The monkeys came to power

Foreign media refer to Slovenia as having performed a good transition from a centrally planned single-party state to a modern market democracy. But for all the praise it receives, Slovenia is populated disproportionately by leftist zealots who, after four years of centrist government by Janez Janša, recently won major elections. Letting no time go to waste, they are already coming up with stunts like these.

Borut Pahor - president of the Social Democrats, the party that got the most votes - promised today that the coming government would focus on "economic democracy", by which he apparently means a combination of employee shareholdership, employee participation in management, and employee participation in profits. The way I understand it, the newly elected leftists plan to make these things into law.

If you speak Slovenian, read Marko's excellent article on how silly the idea is of legally mandating employee participation in profits. Giving employees profit shares is a good idea for companies with high-value-added employees, but it only works if it is voluntary. An involuntary mandate will just result in companies finding ways to avoid the law: e.g. by not officially hiring people but rather working with them on a contractual basis; or by having another company employ the workers and outsource them; etc. In the short term, the net result is merely yet more bureaucratic burden on the economy, as if Slovenia does not yet have enough. In the longer term, the government can either silently give up, keep the new rules knowing they don't work to avoid admitting its error; or it can further tighten rules, causing a vicious cycle of regulation-workaround that will ultimately smother the economy.

Then there's Katarina Kresal, the charismatically naive young leaderette of the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (the party's name is a 2-decade-old oxyomoron), which is part of the new governing coalition. Ms. Kresal is quoted saying:
We are in times when our economy should be more actively protected, so we should think about a potential purchase of Mercator [Slovenian equivalent to Wal-Mart] by the State and a later sale at a higher price, which would also be good for all taxpayers.
Wow, let's get the state into the business of making gratuitous investments in "national champions", for the benefit of the political-economic elite that runs the place!

How did everyone not think of that as a crucial step in the transition to a market-oriented economy?

While Borut Pahor could be sincere but misguided, Ms. Kresal's proposal is a transparent servility to the powers who run Slovenia: the few people who own much of the economy and most of the media, and who have been adept at using their political ties, particularly among the leftist parties, to publicly promote "national interest", the real purpose of which is to bleed the public purse and to discourage competition for their business.

What's funny is how the public lets itself be strung along, happily letting itself be convinced by essentially non-arguments.

This combination of leftist zealots and populist oligarchists is now coming to power in Slovenia. The monkeys have prevailed, and will run that country for the next 4 years.


verbatim said…
I would say Borut Pahor is pretty libertarian himself (if someone listen to him he actually understands problems of our economy and he is quite tolerant to victimless crimes) but he got caught in trap by other leftists who have power in reality. They abused his political image to get to power and now he is just a marionette in their hands.
denis bider said…
I would not be surprised if Pahor is liberal on social topics. But that would render him a Democrat at best. One cannot be called 'libertarian' if one is not also liberal economically.

I don't see how an economically liberal politician could possibly put forward the type of socialism that Pahor did. These ideas cannot conceivably be considered libertarian.
verbatim said…
He was talking about reforms and also put some good ideas, but then some days later he started to talk about economic democracy and similar crap. There are strong influental leftists people behind him that's why he can't and won't do any reforms.
verbatim said…
New ministers ... again no real experts but old politicians or their friends.

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