Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The long way from communism to democracy

In December 1989 in Romania took place a revolution. Its goal was to change the communist regime. Some historians say that the revolution was prepared by foreign secret services. That’s probably right, but one certain thing is that people died in that revolution - The revolution for democracy.

Now, 20 years later, I see that we still have a long way to democracy. I don’t mean democracy as political democracy. We have that. We vote, there have been changes of power between different parties; we have free speech, free press, private property, private businesses etc.

I mean that we still have a long way to go in really empowering the people in daily life. In real life we Romanians don’t have the power in small matters like the relationship with banks, hypermarkets, real estate developers, state authorities or any other kind of organization that we pay.

For example real estate prices are similar with other countries in the EU. Last year a one-bedroom apartment (one bedroom and a living room) with a surface of 70 sqm was priced at 90.000 euros (about 130.000 USD). Unfortunately in Romania the minimum wage is about 150 euros (200 USD). In Bucharest the capital city of Romania a young person (up to 35 YO) can earn about 700 euros per month (I’m talking about the average person with high education). So a family of 2 average young people can’t afford more than the one-bedroom apartment and that by taking a loan for 25 years.

Also there is no power to the people in the relationship with banks because we have huge loan costs. There are situations that banks have doubled the monthly pay of a loan.

Also we have huge prices for food. The tomatoes are 1.5 euros / kilo, a lot more than in other EU countries.

I personally had an awful experience with one of my company’s suppliers that did not respect the contract and I could do nothing because I needed them and there were no other suppliers in that field.

We are not yet used to democracy, to the power of saying “NO”, to the right of not being bullied around by state authorities or by imbecile companies.

20 years have passed from the 1989 revolution. How many years do we still need to have true democracy in our day to day life?

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