January 02, 2017

My new book

Writing about web page http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319485287

I’ve returned my final proofs to the publisher, so my take on transitional justice in post-communist Europe (http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319485287) should be available soon with Springer…Had I got more time, I could have written a less dense book, but we get into writing with the limited time and resources we have, not with the time and resources we might want or wish to have at a later time.

All things considered, this book had a long gestation, since I have been thinking at the various topics I tackled in the book (and of course, at what did not work in the enormous transformations of the legal landscape in Central and Eastern Europe) for longer than two decades. But two decades appear in retrospect a very short time for ‘solving’ one of the main puzzles of post-communist transformations, namely-why post-communist societies used such a poorly understood device-privatisation-to fundamentally transform themselves. Since privatisation lays at the foundation of all social and economic transformation in post-communist Central Eastern Europe I obviously had a bit to say about this particular legal instrument. However, as transitional justice theory has so little to say about privatisation, I had to walk the less travelled path. So I assessed somehow how we can theorise privatisation in a post-communist theory of transitional justice (among other things). How successful I was in this enterprise is for others to judge, for now I will be more than happy if I the arguments of this book will be read and criticised. After all, I cannot beg for more than this.

Wishing you all a Happy and Productive New Year!


September 19, 2016

FTC cracking down on predatory 'science' journals

Writing about web page https://www.wired.com/2016/09/ftc-cracking-predatory-science-journals/

A good initiative, especially since these 'journals' mushroomed in the past decade. (I've get at least two-three 'invitation to contribute' from such journals every single year, since 2010)


August 14, 2016

Hangover

Writing about web page http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/08/the-brexit-hangover-just-got-worse

Hangover,(maybe part 4 of this), indeed!


April 09, 2016

Streek on postmodern politicians

Writing about web page http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n07/wolfgang-streeck/scenario-for-a-wonderful-tomorrow

Actually on (perhaps) the most influential postmodern politician, but what a poweful (and prescient) analysis!


SLSA 2016

Nice to meet a lot of Warwick friends during my presentation to SLSA 2016 conference.


January 31, 2016

The Last European?

Writing about web page http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/traveling-from-romania-to-portugal-in-an-illicit-van-a-1043797.html

Interesting piece in Der Spiegel... Although I can understand why the article may irate some of my countrymen (after all, not all Romanians & Eastern Europeans work necessarily in low paying jobs...even if for England, more of them work in such jobs than "Western Europeans", at least accordingly to this), I believe that the journalist captures well what is going on in Europe and what 'freedom of movement' could possibly mean for Eastern Europeans in a 'fortress Europe' driven by neoliberalism and its progenies.


March 23, 2015

Inadequate data and the weakness of the state?

Writing about web page http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/inadequate-data-and-the-weakness-of-the-state-two-factors-missing-in-the-eu-migration-debate/?utm_content=bufferd9563&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

These researchers remind us midly that nowadays great statesmen´s speeches are actually built not on hard data and reason, but on this ?


But where is the news, since this is already cutumiary (and all the same) all over Europe (even if intense in England) and elswhere...
Barbarians knocking at citadel´s doors...


December 19, 2014

CJEU on the EU Accession to the ECHR

Writing about web page http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=160882&pageIndex=0&doclang=en&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=40247

The CJCE has delivered it's ruling regarding the EU's accession to the ECHR (available here: The Advocate General Kokott's view here ). The disappointment provoked by this ruling for those expecting a more amenable view of the CJEU towards the ECHR is quite widespread (or even a more resoned opinnion on these important matters), I resume here to indicate some early reactions ( Steve Peers has a comment here and Tobias Lock has a longer comment here.)


November 09, 2014

25 Years after the Fall of Berlin Wall

Writing about web page http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/11/07/berlin_wall_fall_25_anniversary_reagan_bush_germany_merkel_cold_war_free_market_capitalism

There is a flurry of commentaries, articles, etc, celebrating (or just discussing what happened since 1989) a quarter century from the fall of the Berlin Wall.

My pick for this week is Melvyn P. Leffler argument in Foreing Policy, titled: The Free Market Did Not Bring Down the Berlin Wall.

Leffler is quite correct when speaking about the missreading (call it bullshiting) of the events by American (and Western) politicians:

When Germany re-unified, the Cold War ended, and the Soviet Union dissolved, the (American) president could not resist taking credit for events: "We brought about the fall of the Iron Curtain and the death of imperial communism," he told supporters at a rally in Ohio in May 1992.

.......

Democrats, too, misread the fall of the Berlin Wall. They agreed that the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union discredited the role of government and demonstrated the superiority of free markets. They embraced open trade and globalization, the North American Free Trade Act and the World Trade Organization. They repealed the Depression-era firewall between commercial and investment banking and failed to regulate the expanding sectors of the financial economy, like derivative trading and the securitization of mortgages. They forced other governments to deregulate financial controls as a condition for free trade pacts or for securing financial assistance during the Asian financial crisis. "The trend toward democracy and free markets throughout the world," Bill Clinton said, "advances American interests." The end of the Wall, the collapse of the Russian economy, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union finalized the embrace of neoliberal economic policies by both sides of American politics."...

Leffler is quite correct again that this view of events is junk, when he observes that:

These extrapolations are not just misguided, they are wrong. With what we now know about the history of the Wall coming down -- the contingency of the event and the agency of ordinary people -- we should draw different lessons, ones that are not about the universal appeal of freedom or the munificence of free markets or the efficacy of strength, power, and containment.

........

When we think about the collapse of communism, we should emphasize and celebrate the attractiveness of a social market economy -- not free enterprise. Indeed, it was the principles of the social market, regulated competition and a commitment to social equality and a safety net, that were incorporated into the law establishing the economic and monetary union of West and East Germany. In the ideological competition between free enterprise and communism, the social market won the Cold War. Notwithstanding the Reagan-Thatcher assault on government and regulation, social safety nets did not erode in the 1980s, not even in the United States and Great Britain. And throughout the European Union, social protection as a percentage of GDP actually reached its peak in 1993. The ability to reconcile peace with prosperity made the west so appealing to citizens behind the Iron Curtain.

.....

The Berlin Wall came down because of the resilience of western economies and the appeal of the culture of mass consumption. When East Germans flocked to West Germany, they were not going there to herald the arrival of the recently deployed Pershing II missiles. Nonetheless, we must realize that the economic reconstruction and integration of Western Europe would not have occurred without U.S. troops stationed in Europe after World War II and the establishment of NATO. U.S. military strength and strategic commitments were essential backdrops for Franco-German reconciliation and the modernization of western European economies.


As I lived on the "eastern" side of the courtain at that time, I could certify that indeed the social market (& mass consumption) was what made the western european model so attractive for soviet citizens. Problem is that these citizens hoped for something and they got a totally different thing from the "bargain." Hopefully, they will get what they hoped for in 1989, in the following 25 or 50 years, although the expectations are bleaker now than they were twenty five years ago.


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