Thursday, 15 November 2012

Do we have the politicians we deserve?

In 1811, Joseph de Maistre, a philosopher, writer, lawyer, and diplomat stated:
Joseph de Maistre. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Every nation gets the government it deserves

Was he right or not? The fact is that no-one can know for sure. Nevertheless, his aphorism has some elements of truth. For example, in Greece corrupt government officials were succeeded by corrupt government officials, with the public knowing everything about what was going on. Yet, nothing was done (and yet still almost nothing is being done) about it. The same situation holds in Italy where politicians were found celebrating themselves and their families in Caribbean cruises and yet, except from the momentary public anger and disdain nothing else occurred. The same politicians and policymakers returned to their office after the end of their luxurious journeys and assumed work like everything was right in the world.

Obviously, one cannot state that corruption does not exist in the other Member-States of the EU, or other parts of the world. Corruption has always existed and will always exist. The problem is that we cannot tolerate it. People who steal money from the government, who are tax evaders or who take bribes to perform their work correctly should be sentenced to jail and have their properties confiscated. Instead, in many countries these persons and tactics are considered the norm and those who wish to live in that country need to respect these norms themselves.

Who or what is to be blamed then for this situation? The answer is simple: nothing else than mentality should be pinpointed for this. The mentality, mostly presented in older persons who in their turn try to pass it on to their children, that if you want to succeed in the system you have to accept it. A friend once stated that if you wanted to change them system then you had to become a part of it first. However, becoming a part of it means that you have to change your ideas and notions about it if you are to succeed in it. Thus you risk becoming just the person you swore you wouldn't become.

How can change be achieved then? Protesilaos Stavrou in one of his latest articles states that change can only come form the Greeks and not from the Troika. The same holds for the Italians, the Spanish, the Cypriots and the Portuguese. Change only comes from within. And as many of the older generation feel the anxiety that the status quo it had guarded for years is about to collapse, many of the younger generation feel confident that all those which had been tormenting them all these years are about to disappear.

Change is hard to endure, more so if you are used to something else through your lifetime. It has been documented in economics that the labour force changes its skills much rarely than every other factor of the economy. As a generalization the same holds in politics as well as ideologies.

The situation cannot change if we cannot change ourselves. If we demand more democracy, more transparency and less corruption then we are going to receive it. Change will not come in a day nor in a week. Yet, it will come soon if we all decide we are fed up with the situation.

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