What Mladina & Demokracija Are Saying This Week: Managers & the “Deep State”

By , 08 Dec 2018, 13:00 PM Politics
Housing a dream for young people vs Šarec's team from the "deep state" Housing a dream for young people vs Šarec's team from the "deep state" The weeklies' Facebook pages

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Mladina: Slovenia experiencing serious crisis of managerial class

STA, 7 December 2018 - Speaking of ignorant arrogance that occasionally slides into direct hostility towards the working class, the left-leaning weekly paper Mladina casts in its latest editorial the new Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) director Sonja Šmuc as the embodiment of a serious crisis of management in Slovenia.

While social dialogue in Slovenia used to be at a level comparable to that in Scandinavian countries and featured refined managers with a good overall grasp of the economy and society, Šmuc is now demonstrating serious empathy issues, talking about workers with an air reminiscent of the arrogance of French queens just before the revolution.

Rejecting dialogue on a serious adjustment of wages, threatening with cancelling collective bargaining agreements in what is the fifth consecutive year with one of the highest GDP growth rates in Europe, amid record-low unemployment and record-high profits ... could be described as sad, but it is actually worrying.

Šmuc is an expression of a deep crisis of corporate governance in Slovenia, which has been dragging on for years, Mladina editor-in-chief Grega Repovž asserts.

He argues that today's managers were raised during the crisis or are even a product of the crisis itself. Having gone through a series of turbulences, including political pressure and purges, the Slovenian economy did not see the knowledge and experience of the managers of the old generation being transferred to the new one.

There are practically no managers left today capable of serious macroeconomic insights. The language of today's managerial elite is simple, elementary, bereft of progressive elements, of serious reflection.

While arguing that this is also being reflected in companies, for instance in low productivity, Repovž says that a professional group that has so much influence on development should stop ignoring the crisis in its ranks.

The discontent over wages, which is real and justified and largely a result of neoliberal capitalism, will end up exploding with full force. It suffices to look at France, which is experiencing the same frustrations.

The difference is that while France has still not emerged from the post-crisis crunch, Slovenia is among the fastest growing European economies. Arrogance is not a sign of power, it is a sign of weakness, Repovž concludes the commentary entitled “Managerial Crisis.”

Demokracija: Deep state ignores certain issues

STA, 6 December 2018 - The deep state is re-directing the people's attention to artificially created problems, such as hate speech, while certain topics in need of attention get largely ignored, the right-leaning weekly Demokracija says on Thursday under the headline “Masters of Ultimate Illusion of Virtual Reality”.

With the help of mainstream media, the deep state of the transitional left is constantly redirecting the citizens' attention from real problems, most recently by trying to convince us there is nothing more important in Slovenia than hate speech.

But in the meantime a number of things are going on which should get at least as much attention, editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says, listing the bad bank, the Karavanke tunnel and minimum wage debate.

He says nobody is paying any attention to the Bank Assets Management Company, or the bad bank, whose mission is, or was, to return to taxpayers as much money spent to save Slovenian banks as possible and then close down.

But it is still here. And after its Swedish leadership was replaced, it has turned into a socialist asset management company whose priority is to cater to the needs of "our people".

Its brisk action to sell liabilities has been replaced by a gradualist approach and its life span prolonged into the next decade. This is enough for companies to get slowly grabbed by tycoons, with the money getting into the "right" pockets.

Another example is developments surrounding the construction of a second tube of the Karavanke tunnel, the tender for which was won by Turkey's Cengiz Insaat as the most experienced and cheapest bidder, but since three Slovenian builders complained, the national review commission annulled the tender.

Biščak notes the Turks would build the tube for EUR 89.3m whereas the second cheapest bidder would do it for over EUR 100m, but since the latter is "ours", nobody doubts its "fair" price.

The debate on the minimum wage has also passed without causing any major stir, even if economists and employers warned about its pitfalls, with the mainstream media even applauding the planned changes to the minimum wage law.

Biščak says "the fact that the law is in breach of the Constitution, violating the free economic initiative, is apparently not important ... But as you know, 'our guys' always know better and can do anything".

Other posts in this series can be found here (note that sometimes we use another right-wing weekly, Reporter)

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