Opinion on the scope of the financial crisis has evolved dramatically since last year. In the beginning, it was mainly talked about as a local, American problem. In the spring, experts and politicians began predicting a slight economic slowdown in Europe as well. By summer, it became obvious that the crisis would hit even countries like Russia and China. Today, it is clear that what started as a US credit crisis will develop into a world-wide recession that will last at least one or two years. An economic depression was averted only thanks to a relatively speedy and well-coordinated response of central banks and governments. The crown? Nothing special…For a long time it seemed as though the financial crisis hadContinue Reading

Public reactions to the recent revelations about Milan Kundera’s alleged role and activities as an informer — while a student in the early 1950s — reveal a positive facet of contemporary Czech society: Its rejection of informing as an acceptable social behavior.Continue Reading

Should the coalition government sell Czech Airlines, Prague Airport or Čepro? The answer is simple: If you consider the instability of the world markets, it should not. Privatisation in general is usually a very good thing. A private owner can usually look after property better than the state, and it is certainly true in the case of business companies that were set up for the purpose of profit. Since we do not live in honourable Scandinavia and we also also some “natural” or “genetic” inclinations, privatisation is also good for another reason in our conditions: It curbs corruption, as it limits the influence of politicians on the operation of companies and on filling high office posts. Let us, for example,Continue Reading

While the victorious Social Democrats (ČSSD) are sailing forth with favourable wind, Topolánek’s vessel resembles Rimbaud’s Drunken Boat, the “boat lost in the hair of bays, hurled by a hurricane”. And the mood that will prevail on board will be essential not only for the cabinet’s existence, but also for the further development of our politics. Will it be panic, mutual accusations, battles causing decay or a cold analysis, search for a new direction and for new leaders? The one who hid in the mistIt was the first time in history of ODS when one part of the steadfast party supporters did not have any reason to go to the elections or gave their voice to somebody else. This mutinyContinue Reading

The financial crisis provokes strong emotions. Some say it is the capitalistic pursuit of profit that caused it all, others blame the situation on crypto-communists like George W. Bush who weakened the healthy market forces to a level that is no longer sufficient. Fear for our wallets takes our ideological prejudice to extremes. Back to ErhardWhen German cleric Ludwig Erhard came up with the term Social Market Economy a long time ago, it seemed a half-dog half-cat creature was born. But it has survived half a century, becoming an acceptable compromise that has kept Europe in the lead in terms of competitiveness and prosperity. The new winner of the Nobel economics prize, Paul Krugman, says it is the European half-dog-half-catContinue Reading