Everything is all right here, the only problem is population redundancy – there are too many people. There are too many pensioners, too many unemployed etc. How can a human being be redundant in a system, in a society, if men are a gift from the heavens, created in the image and likeness of God? If a man is redundant, this poses serious questions. So I am strongly convinced that these problems are absolutely dominant here, and we are not solving them and they periodically lead to an escalation of agony, while all of these things happening in the outside world are just revealing it all. Why do we always claim that things were better in the older days? We are one of the few nations that always claim that yesterday was better than today. Today, in the year 2009, it is almost common knowledge that Tito was better, and it is not only the workers that are saying it. What if in five or six years we prove that Milosevic was better? Are we really a society that has wasted its future? We now cannot reach the industrial production from 1989, which was a prelude to a collapse of a system and which was by no means good.

For example, let me lay out the basic examples of imbalance. The imbalance between production and spending. The dramatic imbalance between domestic accumulation and the level of necessary investments – which means we now have to build thousands of things, and don’t have any money. The imbalance between import and export is becoming dramatic, the imbalance between the employed and the unemployed, the imbalance between the employed and the pensioners, the imbalance between those working in business and the civil servants, the imbalance between the scale of industry and the scale services. We are saying that the economy is growing, when in fact the industrial production has dropped 20%. We did have growth, but what was growing? Services were growing, the banking industry was growing, the insurance industry was growing etc. Why were export products not growing? This is a big problem now. We have a huge house ownership and those people cannot pay their electricity bills. The imbalance between the capitol and the other regions is dramatic. For 70 years now we have been talking about the equal regional development, and the imbalance between the developed and undeveloped regions was never this big. The imbalance between the newly born and the deceased – each year we have 35.000 less people, more people are dying than being born and in the end – we still have too many people. I think these things should be written down and stuck to the door of the National Assembly building like Luther’s Theses, so the representatives could read them every time they come in. Here are my ten theses, and will now someone tell me why is this the way it is and how can those problems be fixed?

The seal is the most effective means of production, never mind the plow, hammer, shovel or computer – the seal is the means of production. The political elite are creating their own jobs and duties, and it’s no wonder that the number of civil servants is what it is. Speaking of the civil servants, now we are again at the brink of a new reform and the government is “struggling” to find a solution. There’s sweat pouring all over, there is energy, emotions, advisors, ministers, the IMF – they are all looking for a single solution and they cannot find it. More work and less spending – this is the solution. We are looking for ways to avoid that, but it will happen, whatever we do. It is obvious now that it will all come down to the trivial solution of raising the VAT. This is a well known thing, in the end the citizens are those who are paying the price, taxes are one of the government’s main tools for division.

What could they do about the budget, but refuse to and what is wrong with those wretched civil servants who are now being ridiculed? Who are those people and what are they doing there? Well, those are people in the political parties or with ties to the parties. What would happen if we were to cut down the number of civil servants? Why is there so many of them? Well because you are creating laws which are so complicated – and laws mean power and control – and then these laws require a lot of civil servants. If you reduce their number and especially if you cut down their wages, what will happen? The waiting lines will grow. What is our state like and how does it work? Well, first you pass a law which requires more civil servants. For example, you pass a low on personal ID’s which reduces their validity from 10 to 5 years. This way you doubled the hours of the civil servants, and all explanations are more than trivial. If passports are valid for 10 years, why would a personal ID be valid less? Instead of simplifying the procedure, you need to take a day off, you don’t work so you could get an ID – getting an ID was turned into an important social event. We have thousands of laws like this one, I could keep listing all the necessary procedures they came up with to boost the need for civil servants. The lawmakers are not making laws that promote and protect your rights, but laws which are a list of proscriptions and the list of documents you need in order to get more documents. And when you bend down in front of a clerk desk, you are a broken man, and the clerk gives you a look and starts grinding his teeth… Everyone has had this pointless experience. Therefore, the Serbian government could change the law and make personal ID’s valid for 10 years, but it refuses to do so.

We are racing towards inanity. A serious government would first have to tax the gray market, or close it down. But this government does not want to do that, this is social politics on the flea market etc. It could reform the indirect tax, because in this environment work bears the greatest tax burden. Take me for example. For me as a university professor to have one dinar in pocket I need to give someone 80 dinars; to the state, social security, the pension fund, tax, the SSC etc. And does the owner of capital have to do that? No, he doesn’t. What does a rich company owner do? He doesn’t increase wages, he distributes profit and he pays 10% to do it. A dinar he spends privately costs him 10% plus 10% for the company or less. So a dinar in pocket cost him 1.20 dinars and I pay 1.80. What are we talking about here?

Both the government and the opposition and the non-governmental organizations are awaiting the Messiah – the state audit agency. What can it do? It can’t do a thing, the system is the key. This small, sweet tree that everyone awaits fruit from, the state audit experiences – how can it bear fruit when the power is on the other side? This is the problem. We are rushing from one solution to the other, when the problem is the source itself. We should go back to the source, this is where the conceptions are, this is where the philosophy of the system lays, and then we should swim upstream. The world is experiencing the problems we ourselves had many times before – to privatize profit and socialize losses. This guy used the apartment for free, he won’t pay the rent, this guy got a mansion on Dedinje for 200 euro, that guy snatched away a company for 1 euro – these are all privatized profits, but where are the losses? The losses are public. So here the virtues are public and the vices are private. The West is realizing what the problem is and where it leads to – it leads to money forgery. We cannot deal with it that way, because no one yet gave us authority to print money with which we can buy foreign goods.

Miodrag Zec, Peščanik, Radio B92, 03.04.2009.

Translated by Ivica Pavlović

Peščanik.net, 12.05.2009.