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The End of the Neo-Liberal Age, or the Return to the Left

After four successive years of financial, economic and, more recently, political crisis, (neo)liberalism has proved its shortcomings. Since the fall of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1990, we have been witnessing an unremitting offensive of liberalism, and in recent years, of neoliberalism. Liberal politi­cians the world over keep telling us that the government is a “poor administrator” and that liberalism is the solution for a prosperous state and for a better life for its citizens. Judging by what Romania looks like today, there is no doubt that “some citizens” live a plentiful life after being “stuck” to the public admi­nistration. So what else is new, you will say, this has been going on for 22 years. True, but now things are clear in terms of do­c­trines as well. The neoliberal doctrine is stumbling all over the world; the greed of the neo­libe­rals living in symbiosis with gover­n­ments has led to the ongoing financial crisis. What are the liberals’ attributions in a state? The owner of a production or service company makes profits and pays taxes. What is the role of the government? To collect taxes, to make inspections for a fair collection of taxes, to manage the revenues thus collected in order to run and develop a defence system, the education, healthcare and so on.
What is the cause of a crisis that has lasted four years? First of all, a weak government, that fails to fulfil its control attributions. The neoliberals have been “sneaking into” the govern­ment and feasting on it. We see the factories built before 1989 taken apart and sold as scrap iron, mineral reserves given away for minuscule royalties, farming land owned by the state but used by foreigners coming from the end of the world in exchange for ridiculous amounts, whereas Romanians harvest strawberries in Spain and leave their kids at home, until they miss their parents so much that they commit suicide. Not to mention the “brainy boys in the energy sector” who became billionaires in eu­ro only because we are careless and stu­pid. When a state run by a short-lived group sells everything for nothing and when the institutions that should collect taxes are headed by “queens” and “kings”, how can it have money for education, defence, healthcare, and so on?
Add to all this the fact that there is no strategy for the development of Romania in the next 20 years: people have no idea what lies ahead, parents don’t know what professions their children should choose, entrepreneurs don’t know what line of business to take so as not to go bankrupt. Policies change every four years in Romania, with every change of regime. President Traian Băsescu talked about “reforming and modernising the state,” but we have seen neither strategies, nor public policies for it. And the reform he only talked about (he must like the word a lot) is what prompted me to protest early this year in University Square, in spite of the freezing cold.
What does the Romanian society look like 22 years after the “revolution”? We have a slim stratum (a phrase we learned at school before ’89) of “outrageously” rich people. How did they get so rich? We don’t know, because “governmental control authorities” never audit them. And we have a large mass—more than half of the population—who are very poor. There is no middle class, although for almost a quarter of a century we have been living in a state where all governments had more or less liberal policies.
We should not wonder, therefore, why society turns to extreme doctrines, particularly to “the left,” or why people will take to the streets demanding the nationalisation of large estates and companies.

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