abuse of power, and for that you have to keep those in power at arm’s length, hold them accountable.”

For Greenwald, American journalism has been defanged by the “patriotism compulsion” after 9/11 and by the culture of big media corporations. He alludes to David Halberstam’s speech at Columbia University in 2005: “Never, never, never, let them intimidate you. People are always going to try in all kinds of ways. Sheriffs, generals, presidents of universities, presidents of countries, secretaries of defense. Don’t let them.”

Of course, this admonition is sacred to plenty of old-school journalists. Greenwald overstates the conformity of mainstream papers, whose investigative journalism is often vigorous and fearless. But he is right that journalism got engulfed, with grave consequences, in America’s great post-9/11 disorientation. And there is no question journalism will benefit from having the personal, open-with-its-bias reporting Greenwald proposes alongside the impartiality-seeking traditional media. “Biased and balanced” — the Andrew Sullivan blog formula — is an important component of the new media landscape. Each form can spur the other, keep it honest.

American society will also benefit from Greenwald’s ongoing revelations about out-of-control surveillance. He has testified before the Brazilian Senate, and should be allowed to testify before the U.S. Senate. He says, “I am definitely going back, I refuse to be exiled for a lie.”

He deserves assurance that he can return to the United States without facing arrest.

NSA se brani


NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander asserted yesterday that two “Boundless Informant” slides we published – one in Le Monde and the other in El Mundo – were misunderstood and misinterpreted. The NSA then dispatched various officials tothe Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post to make the same claim, and were (needless to say) given anonymity by those papers to spout off without accountability. Several US journalists (also needless to say) instantly treated the NSA’s claims as gospel even though they (a) are accompanied by no evidence, (b) come in the middle of a major scandal for the agency at home and abroad and (c) are from officials with a history of lying to Congress and the media.

That is the deeply authoritarian and government-subservient strain of American political and media culture personified: if a US national security official says something, then it shall mindlessly be deemed tantamount to truth, with no evidence required and without regard to how much those officials have misled in the past. EFF’s Trevor Timm last night summarizedthis bizarre mentality as follows: “Oh, NSA says a story about them is wrong? Well, that settles that! Thankfully, they never lie, obfuscate, mislead, misdirect, or misinform!”

Over the last five months, Laura Poitras and I have published dozens and dozens of articles reporting on NSA documents around the world: with newspapers and a team of editors and other reporters in the US, UK, Germany, Brazil, India, France and Spain. Not a single one of those articles bears even a trivial correction, let alone a substantive one, because we have been meticulous in the reporting, worked on every article with teams of highly experienced editors and reporters, and, most importantly, have published the evidence in the form of NSA documents that prove the reporting true.

It’s certainly possible that, like all journalists, we’ll make a mistake at some point. And if and when that does happen, we’ll do what good journalists do: do further reporting and, if necessary, correct any inaccuracy. But no evidence of any kind (as opposed to unverified NSA accusations) has been presented that this was the case here, and ample evidence strongly suggests it was not:

First, these exact same Boundless Informant documents have been used by newspapers around the world in exactly the same way for months. The NSA never claimed they were inaccurate until yesterday: when it is engulfed by major turmoil over spying on European allies.

More than three months ago – in late June – Der Spiegel published an article under the headline “Partner and Target: NSA Snoops on 500 Million German Data Connections.” It reported that the Boundless Informant documents “reveal that the American intelligence service monitors around half a billion telephone calls, emails and text messages in the country every month.” The report was based on the same set of documents, for the same time period, as the one published in France and Spain:

The statistics, which SPIEGEL has also seen, show that data is collected from Germany on normal days for up to 20 million telephone calls and 10 million Internet data exchanges. Last Christmas Eve, it collected data on around 13 million phone calls and about half as many online exchanges. On the busiest days, such as January 7 of this year, the information gathered spiked to nearly 60 million communication connections under surveillance.

A similar article, using the same set of documents, was published in Brazil’s O Globo a week later, reporting the NSA’s collection of the data for more than 2 billion calls and emails in Brazil in a single month. Another article, in the Indian dailythe Hindu, reported on bulk collection of the data of calls in India based on the same document set.

And the very first article on Boundless Informant documents was published in the first week of our reporting in the Guardian, and detailed how this set of documents “details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.” Those documents, we reported, “show the agency collecting almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.” The article detailed several country-specific metadata totals based on those documents.

Nobody from the US government ever once – over the last four months – claimed that any of this reporting was inaccurate. The US government was asked for comment on all of these stories, including the ones in France and Spain, and never once claimed it was mistaken. That’s because this is exactly what these Boundless Informant documents show. Perhaps journalists should exercise a bit of skepticism – demand some evidence – when the NSA suddenly claims these documents are misreported in the midst of one of the agency’s worst scandals in history.

Second, note what the NSA is not denying: that they collect the data on the communications activities of millions and millions of people in European countries. They claim that these two slides in particular have been misinterpreted, but have not denied the story itself.

Third, look at the NSA’s own documents, and see how they themselves describe what these Boundless Informant documents actually count. As part of our reporting in early June at the Guardian on these documents, we published in full the NSA’s own document about what data is counted. Those interested should read the full document, but here are the relevant excerpts (emphasis added):

BOUNDLESSINFORMANT is a GAO [Global Access Operations, a branch of the NSA] prototype tool for a self-documenting SIGINT system. . . BOUNDLESSINFORMANT provides the ability to dynamically describe GAO’s collection capabilities (through metadata record counts) with no human intervention and graphically display the information in a map view, bar chart, or simple table. . . .

By extracting information from every DNI and DNR metadata record, the tool is able to create a near real-time snapshot of GAO’s collection capability at any given moment. The tool allows users to select a country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collection against that country. The tool also allows users to view high level metrics by organization and then drill down to a more actionable level – down to the program and cover term.

Could that be any clearer? These documents provide a “near real-time snapshot” of the NSA’s “collection capability at any given moment”. The documents show the collection efforts “against that country.” Among the questions answered by these documents are “How many records are collected for an organizational unit” and “How many records (and what type) are collected against a particular country?”

Fourth, the fact some of this data is collected by virtue of cooperation with a country’s own intelligence service does not contradict our reporting. To the contrary: the secret cooperation between some European intelligence agencies and the NSA has been a featured part of our reporting from the start. Back in early July, der Spiegel, using Snowden documents and Snowden’s own words, reported on extensive cooperation between the German BND and NSA. And this morning, in an article we prepared weeks ago, El Mundo published an article – using Snowden documents – reporting the cooperation between the Spanish intelligence service and the NSA.

The NSA spies extensively with (but rarely on) its four closest, English-speaking surveillance allies in the “Five Eyes” group: the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But for many European nations, the NSA cooperates with those nations’ intelligence services but also spies on their populations and their governments without any such cooperation. That negates none of our reporting: it is simply a restatement of it.

Finally, contrary to the suggestions of one particularly gullible reporter that these slides are fake and of unknown origin, their authenticity is beyond dispute, just like every document we’ve thus far published. A separate top secret NSA document on Boundless Informant, to be published very shortly, in its title describes Boundless Informant as “Describing Mission Capabilities from Metadata Records“.

The first page states that its purpose is to “describe the collection capabilities and posture of our SIGINT infrastructure”. And it contains not only the Boundless Informant maps that were long ago published, but exactly the type of accompanying graphs that were published this week, taken from the same NSA electronic file. The core purpose of these Boundless Informant documents, it says, is to “review every valid DNI and DNR metadata record passing through the NSA SIGINT infrastructure”: exactly what our reporting stated.

Again, it’s certainly possible, given the number of reports and the complexity of these matters, that reporters working on these stories will at some point make a mistake. All reporters do. But this thing called “evidence” should be required before blindly believing the claims and accusations of NSA officials. If that lesson hasn’t been learned yet, when will it be?

V Grčiji začeli zapirati univerze – Closing greek universities – universités grecques sont forcées de suspendre toute activité

Dear friends and colleagues,
I am sure you have heard of the turmoil Greek Universities are going through the last 50 days. Approximately 40% of the administrative staff of eight large Greek Universities including the University of Athens are suspended due to austerity measures. My University and all its activities and logistics, from financial handling to the electricity safety in the buildings and heating depend on the already very few UoA employees (3.5 per 100 students) and the same holds true for the other Greek Universities as well.
Reducing administrative staff by 40% will only result in non-functional academic institutions.
Standing by the Greek Universities by signing the petition indicated later in this message will help prevent this ‘impossible’ situation from happening.
I sincerely thank you for your time and your support in advance.
Best wishes,
Kostas Mylonas
Dr. Kostas Mylonas
Associate Professor in Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology
IACCP Executive Committee Regional Representative (Europe)
Department of Psychology
The University of Athens
15784, ILISIA,
Athens, Greece
Tel.: 0030210 7277584
Fax.: 0030210 7277534 (attn. Dr. Mylonas)


Huit universités grecques sont forcées de suspendre toute activité suite à la décision unilatérale du ministère de l’éducation nationale de mettre en disponibilité 1349 employés de leurs administrations. Les universités concernées sont les suivantes:
Université d’Athènes, Université de Thessalonique, Ecole Polytechnique d’Athènes, Université de Gestion, Economie et Management d’Athènes, Université de Crète, Université de Patras, Université de Ioannina, et Université de Thessalie.
L’impact sur l’enseignement, la recherche, la santé et la coopération internationale est sans précédent. La menace qui pèse sur l’enseignement supérieur suite aux mesures d’austérité draconiennes imposées par l’Union Européenne suscite une grande inquiétude en Grèce et au-delà de ses frontières.
En tant que scientifiques, universitaires, étudiants ou autres, nous appelons l’Union Européenne et le gouvernement grec à protéger le statut et le personnel des universités grecques, afin que celles-ci puissent continuer leur mission d’éducation et de recherche, l’importance de ces institutions étant plus vitale que jamais. Elles sont et doivent rester les foyers de pensée critique au sein d’une Europe aux structures sociales érodées par des coupures massives et dans laquelle plane l’ombre d’un extrémisme dangereux.
Text in English
Eight universities in Greece (University of Athens, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki the Athens Polytechnic and University of Economics and Business as well as the University of Crete, Ioannina, Thessaly and Patras) have been forced to halt all activities as a result of Greek ministry of education proposals to suspend unilaterally 1349 university administrative workers.
The impact on teaching, research, clinical work and international collaboration is unparalleled and the threat to higher education in Greece as a result of stringently imposed EU austerity measures is a cause of great concern far beyond Greece’s shores.
As academics, university workers, students and others, we call on the EU and the Greek government to protect the status and staff of Greek universities, to ensure that they remain able to engage in education and research and to recognize that these institutions are more important now than ever.
They are and must remain beacons of critical thinking in a Europe whose social structures are being eroded by massive cutbacks and over which the shadow of far-right extremism looms.




Kdo in kako nam uničuje našo kulturo …

in  socrealistični evro kič, ki ga ponujajo v zameno.

Žal vam dela ne moremo plačati

| Natisni |
Prispeval Manca G. Renko
Petek, 18 Oktober 2013 10:28

Pred kratkim sem prejela prijazno pismo evropske poslanke, v katerem me vabi k pisanju prispevka za knjigo o prihodnosti Evrope, ki bi jo radi izdali »v evropskem letu državljanov in času, ko se zdi, da se nam ideja o skupni Evropi sesuva«. K pisanju so povabili, kakor so zapisali, ljudi, »za katere menimo, da bi /…/ imeli dovolj zaokroženih in argumentiranih misli, da bi jih predstavili širši javnosti. Kot uspešno osebnost, ki ima dodano vrednost, ki ima kritično distanco in ki lahko bistveno prispeva h konstruktivni javni razpravi, smo izbrali tudi vas«.

Nagovor je zelo lep. Le kdo ne bi želel slišati o sebi, da je »uspešna osebnost«? Za hip se mi je zazdelo, da zadnja leta dela morda vendarle niso bila samo stopicanje na mestu, ampak se mi je uspelo nekam prebiti. Prebiti do točke, na kateri me evropski poslanci nagovarjajo kot »uspešno osebnost«. Smehljala sem se. Od tu gre lahko samo še navzgor, sem si mislila, med zlate zvezde na modrem evropskem nebu.

Nato je sledil hladen tuš: »Dolžina prispevka, ki žal ne bo honoriran, naj bo …« Pardon, če prav razumem, smo uspešne osebnosti dobile ponudbo za delo, ki ga nihče ne namerava plačati?

Ni se zgodilo prvič, da so mi ponudili, naj napišem članek, ki ne bo plačan. Velikokrat sem pisala zastonj, še večkrat za mizerne honorarje. Pravzaprav večinoma pišem za mizerne honorarje. Da si boste tisti, ki ne živite v svetu avtorskih honorarjev, lažje predstavljali, vam lahko ponudim nekaj konkretnih številk: v teh dneh pišem približno 10.000 znakov dolg članek o precej zahtevni knjigi, ki ima 1000 strani. Ko se bomo s kolegi pogovarjali, bom rekla, da je bil honorar »čisto OK«, če bom za opravljeno delo dobila 150 evrov bruto. Pa preračunajmo: 1000 strani sem brala 5 (delovnih) dni. En dan sem o knjigi brala študije in sekundarno literaturo. En dan sem tekst pisala in ga nato še pol dneva urejala. Skupaj je to 60 ur, če ob strani pustimo leta študija, razmišljanja in pisanja, ki so mi sploh omogočila, da to delo lahko opravim. Če potegnemo črto, vidimo, da sem bila za precej težavno intelektualno delo plačana 2,5 evra na uro. Bruto. Ni vam treba prav veliko računati, da ugotovite, koliko mora človek, ki živi samo od avtorskih honorarjev, delati, da se prebije do povprečne plače.

In zato se mi je, »uspešni osebnosti«, kar stemnilo pred očmi, ko sem videla, da bi evropska poslanka z evropsko poslansko plačo rada, naj prispevek napišem zastonj. Kar tako, za hobi. Še več: rada bi, da nekaj napišem o prihodnosti Evrope. Kako neizmerno mora biti od resničnosti oddaljen človek, da mladi osebi, ki se mukoma postavlja na lastne noge in ki ne ve, kaj bo z njo čez tri leta, kaj šele leta 2030, predlaga, naj dela zastonj?!. In naj pri tem razmisli o svoji prihodnosti. O prihodnosti v času, »ko se ideja o skupni Evropi sesuva«.

Evropska poslanka se najbrž zaveda, da se »ideja o skupni Evropi sesuva« predvsem zato, ker celo »uspešne osebnosti« moje generacije nimajo prihodnosti. Vprašanje pa je, koga za nastale razmere krivi. Najverjetneje odgovornost prelaga na krizo, težke čase ter druge abstraktne votle pojme. Ni kriv evropski parlament, ni kriv slovenski parlament, ni kriva njena stranka in še najmanj je kriva ona. In to je srčika težav, v katerih smo se znašli: nikoli nihče ni za nič kriv. Vedno so krivi drugi: tajkuni, kapitalisti, komunisti, opozicija, banke, Nemčija ali Amerika. Krivi so veliki, ne pa tisti, ki se v teoriji sicer zavzemajo za boljšo prihodnost mladih Evropejcev, v praksi pa jim brez slabe vesti rečejo, naj delajo zastonj. Na njihovih obrazih se zrcalita mešanica zaskrbljenosti in odločnosti, ko zagotavljajo, da se jim zdi prihodnost mladih pomembna. Da si želijo, da bi Evropska unija več investirala v zaposljivost mladih. Nato nam še svetujejo, oni, v javnih službah, naj gremo na trg, naj bomo inovativni in zagnani, naj izdelujemo mobilne aplikacije … Ker za mobilne aplikacije obstaja trg, mogoče jih je prodati in biti konkurenčen. Točno tako – trg zahteva mobilne aplikacije, ne pa člankov o prihodnosti Evrope. Prihodnost Evrope za trg ni zanimiva, po njej ni povpraševanja, zato je ne morete prodati. Oprostite, trg ne potrebuje prihodnosti Evrope. Trg je nad prihodnostjo Evrope dvignil svoje nevidne roke.

Kot gimnazijka sem dobila prvo nagrado za esej na natečaju z naslovom Živim v EU. Ta nagrada mi je dala zagon in samozavest, občutek, da znam pisati in me je Evropa za moje znanje nagradila.Če ne bi dobila tiste nagrade in prve zunanje potrditve, si morda svojega pisanja nikoli ne bi upala spraviti v javnost. Deset let pozneje v Evropi živim z občutkom, da bi iz mene rada izčrpala zadnje drobce moči, nato pa mi povedala, da sem odveč. Da me v resnici ne potrebuje, ker je moje delo nemogoče prodajati. Ker ga v resnici nihče ne potrebuje, še najmanj pa Evropa. Lahko ji napišem najboljši esej na svetu, pa si zanj ne bom zaslužila plačila.

Prvič v življenju sem pisanje zavrnila samo zato, ker mi zanj niso ponudili plačila. Če se prihodnost pred mano že mora zapirati, si vrata raje zaloputnem sama, kakor da čakam, da mi jih zaprejo oni. Ali kakor vSvobodi pravi Jonathan Franzen: »Edina stvar, ki ti je nihče ne more vzeti, je svoboda zajebati si življenje, na kakršen koli način hočeš.«

To je edina svoboda, ki jo svobodni trg sploh še dopušča.



Manca ČBManca G. Renko je mlada raziskovalka na Inštitutu za zgodovinske študije UP ZRS ter odgovorna urednica AirBeletrine.








Foto: Miran Juršič

Slovensko posojilo IMF-u

Ljubljana, 14. 10. 2013


ZSSS komentira:  Kako je lahko skorajda milijardno posojilo mednarodnemu denarnemu skladu »brez posledic«?!



Posojamo mednarodni finančni organizaciji, ki nam prodaja »nujne« varčevalne in strukturne reforme; ki odločitve državnih ustavnih sodišč prevede v »javno politični izziv; in ki javno prizna napako pri učinkih varčevalnih politik na gospodarsko rast. Kaj je tukaj »brez posledic«?




V petek smo si lahko v medijih prebrali novico, da bo Slovenija IMF posodila do 910 milijonov evrov, in sicer naj bi to bil »slovenski prispevek h krepitvi IMF za zagotovitev pomoči državam v plačilnobilančnih težavah«. Včeraj pa smo si lahko prebrali prispevek »Milijarda brez posledic«, po katerem naj bi bilo slovensko posojilo IMF v bistvu »zgolj« posredništvo Banke Slovenije med Evropsko centralno banko (ECB) in IMF.

Pa je vsa ta zgodba res tako »nedolžna«? Za začetek si je potrebno pogledati kratko kronologijo okoli (dodatnega) financiranja IMF


Pričetek globalne ekonomske krize

Mednarodni denarni sklad (IMF) se na svojih spletnih straneh rad pohvali, da je v imenu globalne in ekonomske stabilizacije zelo povečal svoje posojilne sposobnosti. To je naredil na dva načina – s povečanimi finančnimi kvotami držav članic in z velikimi začasnimi posojilnimi sporazumi z državami članicami.

December 2011

Decembra 2011 so se države članice Evro območja zavezale , da bodo IMF-u zagotovila dodatna sredstva v višini 150 milijard evrov.

Januar 2012

17. januarja 2012 je izvršni odbor IMF razpravljal o ustreznosti razpoložljivih sredstev za IMF, in sicer v smeri le-ta povečati preko novih bilateralnih sporazumov. Države članice so se strinjale z zagotovitvijo dodatnih 456 milijard ameriških dolarjev za »povečanje sredstev IMF«.

September 2013

Na podlagi 7. člena Zakona o članstvu Republike Slovenije v Mednarodnem denarnem skladu in po sklepu Sveta Banke Slovenije z dne 16. 4. 2013 sta Banka Slovenije in Mednarodni denarni sklad dne 4. 9. 2013 podpisala sporazum o posojilu, ki opredeljuje pogoje, pod katerimi si Mednarodni denarni sklad z namenom oblikovanja ustrezne finančne osnove za zagotovitev pomoči tistim državam članicam, ki se bodo znašle v plačilnobilančnih težavah, od Banke Slovenije lahko izposodi sredstva v višini do 910 milijonov EUR.

Oktober 2013

10. oktobra je slovenska vlada dala zeleno luč sporazumu o posojilu, ki opredeljuje pogoje, pod katerimi si lahko IMF od slovenske centralne banke (BS) izposodi do 910 milijonov evrov. BS in IMF sta že pred tremi leti sklenili sporazum za posojilo do 280 milijonov evrov. Zanimivo pri vsem tem je razlaga BS: »V skladu z zakonom o članstvu Slovenije v IMF sredstva za vplačilo bilateralnega posojila zagotovi Banka Slovenije, ko jo k temu pozove IMF. Banka Slovenije denar za posojilo zagotovi z emisijskega računa. Za ta znesek se povečajo obveznosti Banke Slovenije do evrosistema. Bilateralno posojilo v bilanci Banke Slovenije predstavlja naložbo – terjatev do IMF. Torej se sredstva za vplačilo bilateralnega posojila ne zagotavljajo iz proračuna.«


Zgodba je torej v bistvu naslednja: države članice so v zadnjih letih IMF-u zagotovile nekaj sto milijard evrov dodatnih protikriznih finančnih sredstev. In na ista sredstva se vračajo nazaj v obliki protikriznih posojil – ki pa so »opremljena« z vrsto »pogojev«.

Če pogledamo primer Portugalske – 13. junija letos je izvršni odbor IMF odobril izplačilo Portugalski v okviru posojilnega programa potem ko je ugotovil, da je portugalska vlada »dosegla vse varčevalne in strukturne pogoje posojila«,  ki med drugim vključujejo več reform trga dela v smeri deregulacije. In medtem ko je IMF ugotovil, da so »zelo zadovoljni« z varčevalnim in reformnim programom portugalske vlade, je portugalsko ustavno sodišče konec septembra letos ugotovilo, da so nekatere spremembe delovne zakonodaje iz prejšnjega leta, ki naj bi povečale fleksibilnost in konkurenčnost neustavne. Ko smo že pri portugalskem ustavnem sodišču – IMF je njegovo odločitev iz aprila 2013, da so nekateri deli portugalskega proračuna za 2013 neustavni, uvrstil v kategorijo »javno politični izzivi«.

In seveda ne pozabimo – sam IMF je pred enim letom izdal publikacijo »World Economic Outlook«, kjer je v prvem razdelku jasno vidno, kako globoko je IMF podcenjeval vpliv fiskalne konsolidacije na ekonomsko aktivnost, saj je ugotovil, da  fiskalno krčenje v višini 1 odstotne točke BDP znižuje ekonomsko aktivnosti od 0.9 pa celo do 1,7 odstotka, in ne 0,5 odstotka, kot se je predpostavljalo do tedaj.

Posojila mednarodnemu denarnemu skladu torej vzdržujejo model fiskalne represije, katera le še poglablja ekonomsko in socialno krizo.

Pročilo o plenumu 10.10.13


10. 10. 2013. 18:00. DSP. Tomšičeva 12. Aber – niemand kam! Ne, ne … ni bilo čisto tako kot na Štefanovem trgu na Dunaju leta 1848. Najprej smo nabirali divje kostanje za neko gospo, ki jih je rabila za mast za revmo. Izkazalo se je, da je DSP-jevo hišo dobro poznala. Nekoč, v dobrih starih časih, ko je bil gospod Miklič še živ,  je za gospo Oli pekla “štrudel”. Vzeli smo na znanje, da naša protestna zastava, nedavno obnovljena, še vedno ponosno vihra s svojega vzvišenag droga. Tudi ob tistem izobešenju nas ni bilo veliko.  Tokrat nas je za en soliden akcijksi odbor, od 42 organizacij je vsak izmed nas šestih predstavljal po eno. Ne bi obžaloval, če bi se odločili, da KOKS ukinemo. Ker je še kar nekaj za postoriti, bi pač ustanovil društvo podobnomislečih s podoročja kulture in umetnosti. Ni slaba ideja, vendar smo se strinjali, da bi KOKS bilo škoda ukiniti.  NI bilo prvič. In prav ta dvom v smisel lastnega obstoja je znak zdravja združenja.  Nravnost neverjetno veliko smo delali in še več dosegli. Zavedamo se, da imajo taka gibanja svojo dinamiko. Ne morejo trajati večno. Uplahnejo in ponovno izbruhnejo. V položaju v kakšnem je Slovenija in z njo njena kultura ne bi bilo kaj prida bistrovidno, če bi sklenili da erupcij odpora ne bo več. Tako brezperspektivno, tako brezizhodno, tako depresivno verjetno v slovenski zgodovini še nikoli ni bilo. Morda leta 1940, 41. Vendar takrat je bilo zlo evidentno in obstajalo  je protizlo. Bilo je upanje na zmago. Danes je zlo globalno in lokalno. Ves svet je prepojen z grehom, z malikovanjem denarja, od vrha do dna, od Wall Streeta do Gregorčičeve in Mestnega trga. Edino papež in izobčenci žvižgači še govore resnico. Zato je naša odločitev, da ohranimo KOKS, pa četudi v hibernaciji modra. Sprejeli smo celo pedlog manifesta, ki ga je seveda treba dati v potrjevanje članstvu. Še naprej bomo izvajali forume. Prvega z gostjo Catherine Samary ( z univerze Dauphine v Parizu, konec novembra ali v začetku decembra. V sodelovanju s Francoskim kulturnim centrom. Možne teme:  From stolen state to stolen commons – a debt crises. Reinventing democracy – a global issue. Slovenia within the European and global crisis. What do (should)  European people share?  Strinjali smo se glede NPKja in Resolucije o kulturi, o kateri naj bi se izrekli te dni. Ocenili bi jo lahko z metrom. Predolga je. 136 strani. Vsak uradniček je dobil stran za napisat. Prebral tega špeha tako ne bo nihče. Tak NPK je simptom tako krize na podoročju kulture,  kot krize Slovenije v vsej svoji bohotni celoti. Tak NPK je nesmiseln ritual. Alibi.  Figov list za lobijske dogovore. Procesija za dež. Dokler ne dobimo NPK na desetih razumljivih straneh, dobro,  brez birokratski pritiklin na tridesetih, dotlej bo Slovenija tičala v krizi. Da bi se to zgodilo, da bi dobili kulturen kulturni program se bo morala spremeniti politična kultura, nastopiti bo moral nov politični razred in slovensko zakondajo in množico neživljenskih statutov in pravilnikov bo treba temeljto in korenito preurediti.  Skratka takrat bo Slovenija kulturna. Pa če je Švica ali ne. V redu, notri je verjetno tudi kaj smiselnega, vendar je nevredno pozornosti. Prav, nas  nam članice, ki to žele, napišejo svoje pripombe na predlog Resolucije o kulturi v nekaj vrstica.  NPK si bomo sicer napisali sami. Imamo že na akcijskem odboru pripravljena izhodišča in kriterije. Treba je formirati našo lastno trojko, da to izvede. Za NPK bi morali stati minister, avtor in vlada. Potem bi ga šele, formalno in slovesno, kot strateški načrt potrdil še parlament. In  na koncu magari podpisal sam presvitli predsednik države.  Namesto množice mrtvoudnih kvalifikatorjev bi minister za kulturo moral biti imenovan na predlog KOKSa. KOKS bi moral hraniti  njegovo deponirano odstopno izjavo.


Aber – niemand kam.

Tretji dan Marčne revolucije na Dunaju, po razglasitvi zahtevane ustave, 15. marca 1848: “Bila je to najbolj vesela revolucija, kar si jih je mogoče predstavljati. V prid ji je bilo kar najlepše spomladansko vreme, vsi prebivalci so polnili ulice ves dan.”

In poslednji dan, 31 oktobra 1848: Skupina divjih, obupanih mož skuša dvigniti ljudi k orožju – prazen trg Svetega Štefana – topovi bobnijo v daljavi – mladi bobnar v kratkih rokavih prihaja izza vogala in tolče po svojem bobnu brez prestanka. “Ampak – nihče ni prišel”.

Ilsa Barea: Vienna, Legend and reality

“Naslednji dan je dvor zbežal, (kot predvideno), v moravsko mesto Olomuc in nemočna vlada mu je kmalu sledila. Windishgraetz kot imperialni generalissmo in Jelačić kot najbližji poveljnik na bojnem polju, sta se začela premikati proti Dunaju. Dunajski revolucionarji, kakršni so pač bili, so pripravili obrambo. Ta čas so vse, razen najbolj odločnih skupin – še vedno znaten del študentov in delavcev organiziralnih po francoskem vzoru v Mobilno gardo – zapustili stvar,  ki so jo zasenčili notranji boji, neozdravljiva anarhična zmeda in nejasni cilji.”

Ilsa Barea: Vienna, Legend and reality

Gotovo gre za parazite in lenuhe

V Evropi je 43 milijonov lačnih

Alarm: Strašljivo poročilo Rdečega križa na srečanju organizacij nekdanjih jugoslovanskih republik.

Boris Šuligoj, Koper

sob, 12.10.2013, 21:00
 Lani je RK Slovenije pomagal 150.186 ogroženim ljudem. Letos je razdelil že 1550 ton hrane in 105 ton pralnega praška, zdaj prejema še 918 ton hrane iz ukrepa EU. V prvih osmih mesecih 2013 se je v evidenco brezposelnih v Sloveniji prijavilo 11,5 odstotka več ljudi kot v istem obdobju lani.

Debeli rtič – Najnovejše evropsko poročilo o humanitarnih posledicah gospodarske krize je alarmantno. Po podatkih Eurostata kar 43 milijonov Evropejcev nima zagotovljenega vsakodnevnega obroka hrane. Kar 120 milijonov jih je na pragu revščine. Na to je včeraj na Debelem rtiču opozorila Anitta Underlin, direktorica za Evropo pri Mednarodni federaciji društev Rdečega križa in Rdečega polmeseca.

V Mladinskem zdravilišču in letovišču Rdečega križa Slovenije poteka do 14. oktobra drugo regionalno srečanje predsednikov in generalnih sekretarjev nacionalnih društev RK Bosne in Hercegovine, Črne gore, Hrvaške, Makedonije, Srbije in Slovenije. Visoki funkcionarji Rdečega križa so lahko osuplo poslušali nekaj dejstev iz zadnjega poročila Rdečega križa, ki jih je povedala Anitta Underlin. O tem, kako vroče so ugotovitve poročila, pove podatek, da je o njih v zadnjih 24 urah dajala izjave trem največjim mednarodnim TV-mrežam: BBC, CNN in Al Jazeeri. »Niti v najbolj temnih sanjah si pred petimi leti nismo mislili, da bomo s slabega prišli na še slabši položaj. Pred petimi leti je naša organizacija v Evropi delila hrano dvema milijonoma Evropejcev, lani jo je že 3,5 milijona ljudem. Med 52 državami, ki smo jih analizirali, je samo peščica takšnih, ki z revščino nimajo težav. Zdaj milijoni prehajajo med reveže in prosijo za pomoč pri hrani, plačilu računov, za ohranitev domov. Celo v razmeroma bogati Franciji je med reveže na novo uvrščenih 350.000 državljanov, na Madžarskem kar 80 odstotkov pripadnikov srednjega sloja nima nobenih prihrankov in je na robu preživetja, ne more privarčevati niti beliča in nima prihrankov za noben izjemen ali poseben dogodek. Sploh ne drži, da so revni samo v Španiji, Italiji in Grčiji. Na pragu revščine so se v izjemnem številu znašli v Bolgariji (49 odstotkov vseh prebivalcev), v Latviji in Romuniji (40 odstotkov), Litvi in Hrvaški (33 odstotkov vseh prebivalcev). Revni so po definiciji Rdečega križa tisti, ki si ne morejo zagotoviti niti enega obroka hrane na dan. Seveda so revni tudi tisti, ki ne morejo skrbeti za zdravje, higieno, bivanje in druge elementarne človeške potrebe,« je pojasnila Underlinova.

Lačnih 150.000 Slovencev

Z revščino se strmo povečuje število družin, v katerih ima samo en član mesečne prejemke, ki ne zadoščajo za preživetje vseh, povečuje se število duševnih stisk in samomorov, povečuje se število brezdomcev, vse več je migrantov, ki vse težje dobijo zaposlitev. Brezposelnost je marsikje že 30-odstotna, med mladimi dosega tudi 60-odstotno stopnjo. »Evrope, ki smo jo poznali leta 2008, ni več, ker se je temeljito spremenila. Vsi se bomo morali temu čim hitreje prilagoditi,« je sklenila Anitta Underlin in dodala, da se spreminja tudi federacija društev Rdečega križa, ki opozarja vlade in državnike na alarmanten položaj, in tudi sama išče nove oblike pomoči, denimo pri iskanju zaposlitev brezposelnim.

Danijel Starman, generalni sekretar RK Slovenije, je opozoril, da vse več lačnih omejuje tudi možnosti razpoložljivih državnih in evropskih pomoči. »Konec oktobra bo parlament v Bruslju odločal, kako bo v prihodnje potekal evropski ukrep dobave hrane iz intervencijskih zalog za najbolj ogrožene. Če bo pomoč ukinjena, bo samo RKS ob 2300 ton hrane, ki bi jo vsako leto razdelila najbolj potrebnim. Lani je teh bilo 150.000, kar 44.000 lačnih Slovencev več kot leta 2008. Če tega ukrepa ne bo več, bo za slovenske reveže zmanjkalo za približno pet milijonov evrov hrane, ki jo bomo morali najti drugje, če jim bomo hoteli zagotoviti vsaj en obrok na dan,« je povedal Starman.

Ker Slovenci nočejo in ne morejo upati samo na pomoč od zunaj, bodo med drugim danes zvečer v Cankarjevem domu pripravili dobrodelni koncert in z njim začeli akcijo zbiranja pomoči, v kateri bi radi zbrali vsaj 10.000 dodatnih prehranskih paketov, vrednih 150.000 evrov. Dobrodelna akcija Lepo je deliti 2013 bo trajala do konca leta.

Ženska z …

Vesna Vuk Godina: Tridesetletnice. Tragična slika.

Onin intervju s profesorico, ki ti ponudi samo dve možnosti: lahko jo ljubiš ali sovražiš.

Nika Vistoropski, Ona

tor, 10.09.2013, 06:00

V Oni preberite še:

– Jovanka Broz (2): Ne samo izrabili, 
tudi zlorabili so me

 Iva Kranjc, igralka: Rada bi, da gre 
vedno korak dlje

– (Ne)plodnost in značaj: Nevrotiki spočnejo 
manj otrok


Dr. Vesna Vuk Godina, profesorica, ki ti ponudi samo dve možnosti – lahko me ljubiš, lahko me sovražiš. V vsakem primeru – zapomniš si me. Slečena vseh iluzij, tudi na račun miru, govori o vsem: aktualni politiki, zmotah ljubezenskih odnosov in predvsem o aktualni problematiki generacije, rojene sredi sedemdesetih in na začetku osemdesetih, ki je ena največjih žrtev gospodarske krize. Dasiravno je za slovensko resignacijo mogoče po odgovor v zgodovino, še ne pomeni, da tako mora ostati. Imeli bomo tisto, kar si bomo izborili. In tako vsakič znova.

Generacija tridesetih bo plačala najvišjo ceno krize, pravijo strokovnjaki. Po prekinjenih pogodbah za določen čas jih je okoli deset odstotkov brez dela, delež se še povečuje, vegetirajo.

To je generacija, ki nima perspektive. V družbi ne bo dobila dela (in tudi drugih stvari ne, ki so nujne, da lahko živiš normalno odraslo življenje). Se pa čudim, da ni že prej močneje problematizirala svojega položaja. To so moji študenti izpred desetih let; vidim, da sploh niso odreagirali na to, kar se v družbi dogaja. Prepričani so, da je to prehodno stanje, da bo minilo, da bo potem pač vse v redu. Nasedli so, kot večina Slovencev, na hegemonski diskurz, da je treba samo stisniti pas, da bo, ko bomo krizo prestali, ne samo tako dobro, kot je bilo, temveč še boljše. Študentom sem govorila, naj pazijo, da ne padejo na limanice, in da jim tako dobro, kot jim je danes, ne bo nikoli več. Niso me jemali resno. Bojim pa se, da je zdaj že prepozno.

In tridesetletnice?

One kažejo še prav posebno tragično sliko. Običajno so izobražene, privlačne, ker na to pač nekaj dajo, pogosto nimajo partnerja, hkrati pa so žrtve ideologije, da je biti mati in gospodinja nekaj, česar bi se bilo treba sramovati. Sicer pa tudi prepričanja, da je treba v heteroseksualnem partnerstvu sprejeti nase relativno visoko stopnjo neugodja, da vse poteka, kot mora, ni več.

Zahodna družba je močno razslojena in veliko je odvisno od tega, s katerim slojem se mlade ženske v Sloveniji primerjajo. Bojim se, da se z zahodnim zgornjim srednjim slojem, ali celo z vladajočim, z liki, ki jih gledajo v tv nadaljevankah. To je posledica ideološkega diskurza individualne krivde, v katerem smo prepričani, da za težave posameznika ni kriv sistem, temveč posameznik. To se je v ženske krepko zažrlo. Ko gledam sorodnice, stare med 30 in 40, mi je jasno, da to, da so samske, pripisujejo individualni krivdi. Preseneča me tudi, da je ta generacija opustila vsakršno socialno refleksijo in prešla na občutek krivde: Vsi imate možnost postati predsednik Obama, zakaj pa niste, sami ste si krivi!

Te generacije so se tudi bliskovito odrekle ideji o socialni državi. Veste, realnost ni samo tisto, kar je, temveč tudi tisto, kar ustvariš. Zdaj smo v kapitalizmu, kjer imaš to, kar si izboriš. Mladi pa so se boju že vnaprej odrekli. To je resigniranost, odpiranje vrat neoliberalni logiki, ki bo socialno državo ugonobila.

Če je res, da da kapitalizem tisto, kar si uspeš izboriti, kako si ga razlagate v državah, ki temeljijo na strahu?

Tranzicijske države niso primerljive z državami zahoda! Tudi to je ena od ideoloških pasti, v katero je padla večina ljudi v postsocializmu. Primerjamo se s skandinavskimi državami, Nemčijo, Veliko Britanijo, ZDA … Primerjava pa je popolnoma nerealistična, ker gre za države, ki so bile npr. kolonialne metropole; primarno akumulacijo kapitala so zgradile na mednarodni eksploataciji. Nobena postsocialistična država pa ni kolonialna metropola in nobena postsocialistična država ne more izčrpavati tujih ozemelj, da bi izvedla prvotno akumulacijo kapitala. Še več: vse postsocialistične države so se od leta 1989 naprej prostovoljno postavljale v pozicijo neo neo kolonij. Niso klasične kolonije, temveč so prve kolonije v zgodovini, ki so na na ta položaj same pristale, npr. z referendumom!

Mi se lahko primerjamo edino z Romunijo. Kjer je plača zdravnika 100 evrov in fantje med 30. in 40. letom odhajajo v Istanbul, kjer prodajajo svoje ledvice za 3000 evrov staršem z zahoda. Ti zanjo plačajo 30.000 evrov, zdravnik pa pri eni operaciji pospravi 27.000 evrov. Mislimo, da se nam kaj takega ne more zgoditi. A to ni res! Ko to govorim, Slovenci rečejo, da sem pesimistična.

Če se je naša generacija že vnaprej poslovila od socialnih pravic, kaj lahko naredimo poleg tega, da se zavemo, kdo nam v resnici krade? 

Imeli boste tisto, kar si boste izborili. Na vstajah sem bila zgrožena, ker smo večinoma starejši hodili naokoli in se borili za vas in to državo. Ideja, da sem sam in ne morem nič, je del tradicionalne politične kulture Slovencev. Končujem knjigo o zablodah postsocializma, v kateri sem se poglobila tudi v zgodovino Slovencev. Opažam, da je drža politične nevidnosti tradicionalna. To ne pomeni, da ljudje ne vedo, kaj je narobe, temveč da ne verjamejo, da lahko kaj spremenijo, in raje čakajo na druge. Slovenci se zganejo edino takrat, ko se zganejo drugi. Najprej pogledajo, kaj dela sosed.

Študentom bi rada vcepila v glavo, da vsak posameznik šteje. Ko so bile vstaje, sem slišala ljudi govoriti, da saj vedo, da bi morali iti, se upreti, a kaj, ko bom sam, ko bom prišel do Trojan, so govorili. Če bodo vsi tako mislili, nikogar ne bo! Na vstajah smo imeli odlično priložnost, da kaj spremenimo, pa nismo. No, odstavili smo Janšo, kar si štejem za zgodovinsko čast, a smo dobili Bratuškovo, ki dela isto kot on. To samo potrjuje mojo tezo, da v tej državi ne vlada slovenska vlada, temveč Bruselj. Mi smo kolonija. Naša vlada pa je marionetka.

Upor prinaša tudi osebne stiske. Kdo so tisti, ki povzdignejo glas? 

Da se v Sloveniji upreš, moraš biti socializacijska napaka. Moraš biti vzgojen v klasični maniri zahodnega self directed tipa posameznika z moralno odgovornostjo, ki se ne ozira na to, kaj drugi mislijo. Če govoriva konkretno: seveda večina Slovencev misli, da sem zmešana! Imam vest, pri kateri ne šteje, kar mislijo drugi. To bi bilo zame neznosno! Kako si socializiran, pa nisi sam kriv. Kar zadeva moralni imperativ, si to, kar so starši naredili iz tebe. Ni ne osebnih zaslug, ne osebnih krivd, so pa osebni problemi. Slovenci imajo tisto, čemur je Žižek rekel heteronomna vest. To pomeni, da vest sicer imajo, vendar je povnanjena. Kaj moram narediti, se vprašajo. Vest pa je narejena iz samo enega ukaza – naredi tisto, kar drugi mislijo, da je prav.

In potem si živel v vasi, kjer so mislili, da je treba pod belogardiste ali domobrace, in si jih podprl. In si naredil moralno dejanje. Tako kot je moj oče, ki je bil partizan, naredil moralno dejanje po isti logiki. Vprašal se je, kaj mora narediti, in njegovi pomembni drugi so rekli, da mora podpreti partizane. In jih je. Logika individualnega delovanja ni bila nič drugačna, je bil pa zato socialni učinek. Problem pri Slovencih, ki imajo heteronomno povnanjeno vest, je, da ne morejo dojeti, da neka dejanja, ki so z njihovega zasebnega kota lahko moralna, to v resnici niso. O tem se pogovarjamo že 40 let.

Če bodo vsi rekli, da moramo čakati na boljše čase, bo tako. Če bodo vsi rekli, da je prav, da zategnemo pas, bo tako. Onkraj take morale ni instance, ki bi zmogla presoditi mnenje drugega, se vprašati, ali je res, ali je prav. Včeraj sem svojim študentom razlagala, da niti ne vem, kako bi to imenovala, a morda – kulturni zagozdek. Bojim se, da smo edini, ki tega zgozdka ne razumemo, Slovenci sami.

Ste za Alenko Bratušek gojili kakšne posebne upe, ko je prevzela položaj?

Ne. Nobenih posebnih upov nisem gojila ne za Janšo, ko so ga zaprli, ne za Obamo, ko je zmagal. Osebno Bratuškove ne poznam, deluje mi simpatično, a to ni pomembno. Ker je pozicija slovenske vlade pozicija marionetnega režima. Kdor koli jo zavzame, bo lutka. Študenti me med vsakimi volitvami sprašujejo, da če sem že tako pametna (pa niso cinični, dejansko verjamejo vame), zakaj ne grem v politiko in zmagam. Pa jim rečem, da če bi kandidirala in hipotetično postala predsednica vlade, bi bil moj prostor ravno tako zakoličen, kot je Bratuškovi, kot je bil Janši. V Sloveniji ne moreš biti Merklova, oseba s škarjami in platnom. V Sloveniji nobena oseba na politični poziciji danes ne more nič. Kako bi potem gojila upanje? Taki ljudje so padli v zanko. Pa saj se vidi, dva dni, preden gre Bratuškova v tujino, razglaša, da tega in tega ne bomo sprejeli, potem se vrne in reče, da – smo sprejeli. Priznati si, da si izigran, pa je najbrž težko. Govorim iz osebne izkušnje. Zato je strukturno smešno gojiti kakršne koli upe o komer koli. Osebne kvalitete ne štejejo dosti.

Potem ste vi neke vrste socializacijska napaka. Kdaj vam je bilo najtežje? 

Trikrat. Najprej takrat, ko sem končala magisterij. Bila sem vzgojena, da če boš pridno in dobro študiral, boš dobil službo. In jaz sem s povprečno oceno deset ostala na cesti. Moj oče, ki je imel neke politične funkcije, je morda kdaj dvignil kakšen telefon in za koga posredoval, a nikoli za svoje otroke. Takrat se mi je sesul svet, ker je postalo očitno, da družbena realnost ne deluje tako, kot sem bila naučena. Resno sem premišljevala o tem, da bom v Mariboru kupila lokal, bilo je leta 1981, in odprla trgovino z bio izdelki, ročnimi statvami ipd. Mogoče bi bila danes bogata. (Smeh.) A nato sem dobila službo na podlagi mnenja nekaterih mojih nekdanjih profesorjev na FSPN (zdaj FDV), ki se jim je verjetno zdelo smešno, da je tak kader, kot sem jaz, na cesti. Drugi prelomni dogodek je bilo rojstno moje hčere, ki se je rodila kot cerebralni paralitik in so zanjo rekli, da bo rastlina. Če ne bila tako vase orientiran tip in bi se zanesla na to, kaj drugi rečejo, ne bi preživela. Zadnja taka stvar pa je bilo to, kar se je zgodilo v Mariboru, ko se je pokazalo, da smo tudi mi šli v past. Zato sem izstopila takoj, ko sem videla, da smo vkorakali v zanko. Je bilo pa težko, seveda. Ker se zadev lotiš z ideali, cilji … Sindikati so me na to opozorili, povedali so celo imena, ki so se pozneje pokazala za pravilna. To ni lahko, ker vstopaš z vero v dobro … Spoznanje je težko.

Vedno znova me tudi razkuri, ko na akademskih zborih fakultet razpravljamo o tem, kako bi se soglasno dogovorili, da bi kršili zakone. Nakar vsakič znova povem, da upoštevanje zakonov nima nobene zveze s soglasjem! Daleč od tega, da človek ne bi bil prizadet, jasno, da si stalno prizadet! (In se zraven naglas smeji …) Ko sem bila mlajša, je bil problem zame še resnejši, a bistvo je v strategijah, v tem, kako to predelaš.

Kako je videti intimno težko za Vesno Vuk Godina?

Intimno težko je, ko se moraš odreči prijateljstvu. Intimno težko je, da moraš sprejeti, da vse tisto, kar so tvoji ideali, pošteno in res, izpade kot manipulacija. Intimno težko je, da se 27 let trudiš z otrokom, za katerega so vsi rekli, da bo rastlina, pa je na koncu vseeno povsem brez perspektive.

Nedavno mi je prijateljica odvetnica, ki mi pomaga v situaciji, v kateri se je znašla moja hčerka, rekla nekaj, kar me je ganilo: »Ko sem vse to brala, sem se šele zavedla, s kakšnimi kamni okoli vratu hodiš po svetu.« Tega nihče ne vidi. Daleč od tega, da je moje življenje enostavno ali brez bolečin. Imam pa geslo, ki sem si ga skovala, in sicer, da lahko puško vržem v koruzo tudi še jutri. Za en dan človek še vedno zbere moči, da ne obupa. In tako grem, kadar je res težko, iz dneva v dan.

Začeli sva s starostno skupino tridesetletnikov. Vzemimo žensko blizu 40. Ima diplomo, službo, naredila je vse, kar lahko zase naredi sama, imela bi otroka, a ne brez moža, moškega pa ne more najti. Kakšna je njena perspektiva? 

Če se spomnimo, kaj je govoril Rugelj: moških z jajci (beri: imajo moralni imperativ za takšno žensko) je v Sloveniji od ena do deset odstotkov. No, danes je ta podatek že zastarel in bi ga morali popraviti v le en odstotek. Perspektiva je grozna, ker je od čistega naključja odvisno, ali bo ravno eden od tega odstotka naletel nate in se bodo zgodile še vse druge stvari, ki se morajo zgoditi. Ženske v Sloveniji me zelo dobro razumejo – feministke pa seveda ne –, ko pravim, da je tisto, kar se jim je, ženskam, zgodilo, njihovo situacijo tako poslabšalo, da je težko ne reči, da še nikoli ni bilo slabše. Pa ne gre samo za to, da težko dobiš delo, kako te izkoriščajo, kakšne papirje moraš podpisovati, da boš imel otroke, kar je bilo v socializmu nepredstavljivo … Dodajmo temu še narcisistično socializacijo brez izgradnje moralnega imperativa, brez priučenja sposobnosti, da vztrajaš tudi takrat, ko ni prijetno; vse to je ženske oropalo partnerjev. Mlade ženske so oropane perspektive tako v javni kot v zasebni sferi. Ko feministkam rečem, da tako slabo ni bilo še nikoli, znorijo in odgovorijo, da so leta 1900 ženske delale 14 ur na dan. Pa jim rečem, da so moški tudi in da to res ni žensko vprašanje. To je razredno vprašanje! A v tistih obdobjih ženske vsaj niso bile oropane perspektive zasebnega, vsaka se je poročila (ali so jo starši), imela je otroke in vsaka je imela, čeprav je bil lahko zakon težek, nekakšno možnost zadoščenja. Če vemo, da je zakon zamenjava moči za vrednost, je danes vsaki ženski, ki je na zahodu prišla do moči (in ima zraven še vrednost), težko najti partnerja, zato se prvič v zgodovini družbe dogaja, da niso poročene najboljše ženske. Feministke pravijo, da so ženske doživele osvoboditev. Jaz pa pravim, da je to podobno situaciji kmetov, ki so se osvobodili fevdalne obveze, a so jih zasužnjili v kapitalizmu. Funkcionalni moški že od nekdaj v Sloveniji niso bili množični, zdaj jih pa sploh ni. Ženskam še nikoli ni bilo tako slabo, kot jim je zdaj.

Še vedno pa so ženske zastrupljene z romantično ljubeznijo. Kako ste se je ozdravili?

Seveda sem se poročila zaradi romantičnega izpada, a sem tudi ločena, ker je minil. Razlika med mano in drugimi je morda v tem, da sem jaz premišljevala o tem, kaj se mi je zgodilo, drugi so samo krivili – drugega. Vsi smo žrtve, naša zasebna življenja so postali trgi. Tega pred sto leti ni bilo. Ideja ljubezni, seksa, sreče, partnerstva, starševstva … Vse to je del trgovine. Ko se to enkrat zgodi, je ideologija tvoj vodja. Zavedati se je treba, da nas tržijo, da bo tisto, kar nam svetujejo, stanje v večini primerov poslabšalo. Vedeti moramo, da so partnerstvo, starševstvo, zakoni obče izkušnje vseh kultur vsaj zadnjih 40.000 let ter da so se v tem času nakopičile številne modrosti o tem, kako se to dela. Kar pomeni, da je pametno uporabljati tradicionalne rešitve, ne pa tiste, ki jih ponuja sodobnost. Zveze niso stvar romantike, temveč partnerstva, razumevanja, spoštovanja. Na drugi strani morate imeti nekoga, ki ga cenite. Seveda morate potem tudi imeti jajca, da se s takšno osebo zapletete. Če nekaj ni v redu, še ne pomeni, da morate iti. Sposobnost vztrajanja v nečem, kar ni prijetno, je temeljna sposobnost vsakega uspeha.

Katere zamisli je treba spustiti?

Opustiti moramo idejo o duši dvojčici in se takrat, ko vas prime, da bi partnerja zapustili, vprašati, ali bi naredili to, če bi vedeli, da nikoli ne boste našli nekoga, ki vam bo bliže. Večina ljudi, ki si postavi to vprašanje, ugotovi, da ni v resnici nič narobe. Danes pa se ljudje ločujejo z izgovorom značajske nekompatibilnosti. Opustite idejo, da vam je sploh kdo značajsko kompatibilen! Partnerstvo ni stvar romantike, partnerstvo je stvar projektov. Če bi vprašali staro mamo, kako je bilo, bi vam znala povedati, da je bilo tudi težko, a so se trudili skupaj. Vse to smo pozabili, ko so nas začeli tržiti. Posledica pa je več osebne nesreče. Opustimo romantične iluzije. V lastno korist. Kar pa zna seveda biti tudi boleče. A na to lahko gledaš kot izziv.

Kaj je rekel Ani Karenini mož, ko je izvedel, da ima ljubimca? Glej, mene tvoje privatno življenje ne zanima, je rekel, dokler boš svojo socialno vlogo moje žene pravilno opravljala. To je bilo 19. stoletje v eni najbolj patriarhalnih držav v Rusiji! Minilo je malo več kot sto let, danes pa mislimo, da moraš oditi, če te partner vara. Povsem drugi standardi. In ti kriteriji so nam, veste, vsiljeni samo zato, da smo lahko nesrečni, kajti če smo nesrečni, nam lahko marsikaj prodajo. A nesreča je pogosto stvar kriterijev: Če se primerjate z računalniško obdelanimi damami, ste seveda nezadovoljne s sabo, če pa se s svojo staro mamo pri istih letih, ste lahko mirne. Stvar perspektive