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EU is fatally wrong on Catalonia

EU commission: “If a referendum were to be organised in line with the Spanish constitution it would mean that the territory leaving would find itself outside of the European Union.

“Beyond the purely legal aspects of this matter, the Commission believes that these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation.”

This outrages reaction confirms what we know allready: EU is defending the interests of the capital not of the peoples of Europe. It is as if Josef Stalin or any other dictator spoke again: “these are times of unity and stability and not diviseveness and fragmentation”. EU has mixed up cause and effect: Catalan referendum and wish for independence is the effect of the use of force, political, military and police of the spanish government and their refusal to negotiate. As is brexit the response to non-democrataic nature of EU.

The root of the problem is lack of democracy in both cases. This is alarming, since democracy and existance of EU are based on fundamental values, on human rights, in this case on that of freedom of expression and of selfdetermination of nations. This are fundamental values for the very existance of EU.(Serbia is right to protest, since it is evident that EU has double standards, not the same criteria for Kosovo anad Catalonia. Bigotry is primal sin of EU. On hollydays EU likes to proclaim that it is based on values, and would like to base its influnece in the rest of the world precisely on suposedly european values that it is manifestly ignoring reagreding Catalonia.

It is extreemly alarming that it is now clear that EU is not capable to recognise the ineviatbility of the democratisation of Spain and emnacipation of Catalonia. Because EU is wrong, for it is not Catalans that are divisive and destabilising, it is antidemocratic governement in Madrid and antidemocratic commission in Brussels that are cousing “exits”. Catalans, as all other domocratic peoples aspire to international collaboration of free and equal peoples in Europe. Massive support for immigrants in Catalonia is a clear proof that Catalans re not excluding and chovinistic.

The validity of fundamental human rights on which EU is based, and with it much of the conteporary global civilisation, cannot be denied by any constitution. It may be usefull to remind ourselves, that these principles, with their roots in the european democratic traditions from ancient Greece on, were widely recognised in the age of enlightenment. And it is these principles that were basis for the liberation of the United states, the French ravolution, voting rights for working class and women and liberation of colonies.

So why should Europeans of today support democratic regression?

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Post – komunistična nočna mora: Brodski – Havel (angl.)

‘The Post-Communist Nightmare’: An Exchange
Joseph Brodsky, translated from the Czech by Paul Wilson, reply by Václav Havel FEBRUARY 17, 1994 ISSUE

Dear Mr. President:

I’ve decided to write this letter to you because we have something in common: we both are writers. In this line of work, one weighs words more carefully, I believe, than elsewhere before committing them to paper or, for that matter, to the microphone. Even when one finds oneself engaged in a public affair, one tries to do one’s best to avoid catchwords, Latinate expressions, all manner of jargon. In a dialogue, of course, or with two or more interlocutors around, that’s difficult, and may even strike them as pretentiousness. But in a soliloquy or in a monologue it is, I think, attainable, though of course one always tailors one’s diction to one’s audience.

We have something else in common, Mr. President, and that is our past in our respective police states. To put it less grandly: our prisons, that shortage of space amply made up for by an abundance of time, which, sooner or later, renders one, regardless of one’s temperament, rather contemplative. You spent more time in yours, of course, than I in mine, though I started in mine long before the Prague Spring. Yet in spite of my nearly patriotic belief that the hopelessness of some urine-reeking cement hole in the bowels of Russia awakens one to the arbitrariness of existence faster than what I once pictured as a clean, stuccoed solitary in civilized Prague, as contemplative beings, I think, we might be quite even.

In short, we were pen pals long before I conceived of this letter. But I conceived of it not because of the literalness of my mind, or because our present circumstances are quite different from those of the past (nothing can be more natural than that, and one is not obliged to remain a writer forever: not any more so than to stay a prisoner). I’ve decided to write this letter because a while ago I read the text of one of your most recent speeches, whose conclusions about the past, the present, and the future were so different from mine that I thought, One of us must be wrong. And it is precisely because the present and the future—and not just your own or your country’s but the global one—were involved that I decided to make this an open letter to you. Had the issue been only the past, I wouldn’t have written you this letter at all, or if I had, I’d have marked it “personal.”

The speech of yours that I read was printed in The New York Review of Books and its title was “The Post-Communist Nightmare.”* You begin by reminiscing about a time when you would be avoided in the street by your friends and acquaintances, since in those days you were on dangerous terms with the state and under police surveillance. You proceed to explain the reasons for their avoiding you and suggest, in the usual, grudge-free manner for which you are justly famous, that to those friends and acquaintances you constituted an inconvenience; and “inconveniences”—you cite the conventional wisdom—“are best avoided.” Then for most of your speech you describe the post-Communist reality (in Eastern Europe and by implication in the Balkans) and equate the deportment of the democratic world vis-à-vis that reality to avoiding an inconvenience.

It is a wonderful speech, with a great many wonderful insights and a convincing conclusion; but let me go to your starting point. It occurs to me, Mr. President, that your famous civility benefited your hindsight here rather poorly. Are you so sure you were avoided by those people then and there for reasons of embarrassment and fear of “potential persecution” only, and not because you were, given the seeming stability of the system, written off by them? Are you sure that at least some of them didn’t simply regard you as a marked, doomed man, on whom it would be foolish to waste much time? Don’t you think that instead of, or as well as, being inconvenient (as you insist) you were also a convenient example of the wrong deportment and thus a source of considerable moral comfort, the way the sick are for the healthy majority? Haven’t you imagined them saying to their wives in the evening, “I saw Havel today in the street. He’s had it.” Or do I misjudge the Czech character?

That they were proven wrong and you right matters little. They wrote you off in the first place because even by the standards of our half of the century you were not a martyr. Besides, don’t we all harbor a certain measure of guilt, totally unrelated to the state, of course, but nonetheless palpable? So whenever the arm of the state reaches us, we regard it vaguely as our comeuppance, as a touch of the blunt but nevertheless expected tool of providence. That’s, frankly, the main raison d’être behind the institution of police, plainclothed or uniformed, or at least behind our general inability to resist an arrest. One may be perfectly convinced that the state is wrong, but one is seldom confident of one’s own virtue. Not to mention that it is the same arm that locks one up and sets one free. That’s why one is seldom surprised at being avoided when one gets released, and doesn’t expect a universal embrace.
Such expectations, under such circumstances, would be disappointed because nobody wants to be reminded of the murky complexity of the relations between guilt and getting one’s comeuppance, and in a police state providing such a reminder is what heroic deportment is largely about. It alienates one from others, as any emphasis on virtue does; not to mention that a hero is always best observed from a distance. In no small measure, Mr. President, you were avoided by the people you’ve mentioned precisely because for them you were a sort of test tube of virtue confronting evil, and those people didn’t interfere with the experiment since they had their doubts about both. As such, you again were a convenience, because in the police state absolutes compromise each other since they engender each other. Haven’t you imagined those prudent people saying to their wives in the evening: “I saw Havel today in the street. He’s too good to be true.” Or do I misjudge the Czech character again?

That they were proven wrong and you right, I repeat, matters little. They wrote you off at the time because they were guided by the same relativism and self-interest that I suppose helps them to make a go of it now, under the new dispensation. And as a healthy majority, they no doubt had a significant part in your velvet revolution, which, after all, asserts, the way democracy always does, precisely self-interest. If such is the case, and I’m afraid it is, they’ve paid you back for their excessive prudence, and you preside now over a society which is more theirs than yours.

There is nothing wrong with that. Besides, things might easily have gone the other way: for you, that is; not for them (the revolution was so velvet because the tyranny itself by that time was more woolen than ironclad—otherwise I wouldn’t have this privilege of commenting upon your speech). So all I’m trying to suggest is that by introducing the notion of inconvenience you quite possibly misspoke, for self-interest is always exercised at the expense of others, whether it’s done by individuals or by nations. A better notion would be the vulgarity of the human heart, Mr. President; but then you wouldn’t be able to bring your speech to a ringing conclusion. Certain things come with a pulpit, though one should resist them, writer or no writer. As I am not faced with your task, I’d like to take your argument now where, I think, it could perhaps have gone. I wonder if you’ll disagree with the result.

“For long decades,” your next paragraph begins, “the chief nightmare of the democratic world was communism. Today—three years after it began to collapse like an avalanche—it would seem as though another nightmare has replaced it: postcommunism.” Then you describe in considerable detail the existing modes of the democratic world’s response to the ecological, economic, political, and social catastrophes unraveling where previously one perceived a smooth cloth. You liken these responses to those toward your “inconvenience” and suggest that such a position leads “to a turning away from reality, and ultimately, to resigning oneself to it. It leads to appeasement, even to collaboration. The consequences of such a position may even be suicidal.”

It is here, Mr. President, that I think your metaphor fails you. For neither the Communist nor the post-Communist nightmare amounts to an inconvenience, since it helped, helps, and will for quite some time help the democratic world to externalize evil. And not the democratic world only. To quite a few of us who lived in that nightmare, and especially those who fought it, its presence was a source of considerable moral comfort. For one who fights or resists evil almost automatically perceives oneself as good and skips self-analysis. So perhaps it’s time—for us and for the world at large, democratic or not—to scrub the term communism from the human reality of Eastern Europe so one can recognize that reality for what it was and is: a mirror.

For that is what human evil always is. Geographic names or political terminology provide not a telescope or a window but the reflection of ourselves: of human negative potential. The magnitude of what took place in our parts of the world, and over two thirds of a century, cannot be reduced to “communism.” Catchwords, on the whole, lose more than they retain, and in the case of tens of millions killed and the lives of entire nations subverted, a catchword simply won’t do. Although the ratio of executioners to victims favors the latter, the scale of what happened in our realm suggests, given its technological backwardness at the time, that the former, too, run in the millions, not to mention the complicity of millions more.

Homilies are not my forte, Mr. President; besides, you are a convert. It’s not for me to tell you that what you call “communism” was a breakdown of humanity, and not a political problem. It was a human problem, a problem of our species, and thus of a lingering nature. Neither as a writer nor, moreover, as a leader of a nation should you use terminology that obscures the reality of human evil—terminology, I should add, invented by evil to obscure its own reality. Nor should one refer to it as a nightmare, since that breakdown of humanity wasn’t a nocturnal affair, not in our hemisphere, to say the least.

To this day, the word “communism” remains a convenience, for an -ism suggests a fait accompli. In Slavic languages especially, an -ism, as you know, suggests the foreignness of a phenomenon, and when a word containing an -ism denotes a political system, the system is perceived as an imposition. True, our particular -ism wasn’t conceived on the banks of the Volga or the Vltava, and the fact that it blossomed there with a unique vigor doesn’t bespeak our soil’s exceptional fertility, for it blossomed in different latitudes and extremely diverse cultural zones with equal intensity. This suggests not so much an imposition as our -ism’s rather organic, not to say universal, origins. One should think, therefore, that a bit of self-examination—on the part of the democratic world as well as our own—is in order, rather than ringing calls for mutual “understanding.” (What does this word mean, anyway? What procedure do you propose for this understanding? Under the auspices of the UN, perhaps?)

And if self-examination is unlikely (why should what’s been avoided under duress be done at leisure?), then at least the myth of imposition should be dispelled, since, for one thing, tank crews and fifth columns are biologically indistinguishable. Why don’t we simply start by admitting that an extraordinary anthropological backslide has taken place in our world in this century, regardless of who or what triggered it? That it involved masses acting in their self-interest and, in the process of doing so, reducing their common denominator to the moral minimum? And that the masses’ self-interest—stability of life and its standards, similarly reduced—has been attained at the expense of other masses, albeit numerically inferior? Hence the number of the dead.

It is convenient to treat these matters as an error, as a horrendous political aberration, perhaps imposed upon human beings from an anonymous elsewhere. It is even more convenient if that elsewhere bears a proper geographical or foreign-sounding name, whose spelling obscures its utterly human nature. It was convenient to build navies and defenses against that aberration—as it is convenient to dismantle those defenses and those navies now. It is convenient, I must add, to refer to these matters in a civil manner, Mr. President, from a pulpit today, although I don’t question for a minute the authenticity of your civility, which, I believe, is your very nature. It was convenient to have around this living example of how not to run things in this world and supply this example with an -ism, as it is convenient to supply it nowadays with “know-how” and a “post-.” (And one easily envisions our -ism, embellished with its post-, conveniently sailing on the lips of dimwits into the future.)

For it would be truly inconvenient—for the cowboys of the Western industrial democracies specifically—to recognize the catastrophe that occurred in our part of the world as the first cry of mass society: a cry as it were from the world’s future, and to recognize it not as an -ism but a chasm suddenly gaping in the human heart to swallow up honesty, compassion, civility, justice, and, thus satiated, presenting to the still democratic outside a reasonably perfect, monotonous surface.

Cowboys, however, loathe mirrors—if only because there they may recognize the backward Indians more readily than they would in the open. So they prefer to mount their high horses, scan the Indian-free horizons, deride the Indians’ backwardness, and derive enormous moral comfort from being regarded as cowboys—first of all, by the Indians.

As one who has been likened often to a philosopher king, you can, Mr. President, appreciate better than many how much all of that happened to our “Indian nation” harks back to the Enlightenment, with its idea (from the Age of Discovery, actually), of a noble savage, of man being inherently good but habitually ruined by bad institutions; with its belief that improvement of those institutions will restore man to his initial goodness. So to the admission previously made or hoped for, one should add, I suppose, that it’s precisely the accomplishment of the “Indian” in perfecting those institutions that brought them to that project’s logical end: the police state. Perhaps the manifest bestiality of this achievement should suggest to the “Indians” that they must retreat some way into the interior, that they should render their institutions a bit less perfect. Otherwise they may not get the “cowboys’ ” subsidies for their reservations. And perhaps there is indeed a ratio between man’s goodness and the badness of institutions. If there isn’t, maybe somebody should admit that man isn’t that good.

Isn’t this the juncture at which we find ourselves, Mr. President—or at least you do? Should “Indians” embark on imitating “cowboys,” or should they consult the spirits about other options? May it be that the magnitude of the tragedy that befell them is, in itself, a guarantee that it won’t happen again? May their grief and their memory of what happened in their parts create a greater egalitarian bond than free enterprise and a bicameral legislature? And if they should draft a constitution anyway, maybe they should start by recognizing themselves and their history for the better part of this century as a reminder of Original Sin.

It’s not such a heady concept, as you know. Translated into common parlance, it means that man is dangerous. Apart from being a footnote to our beloved Jean-Jacques, this principle may allow us to build—if not elsewhere, then at least in our realm, so steeped in Fourier, Proudhon, and Blanc at the expense of Burke and Tocqueville—a social order resting on a less self-flattering basis than was our habit, and perhaps with less disastrous consequences. This also may qualify as man’s “new understanding of himself, of his limitations and his place in the world” you call for in your speech.

“We must discover a new relationship to our neighbors, and to the universe,” you say toward the end of your speech, “and its metaphysical order, which is the source of the moral order.” The metaphysical order, Mr. President, should it really exist, is pretty dark, and its structural idiom is its parts’ mutual indifference. The notion that man is dangerous runs, therefore, closest to that order’s implications for human morality. Every writer is a reader, and if you scan your library’s shelves, you must realize that most of the books you’ve got there are either about betrayal or murder. At any rate, it seems more prudent to build society on the premise that man is evil rather than the premise of his goodness. This way at least there is the possibility of making it safe psychologically, if not physically (but perhaps that as well), for most of its members, not to mention that its surprises, which are inevitable, might be of a more pleasant nature.

Maybe the real civility, Mr. President, is not to create illusions. “New understanding,” “global responsibilities,” “pluralistic metaculture” are not much better at the core than the retrospective utopias of the latter-day nationalists or the entrepreneurial fantasies of the nouveaux riches. This sort of stuff is still predicated on the promise, however qualified, of man’s goodness, of his notion of himself as either a fallen or a possible angel. This sort of diction befits, perhaps, the innocents, or demagogues, running the affairs of industrial democracies, but not you, who ought to know the truth about the condition of the human heart.

And you are, one would imagine, in a good position not only to convey your knowledge to people, but also to cure that heart condition somewhat: to help them to become like yourself. Since what made you the way you are was not your penal experience but the books you’ve read, I’d suggest, for starters, serialization of some of those books in the country’s major dailies. Given the population figure of Czechia, this can be done, even by decree, although I don’t think your parliament would object. By giving your people Proust, Kafka, Faulkner, Platonov, Camus, or Joyce, you may turn at least one nation in the heart of Europe into a civilized people.

That may do more good for the future of the world than emulating cowboys. Also, it would be a real postcommunism, not the doctrine’s meltdown, with the attendant “hatred of the world, self-affirmation at all costs, and the unparalleled flourishing of selfishness” that dog you now. For there is no other antidote to the vulgarity of the human heart than doubt and good taste, which one finds fused in works of great literature, as well as your own. If man’s negative potential is best manifested by murder, his positive potential is best manifested by art.

Why, you may ask, don’t I make a similar crackpot suggestion to the President of the country of which I am a citizen? Because he is not a writer; and when he is a reader, he often reads trash. Because cowboys believe in law, and reduce democracy to people’s equality before it: i.e., to the well-policed prairie. Whereas what I suggest to you is equality before culture. You should decide which deal is better for your people, which book it is better to throw at them. If I were you, though, I’d start with your own library, because apparently you did not learn about moral imperatives in a law school.

Yours sincerely,
Joseph Brodsky

Václav Havel replies:

I am honored that you chose to reply to the speech I delivered at the George Washington University, later published in the New York Review of Books as “The Post-Communist Nightmare.”

You go into so many serious and distressing matters concerning not just the recent past in Eastern and Central Europe, but the present and future of the whole world, that to give you an adequate response I would have to write an essay at least as long and detailed as yours. At the moment, though, this doesn’t seem productive, for two reasons. In the first place, however tempting it may be to discuss such matters now, it would be irresponsible without first undertaking a closer and more comprehensive study of the issues. In the second place, the world is changing from hour to hour, compelling us constantly to reassess our views. Look at the Middle East, or the former Yugoslavia, or many places in the old Soviet Union, or South Africa, or even relatively peaceful Central Europe.

But my main reason for suggesting that we postpone a more thorough discussion of these matters until sometime in the near future is this: our minds appear to be working on the same problem, but using a different set of facts. As you point out, our views are shaped by experiences that coincide on some points, and differ significantly in others. We each lived under totalitarianism, but in different surroundings, and we lived that reality through feelings, thoughts, and instincts that were of a different nature.

The strongest impression I have from your letter is that a misunderstanding has occurred between two people who essentially understand each other. To put it another way: we don’t really disagree at all, we merely have a different way of thinking about commensurate experiences that vary in their details.

I will mention only one example. You say that under the totalitarian regime, I was not so much an “inconvenience” for my friends and acquaintances as “a source of…moral comfort, the way the sick are for the healthy majority.” This observation is clearly based on your experience with totalitarianism in Soviet Russia. The Czech experience was somewhat different.

Though we were subjected to varying types and degrees of totalitarianism over a long period of time, it was not long enough for this experience to sink as deeply into the consciousness of several generations as it did in Russia, and other parts of the Soviet Union.

Some members of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, at least from Stalin’s death onward, silently ran their lives with a mixture of personal pragmatism and opportunism. Even some who were not Party members managed to maintain relatively well-paying careers as long as it didn’t come out that, privately, they told too many jokes at the expense of the Party leaders or that they were sometimes highly critical of the system.

By the late Seventies, this phenomenon had existed for a long time, and it was only at the end of the decade that we coined an expression—“the gray zone”—to describe it. The term applied mainly to a stratum of educated people—some Party members, some not—who were aware that the system, should it continue, would eventually destroy us, both morally as individuals and professionally as artists, scholars, and intellectuals. At the same time, these people felt that the right thing to do under the circumstances was to continue working in their laboratories, publishing houses, research institutes, and so on, so that they themselves would not forget their subjects, and so that their professions and areas of expertise would not atrophy.

But what could historians, poets, or writers do? Such a compromise was not open to them. They couldn’t publish and earn a living in their field without going against their consciences and denying their own understanding of reality. They chose instead, therefore, to wash windows, to work as night-watchmen on construction sites, or as stokers in heating plants, or as technicians measuring water flow in remote parts of the country.

These people formed the core of those who signed the human rights initiative, Charter 77. They were not, just as I was not, a “comfort” to those secret critics of the regime in the “gray zone,” but were indeed an inconvenience, a living reproach. Their very existence prompted those in the gray zone to ask if there wasn’t more they ought to be doing to hasten the regime’s demise than simply complaining about it in secret.

In Soviet Russia, opposing both the brutal power of the state and the ingrained beliefs of most citizens must have required great moral power, a brave intellect, and special talents. I can imagine, for instance, that after you were sent to prison many people expressed their relief in a way you suggest some Czechs might have done in my case, by dismissing you and your cause as lost: “He’s had it!”

But there is a difference. For ordinary people in your country of birth, any change aiming at a freer system, at freedom of thought and action, was a step into the unknown. Thanks to your moral strength and talent, you and a relatively small number of other authors continued the work of the great Russian poets, novelists, and essayists of the nineteenth century, and of that handful of irrepressible artists with names like Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Mandelstam, Babel, Zoshchenko, and even Pasternak and others.

You longed for freedom, and you won it. When your friends, both intimate and distant, saw you go off to prison to pay for that victory, they might well have said that they were in no danger of experiencing the inconvenience of freedom. Perhaps they gained some dark satisfaction from that.

By contrast, Czechs and Slovaks enjoyed a considerable degree of freedom and democracy in the late nineteenth century under the Austro-Hungarian constitutional monarchy, and even more during Czechoslovakia’s First Republic. The traditions of those times live on in family life and in books. Thus, though the renewal of freedom is difficult and inconvenient in our country too, freedom was never a completely unknown aspect of time, space, and thought. Several generations of people here know it as a living and inspiring experience. That is what made our struggle so different from your practically private—and pioneering—struggle to win freedom of thought and action.

I repeat: I am heartened by your response. But it seems to me that the special circumstances of this discussion—the fact that despite the similarity of the language we use, we are not really talking about the same thing at all—can only be resolved in direct personal conversation.

Let’s set a date to meet sometime in the near future to try to understand better why thoughts as parallel as those expressed in your open letter and my speech have caused a disagreement which may be no more than a misunderstanding.

—Translated from the Czech by Paul Wilson

Nizke minimalne plače zavirajo rast produktivnosti

Vulgarizacija minimalne plače

januar 23, 2017
By JP Damjan
in gospodarstvo
9 komentarjev
Prejšnji teden, pred petkovo sejo Ekonomsko-socialnega sveta, ko naj bi vladna stran predlagala, če in za koliko se bo dvignila minimalna plača v letošnjem letu, je potekala velika piarovska ofenziva tako iz sindikalne kot iz delodajalske strani. V skladu z zakonom o minimalni plači, se ta usklajuje vsako leto najmanj z rastjo cen življenjskih potrebščin, vlada pa lahko upošteva tudi ostale kazalce, kot so gibanje plač, gospodarske razmere oziroma gospodarska rast in gibanje zaposlenosti. Jasno, sindikati so zahtevali dvig za 5%, delodajalci pa so pristali le za uskladitev z inflacijo (0.5%), vlada pa se je na koncu glede na dobre razmere v gospodarstvu in trgu dela odločila za dvig za 1.8%.

Slednje pomeni, da bo okrog 30,000 prejemnikov minimalne plače letos prejemalo za dobrih 14 evrov bruto več (povečanje iz 790.73 na 805 evrov na mesec), kar pomeni dvig za slabih 10 evrov neto (iz 604.35 na 614 evrov mesečno).

Je ta dvig minimalne plače ekonomsko neupravičen in ali bo, kot so rohnele Finance, “sprožil val odpuščanj v delovno intenzivnih panogah, povečanje dela na črno in prekarizacije“? Bo ta dvig potopil podjetja?

Jasno, da ne. Čeprav so, medtem ko so si pulili lase iz jeze, povsem enako v “ločenem mnenju” rohneli minister za gospodarstvo Počivalšek (“dvig minimalne plače po ministrovem mnenju korak v napačno smer. Povzročil bo dodaten pritisk na podjetja po plačevanju davkov in prispevkov ter upočasnil zaposlovanje, in sicer predvsem v storitvenem sektorju. Dvig minimalne plače predstavlja dodatno tveganje za delo na črno, prav tako za prekarizacijo”) in predstavniki delodajalcev (“zvišanje minimalne plače bo najbolj prizadelo prav tista podjetja, ki se še vedno borijo z izgubami”).

Obema, ministru Počivalšku in predstavnikom delodajalcev, je skupno to, da rohnijo, kot da bo konec sveta, ob tem pa svojih trditev o škodljivosti dviga minimalne plače ne podkrepijo s številkami. Prav nobene številke ali kakšnega drugega numerično podkrepljenega argumenta niso predstavili glede tega, za koliko naj bi dvig minimalne plače za slabih 15 evrov bruto “upočasnil zaposlovanje“, in za koliko naj bi povečal “tveganje za delo na črno, prav tako za prekarizacijo“. Zakaj svojega rohnenja niso podkrepili s številkami ali drugimi argumenti? Ker jih pač nimajo.

V nadaljevanju bom na zelo preprost način pokazal, zakaj se tokrat delodajalci glede škodljivosti dviga minimalne plače motijo. Njihove pavšalne trditve namreč temeljijo na stari zablodi ekonomistov glede škodljivosti minimalne plače, ki sta jo leta 1995 v knjigi “Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage” zelo uspešno ovrgla dva izmed najboljših ekonomistov na področju ekonomike dela David Card in Alan Krueger. Temu so sledile tudi druge študije v zadnjih dvajsetih letih, ki za za razvite države skorajda brez izjeme kažejo, da minimalne plače nimajo negativnega vpliva na zaposlenost. Če že, naj bi bil ta učinek minimalno prisoten le med prvimi iskalci zaposlitve (mladimi), vendar ne nujno ter med slabo plačanimi negovalci v domih za ostarele v V. Britaniji. Tudi dvigi minimalne plače v ZDA v posameznih državah niso nikjer povzročile upada ali zaustavitve zaposlovanja v delovno-intenzivnih sektorjih. Tudi uvedba minimalne plače v Nemčiji leta 2015 ni povzročila prav nobenega kolapsa ali zaustavitve zaposlovanja.

In zakaj minimalne plače in njihova rast niso imele negativnega učinka na zaposlenost? Preprosto, ker so podjetja zaradi tega bolj povečala produktivnost in organizacijsko učinkovitost, zmanjševala fluktuacije v zaposlenosti, zmanjšala plače tistim z visokimi plačami in nekoliko dvignila cene.

Ta mit glede škodljivosti (dviga) minimalne plače je mrtev. Ekonomija je to vrgla iz učbenikov. Morda boste to našli še v kakšnem zastarelem učbeniku za mikroekonomijo v prvem letniku, toda v bolj zahtevnih učbenikih in resni empirični ekonomisti so ta koncept pokopali. Že omenjeni Alan Krueger je lani povedal, da postopno dvigovanje ameriške minimalne plače iz 7.25 $/uro na 12 $/uro naj ne bi imelo škodljivih učinkov. Problematična bi lahko bila velika enkratna povečanja, denimo enkratna podvojitev minimalne plače, ker pač podatkov o tem, kaj se zgodi v takšnem primeru še nimamo.

Dvig oziroma uskladitev minimalne plače v Sloveniji za letošnje leto za 1.8% oziroma za slabih 15 evrov mesečno seveda ne spada med drastična povečanja, ki bi lahko bila zelo nepredvidljiva. Zato kakšnih posebnih negativnih učinkov iz tega naslova (“vala odpuščanj v delovno intenzivnih panogah, povečanja dela na črno in prekarizacije”) ne moremo pričakovati.

Če bi gospodje (minister, delodajalci, novinarji) v roke vzeli kalkulator, bi hitro ugotovili nesmiselnost svojih trditev. Namreč, skupen strošek povečanja minimalne plače za 15 evrov bruto za 30,000 prejemnikov na letni ravni pomeni 5.4 mio evrov, od tega se četrtina nanaša na zaposlene v javnem sektorju. Bodo zaradi tega, zaradi teh dodatnih 4 mio evrov stroškov za celotno gospodarstvo, propadala podjetja? Bodo zaradi tega podjetja na veliko odpuščala ali zaustavila zaposlovanje? Ste resni?!

Vendar ali je uskladitev minimalne plače ekonomsko sploh upravičena? Je, če je ustrezno podprta z nominalno rastjo cen in rastjo produktivnosti. V ekonomiji običajno govorimo v realnih kategorijah, torej po upoštevanju rasti cen (inflacije). Če so cene končnih izdelkov porasle za nek odstotek, je seveda povsem upravičeno, da se tudi proizvodni stroški (predvsem strošek dela) temu prilagodijo z ekvivalentno rastjo. Uskladitev plač z inflacijo je tako nevtralna, saj zgolj prilagodi raven plač glede na preteklo rast cen.

Toda to ni še ni vse. Treba je namreč upoštevati tudi rast produktivnosti. Če so podjetja v prejšnjem obdobju svojo dodano vrednost realno povečala, je seveda povsem upravičeno, da se temu prilagodi tudi rast plač. Ker s tem podjetja dejansko nagradijo zaposlene za večjo storilnost oziroma z njimi delijo sadove povečane storilnosti. In v ekonomiji imate eno izmed zakonitosti, da sta dinamika produktivnosti in plač med seboj tesno korelirani. (to korelacijo lahko vidite tudi v Sloveniji v spodnji sliki, ki kaže rast produktivnosti in rast plač v celotnem gospodarstvu).

Slika 1: Rast produktivnosti in rast plač v celotnem gospodarstvu (2008=100)


Vir: Podatki SURS, lastni preračuni.

Če se rast plač prilagodi rasti produktivnosti, bo učinek na proizvodne stroške nevtralen, saj so plače zgolj ex post povečale proizvodne stroške za enako razmerje, kot se je povečala učinkovitost podjetij. Zaradi tega, ker so podjetja nagradila svoje zaposlene v enakem razmerju, kot se je povečala produktivnost, se njihova konkurenčnost ni niti za dlako poslabšala. Pač pa so s tem dobili bolj motivirane zaposlene. Tak je tudi rezultat nedavnega eksperimenta ameriškega giganta Walmarta (sicer znanega po stiskanju plač svojim zaposlenim), ki se je v začetku 2015 odločil povečati plače (in izboljšati usposabljanje ter možnosti napredovanja): rezultat je bil v boljši motiviranosti in večji storilnosti zaposlenih, v bolj čistih trgovinah itd.

Če izhajamo iz te logike, je torej manevrski prostor za povečanje plač enak vsoti med nominalno rastjo cen (inflacijo) in realnim povečanjem produktivnosti. V slovenskem primeru bi bil prostor za povečanje plač letos torej enak vsoti med lansko stopnjo inflacije (0.5%) in lanskim povečanjem produktivnosti (2.8% povečanje BDP na prebivalca), kar bi zneslo 3.3% odstotno povečanje. Takšno povečanje plač bi bilo za gospodarstvo nevtralno. S tem gospodarstvo ne bi bilo oškodovano, saj bi se minimalna plača zgolj prilagodila lanski inflaciji in porastu produktivnosti.

Ker je vlada minimalno plačo povečala zgolj za 1.8% (namesto za 3.3%), je torej strošek plač za najslabše plačane povečala za manj, kot so se lani nominalno povečale “koristi” za gospodarstvo. Ali drugače rečeno, strošek dela najslabše plačanih bo zaradi tega zaostajal za nominalno rastjo produktivnosti in podjetjem omogočal stroškovne prihranke (v konkretnem primeru za 1.5% pri plačah) . In natanko takšne trende lahko vidite, če denimo primerjate rast produktivnosti in rast plač v panogi, ki ima ob gostinstvu največ slabo plačanih zaposlenih – v proizvodnji oblačil. Spodnja slika kaže, da je za razliko od preostalega gospodarstva, rast plač v industriji oblačil po letu 2008 močno zaostajala za rastjo produktivnosti.

Slika 2: Rast produktivnosti in rast plač v celotnem gospodarstvu (2008=100)


Vir: Podatki SURS, lastni preračuni.

Vlada bi v prihodnje dejansko morala v zakon zapisati formulo, po kateri bi se letno usklajevala minimalna plača, s čimer bi se povečala transparentnost in predvidljivost poslovnega okolja. Primerna formula za uskladitev minimalne plače bi morala upoštevati nominalno rast cen in realno povečanje produktivnosti. Na agregatni ravni bi to pomenilo uskladitev minimalne plače z nominalno rastjo BDP na prebivalca (ali na opravljeno uro). Lahko bi formula predvidevala rahlo zaostajanje za realno rastjo produktivnosti (denimo za 1 odstotno točko. Lahko bi se vzela produktivnost zgolj tistih panog, kjer je delež zaposlenih z minimalno plačo največji.

Čemu torej takšen “halo” zaradi uskladitve minimalne plače zgolj za polovičen odstotek glede na tistega, ki bi bil še vedno stroškovno nevtralen za gospodarstvo? Verjamem, da je ta logika večini novinarjev “španska vas”, saj ne razumejo ekonomije. Bolj me čudi strašansko nepoznavanje ekonomije pri tistih, ki bi jo morali zelo dobro poznati “po svoji dolžnosti” – minister za gospodarstvo in predstavniki delodajalcev.

No, seveda ne gre samo za nepoznavanje ekonomije, pač pa za načrtno ignoriranje ekonomije pri nekaterih novinarjih in pri krovnih gospodarskih združenjih. Gre za namerno manipuliranje. In to pri najšibkejših. Stavim, da ko gre za diskusijo glede njihove lastne plače, jih napovedane uskladitve plač ne motijo. Motijo jih je le pri tistih, ki so na minimalni plači.

In to je tista človeška primitivnost, nizkotna vulgarnost predstavnikv sedme sile in gospodarstva, ki mene moti.


Naša šolska kultura

Naši otroci delajo več kot povprečen odrasel!

Proti koncu izteklega se leta je po družabnih omrežjih gromko odobravanje sprožil zapis učiteljice Barbare Gros. Prikaz stanja v šolskem sistemu, ki ga je naslikala z besedami, je tako strašen, da si vsekakor zasluži javno debato. Pravzaprav po njej prav vpije. Gorje družbi, ki ne zna poskrbeti niti za lastne otroke. Barbara je učiteljica že petindvajset let. Poleg tega ima za sabo tri mandate kot sindikalna zaupnica, torej zastopnica pravic delavcev v šolskem sindikatu. V dobrih dveh urah pogovora je s svojo širino in pogumom name naredila vtis človeka, kakršnega v tovarnah bodočih državljanov potrebujemo. Kako zlovešče torej, da je z eno nogo že zunaj sistema, saj pravi, da je v šolstvu vse skupaj postalo preveč nerazumno in da preprosto ne zdrži več. Tudi v prihodnje bo mladim dušam pomagala najti pravi korak po poti življenja, le da v kaki drugi obliki, ki otroke ne bo učila predvsem potrpeti.
Mateja J. Potočnik
gros barbara1

Jure Aleksič



Sistem noče izobraženih ljudi (le slepe sledilce), zato proizvaja nevrotične, izžete otroke Kako to, da je iz vas privrel tako oster zapis o stanju našega šolstva?

Ker nisem več mogla gledati, kaj se dogaja. Kot učiteljico in kot človeka me ves čas boli srce, ko pomislim, kako se ti otroci zame trudijo. Ker me imajo radi, ker mi zaupajo, ker mi v svoji otroški preprostosti resnično hočejo ugoditi … Pa je tempo tako poblaznel, da me pogosto že tretjo šolsko uro stekleno gledajo in sploh nič več ne morejo.

Prav ponoreli učni načrti, pravite, so srčika problema.
Učni načrti so tako nabutani, da je za otroka, kot bi imel nekaj služb. Predstavljajte si, da moraš zjutraj doma oskrbeti krave, koze in kure, potem moraš v redno službo – zelo naporno službo, kjer pogosto opraviš še kako naduro in te ves čas lovijo roki, ker so ti naložili preveč. Popoldne moraš v dodatno službo, recimo anketiranje na terenu, saj drugače finančno ne prideš skozi mesec. Zvečer spet opraviš zadolžitve v hlevu, ponoči občasno nekje dežuraš kot varnostnik, zjutraj pa komaj vstaneš in se spet odvlečeš v hlev. No, predstavljajte si leta in leta tega in dobili boste izkušnjo naših otrok v šolskem sistemu.

Ko vas je delo v razrednem pouku do konca zamorilo, ste zaprosili za delo v podaljšanem bivanju.
Prošnja je bila na srečo odobrena. To mi zdaj sicer omogoča malce bolj sproščeno in obenem temeljito delo z otroki. A po drugi strani sem tako dobila še celostnejši vpogled vanje – in tako tudi v to, kako preobremenjeni so. Pet ur pouka na dan, eno za drugo, popoldne pa še domače naloge za doma in učenje. S tem, da se jih vmes ves čas zelo priganja. Dajmo!! Hitro!! Še to je treba, pa še to in to – hitro se oblecite, hitro izračunajte, hitro to, hitro ono… Vse to zato, ker nam je vsem skupaj vsako sekundo dneva za petami učni načrt. Če so dejansko dovolj pridni, da se učijo, delajo naši otroci več kot povprečen odrasel.

Še pred petimi leti bi imeli najbrž prav. Ampak danes je nekaj najbolj normalnega, da odrasli delajo od deset do dvanajst ur na dan. Prav to je morda celo glavni motor našega propada.
No, v tem ciničnem smislu je slovenska šola morda res precej dobra priprava za odraslo življenje. Nič čudnega ni, da so tudi učitelji toliko bolj napeti, ko otrokom ne gre dobro. In zato mnogi nalagajo toliko več domačih nalog, da bodo učenci snov ja utrdili. In zato so otroci pogosto še toliko bolj nestrpni in nasilni drug do drugega. Zaradi norih zahtev vsi tako hitimo, da se nima nihče več niti časa ustaviti in vprašati: pa zakaj vendar vsi skupaj tako hitimo?

Prav res: zakaj? Za vami je že četrt stoletja poučevanja. Včasih, pravite, je bila naša šola drugačna?
Oh, ko sem začenjala, je bilo bistveno drugače. Seveda tudi takrat reči niso bile nikjer blizu idealnim ali rožnatim. A so bile vseeno neprimerljivo boljše.

Kaj se je potem zgodilo?
Iz nekega razloga se je začelo s tem maničnim napihovanjem učnih načrtov. Če si moral prej jemati trideset stvari, si jih moral po novem sto trideset. In ko si mislil, da v leto preprosto ni možno nabiti še več reči, so storili natanko to. In ko je do konca prepljusknilo, so pač nabasali noter še dodatne ure pouka in dodatne izbirne dejavnosti. Nepredstavljivo. Ampak najbrž ti res ni treba biti genij, da znaš predvideti, da bo posledica vsega tega utrujen otrok? Utrujen otrok pa je naporen otrok. Tako kot smo utrujeni odrasli naporni odrasli. V šoli smo se torej znašli utrujeni otroci in utrujeni učitelji, potem so nas pa začeli čedalje bolj obiskovati utrujeni starši in pravico iskati pri utrujenih ravnateljih.

Ampak kako bi sploh lahko prišlo do tako norega stanja? Kdo je najbolj odgovoren za to?
Hja, na neki točki se je sistem očitno odločil, da mu najbolj ustrezajo izmozgani in izžeti ljudje. Glede učnih načrtov pa je poseben problem obsežna skupina ljudi, ki je prepričana, da so otroci samo leni. In da velja preprosta enačba: več ko jim naložiš, več znajo. Nekateri to res iz srca mislijo, in to z najboljšimi nameni. Prepričani so, da se otrokom samo ne ljubi, da gre pač za razvajene generacije… Ampak ni res!! Trdim, da v pavšalu to ni res. Z otroki ni nič narobe. Otroci se samo na različne načine prilagajajo nevzdržni situaciji.

Kaj bi bilo treba storiti, da se jim nemudoma olajša stisko?
Vsaj pol tega balasta bi bilo treba nujno oklestiti. Pa raje še kaj več! Obljubim vam, da bi potem otroci veliko več znali. Morda se sliši paradoksalno, pa ni. Namesto da jih obstreljujemo z nebistvenimi informacijami, bi lahko tako učinkovito utrdili bistvene. Otroci bi bili bolj spočiti in s tem dojemljivejši za znanje. Gradivo bi lahko bistveno bolj ponotranjili, zato bi jim osvojeno znanje dolgoročno bolj koristilo. Ne pa da si kopico ne nujno najpomembnejših podatkov zapomnijo za tri dni, potem pa komaj čakajo, da lahko pozabijo. Ker je itak že na sporedu nova pošiljka stvari, ki se jih morajo naučiti za tri dni. V takem sistemu ni petica prav noben porok za dolgoročno znanje. Kot odličen zgled za nasproten pristop lahko ponudimo, recimo, Finsko.

Ki se vedno znova uvršča na samo čelo lestvic merljive uspešnosti šolskega sistema.
Ampak veste, zakaj? Ker se tam reči res lotevajo drugače. Obiskala sem jih, zato vem, o čem govorim. So med državami z najmanj urami pouka, pa tudi otroci šolo začnejo kasneje – celo leto kasneje kot pri nas. Aparat učiteljev za povrhu ne obremenjuje s skoraj nobeno birokracijo, tako da se lahko s celim bitjem posvetijo poučevanju. In imajo pri tem tudi zelo proste roke. Tam inšpekcije sploh ne obstajajo.

Kako ne obstajajo? To se vseeno sliši malce preveč čudno.
Prav res, če gledamo z vidika našega sistema, kjer se ljudi samo kontrolira. Tako divje in stalno kontrolira, da so živčni in izčrpani že samo od tega. Če ljudem dodeliš zdravo mero odgovornosti, jih bo večina svoje delo opravila povsem dovolj dobro ali bolje. Če pa boš nad njimi ves čas izvajal kontrolo za kontrolo in jim s tem na vsakem koraku sporočal, da jim ne zaupaš, bodo izgubili veselje do samostojnega in ustvarjalnega dela.

Več v Zarji št. 1., 3. 1. 2018. brez testov in ocen

Finski in slovenski šolski sistem

Tina Horvat



Bi hodili v šolo, kjer pouk traja okoli tri ure in pol, z vmesnimi odmori po 15 minut, kjer do sedmega razreda ni ocen in do 16. leta starosti skoraj ne bi pisali testa? Ker v tej šoli delo doma ni zaželeno, se vam popoldne ne bi bilo treba veliko učiti, domačih nalog skoraj ni. Povrh vsega je šola zastonj, saj so učbeniki in delovni zvezki, prevozi, pa tudi topli obroki brezplačni. Glavno vodilo šolskega sistema je, da imajo otroci pravico ostati otroci, zato se vpisujejo v prvi razred šele s sedmimi leti, in da je najboljše učenje skozi igro. Sliši se pravljično, vendar takšna šola v resnici obstaja, in sicer na Finskem.

Mnogim se šola, kakršno imajo na Finskem, zdi na prvi pogled razpuščena, preveč prijazna do učencev in premalo resna, saj ne vceplja dovolj delovnih navad, ki jih nujno potrebujemo v življenju. Brez garanja, piflanja in slepega sledenja predpisani snovi se otroci v taki šoli pač ne morejo prav veliko naučiti, pomislimo. Vendar je ravno nasprotno. Po vseh mednarodnih merilih in raziskavah (TIMMS, PISA) finski otroci dosegajo najboljše rezultate, čeprav sami zatrjujejo, da zanje rezultati raziskav niso tako pomembni, kot je zadovoljstvo staršev in otrok.

Zakaj se nič ne naučimo od Finske?

Čeprav je Finska kot velika učilnica, kamor dobesedno vsi šolniki sveta hodijo odkrivat skrivnost njihovega uspeha, pa vsaj za Slovenijo ne bi mogli reči, da smo se od njih kaj naučili. Naš šolski sistem je v popolnem nasprotju s finskim, saj je storilnostno naravnan, zastarel, za mnoge prezahteven, usmerjen k piflanju za ocene in ne za znanje, k vsrkavanju neverjetnih količin informacij, k zatiranju ustvarjalnosti in samostojnega razmišljanja, premnogi učenci izdelujejo šolo le s pomočjo staršev ali dragih inštrukcij.

A medtem ko se mi že desetletja ukvarjamo z reformo za reformo, pri čemer imamo vsi občutek, da nam nobena ne pomaga kaj dosti, saj postaja šolanje vedno večja muka za množico otrok, staršev in tudi učiteljev, na Finskem pravkar poteka reforma njihovega dokazano dobrega učnega načrta. Predvsem temelji na povezovanju predmetov v tematske sklope oziroma področja, klasični predmeti, kakršne poznamo za zdaj povsod po svetu, pa naj bi na Finskem postopoma izginili.

Učni načrt prepuščen učiteljem

Ker gre pri učnem načrtu za vodilni usmerjevalni načrt vsakega šolskega sistema, je zanimiva primerjava slovenskega in finskega. Finski šolski sistem je popolnoma decentraliziran, največjo odgovornost in vpliv na poučevanje imajo lokalne skupnosti in same šole s svojimi učitelji. Pristojnost države sega le do skupne zakonodaje in financiranja, medtem ko je vsebinska in praktična plat prepuščena učiteljem.

Še posebej decentraliziran pa je na Finskem učni načrt oziroma kurikulum, ki je veliko manj zavezujoč kot v Sloveniji. Gre zgolj za usmerjevalni načrt, učiteljem pa je prepuščena svoboda, da najdejo načine in metode poučevanja. Ti se razlikujejo od šole do šole in so prilagojeni lokalnim potrebam ter razmeram. Zelo pomemben del učnega načrta na Finskem je, da ne vsebuje toliko predpisov, česa vse se morajo naučiti oziroma kaj morajo znati, ampak se osredotoča na to, kako najbolje priti do znanja.

Slovenska mantra: piflanje in bitka za ocene

Vse to je pri nas znanstvena fantastika. Izvrševanje teoretično povsem definiranega, povsod enakega in zelo obširnega, a v praksi zelo neučinkovitega šolskega učnega načrta je postalo glavna mantra, katere žrtve se počutijo tako učitelji kot učenci in njihovi starši. Mnogi učitelji, s katerimi smo se pogovarjali, vendar niso hoteli biti imenovani, se pritožujejo, da pri pouku preprosto ne morejo poučevati, kot bi hoteli, in učencem postreči še s kakšnimi dodatnimi zanimivostmi, ampak morajo drveti skozi snov, da jih bo čim več doseglo čim boljše ocene, da se bodo lahko vpisali v srednjo šolo ali bili čim uspešnejši na maturi. Bitka za ocene je značilna tako za osnovno kot za srednjo šolo, in videti je, da se kakovost učitelja meri le v tem, da čim več učencem z domala srednjeveškimi metodami, kot sta piflanje in učenje podatkov na pamet, s frontalnim predavanjem izza katedra vcepi v glavo na tisoče informacij. Ker učiteljem med poukom preprosto ne uspeva slediti nacionalnemu kurikulumu, grejo prehitro skozi snov, učenci je ne razumejo in posledično morajo tisti starši, ki si to lahko privoščijo, plačevati drage inštrukcije.

Prehitro skozi preveč snovi

Na Finskem je pri naravoslovnih predmetih v razredu največ 16 učencev, da lahko vsako uro izvajajo eksperimente, v slovenski šoli pa večinoma ni več dovolj časa za to in tudi ne za igro, sproščenost in sodobnejše metode poučevanja, saj si morajo zgolj za test ali ustno spraševanje zapomniti v učnem načrtu predpisano snov. Medtem ko za prvih šest let devetletke to še ne velja popolnoma, v zadnjih treh razredih in predvsem v srednjih šolah učitelji, učenci in starši družno bentijo nad zapovedano hitrostjo jemanja snovi.

Na Finskem ni testov in ocen!

Med vsaj za nas zelo nenavadnimi značilnostmi finskega sistema je tudi to, da ne poznajo nacionalnega preverjanja znanja, saj so zelo nenaklonjeni ocenjevanju učencev. V prvih šestih razredih otrok sploh ne ocenjujejo, edini nacionalni test pa opravijo pri starosti 16 let. Učence vsakodnevno ocenjujejo učitelji, vendar ne zgolj s pisnimi testi in spraševanjem, ampak predvsem z opazovanjem in spodbujanjem k sodelovanju. Pri tem jim ne gre toliko za ocene, ampak predvsem za to, da ugotovijo, kateri učenci bi potrebovali dodatno pomoč za doseganje uspeha.

Petnajstminutni odmori in malo učenja

Pouk se v osnovnih šolah na Finskem začenja med osmo in deveto uro, kar je podobno kot v Sloveniji, velika razlika pa je v trajanju odmorov in količini domačega dela. Pravzaprav je oboje ravno premosorazmerno, finski osnovnošolci na nižji stopnji imajo v enem šolskem dnevu 75 minut odmora, doma pa se skoraj ne učijo, medtem ko imajo slovenski otroci 30 minut odmora in so zelo obremenjeni z delom doma.

Kje je tukaj skrivnost? Verjetno v tem, da učitelji na Finskem otrokom nočejo krasti prostega časa in jih spodbujajo k samostojnosti ter temu, da čim več naredijo že v šoli. Domačih nalog tako rekoč ne dajejo, če jih, pa jih mnogi otroci naredijo kar med odmori, ki so dolgi po 15 minut. Razen če jih med odmori ne »naženejo« ven, saj spodbujajo tudi gibanje na svežem zraku.

Finskih staršev šola ne obremenjuje

Predvsem starši na Finskem niso zelo obremenjeni s šolskimi obveznostmi svojih otrok, marsikdo niti ne ve, kaj natančno v šoli počnejo, medtem ko za slovenske starše velja, da še enkrat hodijo vsaj v osnovno, če ne tudi v srednjo šolo, saj morajo toliko sodelovati pri domačem delu, učenju, plakatih, predstavitvah in domačih nalogah. Domače delo v Sloveniji je naraslo že do absurdnih razsežnosti! Seveda v teoriji vsakdo želi in ve, da je za njegovega otroka najbolje, če tisti preklemanski plakat naredi sam, a ker je od ocene malodane odvisna njegova prihodnost, se na koncu pri veliko osnovnošolcih konča tako, da jim pomagajo starši.

Dobri in dobro plačani učitelji

Zagotovo so za tako uspešen šolski sistem »krivi« tudi dobri in dobro plačani učitelji. Ti morajo imeti na Finskem magisterij, poklic pa je po ugledu takoj za zdravniškim. Zaradi tega je za študij veliko zanimanja, vpisna selekcija pa zelo huda. Skozi vpisno sito pridejo le najboljši, doštudirajo pa najbolj motivirani. Pomemben kriterij za vpis pa niso samo (odlične) ocene, ampak tudi individualen pogovor, s katerim strokovnjaki presodijo, ali ima kandidat za vpis tudi čustvene in psihološke sposobnosti za poklic učitelja.

Obvezna delovna prisotnost

Še ena razlika je med Slovenijo in drugimi državami, in sicer predpisana obvezna prisotnost v šolah. Pustimo ob strani zlobna natolcevanja o tem, kako veliko prostega časa in kako dolg dopust imajo slovenski učitelji, a dejstvo je, da je v več kot polovici držav (tudi v državah z najboljšim šolskim sistemom) obvezna prisotnost v šoli predpisana, pri nas pa ne. V Sloveniji sta predpisani splošna delovna in učna obveznost, in sicer to pomeni, da je lahko učitelj, da opravi polno delovno obveznost (40 ur), prisoten v šoli le toliko, kolikor traja njegova tedenska učna obveznost, to je 22 oziroma 21 ur pouka za osnovnošolske učitelje. Z drugimi urami lahko razpolaga po svoje in nad tem ni nobenega nadzora.

Povsod, kjer je predpisana obvezna prisotnost v šoli, je ta višja od te, ki jo (je) (n)imamo v Sloveniji. A obvezna prisotnost ne pomeni, da imajo učitelji recimo 35 učnih ur na teden, ampak to, da svoje delo – priprave na pouk in govorilne ure, popravljanje testov in vse drugo, opravijo v šoli. Kot smo izvedeli, so na Švedskem, kjer je obvezna prisotnost 31 ur, ali na Finskem (27 ur) učitelji tudi po pouku na voljo učencem. Ti imajo zaradi tega manj dela in učenja doma in v teh državah je povsem nepojmljivo, da bi učenci izdelovali osnovno šolo s pomočjo inštrukcij in staršev.


Kakšno šolo imajo v Avstriji?

Da bi se kaj naučili od boljših od nas, ni treba iti vse do daljne Finske, ampak lahko samo poškilimo takoj čez mejo, v Avstrijo. Tamkajšnji šolski sistem nam je opisala Slovenka, ki živi v Celovcu, mama dveh otrok, srednješolke in osnovnošolca.

Storilnostna naravnanost: »Šola v Avstriji nikakor ni tako storilnostno naravnana, kot je v Sloveniji. Prej nasprotno. Otroci so v avstrijskih šolah veliko bolj sproščeni, včasih kar malo preveč. Popoldne niso pretirano obremenjeni z delom za šolo, zato jim ostaja več časa za druge stvari.«

Količina snovi: »V avstrijskih šolah ni takšne panike zaradi točk, kot je v slovenskih. Zadnja leta je nekaj panike povzročila novost – nacionalna matura, to pomeni, da so pisali iste naloge po vsej državi hkrati. Učitelji niso vedeli, kaj jih čaka, in je bilo to tudi pokazatelj njihovega dela. Morali so se potruditi in razrede naučiti dovolj za maturo, saj niso vedeli, kakšne naloge bodo. Prej so jih namreč pripravljali vsak malo po svoje in so tudi vedeli, katere naloge bodo pri maturi.«

Inštrukcije: »Učenci inštrukcij v glavnem ne potrebujejo, veliko si pomagajo sami med sabo.«

Brezplačna šola, pa še družinska podpora: »Učbenike, delovne zvezke in slovarje plača država, knjige in delovne zvezke dobijo učenci v šoli. Starši morajo kupiti le zvezke ter pisalni in risalni pribor. Vsakega septembra ob začetku šole dobi vsak otrok sto evrov, ob tem da tudi vsak otrok, ki se šola oziroma študira, dobi družinsko podporo, ki ni odvisna od zaslužka staršev. Za moja dva otroka dobimo tako vsak mesec 400 evrov družinske podpore.«

Status učiteljev: »Učitelji imajo zelo dober status, predvsem starejši. Nekateri imajo kot državni uslužbenci službo zagotovljeno, tudi če zanje ne bi bilo dela. Ta status so sicer leta 2001 ali 2002 ukinili. Učiteljska plača na začetku ni bajna, okoli 2500 evrov bruto, vendar pa imajo dober sistem napredovanja po razredih, tako da vsako drugo leto dobijo višjo plačo in so do upokojitve že zelo dobro situirani. Mislim, da so pred kratkim te razrede napredovanja ukinili, pa zato malo zvišali začetno plačo.«

Maturantski ples: »Maturantskega plesa se veseli vsa šola, ne samo maturanti. Udeleži se ga večina dijakov višje stopnje. Ples na naši gimnaziji pripravijo dijaki sami, vse organizirajo sami (glasba, prostor, okrasitev, catering, varnost, reševalci, sponzorji), pomagajo jim starši in učitelji, podpisnik pogodb je Združenje staršev. Z dobičkom, ki ga imajo – letos je bilo to npr. 15.000 evrov, si privoščijo končni izlet, deset odstotkov dobička gre pa v socialni sklad za pomoč socialno šibkejšim dijakom. Kot sem slišala, je v Sloveniji čisto drugače, predvsem zelo drago, in da imajo monopol nad prirejanjem maturantskih plesov podjetja, naši dijaki pa si naredijo tak ples, kot si ga želijo. Priprave za ples 2017 so se že začele.«

Zarja št. 18, 3.5.2016

Katarina Vidner Ferkov: Zgodovinski spomin druge izdaje

O civiliziranih Nemcih in bednih Slovencih

Nekdanjemu uredniku Dela in novinarju se je »zgodil« tvit. Napisal je, da so bili Nemci precej civilizirani v primerjavi s povojnimi poboji, pri katerih so metali ljudi v jame. Kam pa so metali Nemci ljudi? V označena pokopališča s cvetjem in javno razsvetljavo? Če že niso pepela raztrosili po negovani trati?
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Izjava je groteskno sprevržena. Nemška agresorska vojska, ki je napadla številne države z idejami o svoji »rasni« večvrednosti, uničevalnimi taborišči, mučilnicami in pobojem civilistov, nima nobene povezave s tem, kar običajno razumemo kot civilizirano. V napadu na Jugoslavijo in Slovenijo, v zatiranju slovenskega jezika in kulture, pobijanju in mučenju naših prednikov, ni bilo nič civiliziranega. Prav tako je jasno, da povojni poboji, kjer so metali ljudi v jame, tudi nimajo nič s civiliziranostjo. So brutalna posledica vojne. Neopravičljiva, a pogost maščevalen ukrep.

V filmu Pod peskom (2015) nemški ujetniki, najstniki, ki niti še nimajo brade in niso mutirali, otroci, deminirajo obalo Danske. Te sestradane fantiče vsak dan raztrešči na sto in en košček. Načrtno so jih uporabljali za to. Maščevalen ukrep – zavezniki niso žrtvovali svojih ljudi, temveč vojne ujetnike agresorske vojske. Film na neizmerno ganljiv način prikaže, kaj vojna je – civilne žrtve na vseh straneh zaradi političnih psihopatov.

Bolezen ime ti je manjvrednost

Omenjeni tvit o civiliziranih Nemcih in veliko bolj bednih domačinih je zgolj en od simptomov hude nalezljive bolezni, od katere se dejansko umira. Imenuje se manjvrednost. Sramovanje lastne biti, hud dvom v svoje sposobnosti in vrednost. Tako državo, kot vemo, lahko vsakdo izkorišča.

Po Sloveniji so postavljeni spomeniki herojem, resničnim junakom in junakinjam, ki so zrli smrti v oči in niso izdali svojih ljudi v času 2. svetovne vojne. Ustrelili so jih, mučili in mnogim med njimi, večna jim slava, umorili tudi družino. Nepredstavljivo. Bolečina in zločin, ki se pretakata v krvi nas, njihovih potomcev. Ne, nikoli ne bomo pozabili.

Kljub temu vse več slovenskih medijev, ki na kolenih drgnejo čevlje tujemu kapitalu, strahopetno zmanjšuje pomen narodno osvobodilnega boja. Ker narod se je osvobodil nacističnega in fašističnega okupatorja, nadvlade Vatikana in kapitalizma. Zgodovina, ki je že minila! Zdaj pisatelji, novinarke in številni drugi sodobni izdajalci izkoristijo vsak trenutek, da slabšalno pišejo o zgodovini Slovenije. Kritika je seveda potrebna – zelo je nujna! A takšna, ki kaže pot in ne tista, ki rine Slovenijo v blato manjvrednosti pred vsem, kar je tuje.

Pogubno je za narod, da njegova lastna intelektualne srenja meni, da je vse iz tujine boljše. Čemu potem sploh krinka, da moramo imeti svojo državo? Da ne bi izgledalo, da je šlo za prevzem s strani tujcev?

Tujega nočemo, svojega ne damo, je bil jugoslovanski moto. Vendar iz tujine je marsikaj dobrega in treba je tudi deliti svoje z drugimi. Kar je želel slogan sporočiti je, da država nima namena napadati, temveč braniti svoje. Ga ni zdaj takega slovenskega junaka, kajne?

Izjava na tviterju je zato pošastna do vseh, ki so neizrekljivo trpeli, lahko kot otroci vojaki, prisilno mobilizirani, žrtve pobojev ali heroji. Tako kot odrezana glava prašiča na spomeniku Borisu Kidriču, ki jo skrajno desničarski medij tudi odobrava.

Pomnimo, komur je kakorkoli »smešna« odrezana glava kogarkoli, utegne izkusiti peklenskost. Bo prepozno?

Izdajalec ni vreden minute poguma heroja. A vendar je ta umrl tudi za njegovo svobodo pisanja v slovenščini. Verstehen?

Franček Drenovec: Krize je konec

Krize je konec, nove razmere zahtevajo prilagoditve
Naloga vlade je sprejemanje ukrepov za razvoj dobrega podjetništva.
Ključne besede: [Delosled] kapital, [Delosled] produktivnost, [Delosled] gospodarska rast, [Delosled] davčna stopnja, [Delosled] podjetništvo


Državni zbor je sredi decembra, kot je bilo pričakovano, zavrnil pobudo Levice za zvišanje minimalne plače. Neposvečeni naj ne mešajo štrene sistema. A je imel predlog trdno podlago, tako da se bomo z njim ali podobnim v naslednjih mesecih zagotovo še ukvarjali.

Postaviti si moramo nekaj izhodišč, ki so, verjamem, nesporna. Veljajo za Slovenijo, saj so kod drugod tudi drugačna. Prvo izhodišče je razumevanje, da je smisel gospodarske rasti rast blaginje prebivalstva, ki vključuje tudi določena razmerja enakosti. Ko govorimo o »rasti«, govorimo o tem, ne o čem drugem. Drugič: upoštevanje, da je pogoj za povečevanje blaginje povečevanje produktivnosti dela. In tretjič: zavedanje, da nista ne prvo ne drugo samonikla produkta tržne ekonomije, ampak da morata biti vedno tudi posebna cilja vladnih politik.

Očitno nesorazmerje

Krize je konec, gospodarska rast (rast BDP) je že četrto leto zapored dobra in dosega letos že 5 odstotkov, ob dobrih pričakovanjih tudi za naprej. Realne povprečne plače pa so rasle v teh štirih letih in rastejo še naprej samo po približno odstotek in pol. Pokojnine in drugi transferni prejemki prebivalstva se še kar niso odlepili od velikih krčenj v času krize; zaradi finančnih rezov in odsotnosti politik se zmanjšuje kakovost javnih storitev; stopnje neenakosti so se v krizi povečale, občutenje (ekonomske) varnosti se naglo slabša. Do določenega izboljševanja prihaja v sedanji konjunkturi samo zaradi prehajanja brezposelnih v zaposlenost, drugih premikov skoraj ni. Zdi se, da obnovljena »rast« ne vleče tudi rasti blaginje.

Vendar je gospodarska rast zelo slabo podprta z rastjo produktivnosti dela. Rast povprečnih plač – plač na zaposlenega – je omejena z rastjo produkta na zaposlenega (če ni »nepošteno« že izhodiščno razmerje med obema, kar v Sloveniji ni). V primerjavi z okrog štiriodstotno letno rastjo produktivnosti med letoma 1993 in 2006 je znašala ta v zadnjih štirih letih precej pod dvema odstotkoma in celo letos samo malo čez. Gospodarska rast je ekstenzivna, v tem smislu nekvalitetna. Žene jo predvsem rast očitno cenenega zaposlovanja, ki znaša letos že skoraj tri odstotke.

Delež »sredstev za zaposlene« v dodani vrednosti, ki je najširši kazalnik razmerja med stroški dela in produktivnostjo dela, pa le kaže na zaostajanje rasti stroškov oziroma dohodkov od dela. V predelovalnih dejavnostih, ki odločajo o slovenski konkurenčnosti, se je ta delež zmanjšal z okrog 61 odstotkov v daljšem obdobju pred krizo do letošnje jeseni na 57 odstotkov. Tako nizko ni bil od osamosvojitve še nikoli. To smer gibanja potrjuje tudi zmanjševanje deleža končne porabe gospodinjstev v BDP. Ta je bil (z eno netipično izjemo) zadnjič tako skromen kot letos davnega leta 1992.

Še bolj se je, čeprav šele po zakonu za uravnoteženje javnih financ (zujf), v zadnjih letih zmanjševal delež končne porabe države, ki kaže predvsem aktivnost javnih storitev. Spet in spet je treba opozoriti, da sestavljata blaginjo tista osebna, realizirana kot individualna poraba, in tista kolektivna, realizirana s porabljanjem javnih storitev, za katere plačujemo davke. Davki so važni. No, tukaj obravnavamo samo dohodke od dela (v gospodarstvu). Zaostajanje njihove rasti za rastjo produktivnosti dela ni zelo veliko, a je evidentno. Krize je konec, nove razmere zahtevajo prilagoditve.

Pri tem se ne smemo spraševati samo, ali dana rast produktivnosti dopušča rast plač. Vlada bi morala z dopuščanjem rasti plač povečati tudi pritisk na produktivnost! Sedanja medla rast produktivnosti odraža očitno deformacijo, da je mogoče v teh časih ustvarjati odlične dobičke tudi brez vlaganj naporov v kakovost. Še več, ustvarjati jih je mogoče – z vladno podporo – v povsod prisotnem socialnem dumpingu, s katerim je delodajalsko zanikrnim podjetjem dopuščeno, da blokirajo napredek normalnih. Odsotnost politik vodi Slovenijo v razvojno slepo ulico. Združenja delodajalcev bodo vedno ščitila obstoječe, posel vlade pa je, da pritiska, da se obstoječe vedno znova preseže. Gorje družbam, katerih vlade tega niso sposobne.

Lahko omenim, da madžarska vlada v podobnih razmerah že drugo leto zapored močno zvišuje zakonske minimalne plače, samo letos za 15 do 25 odstotkov, in da bo nadaljevala približno tak tempo še naslednje leto. »Paket« spremlja davčna razbremenitev, a z manjšim učinkom. Plače naglo rastejo tudi na Češkem – torej v državah, ki sta značilni slovenski konkurentki. Razkorak med produktivnostjo in (nizkimi) plačami je v obeh državah, v katerih prevladujejo tuja podjetja, bistveno večji kot v Sloveniji, zato pri nas tako veliko prilagajanje ni možno. »Princip« je pa isti.

Naraščajoče neravnovesje

Prikazano nesorazmerje je samo del naraščajočega slovenskega makroekonomskega (in socialnega!) neravnovesja. Delež narodnogospodarskega »varčevanja« v BDP je že večji kot kadar koli pred letom 2006, ko se je začel naš pretekli »boom-bust« cikel. Dobički podjetij so že tri leta odlični in krepko presegajo njihovo investiranje. Najkasneje letos so se podjetja že otresla preobremenitve z razdolževanjem, tako da se velik del tega »varčevanja« zgolj kopiči v raznih finančnih naložbah v tujini, katerih stvarna protipostavka je ogromen slovenski zunanji presežek. Domača poraba je že za več kot desetino manjša od domačega produkta. Slovenija mora ustvarjati določen presežek že za plačevanje obresti na javni dolg, pa še nekaj več. A koliko več?

Po krizi obnovljeno gospodarsko dinamiko spremlja izrazito pomanjkljivo okrevanje investiranja ter končne porabe gospodinjstev in/ali države. Tako sestavljena visoka rast ni vzdržna. Če odštejemo od letošnje 5-odstotne rasti BDP prispevek zunanjetrgovinskega presežka, ostane od nje samo okrog 3,5 odstotka, v tretjem četrtletju samo še 2,3 odstotka. Če ne bo sprememb v strukturi, se bo začelo samodejno prilagajanje rasti, zaposlovanja in dobičkov navzdol. Ali pa se bo rast prelivala le v dohodke premožnejših slojev, kar tega scenarija ne spreminja, razen da še bolj skrha že zdaj dovolj krhko socialno ravnovesje.

Sedanja struktura slovenske rasti je primerljiva z nemško, kjer so tako ravni materialne blaginje kot ravni tehnološke učinkovitosti že v območju dovršenosti in zasičenosti – kar v Sloveniji še niso! V Sloveniji moramo svoje ravni produktivnosti in blaginje nenehno povečevati. Namesto tega smo se zataknili v »rasti brez razvoja«, v napihovanju rasti brez prave vsebine in smisla. Smo v gibanju, ki se bo, če ne bo sprememb, prej ali slej zrušilo samo vase.

V Sloveniji bi se morali zavedati, da je stanje s pol nižjimi plačami in pol nižjo produktivnostjo kot samo nekaj kilometrov stran čez mejo inherentno nestabilno. V konjunkturi z visokimi dobički se bo to stanje spreminjalo, pa če to kdo želi ali ne! V igri je samo dilema, ali bo teklo prilagajanje kaotično in regresivno ali upravljano in progresivno ob vztrajajoči nizki produktivnosti ali z vsiljevanjem naporov za njeno povečevanje. Med potezami, ki jih mora v taki situaciji povleči vlada, je tudi poseg v zvišanje najnižjih plač.

Za zgled regresivnega prilagajanja si vzemimo enega od načinov, kako se podjetja upirajo zviševanju plač in zato produktivnosti. Bazen velike krizne brezposelnosti se je skoraj izpraznil in ta pritisk je pač že prisoten. Zato dosega letos že tretjino povečevanja skupne zaposlenosti zaposlovanje tujcev. Obramba nizkih plač pa hkrati odganja Slovence. Neto priseljevanje tujcev (letos okrog 7500 oseb) le še neznatno presega neto odseljevanje državljanov Slovenije. Nasilno ohranjanje neravnovesja ga samo obrača v širšo razvojno deformacijo: v slabšanje povprečne kvalifikacijske strukture, v zmanjševanje produktivne kapacitete prebivalstva Slovenije. In kakšen bo vsaj vpliv na plače? V prejšnji slovenski konjunkturi, v letih 2007–2008, je bilo priseljevanje še veliko večje in odseljevanja skoraj ni bilo, pa so takrat plače v gospodarstvu v zadnjem letu vseeno porasle za kar 9 odstotkov.

Za kakšen kapital?

Zares utemeljen zadržek do zviševanja stroškov dela je samo naslednji: da je konjunktura čas za nujno sestavljanje zdaj tako šibkega slovenskega kapitala. Dobički, tudi tisti »neporabljeni«, gradijo kapital in so zato še kako pomembni – ampak dobički dobrega podjetništva, dobički, ustvarjeni s tehnološko in drugo poslovno učinkovitostjo, in ne dobički, ustvarjeni z izčrpavanjem vseh preostalih delov družbe! V Sloveniji bi se le morali naučiti česa iz naše prejšnje, povsem zavožene konjunkture 2007–2008:

– v kateri se je, takrat s kreditom, sestavljal napačen zasebni kapital, po napačnih poteh in v napačnih panogah, kapital, nesposoben preživetja v normalnih razmerah poslovanja;

– v kateri je vlada še »podprla gospodarstvo« z velikim znižanjem obdavčitve kapitala, čemur sta sledila po izteku konjunkture neizogibno ogromen fiskalni primanjkljaj in njegovo saniranje z zujfom ter z zviševanjem DDV in trošarin, vedno v breme dohodkovno najšibkejšega prebivalstva;

– v kateri se je, skratka, iz obeh vrst podpore kapitalu izcimilo zgolj zniževanje rasti produktivnosti že v letu 2007; in na koncu uničenje kapitala; zmanjšanje blaginje in enakosti ter javni dolg, ki obremenjuje sredstva za slovenski kolektivni standard vsako leto z milijardo evrov za obresti.

Kapital in dobički »kar tako« niso merilo in niso cilj! Cilj so kapital in dobički dobrega podjetništva. Naloga vlade je sprejemanje ukrepov za razvoj dobrega podjetništva. Poskrbeti mora za delovanje pravne države pa za kakovost izobraževanja – kar ni tema tega prispevka. Vedno pa mora poskrbeti tudi za zadosten pritisk, da bo zagotavljalo gospodarstvo naši zemljepisni legi in zgodovini primerno normalno napredovanje blaginje prebivalstva, vključno z določenimi razmerji enakosti.

Na koncu dodajmo še čisto kratek razmislek o potrebnem fiskalnem spoprijemu z neravnovesjem. Nesporno pravilo je, da naj se v konjunkturi ustvarja fiskalni presežek: prek zvišanja davčnih stopenj in/ali znižanja izdatkov (in nikakor, kot v tisti žalostni epizodi pred desetletjem, obratno!).

Upoštevajoč obstoječo sestavo slovenskih javnih bilanc in vsebino neravnovesja, ki ga je treba uravnati, bi morala vlada predvsem zvišati davčne stopnje. Smiselno bi bilo zvišati prispevne stopnje za okrepitev financiranja javnega zdravstva, lahko tudi v breme neto plač (torej s prenosom sredstev iz sfere individualne porabe v sfero te, tako cenjene kolektivne). In enkrat bo že treba zagristi v kislo jabolko obdavčitve dobičkov, ki je v Sloveniji skoraj na ravni evropskih davčnih oaz. Za koriščenje izplena iz tega posega je očitni prvi kandidat področje visokošolskega izobraževanja in znanosti (s čimer odigra država svojo vlogo posrednika med kratko- in dolgoročnimi koristmi gospodarstva). Za večji del zvišanja tega davka pa je lahko predvideno tudi povratno znižanje, ko se konjunkturni cikel prevesi navzdol.

Nacionalne medijske politike, (tudi filmske), v globaliziranem svetu – National media policies in the globalized world

A propos globalisation, I once wrote somewhere. “As we have managed to survive electrification, we may very well survive globalisation too”. This may be an inside pun for those of us, fortunate enough to have survived noble but dangerous experiment of communism, which a bearded gentleman once described as “socialism with electricity.” Yet I am convinced that the sentence hints at an appropriate approach to globalisation problem. Anyway, this was my preconception, or maybe a hypothesis on the subject of “national visions” prior to my chairing the conference in Ebeltoft. The hypothesis was not taken out of thin air, of course. Rather I drew such conclusions knowing the film situation in Slovenia well, and knowing also, that the situation elsewhere is not fundamentally different.
What should one not do in order to understand the problem of national cinemas in a globalized world, and thus maybe have a slight chance to influence its impact on us? One should not polarise one’s attitude about it. One should not present the issue as “for” and “against.” Not surprisingly it polarising is exactly what is taking place, framing the issue as globalisation versus almost everything else in our world. The pros are preaching gospel of progress, the possibilities of globalisation to make everybody rich and happy – how many times has this not happened since the steam engine – and the anti’s, the luddites, warn for all the disastrous consequences of globalisation. In my mind both lines of arguments are right. But both also draw wrong conclusions.
History informs us that the promises of the optimists have never been fulfilled, and that phenomena such as globalisation have ultimately always served a small minority, and damaged the vast majority of men. Now, we know that the gap between the rich and the poor countries in the world is growing, and there is not even a utopian idea about how to do something about it! This gap is as much about culture as it is about anything else.
The crucial question then remains, can we avoid globalisation? To my mind we cannot, since it is a political and economic process based on technological change. The trains made the first world war an efficient industrial slaughterhouse. We must admit, though, that trains fulfilled other functions too. If our forefathers had stopped the development of heavy industry, they might have stopped a war. But Mr. Lud and his followers were wrong, not necessarily in principle, but because on that there was never any choice.
The situation is similar in our area. Regarding the prospect of national cinemas and other media, we are either pros or anti. Here also we are engaged in useless fights, since we will not be given the choice. The world media market, especially cinema, has, as we know, been globalized for a long time. It is probably a good indicator of how globalisation will be for other areas. The almost total domination of the globalized “Hollywood” film industry (which is in fact super-national and is not the American cinema!) on the world market is an undisputed fact. Yet neither globalized Hollywood or the USA are to be blamed for this. They are only pursuing their best interests in a market economy. It is we, (the rest of the world), who are not doing the same, so we are responsible for our own failures. This is so, in spite of the fact that this globalized Hollywood domination is not solely the result of the superiority of whatever kind of product. The U.S. government, is of course helpful in giving a highly profitable segment of its economy and public relations, (soft power), assistance. Rightly so. The enhancement of trade is one of the roles of governments. Our governments should follow their example.
Cinema and audio-visual media are, as we know, highly profitable economic activities. In the coming world – that is here already! – of the informational economy (and culture), the audio-visual sector will play a pivotal role. But cinema and audio-visual media are also providers of popular and more serious culture, and thus play many other important non-economic roles. Popular culture is an increasingly important instrument of socialisation, personal, cultural, ethnical, political, sexual … So it is legitimate to insist that certain part of the “market cake” should be reserved for local, national, regional culture, primarily for cultural, but also for other reasons. What is culturally functional for US audiences is not necessarily also functional for the audiences of the rest of the world, and the present media market is surely not so fair, that we can naively claim that the audiences are freely making their own choice and buying the product of that choice.
If it is the case that this segment of mass culture fulfills an important public interest, it is fair to demand that media market should be regulated by that public interest. On that basis, nations have every reason to resist the attempts of the American government to include the audiovisual media under the rubric of “free trade” and to eliminate the public interest, as a reason to regulate this particular market. As it says on the Ingmar Bergman’s puppet theatre in his film Fanny and Alexander: This is not for entertainment only!
The crucial question is: are or are not films, as mass culture products, solely entertainment commodities? The answer is, of course, that they are more than just commodities. Then we may conclude that we need national (or regional, or local), films (visions), and in order to have them, we need national (or local, or regional) film policy.
Let us not delude ourselves into believing the national might not be the most important aspect, even if it is the case that other identities may transcend national ones. Even if national identity necessarily is of a minor, and sometimes questionable importance, it is only the state that may still have the necessary power to implement appropriate film policy, as part of a national cultural policy. We should keep in mind that we are contesting powerful multi- and supra-national corporations, often assisted by the only remaining super power state.
Nations will assert their interest only if they have a clearly articulated political will to do that. Who can articulate that will? Who can lobby for it? I think that I am not exaggerating if I say that it is us, critics `and scholars, film makers and film teachers who have the responsibility do that. Who else is there?
The Ebeltoft conference was highly informative to me, because it more-or-less clearly demonstrated the place of national cinemas between the ever present threat of the globalized “Hollywood” industry and its own aesthetic, cultural, local, national or regional ambitions. It emerged clearly, I hope, that the formula of a universal story for global audiences serves perfectly globalized Hollywood’s legitimate goal of making money.
Film as expression and a moulder of local, regional or national culture (vision), film as art, is surely not global in the Hollywood sense. It is global in a different way.. It becomes global and universal only on the level of artistic quality. The history of film art does not consist of globalized Hollywood product designed for a universal market. In fact such products are as a rule ignored by history of film art, eliminated from it. What becomes film history and thus truly global and universal, are films as expressions of local (regional, national) culture, including American, with high, and therefore universal aesthetic quality.
Such cinema needs protection. There is no doubt about that. The question is only what kind of protection. Here there is a difference between the American, or perhaps English- speaking independent producer and director and others. American independent producers or directors can gamble on being chosen by a major global distributor. Others can’t, so they will likely get protection from the state, not necessarily in the form of subsidies, but surely by some kind of special conditions imposed on the market. The fact that protection can also spoil film makers by removing their concern for the audience, does not change the core argument. There are some examples of effective film policies in the world: Denmark, especially at this very moment, and other Scandinavian states, Ireland, Australia, France, Canada, for example. … There are many unfortunate examples of no film policy, of what of happens if the a totally free market prevails. There are so many that it is of no use even to mention them.
It was interesting to see during Ebeltoft interventions how we are influenced in our attitude towards national “visions” in the context of global according to our place and power on the world cinema market. Americans seem to be, by and large, supporters of free and unrestricted market, and that goes even for US independent producers. Consequently they do not feel much for “national visions” either. Europeans are more in favour of the national cinemas and regulated markets. Indians are happy with their domination of domestic cinema on the home market and do not find the subject relevant or pressing. They have do deal with the same problem within India itself, where Bollywood in India plays the role of globalized Hollywood in the world. Ibero- Americans on the contrary, see the issue of national culture and with it national film as a highly pressing matter. In their minds globalisation, also in the film area, is perceived as just another form of (also cultural) colonisation.
By and large I believe the conference has suggested some extremely important issues to reflect (and act)upon.
Igor Koršič
Ljubljana, Decembe 2000
(published in CILECT news)

P.S. Žal ni nihče v Sloveniji poslušal key note speakerja v Ebeltoftu na Danskem leta 2000. (Nihče v Sloveniji tudi ni podprl njegove aktivne vloge v mednarodnem prostoru, čeprav je deset let, dokler se ni utrudil, brez domače podpore ostal v upravnem odboru CILECT, in pridobil za Slovenjo nekaj deset tisoč $ in pripadajočega ugleda). Pri nas sta med tem bila v modi ( v Financah in Sobotni prilogi) Mičo Mrkaić in Samo Rugelj. Sicer bi v Sloveniji danes (2017) lahko imeli popolnoma drugačno medijsko politiko in kulturo.