Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday Morning Politics

According to this article Bush in Albania, the country has been making the transition from 46 years of Communism to multiparty Democracy and a free market economy. President Bush even claims that Albania "is a country that has cast off the shackles of a very repressive society and is now showing the world what's possible."

And then we have this article- Legal Market Necessary for Democracy in Albania which claims that between 80 and 90 per cent of property and business assets in Albania are extra-legal, or outside the formal economy, and that this must be brought under control BEFORE Democracy can operate and thrive. The claim that Albania is a Democratic society is obviously quite a stretch of the imagination if no more than 20 per cent of the people live within the legal framework. Few people can obtain loans, contracts can not really be enforced, and you rarely get an invoice for anything. There is still no credit bureau, so how can anyone know who is trustworthy or not?

Even the Albanian UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis, attending a meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and the renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto today in New York, said that “when there is extra-legality, democracy cannot function.” Note he didn't say "has a hard time functioning", but it CANNOT function. This is obviously the most important issue for the country, but how can it ever be solved when the leaders are completely inept and untrustworthy themselves?

I'm looking forward to seeing the results in October of Mr. de Soto's own Institute for Liberty and Democracy's study which "which aims to create a basis for a reform programme that would empower Albanians currently shut out of the formal economy to enter into their country’s financial future." Of course a study like this can be a very useful tool but only if it is diligently listened to and put into action. That's a rather absurd idea in a country where all levels of government act like children and waste millions of dollars every year on projects that only serve their own interests.

I've been mulling over an idea for some time now. In a country like Albania where so many of the politicians have connections to the previous Communist regime, wouldn't it make sense to bring in an independant world leader, who has proven his/her skills, to guide the country for 5 years? Find a independantly wealthy person who has absolutely no connections to anyone in Albania, has integrity and the strength to resist corrupt practises, then give them the reins. Okay, it's a crazy idea- I admit it- if only because none of the current politicians in this country would be willing to give up their hold on power, not even for the good of all.

Aha... apparently I'm not the first one to think this is a good idea! According to this article there are plenty of Americans who would be more than happy to give us GW Bush... and they'll throw in "Gonzales, Karl Rove and Cheney" too! And Albania wouldn't even have to rename a street for them, nor issue any postage stamps with their grinning faces on them. And we can give them some of our own politicians in return. Now that part sounds tempting to me!

10 comments:

Judith in Umbria said...

You can ask, but I think Warren Buffet is busy.

Selfmaderadio said...

My dear Kim,

that independent, rich person would have to work with ... whom? You see my point? your idea would work if you bring to albania as many independent and rich people as to substitute the whole albanian political class and more. And even if you this, you never can be sure that these new people are immune of corruption. greetings, SR

traveller one said...

ohhh I know.... I was just daydreaming this morning *grin*

An Albanian in NoVA said...

I'm sorry but this is not daydreaming because it's the most absurd thing I have ever read. You might not know but this was done before, right after Albania won independence and let's just say that it didn't go that well. I might be fed up with Albanian politicians and desparetely want some change, but giving up Albanian sovereignty (which is basically what this boils down too) is ridiculous. And politicians are the same in every country. They are all selfish and mostly think of their own ambitions. Nothing you can do about it. Being a politician requires you to be an ego maniac. To use your example, Gonzales is a corrupt individual and there are very few Americans who aren't convinced that he has fired certain US attorneys bacause they were democrats. Now you can please tell me why would I want to replace a "domestic" corrupt official with a foreign corrupt official?

I'm sorry for my blunt response but this struck a nerve with me.

traveller one said...

Okay... well call it absurd. No problem! Sometimes solutions to problems come from absurd thinking.

I suppose when it comes to political leadership we have to settle for the best of whoever runs for office, because we do need leaders, for better or worse.

Anonymous said...

Oh, beleive me, Americans wouldn't want Sali Berisha for even one tenth of a second... even Bush shines in comparison to him :-)

btw, nice post Kim, I ejoyed the humour

Papadesdeux said...

It is definitely OK, to throw out "absurd" ideas. That is a great way to make people think and speak up about issues.

We can do something about corrupt, selfish, egomaniac, politicians.

Write, talk, debate, throw out "absurd" ideas, but don't sit back and just accept it an inevitable.

Heaven knows, 7+ years of Bush has been enough to practically crush the spirit of a lot of people, but you just gotta keep kicking and screaming.

Anonymous said...

As there are a lot of speculations on how much per cent of property and business assets in Albania are extra-legal it's pretty much visible in everyday's life, but there is no need of fighting for a solution, at any political level.

Well, I know very well were the country (Albania) comes from; economically, politically and socially as well. The best part of the revenue comes mostly from Albanian labor from out of the country. Other sources; borrowing from anywhere possible! As I also try to compare the external debt to other countries, Albania is still at early stages of setting any big goals yet. To think that something would change very soon is just naive. I don't think I could find a good example in a foreign leader to change the politicians’ mentality, especially if I think of countries like Italy with a record like "tangentopoli" of their behalf, or Greece which is still living on EU's expenses. Independent ones; probably Paul Wolfowitz, I believe he is looking for a job anyway.

The best bet is only to follow these countries with as less economical damage as possible, for which the future generation will have to pay dearly. By the way the Albanian government is already paying big people's money to consultants anyway. And, in full honesty, there would be just one or two diehard foreigner fans in Albania if it weren't for jobs related Albanian government at this moment.

The success of Bush's visit to Albania, should not be a reason of pulling out inefficiencies or corruption of Albanian political class. In seventeen years now, Albania is out there, at the position of taking all kind of verbal abuse, just because anyone can. Especially, if you see articles which would make the country, home of 95% muslim people (which varies based on the users needs), or writings which would make the country without a traffic light until a few years ago and so on. Bush might not be the right guy as a leader, but half (I don’t know if the smart or not so smart one) of the country (USA) chose him twice. It still is part of a democratic system, dealing with it. Why should it be different for a freshly created system like the one in Albania. For god’s sake, the Albanian government spent almost 1 million dollars (always people’s – not taxpayers, money) in cleaning and renovating. I wish Bush visits Albania everyday!

Anonymous said...

Another experiment!?.. Haven't we suffered enough?

Yakima_Gulag said...

I for one don't think America should inflict these people on Albania. What has Albania ever done to America?