Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Definition of "Conflict of Interest"

Astounding. Postimees reports on Keskerakond's latest endeavour: the bus attendants hired by the city are being told to attend the party's anti-government protest on May 1st. Not only are these people - given pointless jobs at minimum wage - being asked to sign a paper promising to be there, and give their phone numbers so it can be confirmed, but they are actually being paid a full day's wage and given an additional two days off with full pay for participating in a political rally.

Just to remind you: this money is coming out of the Tallinn municipal budget.

Savisaar seems to be getting really desperate. The elections are a year away, but it is increasingly likely that Estonia will join the Euro as of January - and that would be a Reform victory that the Centrists cannot counter.

Meanwhile, I'm sure you've seen Keskerakond's posters all over the cities. Am I the only one who thinks they are kinda poorly laid out? I saw one the other day in Tartu - the combination of Mart Laar's smiling mug and "Fifty thousand new jobs created" in a bold font. Unless people stop by and read the fine print, the message is kinda the opposite of what they were intending. Or is it just me?

26 comments:

Colm said...

Edgar Savisaarel on töökoht. Sul ei ole. Talle see sobib!

Andrew said...

You've probably seen this already. I think they're pretty good.

http://keenjus.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/ammendamatu-inspiratsiooni-allikas/

Flasher T said...

I have, yes. It's hilarious, although I didn't want to repost it independently of any significant point. This bus attendant thing is a good explanation of the Savisaar-hate.

Giustino said...

Savisaar seems to be getting really desperate. The elections are a year away, but it is increasingly likely that Estonia will join the Euro as of January - and that would be a Reform victory that the Centrists cannot counter.

They could counter it. Whether you get paid in euros or kroons, it doesn't really matter if you don't have a job or if your job doesn't pay you a living wage.

The promise of a surge in investment isn't going to take away the fact that those who were getting paid during the boom were doing construction work on homes financed by Scandinavian loans, and the banks are not going to lend as liberally in the future. So, you still have a mass of low-skill people who need work. You can either find them new low-skill jobs, or give them some opportunity to acquire new skills, or watch them emigrate/drink themselves to death. What's it going to be?

Though unemployment has slightly decreased, there are a lot of angry people in Estonia that wouldn't mind to stick it to the "banker's party" (including several in-laws). But Savisaar is a clown. Who within Centre would oust him a party coup? Who would seriously form a government with him? Jüri Pihl? :(

Though you will probably disagree, there are good, capable, smart people in both the Centre and Social Democratic parties. Unfortunately, they are not in charge and will probably not be at the top of the list next year.

moevenort said...

you neo-liberals will probably never learn it..according to your pseudo-religious world view, the state should probably better let the victims of economic crisis suffer hunger instead of providing them with any support. Estonia and its political elite have become addicted to Neoliberalism, they have never learned something else and lack the intellectual capacity to learn from the errors with their false bubble economy for the future. It´s just sad to see. there is an interesting post written by Prof. Rainer Kattel from Tallinn University, addressing this issue. just by the way. And just for the case you may interested in reading something else than your liberal ideology. to widen your horizon on economic issues may be: http://avalikhaldus.blogspot.com/2010/03/addicted-to-neoliberalism.html

Greetings from an East German, who is more than glad to be back in Germany after having spent nearly two years in your "nice" liberal country.

Flasher T said...

Cool. Enjoy being back in East Germany just as your own government is cutting social spending, reigning in the budget deficit, and otherwise forcing the Eurozone to behave more like Estonia.

Your link falls down on its own main assertion, and says so. By the author's own admission, Estonia uses a huge amount of EU structural fund money, which is contrary to neoliberal principles; thus I would argue that Estonia's government engages in not so much neoliberalism as realpolitik, with the overarching purpose being a lack of national debt.

Kattel's other assertions are difficult to support empirically. He claims that the trend since 2009 is away from neoliberalism (I'm using the word in his apparent definition, which has more than a slight whiff of hysterical generalization, but will serve for the purposes of this argument), whereas austerity measures and right-wing governments have swept across Europe, and to the extent that the US is not adopting them, its administration is coming under heavy fire from its own supporters.

Kattel fails to explain or link to why he considers the need for balanced budget to be mythology. I would very much like him to explain how he expects a state to endure and develop in the long term without creating enough value to pay for itself.

Kattel's attempt to compare Estonia's economic governance with those of Brazil and India is so ludicrous that I will not even go into detail. I hope for your sake and the sake of your degree, moevenort, that you can comprehend the difference between economic and developmental policies in an EU country of 1.3 million with dubious natural resources and a very small agricultural sector, and a resource-heavy nation of almost two hundred million people.

Kattel claims that it was the old "medications" that caused the crisis - but that is empirically untrue: Estonia's situation is so much less dire than Latvia's in very large part because Estonia had neoliberally sold off its large banks to foreign investors, while the Latvian government was forced to spend so much of its cash reserves on bailing out Parex, its pride and joy. I would also very much enjoy asking Kattel to show me causation between Estonian economic policies and the deficiencies of the global finance industry. And before you try to claim that neoliberals in general are the cause of the credit crunch and wild speculation with derivative instruments, I urge you to Google the story of Porsche briefly becoming the world's most biggest company by market capitalization. A highly entertaining tale of market trickery under the nice, cozy, socially responsible German government's rule.

Kattel does nothing to widen anyone's horizon on economic issues in that piece. I would actually gladly put my objections to him now that I've typed them up, but apparently Kattel does not wish to engage in discussion or accept criticism, since he has disabled comments on his blog.

And finally, moevenort, in your own ideology (proto-conservative?), would it be acceptable to demand the attendance of municipal employees at a political rally and pay them for their participation out of the municipal budget?

moevenort said...

it´s as I said..you will never learn it..it´s quite senseless to come neoliberals with facts. They don´t listen to facts as their ideology is more similar to an religion. but before making any judgements about German social policy you should better inform yourself about the backround:

1. Germany is in contrast to Estonia still a social welfare state. the welfare state goal is written in our constitution with good reason as one of the consequences of WW2 .to prevent social unrest and to to fullfill the first sentence of our constitution, which claims that the dignity of the people is untouchable. this has a lot to do with humanity and is also the heritage of Bismarck who was wise enough to introduce the German welfare state more then 100 years ago. by the way the German welfare state was a conservative idea and not a "evil communist" one as many Estonians still believe.

2. the welfare state paragraph in our constitution belongs to the pragraphs called "unchangable" in our constitution. That means it is forbidden to change that paragraph not even with a 2/3 majority in parliament.

3. also in practice the welfare state system works despite necessary criticism still quite well in Germany. There are no plans of significant cuts. by the contrary. In contrast to Estonia we have pluralism in thinking about social and economic issues and are not addicted to one ideology only. that also reflects our pluralist party systems with a strong left as integral part of it (especially in East Germany) .At the moment there are by contrary plans and ideas to introduce a tax on financial transaction, to raise taxes for high incomes. To assure that those ones who caused the crisis are paying for it and not the victims of the crisis. this is our understanding of social justice. Additionally our government has taken a lot of money to protect our key industries ( In East Germany e.g. the Opel-car factory in Eisenach which is often described as the most modern car factory in whole Europe. As a result the German unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Europe, especially compared to the 19,8% rate in Estonia.

4.Neoliberal ideology has never been strong among German society , but now this ideology is completely dead here. people are proud of their welfare state tradition, see it as an enrichment, security net and part of our very own tradition. There are still some people among our political elite addicted to neoliberal ideas at the moment, but even most of them hurry to distant themselves now from those ideas.

5. you should bettet not judge someone´s ideiologic standpoints if you know so little about his backround and his country. East Germany mentality is entirely different from Eastonian thinking and I would even describe this gap in thinking as probably the largest you can find among two former East Bloc regions. Mentally we are in contrast to you also from our political culture part of Western Europe now. btw: my own thinking is definately not conservative. it is at first part influenced by a christian understanding about social justice. Social darwinist noeliberal ideas have no place here. this point you probably wont get, because in your country christian moral and values and how to deal fair with people who are less benefited than you have lost its place in society. My ideas are of course also influenced by a strong political left here. In contrast to your society left winged people are in a position that political scientists call " structural majority". That means that their ideas are indeed in the middle of society, supported by all income groups. something that will never happen in Estonia probably. So if you judge the next time about my contry, be a litgtle better informed about its backround and its political culture. For your information there is also another article by Kattel adressing the economic problems of Estonia, just if you can`t get enough of it: http://avalikhaldus.blogspot.com/2010/04/should-greece-follow-estonias-example.html

moevenort said...

the irony is that you behave so much as predicted by Kattel: you and your society are so addicted to neoliberal thinking. the world is black and white for you, there is no place for plurality. there is Milton Friedman as the good guy and everything else is "terrible socialist crap" that is how you see the world and it is so intellectual poor. But I have learned to know your shool and university system quite well, so I wonder about nothing anymore. All you learn there is repeating and parroting phrases and praise the ideology which is up to date in your country at the moment. I have seen it so often at estonian students. there are not even able to ask simple questions on their own behalf. In Germany Alexander von Humbold was the one who invented the ideas of our educational system. One of his most famous sentences was " no German university student should leave the university without having learned critical thinking, asking question and using its brain according to the ideas of Kant`s enlightement." this is the intellectual capacity that is lacking in your country. I hope you may learn it at some point in the future at least

Flasher T said...

it´s quite senseless to come neoliberals with facts. They don´t listen to facts as their ideology is more similar to an religion.

Oh man. The irony is almost unbearable.

by the way the German welfare state was a conservative idea and not a "evil communist" one as many Estonians still believe.

Where did I say the German welfare state was an "evil communist" idea?

In contrast to Estonia we have pluralism in thinking about social and economic issues and are not addicted to one ideology only.

Yes, that must be why Estonia's got a minority government that has to bargain with the Greens to pass legislation, and the current prime-minister spent his first term in a coalition with his main rival, the leader of the left-wing welfare party.

Who's not listening to facts, again?

At the moment there are by contrary plans and ideas to introduce a tax on financial transaction

Won't happen.

To assure that those ones who caused the crisis are paying for it and not the victims of the crisis.

Estonia would very much enjoy the opportunity to apply income taxes on Deutsche Bank employees.

Neoliberal ideology has never been strong among German society , but now this ideology is completely dead here.

Wait, what? Weren't you saying just a second ago that Germany is awesome because it is pluralist and doesn't limit itself to one ideology?

So if you judge the next time about my contry, be a litgtle better informed about its backround and its political culture.

I'm not judging your country (but you are certainly judging mine, despite obviously misunderstanding its background and political culture). I said Germany is cutting social spending and shrinking the budget deficit. Fact. (I have no idea what that blog is about, it's the first result on Google for "Germany spending cuts", and paraphrases an FT report that isn't directly linkable.)

moevenort said...

lol - you are getting your knowledge about my county from some obscure blog entries you find on google? it´s worse than I was expecting with the intellectual potential in Estonia...

btw: relying on google only is also one of those "nice" pluralist ideas in Estonia. Here google has a rather poor reputation especially in privacy terms. May be for you Estonian guy it´s like a message from the moon, but there are more search engines than google on the net. the same I could say about your nice closed source skype, your addiction to nice closed source apple computer ( the working conditions in the factories producing that apple stuff are quite poor, but of course about this you won`t read anything in Estonian media) and so on. Fortunately we indeed have plurality even on those issues, e.g. open source sipgate as alternative to skype, Ubuntu Linux computing etc

and also just just btw: the tax on financial transaction is consensus among all political parties in German parliamnent, the only thing they are doing at the moment is talking about its details.

I would rather recommand you to read the other article by Kattel very carefully as he is predicting Estonian economy a much more gloomy future than Greece if the country sticks catched with this economic nonsens your former communist youth functionary prime minister is so fond of.

moevenort said...

"Wait, what? Weren't you saying just a second ago that Germany is awesome because it is pluralist and doesn't limit itself to one ideology?"

Do you seriously believe poeple in Germany in the long run would give commitment to a neoliberal idealogy that is violating the most important paragraphs of their own constitution? This would be quite stupid and to break our constitution on behalf of a social darwinist and anti-democratic ideology, isn`t it?

Flasher T said...

you are getting your knowledge about my county from some obscure blog entries you find on google?

The Financial Times, actually.

and also just just btw: the tax on financial transaction is consensus among all political parties in German parliamnent, the only thing they are doing at the moment is talking about its details.

You have a link for that? Again, a quick Google search: "Schaeuble expressed his doubts about a financial transaction tax again Tuesday.

"It can only really be sensible if it's global. The Europeans may enact such a thing, us too," Schaeuble said in Brussels Tuesday. "But whether it happens globally, there I have significant doubts...A purely national tax makes no sense. It's wishful thinking, but it's not realistic at all."

(Wait, let me guess: Fox Business is part of the neoliberal Google/Skype/Apple darwinist conspiracy against the German constitution too, right?)

I would rather recommand you to read the other article by Kattel very carefully

I did. He's comparing Estonia to Poland, which makes him either disingenuous, or an idiot.

moevenort said...

guy, will you seriously tell me that the source of your information about Germany is English media? and then only one -sided English media? Have you never learned to inform you from diffrent sources representing different points of view? That´s something people here learn in their first semester at university.

From the pure logic, I would say the best source for information about Germany would be German media. But when you are unable to understand the language spoken by more than 120 Million people in the Europeasn Union, than be at least a little bit more balanced in your choice of media sources. Financial Times goes in a certain direction, as other newspapers follow another direction. Try it with the Guardian may be at least to cover different sided media coverage.

If you would know the German political system better, you would know that the federal government has no majority in the second chamber of german parliament anymore since the recent elections in the state of Nordrhein Westfalen which resulted in strong gains for the left parties. that means that whatever Schäuble may say, he has no majority to put it trough without the oppoisition anymore. And they pressure him quite hard on the issue of that tax. btw: the poistion of Merkel is a comitment to that tax, so her point of view is more close to that of the opposition now. -

but to make this whole discussion shorter: our points of view here in Germany are for you really like something coming from the moon. the political culture here is so much different and so much more advanced concerning postmaterialist values e.g. you will never get it, as much you will ever use your brain. May be lets talk about those issues in 40 years or so again, may be then Estonia will have (with optimism in mind) have reached a similar step of development in its political culture.

Flasher T said...

My source of information about Germany is the words of Germany's finance minister.

You seem to know everything about Estonia. How's your Estonian?

And hey, you're the one who came to my blog, so obviously you want to talk about it now, not in 40 years.

moevenort said...

may be it was just an attempt to show you a little bit of our cultural heritage called enlightenment as developed by famous Kant - but it´s quite senseless, you will never get to learn to know something else than your own ideology.

btw: I guess my knowledge of Estonian language is probably at least better than your knowledge of my language, but that doesn`t really matter. I have some guest from Latin America here and I can use my time better in talking to them.(in Spanish, by the way) because the ideas they bring are much more intellectual interesting and really able to widen my horizon.

Concerning you: I don`t know if you will ever learn it, may be ( as my Estonian teacher in Tartu told me) Estonia has really not fallen deep enough with this crisis to start a thinking process. let´s wait and see. I was foreseeing the current crisis already years ago when I learned to know the mechanism of this credit card based bubble economy in your country. A good friend of mine working as a German language teacher in Tartu told me that he always becomes suspicious when in a country already people at the age of 18 use credit cards to finance their comsume aspirations they could otherwise never pay. true words.

So lets just see if my prediction of the future of Estonian Economy will be correct this time as well.

Flasher T said...

may be it was just an attempt to show you a little bit of our cultural heritage

No thanks, I really rather prefer to avoid Germans who want to force their cultural heritage upon others.

I have some guest from Latin America here and I can use my time better in talking to them.

And yet you don't.

the ideas they bring are much more intellectual interesting and really able to widen my horizon.

And yet you come here to talk to me.

I was foreseeing the current crisis already years ago

Oh, really? Did you short some Lehman Brothers stock? Are you this guy? Because if not, you're just some anonymous dude on the Internet spending his Saturday on other people's blogs.

moevenort said...

what happened guy? no arguments anymore that you have to step back to that childish niveau? it´s always so predictable. you may let me know if you are really interested in the content I wrote about, everything else is waste of time as you are so convinced of having the knowledge of the whole world in your tiny little country.

Flasher T said...

no arguments anymore that you have to step back to that childish niveau?

I've already shown you facts to disprove your arguments. Now I'm just having fun. C'mon, a German screaming about how his nation is better than all the rest, I just couldn't resist. I admit, you're right, it's a predictable way of getting Germans to lose their shit, but it just works so well.

you may let me know if you are really interested in the content I wrote about

No, I can't actually - not just because I'm not interested in what you wrote about, but also because you're hiding behind a nickname and your blogger profile has no information on it. Hennes, was it?

you are so convinced of having the knowledge of the whole world in your tiny little country.

I'm sure that's all you'll ever see in anyone else.

moevenort said...

well, in fact the nazi ideology people in Estonia adopted quite fast and long lasting as far as I could see in Estonia? but probably you did not have to adopt much anymore as Estonia already was the first country ever were a Nazi party could gain an absolute majority in free uncensored elections in the 1930s...congratulations, this not even happened in Germany or Italy. No wonder that the state of your political culture is as it is. here are still a lot of those nazi guys running around in your country, inventing nice memorials for their former SS criminals ( pardon, I forgot you call them "Freedom fighters" in your country)

btw: one of the books of your neoliberal guru Mart Laar was set on the index in Germany because of spreading Nazi propagana..

and: did I ever say that the situation here in Germany is the best on earth? definately not. I am a critical citizens, critizising things here as well as abroad. And there are certainly country with a much better performance than Germany, France is a country e.g. many people admire here for their courage and the spirit of their civil society, and the income balance they have between rich and poor. Schweden would be another example. But when I learned one thing in Estonia than it is how I will hopefully never ever see my country. Thanks god the intellectual potential here is high enough that that will indeed probably never happen. Your last post was very nice, because it confirmed so much about the poor conditions of thinking and learning in your country. poor ones.

moevenort said...

btw: I forgot what I can expect in a country where a guy called Tarand can win a seat in European Parliament by showing up in TV shows wearing a T Shirt " communist into the oven"? I guess that says pretty much about political culture in Estonia.

Flasher T said...

Yes, awesome! Except a) that was years apart, while he was still part of the left-wing Moderates party that eventually became the Social Democrats, and b)Tarand got into the EP on the strength of his viral ad aimed squarely against the Estonian political establishment that you dislike so much.

But I'm sure you won't let the facts get in the way of your superior German mentality.

moevenort said...

so you mean if Tarand is member of a certain party it is ok to wear such a T-shirt? nice attitude? what about this strange kind of dealing with your SS criiminals? do you justify this as well?

Flasher T said...

so you mean if Tarand is member of a certain party it is ok to wear such a T-shirt?

I don't know, I never voted for him, before or after.

what about this strange kind of dealing with your SS criiminals? do you justify this as well?

If you mean the people your grandpa forced into conscription to defend this country against the Soviets while he ran back to Das Fatherland, then it's not really important whether I justify them or not - but the Nuremberg Tribunal did.

moevenort said...

your are disgusting guy, 1. how can you idot of any of my family members have been member of SS or not. no one has. 2. I know quite well about German history. The contrast to Estonia is that we have dealt with it and taken responsibility. nothing like this has ever happened in Estonia. for you SS guys are heroes, for us they are criminals who have to brought to justice the same way as we do it with Demjanjuk in Munich at the moment. as well as we will not forget about our own crimes, we will not forget about yours neither.

moevenort said...

"Saksa politsei konfiskeeris eestlastelt Mart Laari raamatud" -

that´s how your crude understanding of history is seen in my country. You may read about it here, it´s written in Estonian:

http://www.ohtuleht.ee/index.aspx?id=290550

Flasher T said...

Dresden prosecutor's office says it's not Nazi propaganda and not illegal.

Again, don't let the facts get in the way of your theories, huh?

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