ain’t that a kick in the head… (2:27, Robbie Williams, Swing When You’re Winning, 2001)

Idem sutra u Rovinj na dva dana (poslovno) pa se pripremam u uredu.

Slušam ove vijesti i čini se kako ćemo napokon krenuti u pregovore s EU, no ne zbog individualnih zasluga nego zbog strateškog interesa da se turska priključi europskoj zajednici. Ako pregovori počnu, vjerojatno će Ivo odmah promijeniti dio udžbenika kako bi se znalo tko je tome direktno zaslužan, no najtužnije je to što ćemo po tko zna koji put, ravno ispred nosa imati dokaz kako EU više treba nas nego mi nju, te kako je naše približavanje toj zajednici izraz njihove dobre ili loše volje.

U posljednjih nekoliko dana u saboru se raspravlja o reviziji pretvorbe i privatizacije, a moglo se čuti kako je 95% svih privatizacija bilo provedeno mimo zakona. Danas su HDZovci u verbalnom napadu (sa samo njima znanim razlozima) izišli s tezom kako privatizicija nije niti blizu nelegalna kako se mislilo (ili tako nekakva formulacija)? WTF?
Kuda to vodi? Gdje ti ljudi žive? Eto i Šuker je neki dan ustvrdio kako će u cijelosti zaustaviti rast vanjskog dugovanja, dok istovremeno ispadamo 118 na listi konkurentnosti svjetske banke (iza srbije, albanije i mnogih drugih zemalja od kojih za neke sigurno nikada niste ni čuli). Jedino zapošljavanje koje se događa je u državnoj upravi…

Na malo vedriju notu. Prije kojih desetak dana kupio sam si dugo traženi DVD Rosencrantz i Guildenstern su mrtvi. Ovo je film koji je meni jako zanimljiv iz puno razloga, a jedan od njih je svakako taj što je snimljen u Zagrebu, točnije na obroncima Sljemena, a u njemu glume i mnogi hrvatski glumci (Livio Badurina, Tomislav Maretic, Mare Mlacnik, Srdjan Soric, Mladen Vasary, Zeljko Vukmirica, Branko Zavrsan, Ljubo Zecevic, Sven Medvesek, Vili Matula – ovo je bio copy&paste da ne bi mislili kako sam se pretrgao tražeći glumce).

Za one koji nisu znali R&G su dva lika koji se pojavljuju u Hamletu u času kada Hamletov stric šalje s dvora po njegova dva najbolja prijatelja kako bi došli i uvjerili se da li je Hamlet doista lud ili ne. Ova dva lika se pojavljuju u svega dvije-tri scene na po nekoliko sekundi i sasvim sigurno su vam dosada promakli. U ovome filmu, hamlet je pak sporedni lik koji se pojavljuje u dvije-tri scene i totalno je irelevantan za radnju samog filma. A film je baziran na predstvai Tom Stopparda koji je pak jedan od najpoznatijih dramaturga u engleskoj, sudjelovao je na drugim poznatim filmovima poput Brazil ili Sheapskpeare in love (ako Vas interesira detaljni popis možete ga naći ovdje).

Anyway, R&G je komedija apsurda i meni je iznimno smiješan od početka do kraja, i za razliku od same drame koju kada čitate imate i napisano koji lik govori koji tekst – u samome filmu do samoga kraja (pa ni onda) niste u stanju skužiti koji je koji. R&G su mrtvi je meni nepresušan izvor citata za moje emailove ali i blog.

Ako imate priliku (što je vrlo nevjerojatno) svakako pogledajte ovaj film i poginite od smijeha.

Misao dana:
Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one. A moment. In childhood. When it first occured to you that you don’t go on forever. It must have been shattering, stamped into one’s memory. And yet, I can’t remember it.

it always comes as a surprise… (6:07, Pet Shop Boys, Bilingual, 1996)

Gledam danas vijesti i uočavam oprezni optimizam dragog nam premijera koji ipak očekuje napredak u razgovorima s EU, a odluka o čemu bi morala pasti u nedjelju nakon Carlinog posjeta Zagrebu u petak.

Famozni akcijski plan kojeg se često spominje po mojem mišljenju uopće ne postoji, jer da postoji tada bi u najboljoj tradiciji svih ostalih državnih tajni odavno bio objavljen na stranicama Nacionala ili Globusa. To što dosada nije uspio iscuriti govori samo o tome kako on postoji za EU potrebe te kako se povremene akcije, koje su potencijalno dirigirane direktno iz premijerovog kabineta samo maska u pokušaju da se odsimulira neka stvarna aktivnost na temu hvatanja Gotovine. Iskreno sumnjam da je Gotovina u Hrvatskoj iz jednostavnog razloga što se njegovi plakati nalaze na svakom ćošku, što ga se spominje praktički svakodnevno i sva je šansa da bi prije ili kasnije netko od lokalnih (a fala bogu svi znaju za nagradu koja bi uslijedila) iskoristio Gotovinu kako bi se domogao gotovine.

No jučer se provukla još jedna mala vijestica koja je prošla pomalo nezapaženo a to je da Hrvatska neće postati dijelom NATOa prije 2008 godine. Ovo me ne zabrinjava previše jer mi nije jasno što bi s ulaskom u NATO uopće postigli? Obzirom da su sve susjedne zemlje u NATOu ili na najboljem putu da to postanu, nije mi jasno od koga bi nas ta alijansa trebala braniti i zašto? Ne vidim da je to bilo što drugo nego NATOv mehanizam za regrutiranje naše vojske na poslovima sličnima onime u Afganistanu, a uskoro vjerojatno i u Iraku ili na nekom drugom, politički osjetljivom i opasnom području. Pristupanje NATOu ujedno znači i opremanje po njihovim standarima što pak uključuje i popis nekih dobavljača koji su takvu opremu u stanju isporučiti. Nije da sam neki ljubitelj ruske ili kineske tehnologije, no ne vidim razloga zašto ne bi i njihova oprema (u nedostatku vlastite) nama bila prihvatljiva. Ako bih mogao birati, bio bih protiv pristupa hrvatske NATOu jer ne vidim jasnog “benefita” niti razloga zašto bi pristupili tom savezu, osim da nam negdje u Briselu objese zastavu pa neka se viori, ionako je (ružna i) nerazumljiva, djelomično liči na nizozemsku, pa barem neka si prolaznici misle od kuda je ta zastava stigla.

Ako me pitate, nisam baš niti za EU, barem ne u ovome času jer su granice jedina stvar koja nas štiti od europske zajednice u koju tako jako hrlimo. Zamislite situaciju gdje nema granice između nas i njih? Kao prvo, stotine raznih predstavništava koje u ovome času ne služe ničemu drugome nego da se brinu za kojekakve uvoze i izvoze postale bi totalno nepotrebne jer EU znači slobodan protok ljudi i roba. Nakon toga, ima tu i cijeli niz nekih proizvodnih grana koje preživljavaju samo zato jer smo mi ovdje, a oni tamo preko granice (probajte se sjetiti samo priče o BATu koji podvijena repa ovih dana odlazi iz hrvatske – što je pak posebna tema, a koji je doslovce prvoga dana Slovenskog članstva u EU objavio kako svima u ljubljanskoj tvornici duhana daje nogu i gasi proizvodnju). Naši ljudi nadalje pojma nemaju kako su iznimno neproduktivni, i da u istoj jedinici vremena, na identičnoj opremi prosječni europljanin (pa makar on svog poslodavca koštao daleko više, iako mislim da je i to dobrim dijelom iluzija za domaće potrebe) proizvede daleko više. Ako mi ne vjerujete, pitajte bilo kojeg gastarbajtera kako se radi u njemačkoj i koja je razlika u radnome tempu tamo i ovdje, što tamo možete ili ne možete raditi na radnome mjestu, a što je dozvoljeno kod nas? Razlike će biti zastrašujuće i vjerovali to ili ne, nakon 300+ godina kapitalizma ova ekipa preko grane samo čeka da nas pojede za doručak, ne zato što im nismo simpatični ili zato što smo nesposobni, nego jednostavno zato što je život preko grane daleko suroviji nego što to izgleda, pa makar se dućani činili osvjetljenijima, zaposlenici veselijima a trava zelenijom.

Ukratko, NATO me ne zanima uopće (a imam i nekih vojno-industrijskih kompleksa iz ne tako davnog djetinjstva), a iako bih jednoga dana htio biti građanin EU nikako ne bih volio da to bude u ovome desetljeću (a kako stvari trenutno stoje nemam ni nekog pretjeranog razloga za brigu).

Misao dana:
Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

don’t worry about the government… (3:00, Talking Heads, Popular Favorites 1976-1992: Sand in the Vaseline Disc 1, 1992)

Danas sam imao okršaj sa državnom upravom, pa umjesto da ja pišem nešto o tome imam puno bolju ideju a to je cut&paste jednog eseja koji govori o tome kako bi jedna država u stvari trebala funkcionirati.

Misao dana:
Will the Boom Continue?

“Dubai has truly let the cat out of the bag. There’s no doubt in my mind that in the next 10 years, other Dubai look-a-likes will spring up around the world, variations on a theme. For most countries, it’s either that, or plan on becoming a petting zoo for those who do.”

by Doug Casey

As a longtime anarchist, I’m of the opinion that the best government is no government at all. The fact that Hong Kong has been, until recently, just a “night watchman” state is responsible for its spectacular success; it (was) as close to a political ideal as exist(ed) in today’s world.

But, perhaps because of some atavistic genetic coding, humans generally seem to want somebody in charge, a father figure who can give them the illusion of security and somehow guarantee that they live in the best of all possible worlds. It’s often been said that a benevolent dictatorship is the best practical form of government, and that may be true, as long as the dictator stays benevolent; generally, however, only the most flawed type of person actually gets to be a dictator. There are exceptions, of course, like Lee Kwan Yu of Singapore who, despite his somewhat laughable and idiosyncratic attempts at social engineering, not only did an excellent job, but found an able and non-corrupt successor. I do know that “democracy”, a vastly over-rated, currently quite fashionable and widely misunderstood system, is not the answer.

Dubai’s Sheikh Rashid, who ruled from 1958-1990, said: “What’s good for business is good for Dubai.” He not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. His son, Sheikh Mohammed, is apparently at least as business-oriented. They intelligently directed revenues from their oil, when it still flowed, to prime the pump, and then let the market do its thing. Can things change? Of course. This is a hereditary monarchy, and the next Sheikh (like the next U.S. President, for that matter) could be a psycho. But I rather doubt it will happen in Dubai. This country is literally run like a corporation, with the Sheikh acting as the Chairman. The aristocracy is the other directors, and the 100,000 citizens the shareholders. Any serious deviation from a proven corporate culture simply wouldn’t be tolerated.

A benevolent dictatorship that’s run like a profitable business, not a dictatorship, actually can work.

People are, in most ways, very conservative. Sometimes I want to say stupid. One definition of stupidity is doing the same thing – like socialism – over and over again, and expecting different results. Another definition of stupidity is the ability to learn something – like “capitalism works” – only very, very slowly. You’d think that after enough people had been to the United States in its halcyon days, all the world would have wanted to model itself after America. But nooo… they stupidly kept buying into every cockamamie socialist scheme that came down the pike from Europe.

It was argued that, somehow, America was anomalous, or that its success was due to something other than its free market practices. So America acted as an example to individuals, but not to other states. Hong Kong – basically a barren rock, devoid of any resources other than poor opportunity seekers and the free market – wasn’t planned as a free market entrepot, but anyone could see how successful it was. Singapore, watching Hong Kong, was probably the first country in the modern world to consciously adopt capitalism (albeit in a rather paternalistic and adulterated form) to achieve success. Then, in the early ‘80s, China started copying Singapore: a socially and politically circumscribed free market. Far from ideal, but an outstanding success nonetheless.

Dubai will be, I predict – this is easy because it already is – the most successful city in world history because it is, in most ways, the freest. But what’s more important is that as leaders of other countries – especially small, poor ones – visit the place, they will increasingly see that they have no alternative but to emulate it. Dubai has truly let the cat out of the bag. There’s no doubt in my mind that in the next 10 years, other Dubai look-a-likes will spring up around the world, variations on a theme. For most countries, it’s either that, or plan on becoming a petting zoo for those who do.

What’s happening in the Emirates makes me think that even when things go bad in the United States – and if they go bad in China – the world economy will still continue apace. The reason is that any leader of a backwater country who sees what’s happening here will understand that if a boom can be created in an absolute desert in the world’s most notoriously unstable region, then it can be created anywhere. For all anyone knows, the leader of some fly-blown place in Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, or Latin America is even now planning on replicating the success of Dubai.

But Dubai is important in another way. It’s an example to the Arab world that they can do something as spectacular as has ever been done – and do it without the deus-ex-machina device of oil. Arabs that see Dubai can view themselves and their culture on a level with the Europeans, Americans, and Orientals, not just as some “camel jockeys” that got lucky by sitting on a pool of oil somebody else discovered and developed.

The success of Dubai is due, partly as a result of this ongoing change in self-perception by Arabs, to the withdrawal of their money from America. Because of the absurd War on Terror, anyone from the Middle East who keeps substantial capital in the U.S. has to be an imbecile. But where, then, to put their money? Before Dubai, there was no place within the Arab culture that was safe. Now there is. It’s safer than America, and much more profitable.

And, lastly, Dubai shows the West in general, and America in particular, that Islam in general, and Arabs in particular, are not necessarily their enemies any more than any other culture. Of course the Bush regime will disregard the lesson.

I wish I’d gone through Dubai pre-9/11, before property prices doubled. I would have bought a few apartments off the plans of a new high rise on the beach, and urged you to do the same. I still think property is going a lot higher, despite the immense supply, simply because Dubai is still only for the people from the Mid-East and the sub-continent. It’s barely been discovered by Europeans, less by Orientals, and not at all by anyone in the Americas. But it will be. So property is going higher. If you don’t yet have a bolthole outside your home country, this is an excellent time, and Dubai is an excellent place to secure one. With purchase of property comes a permanent residence visa, a valuable document in today’s world. That’s first on the list.

If you’re in any business that has interests abroad, this place is in a class with any other for buying, selling, trading, outsourcing, or you-name-it.

If you’re looking for a good location for an offshore company, or a secure bank account, look in this part of the world or the Orient. These people aren’t going to be pushed around by the U.S. and other declining powers.

Most important, call your travel agent and take a look. I’ve always thought trying to deal in the financial markets without knowing more than your neighbor was no better than gambling. Your neighbor is most likely a rube whose idea of international travel is a jaunt to Mexico, or maybe England. It’s critical to know what’s happening in the rest of the world, first hand, or you’re in no better position than your neighbor. It’s a variation of the old rule in poker: if you can’t figure out who the mooch is after a half hour, then it’s you. And when it comes to this part of the world that describes most Americans.

Your homework assignment, should you choose to take this seriously, is to get on a plane. Soon.