After repeating what’s (still) irking me about #corruption and the way it’s tackled and perceived, I get to summarize the events of the past few days (since Executive Order / Ordinance 13) and provide you with my much unwanted and unneeded opinion.
- Romania is rife with low-level corruption (“cur-rupt-ion”, petty corruption, or people having to pay for personal attention from doctors or teachers or bribing policemen to not get fines), as any poor country is.
- Romania has been tackling high-level corruption (aka grand corruption) with gusto, even though it has less or, at worst, as much as its richer more western colleagues in the European orchestra.
- The best way to tackle low-level corruption is economic growth combined with keeping inequality in check. The only cure for high-level corruption is direct democracy, or taking power away from politicians and giving it back to people, so that the former have nothing to sell to special interests. We don’t have to go full Switzerland, but we should start introducing such elements in the political game soon.
- Prosecutorial overreach does little for either corruptions and additionally creates the impression that Romania is more corrupt than other countries.
Perception and especially the perception of corruption index – these hoes ain’t loyal. I’ve been following the changes in this index and have, for a long time, tried to understand why is this top so different from my own experience and observations. I’ve lived in both Canada and Romania (as well as, for short times, other countries) and I find that while everywhere low-level corruption is directly proportional to poverty, high-level corruption is either the same or higher in wealthier countries.
Trying to figure out how Transparency International arrives to its index is remarkably difficult – how can an organization that has “transparency” in its name be so opaque?! When I started trying to make sense of it, all I could find is that the information coming mostly from individual rapporteurs who were secret to protect their relationships and status. Then more details emerged, sparse and sometimes contradictory. Recently, the best explanation I could find is in a daily publication from Trinidad and Tobago. As in Romania, they are suggesting that prejudice, bias, and obscurity (few people know they exist) work against small countries, pushing them at the bottom – i.e., “rapporteurs” are more likely to punish countries they know little about even though they know a whole lot more about corruption in richer countries.
Luckily, we no longer have to search in the dark for what makes up TI’s index as there’s a new kid in the block: Integrity-Index.org, where Romania is right behind Georgia (a country with a very recent war) as well as Trinidad and Tobago.
The coverage this protest has been getting in the international press is immense, considering that it’s fighting for the world’s attention with Master Manipulator and Reality ShowMan Extraordinaire Donald Trump, who also happens to be President of USA.
What I was going to comment on is Ana Birchall’s nomination as Interim Justice Minister, but, again, I’m running out of time. I wish her well. Make us proud, Ana!
I was going to try to make sense of the Executive Orders / Ordinances. Were they necessary because the Constitutional Court removed those articles from the Penal Code, as the PSD claims, or were they an opportunistic attempt to squeeze in an amnesty for the corrupt politicians? Can the damage be undone or is it irreversible?
More can be found in the comments to the Economist article, Adevarul and Jurist. What exactly has that Constitutional Court decision done? What about the budget and the monetary policy? Is there really a schism between Grindeanu (the PM) and Dragnea (the PSD boss)?
Sources / More info: en-rwro,
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