Article published on romanialibera.ro
Author: Prof. univ. Dr. doc. Alexandru-Vladimir Ciurea, AOSR member
The question I chose for the title might, at a superficial glance, get a simple and clear answer: we manage our lives ourselves! This answer is not incorrect, but it is certainly incomplete. The modern man – but not only today, in modernity – is not a sole administrator, just as life is not an LLC.
Beyond the external factors that contribute to the management of life, such as climate or relief, and beyond anything related to personal development – I call here only tradition, culture and education, there is an infallible “partner” of managing everyone’s life. This is the state. I call it that in a generic way. It acts and determines the life of each of us on a large scale, at national level or at the level of the European Union, or at a smaller level, of the organization in the community.
I will not enter into any analysis of the organization and functioning of the statute from a historical or sociological perspective. I prefer a generalist view that pursues more the quality of “management partner” of the life that the state has. And even if such a look may be exhaustive, I will limit myself, for reasons of space and time, to a few findings and observations.
The partnership with the state should benefit life
The state, as I said, generically calls this construction that determines life “state”, it is, concretely and simply, a sum of people paid by all to manage the establishment and operation of “public goods”. It falls into the category of “public goods”, schools, hospitals, highways, sanitation services, public transport, law and order, parks, etc.
The role of the state from this perspective is to ensure, through the quality of public goods, the increase of the quality of life of each of us. To contribute, if we are to speak in economic terms, to ensuring added value.
For this, the state, which has no money of its own or property or business, taxes us, taxes us or collects the profits of those companies that actually belong to us.
Logically, the state thus becomes a manager or a manager who, having money from us, does things that, in turn, make our lives better. Do you think this is the case?
The wrong state strikes everyone!
Here that more than 30 years after the regime change, the Romanian state still fails to fulfill the tasks provided in the “job description”. Romanians have problems with hospitals, education, roads or sanitation – to refer only to a few tasks that are the responsibility of the state.
Why can’t the state be coherent? The answer is simple: because the state, our partner in managing our lives, is ruled by incompetence. This statement may seem brutal, but it is very true.
In state decision-making structures, appointments are made mainly for political reasons. Competence does not matter as much as political support. If we admit that politicians are the creators of development directions, the people who make decisions in the state are the ones who should carry them out. However, the appointments in these decision-making positions are vitiated by the political factor. Turning their backs to the right, the elected politicians appoint in the state leadership people who are more faithful than competent (the roads we travel in this state prove … incompetence!).
In the private sector, this type of loyalty-based relationship is much less prevalent because incompetence causes harm to a private company. In state structures, where there are no true assessments and no one is responsible for wrong decisions or lack of decisions, incompetence wreaks havoc. I don’t want to go on thinking about personal interest games. This means corruption. I stop at the contrast between competence and political fidelity, that is, incompetence.
The state offers life certainty to its employees
If at the government level – the top of the state! – certainties are rare, at the level of employees, they are clear! The employment contract in a state institution or company is like a passport for a life forever without the care of income, health insurance and pension.
I’m not saying this would be bad at all. But if the employee’s state package still comes with good insurance – and I am referring here to those with positions – why not come with the risk of losing your job if the employee has not done his duty? As in any private company?
I repeat, I do not intend to build any intentional process for bona fide professionals in any field. But our cities look bad, the roads are difficult to develop, education and the health system are progressing extremely slowly. Someone is responsible for the failures of the state!
We need permanent civic sense, not just the election exercise
I could not conclude this short meditation exercise on the condition of the state without adding that each of us has our own responsibilities. Just as you can’t smoke on the bus, you can’t even throw cigarette butts on the sidewalk or on the road through the open window of the car. And you can’t even honk unnecessarily just because you’re nervous or it’s congested in traffic. Or you can’t cross through illegal places. Examples of civic common sense abound.
Sadly, we have become accustomed to looking at our leaders and saying, “If they are wrong, why should we try to do the right thing?”
The question is wrong and creates a wrong premise in our way of functioning as civilized people. The mistakes of the state do not exclude our mistakes, and the sum of the two is large enough to be always frowning and stressed. If we do our part, the amount of anxiety is less. And if we know how to ask politicians to work for us, as we should, we are obliged to demand our own performance. In any field, from raising children to driving carefully.
We can no longer accept the harmful phrase “it goes like this”!
If we take this first step and ask ourselves to respect the benchmarks of common sense, civility, fairness and professionalism, we will be able to ask more of those who lead us to perform in favor of our lives.
What I mean, in essence, is that we make an important contribution to the failure of the state, even if we don’t like to admit it. And if we want to be honest with ourselves, we will not accept half measures at any level – neither public nor personal. And to be as clear as possible, especially since we are not in any election period, we should look at the evolution of our turnout. Decreasing. Basically, the state is led by a false “majority”, because more than half of Romanians did not vote.
I wish you all a lot of civic sense and good health!