Czech sociologist Jan Keller published a very interesting analytical article. It begins with the logical question of how it is possible that the standard of living of the majority of the Czech population is falling much lower than it was under the communist government. Back then it was a given that one could afford lunch in a pub or hot water at home. Today, for many people, this is not the case.
After analysing various factors, he comes to a crucial conclusion: ‘Our prosperity (or at least the promise of it for many) was not based to any decisive extent on the transition from socialism to capitalism, from a planned economy to a market economy, let alone on joining the European Union. Its preconditions were cheap energy, available raw materials and favourable trade relations, all of which disappeared with Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the accompanying sanctions. This factor is infinitely more important for the state of our economy and social conditions than all the promises made about privatisation, the arrival of foreign investors and EU accession.”
How could we be so stupid as to believe that wealth is not created by work but by ownership changes.
You could put it this way, too. A country is rich when it has raw materials and factories to process them, when it has roads, bridges and railways, when it has factories, cheap energy and skilled personnel to staff those factories. When it doesn’t have that, it’s poor. How simple. Nationalization, privatization, efficient allocation of resources, marginal efficiency – these are just intellectual games with marginal relevance. How could we be so stupid as to believe that wealth is not created by work but by ownership changes.