Saturday, 3 September 2011

Surprising. Or is it?

Had a long chat with a Croatian friend this week. This guy is at the head of a large Croatian company of about 500 employees. Super-intelligent and well read, he’s done extremely well in the post-Yugoslavia environment. Yet he hankers back to Communist days. Why would this successful capitalist do that?

“The pace of life was much gentler, less pressure, everyone had a safe job, nobody was paid that much more than anyone else. Sure, our standards were lower than in the west, and really talented people could become frustrated. But we produced all our own food and most other consumable stuff, including even cars and ships, and we took pride in that, even if they were of comparatively lower quality. We had none of the Chinese-style junk we see today. We didn’t bloody well need it then and we don’t today. Small mom and pop businesses were allowed and they all made comfortable unpressurised livings. Everyone was Croatian, most people stayed around the same place all their lives - some in the same house all their lives.”

“Compared to now it was dull and lacking in challenges. But I think people lived better. Now people worry about their jobs all the time, competitive challenges are always over your shoulder, foreigners are flooding in and buying up properties and we’re increasingly pressurised to take in refugees. Our local produce, and the shops that sold them, are disappearing, replaced by international brands. Now we make nothing ourselves – we’re just bit suppliers in a global supply chain. The sense of place, unity, security and predictability is gone.”

I suggested to him that globalisation, not capitalism, was the real culprit for this malaise. Still, it’s surprising, isn’t it, that a successful capitalist would evince nostalgia for such an environment? I believe his feelings represent also those of many of us in the west who never experienced life under Communism. Before globalisation took hold we too had a sense of unity, place, security, and a belief in who we were. That’s been largely swept away by the tide of diversity.

33 comments:

Andreas said...

Something similar happened in the old East Germany. It was a much more repressive environment than in Jugoslavia, yet many still hanker after the old certainties and stability.

Anonymous said...

we were in Croatia in the mid 90s to the place of the apperitions of BVMin Medjogorie,found the Croats to be very unfriendly to Americans and the Brits, thought the sun rose on Germanys ass, they were with the krauts in ww11 in a group known as the Utasche and any atrocity they claimed the Serbs did to them they did 10 fold to the serbs, disemboweling, decapatation of family members in front of kids,wholesale rape . pillage, so savant fuck the Croats, i have found the Serbs to be friendly, out going and giving,asshole Clinton got himself and usa involved in a racial religious civil war where we lost a great friend in serbia,Serbs i have found have got the same nature of the Irish in one respect, they can laugh at themselves, dont try it with the CRoats,during ww11 the Serbs rescued and took care of downed american pilots were as the croats beat them and then robbed them and then turned them over to the Krauts,Iasaked if there were any Jews in Croatia and gleefully was told that they got rid of them during ww11 through a guy named Ante Pavolic who was hitlers lap dog,google this guys name and learn about his eyeball collection.

Andreas said...

anon 21.14. what you say is historically true but very one-sided. The Serbs were every bit as bad, and in actual fact, a lot worse than the Croats. The numbers who supported Pavolic was quite small. Tito was a Croat himself and murdered hundreds of thousands of them who were sent back by the Allies after the war. Croats have suffered enormously throughout history, and don't forget it was your friendly Serbs who laid siege to Sarajevo, killing thousands of men women and children without mercy. In war situations there are seldom Good guys and Bad guys. It's always more nuanced.

Franz said...

@ Anon 21:14

The Croats are pretty tough nuts. They made their reputation as ill-tempered warriors in the 30-year war and thereafter the Habsburg empire settled them on its frontier. The intention being that the Croats would act as a bulwark against further turkish and Serbian advances. Which they did. Admirably so. Ever since, Germans and Croats have been a mutual admiration society.

As concerns the Savant's reflections on pre-globalization society. Here in Germany it is pretty easy to pinpoint exactly when things took a turn for the worse.

In 1990, after there was no more need to be a shining beacon to the opressed people of the East, our local overlords took off the gloves. Ever since, they've been giving us the bare-knuckle treatment.

I remember it like it was yesterday: In 1991 the people in the town of Hoyerswerda, Saxony - memories of the overthrow of communism fresh on their minds - violently protested against the presence of black asylum seekers which the West had foisted upon them.

The central government proceeded to send the baffled Saxons the goon squad aka Riot police from West Germany to get them to shut up. Which they did.

Hence the saying: New lies for old lies.

Or rather: New jackboot for old jackboot.

Anonymous said...

I am born in Dubrovnik, and I don't agree with Andreas in that Yugoslavia was less repressive than DDR.

I am aware of many East Germans wishing back the good old socialism - good luck with that. Probably still much better than Eurabia anyway.

Savant, also good luck to your "well read and super-intelligent Croatian friend, who's done extremely well in the post-Yugoslavia environment".

I am certain that your bright friend would have done a fortune during the Irish Tiger years too.

I am also certain that your friend's ancestors might not be as proud of him as you seem to be.

An Ireland loving and rather average Croatian in Dublin

SAVANT said...

I see a lot of similarity between the generally accepted perceptions of Germans and Croats. I happen to believe in both cases, while superficial charm may be in short supply ( definitely w/r/t Croats! I find that I always know where I stand with them, at more tha anerage.

And I make no apologies for my friend. He IS a great guy and has all the qualities I mentioned. And we don't choose our ancestors....

Anonymous said...

Savant you're WAAAAAAY out of line here. The Croats are the surliest, unfriendliest most disagreeable people I've ever met. They were so bad during WW2 that THE GESTAPO WERE WRITING BACK TO BERLIN BEGGING THEM TO TRY AND RAIN IN THE ATROCITIES!!!

They've done very poorly since they've become an independent country, mainly due to nepotism and corruption. And that friend of yours, if he is as successful as you say, and there sure are very few big companies there, he, with absolute certainty, got success because of corruption and/or political connections.

Don't let personal likes undermine the usually very high quality and reliability of your writing on this blog.

Anonymous said...

dont forget that the USA used depleted uranium in its bombing of Serb cities and villages during its KFOR adventures and to this day there are huge amts of birth defects in Serbian new borns.

Anonymous said...

Knowing very little about the Serbia/Yugoslavia/Croatia disaster aprt from the fact that the Clintons moved heaven and earth to capitalize on it -- and make it worse, I give you this:-

http://www.moreorless.au.com/killers/pavelic.html

I can't vouch for the truth of this history, and I detect a definite left-wing bias, but if half of what is said here is true, Yugoslavia has had a rougher time of it than most ... Poor buggers.

Quite a few Yugoslav refugees re-settled in South Africa in the late nineties -- two of them running a computer magazine that I wrote for at the time, and, I might add, very nice and civilised people ... Serbs or Croats, I did not know.
It did not seem a good question to ask at the time

Cheers,
UN

kulak said...

A wise man said:

Anybody concerned about the well-being of the working class and not concerned about immigration should shut the hell up.

Anybody concerned about immigration and not concerned about transnational capital should shut the hell up.

Movement of labor is a substitute for the movement of capital. The government of Mexico every 20 years or so robs foreign investors, so capital in the U.S. demands Mexicans be in the U.S.

Corporations should have at most a 20-year life and then be stabbed in heart with a wooden stake and decapitated.

Wealth should be subject not necessarily to high taxes, but to liability.

Franz said...

"They've done very poorly since they've become an independent country, mainly due to nepotism and corruption."

It is true - Croats (the same goes for many other East-Europeans and especially the Italians) are apt to gain favours by means of a well-filled envelope. Pretty repulsive, uh?

Luckily, we here in Germany and other western countries have no such problem. We funnel bribes through networks of shell companies and afterwards label them campaign contributions, speakers' fees or write bills for consultancy services rendered.

So it's all good then.

Jeremy said...

Serbs, Croatians and Bosnians have suffered incredible depradations since the middle of the last century - i.e. within living memory for many. Small wonder they'd be a bit surly!

PreatorianXVI said...

They really love to hate us,

Apologies for posting the whole thing here, just now it is pulled from the airwaves,

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/5561044/White-immigrants-row

White immigrants row
MARIKA HILL
Last updated 05:00 04/09/2011
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A Maori academic says immigration by whites should be restricted because they pose a threat to race relations due to their "white supremacist" attitudes.

The controversial comments come in response to a Department of Labour report, obtained exclusively by the Sunday Star-Times, which found Maori are more likely to express anti-immigration sentiment than Pakeha or any other ethnic group.

Margaret Mutu, head of Auckland University's department of Maori studies, agreed with the findings and called on the government to restrict the number of white migrants arriving from countries such as South Africa, England and the United States as they brought attitudes destructive to Maori.

"They do bring with them, as much as they deny it, an attitude of white supremacy, and that is fostered by the country," she said.

PreatorianXVI said...

Part II

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres, who migrated here from the Netherlands, has hit out at Mutu's view, saying there is no justification for anybody to discriminate on the basis of colour, race or nationality.

Mutu said Maori were generally supportive of immigration from Asian countries, and she was happy to welcome white immigrants who understood issues of racism against Maori.

"They are in a minority just like Pakeha in this country. You have a minority of Pakeha who are very good, they recognise the racism, they object to it and speak out strongly against it."

The Labour Department migrant report surveyed almost 1000 people on their perceptions of ethnic groups coming here. Maori respondents were the most likely to agree with negative statements about immigrants, such as that they threaten New Zealand culture and steal jobs from Kiwis.

They were also more likely to disagree that immigrants contribute to New Zealand's culture and economy.

The Labour and Immigration Research Centre report also found:

Samoans were the migrant group which received the highest negative rating by all respondents, one in five viewing them negatively.

British and Australian migrants received the highest positive ratings, just 5% disliking the British and 4% viewing Australians negatively.

Pacific Islanders (91%) were most likely to find New Zealand welcoming.

It is not the first time Maori commentators have sparked controversy by suggesting racial immigration policies.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia caused an international backlash when she call for migration to be reduced – particularly from western countries – in 2007. At the time, Turia accused the government of trying to stop the "browning" of New Zealand through immigration.

De Bres said: "We should not stop people coming on the basis on their skin. It's racial prejudice and racial discrimination." He cautioned that racist views were not limited to one ethnic group.

De Bres said he recently attended a celebration at the Maori King's residence where different migrant communities were welcomed onto the marae, proving many Maori are welcoming.

"The positive thing to do is for Maori and migrants to engage more to understand each other."

Massey University sociologist Paul Spoonley said his research showed while other ethnic groups' attitudes toward migrants had been approving, Maori perception had become increasingly negative. Anti-immigration sentiment was fed by Maori fears that multicultural policies were diminishing policies concerning Maori, he said.

Mutu said she was concerned that relations between Maori and other minority groups had deteriorated.

"Maori feel very threatened as more groups come in and swamp them."

But Auckland University of Technology Maori history professor Paul Moon said extremist Maori views were held only by a minority and people should be wary of reading too much into the report.

He said Mutu's comments did not equate with the reality of many Maori inter-marrying with Pakeha.

- Sunday Star Times

Anonymous said...

The fucking Maori's were LITERALLY eating one another for breakfast before they were civilized (partially) by white's. The white's should have exterminated them or else put them in zoo's.

Simon Q said...

@Anon 14.22

Hear hear!

Anonymous said...

Samoans looked upon negatively, I was in the US navy in the 50s and found them either to be child like or vicious, never ever be around them when they are drinking, they will rip your head off, but one redeeming factor was they hated niggers and let them know it and the nigs steered mucho clear of them.

RegThe Hedge said...

I support the native New Zealanders. Asuming they are native. One can hardly call for the elimination of non whites from European peoples countries and then refuse to play ball when the shoe is on the other foot.

Anonymous said...

Reg - they're still savage bastards.

Krokodil said...

Savant, regarding your Croatian friend's wistfulness for the former communist Yugoslavia, I believe that that(falsely created) state was only viable in the 70's and 80's because of economic aid and/or loans from the capitalist West.

Yugoslavia was a more benevolent version of Communism than it's Eastern European neighbours, but many of the characteristics of communist rule still attended it: one party dictatorship, religious suppression, travel and media restrictions etc.

And like all falsely created states, remove the strongman, or iron-like centralist control, and then watch the different parts fly apart like pellets from a scatter-gun. Which could be the very possible future of the EU, if the people of Europe don't wake up in time.

Anonymous said...

RegThe Hedge said...

I support the native New Zealanders. Asuming they are native. One can hardly call for the elimination of non whites from European peoples countries and then refuse to play ball when the shoe is on the other foot.

Guess it depends on how one defines "Native". The Original New Zealand indigenes were wiped out (yup, and then eaten) by the ancestors of the present day Maori about 800 years ago. The Maori are Polynesians who did the great watery trek about 1150-1200 AD.

Reg, read up on the War(s) of the Musket where the much-hated Pakeha had to step in and stop the Maori from annihilating one another. They were offing each other on an industrial scale.

When YT proposed the now famous (or notorious) Treaty of Waitangi that everyone bitches about, the Maori tribes who were being decimated, (i.e. the less aggressive) wept for joy ... but now, of course, 170 odd years later it's just a stick to beat YT with and, I might add, another method of squeezing cash, benefits and privilege out of the ever willing government tit.

If the Pakeha had just folded their arms and watched in 1838, there would not be a Maori to be found in NZ.

Cheers,
UN

Anonymous said...

Mutu said she was concerned that relations between Maori and other minority groups had deteriorated.

"Maori feel very threatened as more groups come in and swamp them."


Translation: Our status as "Protected Game" and our life of privilege and endless funding and benefits may dry up ...

Cheers,
Uncle Nasty

Franz said...

@ UN

"...read up on the War(s) of the Musket where the much-hated Pakeha had to step in and stop the Maori from annihilating one another. They were offing each other on an industrial scale."

Another brilliant argument for non-interventionism. Leave 'em alone. Leave 'em all alone.

Do that and the most troublesome populations will terminate themselves with extreme prejudice.

This would be my solution for the humanitarian crisis in places like Somalia and the Congo. Leave 'em alone. Once Erectus has eradicated itself, intelligent chimps can create a better and more humane society then the one preceding them.

Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Margaret Mutu, head of Auckland University's department of Maori studies, agreed with the findings and called on the government to restrict the number of white migrants arriving from countries such as South Africa, England and the United States as they brought attitudes destructive to Maori.

"They do bring with them, as much as they deny it, an attitude of white supremacy, and that is fostered by the country," she said.

The destructive attitudes referred to here, are that the immigrants start looking for work the minute their feet hit the tarmac at Auckland International rather than living on the public tit.

Another problem with Maori -- apart from beating their kids to death at an alarming rate and a tendency to join gangs -- is obesity. Maori and Islander (Samoan) schoolkids (especially girls) are invariably overweight and often outright obese -- we're talking of spherical, here. When they hit thirty and forty, they go clean off the scales.

One of my first sights on hitting New Zealand was how fat islanders were ... more than a few Pakeha as well. Walking though a shopping mall I was overtaken by an islander hurrying past.
The biggest person I have ever seen, he was over two metres tall, and, I estimate, about 220 Kilos (500 lbs) in weight. Puffing like a steam engines, rivers of sweat pouring off him, -- and what I can only call a corset ... a life jacket of fat swaying and jiggling around him like a bag of water.

My jaw must have dropped because I found quite a few people grinning at me.

Cheers,
UN

john said...

Uncle Nasty is right about New Zealand. The Maoris have NOTHING to complain about; just like 'people of colour ' everywhere - they would all be living in mud huts if it weren't for the white man's benevolence.
Furthermore, WE were there way before THEY were anyway. See "Ancient Celtic New Zealand" [www.celticnz.co.nz ] As always, it's OK for the brownies to 'discriminate' and be 'racist' , but YT can't even exist, much less prefer or protect his own...I have a friend from NZ, married to a half maori girl even, and he complains loudly about maori uselessness and privilege. If possible, the white male may even have it worse in NZ than in the US as far as opportunity and 'reverse discrimination' goes.
I believe our host has it pegged also - capitalism isnt the problem, its 'globalisation'. Actually, the system his friend describes smacks of a primitive capitalism anyway. Small business owners conducting mutual trade; the providing of both goods and services within the community, etc. Take away the confiscatory taxation inherent in socialistic/communist governments, and it sounds like a model of responsible capitalism to me. But what do I know.
I don't know any Croats personally, but I did become acquainted with one blue eyed blonde haired Serbian refugee here in the States some 15 years ago. He was a very nice young fella-likeable and intelligent. I know nearly nothing of the 'conflict' , but it seems to me, that of course, the US had no business being there, but since we were, we were on the wrong side. Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

Ah now john,I know us Micks got around a bit,but New Zealand?.

I recall from some years back a Maori representative complaining that Maoris were actualy TOO cosseted.Obviously,from the comments here,he was not very representative of his people.

I must confess I have a Maori friend who I happen to like a great deal.He came here on a Rugby contract which did'nt work out but he stayed.

He may be the exception to the rule: being a hard working plummer and is as cynical about everything as any of us natives.

mr.a

Corkonian said...

John - that's a good point you make about the Jugoslavian economic model. Really capitalism before the confiscatory state moved in.

And mr. a. - I too had maori friend in Ireland (is it the same guy? he stayed over too after an ALl Blacks tour) and he's great. But Savant is right, they WERE eating one another before YT arrived.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

@Corkonian.
Don't think its the same friend:I'm up in Co.Kildare and his contract was with a local club here.He certainly was'nt an All Black:what Kiwi could go for more than 5 minutes without mentioning THAT.

And yes cannibalism was endemic.I believe they referred to human flesh as "long pig" as the taste resembles pork.

mr.a

Corkonian said...

mr. a. He most certainly was NOT an All Black. he came along as a camp follower when they toured Ireland about 20 years ago.

Anonymous said...

"My wife is Samoan, she is 5'6" and 190 lbs which is well in the overweight range but her body fat percentage when measured is around 23% , significantly less than the average woman.

Samoans are known for their reckless diets but their obesity is often overstated."


This would fit the definition of big boned as that is a BMI of 31 but a Fat Free Mass Index of 23.88.


UN there is big and there is bigger

Konishiki Yasokichi was the heaviset Sumotori at 630 lbs. Height 6'1".

Yokozuna, a Samoan wrestler, was 6' 4" and weighed 770 lbs at his heaviest.

Largest Inhabitants

10 - UK (61%)
9- Croatia (61.4%)
8 - Israel (61.9%)
7 - New Zealand (62.7%)
6 - Bosnia (62.9%)
5 - Egypt (66%)
4 - Germany (66.5%)
3 - USA (66.7%)
2 - Kiribati (81.5%)
1 - American Samoa (93.5%)

Note the huge jump between #3 and #s 2 and 1.

Anonymous said...

I will ask him about Cork when I see him next.He's never mentioned living there though.

mr.a

Anonymous said...

Roll back to the kitchen Diabeto

Nauruans are the most-obese people in the world.[50] 90% of adults have a higher BMI than the world average.[51] 97% of men and 93% of women are overweight or obese.[50] Nauru has the world's highest level of type 2 diabetes, with more than 40% of the population affected,[52] 47% in American Samoa, 44% in Tokelau.[50]

Funny how Nauru gets overlooked when these obesity tables are drawn up. You would almost think that people wanted it to be a Northern Hemisphere First world only problem.

Anonymous said...

In End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs he says that Slobodan Milosevic was also campaignig for the destruction of Federal Yugoslavia.

Everyone wanted it destroyed. And they got their wish.