7 septembrie 2016

Double morality

For long communist decades, Romanians learned to say what the Party wanted them to say, and did what they though is "good" to be done. Katherine Verdery explained the mechanism in an excellent book published 20 years ago. Alena Ledeneva depicted a similar set-up in the Russian society, and named it "double morality".

What struck me yesterday was the perpetuation of such practice.

Water and Water
Defitively alike!
On one hand, there was this guy, a young apparently socialist politician, head of a self-made IT imperium, accused to heavily corrupt Government officials. More exactly: most of his money seems to come from arranged contracts with the state. He is under investigation by various judicial bodies, apparently being on the verge to be re-imprisoned.

In this context, I watched some public declarations that he gave in a parking. The ladies-reporter to ask questions seemed to enjoy his opening misogynistic statements, meant to create some bonding with them, the reporters.

Then, he started to preach democracy, accusing almost everybody to be against Romania being like Germany. He pointed to civic society as a whole for being sold to " the American that brings Syrians to Romania" (this is George Soros). And claimed to be the one to have the courage to say the truth ...

Second, the Government proposed a change of the taxation law. Up to now, out of the budget for salaries, the employer paid a certain percentage to the public social insurance found. The transfer was formally recorded into two distinct amounts: one was said to be paid by the employer, the other by the employee. Let me take an example. Let say the total wage costs that an employer makes for Ion Popescu is 100 lei. Nowadays, the employer pays to the found something like 14 lei - labeled as "employer contribution", and 13 as " employee contribution". According to the new proposed law, Ion Popescu will pay 22 lei instead of 13+14=27. This reduced contribution is labeled as "employee contribution".

The proposed change has the obvious effect to bring salaries in public sector closer to the ones in private companies. Most likely, many private employers may want to keep the resulting 5 lei difference, since the contracts with the employee do not include the "employer contribution". In the public sector, one should expect a slight increase in the net salary: the difference will go to the employee.

Romanian media argued against the proposal. They say it increases the fiscal burden. In a way this is true: Romanian journalists are poorly paid, and they work as individual contractors, not as employees. In other words, they did not pay up to now the "employer contribution". For them, the new rule would alleviate fiscal evasion, and would decrease their incomes.

mirrored reality
The same applies to other professions as well. However, media is an interesting example. Most journalists are young and very young. They had almost anything to do with communist times. But they also learned to claim they defend rule of law. And they actually do it vocally.

For instance, it comes to mind the example of this journalist paid about 10 times the average wage, in net salaries, but who avoids paying full taxes, as other people do. The journalist constantly self-presents as defender of democracy, attacks the ones like the above politician, and subtly suggests to be the one who follows the rule of law.

We can pretend the water is clear.
But is it clear?
By the end of the day, both the journalist and the politician reproduce the dual morality, confirming what we know from social sciences ... Culture is stable overtime.

Convorbire telefonică cu ... un hoț??

Sună telefonul, de pe un număr necunoscut, vizibil (adică nu este ascuns), iar o voce de bărbat mă angajează în următoarea convorbire: -  ...