EXCLUSIVE "The presidential elections could only bring about a change for the better with the help of hazard"

Recorded by ADINA ARDELEANU (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 5 decembrie 2014

 "The presidential elections could only bring about a change for the better with the help of hazard"

(Interview with Mr. Călin Georgescu, the president of the Club of Rome)

"The IMF has helped Romania get into debt to make it into an easier prey for the hyenas that are watching"

"The so-called "right" has always slept with the so-called "left" in the huge whorehouse bed that is Romanian politics"

"Subservient countries, such as Romania, can not truly fight against internal corruption"

"Direct democracy is not possible in a subservient state, with a mining- and extraction-based, neoliberal economy"

The newly over presidential elections could only bring about a change for the better merely through hazard, thinks Călin Georgescu, the president of the European Research Center of the Club of Rome, who goes on to say: "The system defends itself very well, it adapts easily, its brings it actors to the stage, and only yields out of fear, when it is cornered".

Călin Georgescu, who was an Executive Director of the National Center for Durable Development of Romania between 1997 and 2013, talked to us, in an interview, about his view on Romania's situation and its future.

The name of Călin Georgescu has been mentioned several times as a potential nomination for taking over the position of prime-minister.

Referring to the "Klaus Iohannis - president, Călin Georgescu - prime-minister" scenario, he told us: "I am ready to serve my country at any time, to work with anybody, but not unconditionally. And when it comes to the national interest, I am not open to negotiation".

The Club of Rome is a symbolic name for an organization that has as its goal to draw the attention of the whole world to various aspects concerning the future of the planet.

Reporter: What are your expectations from the new elect president of Romania?

Călin Georgescu: The main goal of any Romanian president should be protecting the nation's interest, which translates mostly into bolstering the national unified Romanian state both domestically and abroad. What is more important right now, is, I think, to talk about the expectations of the Romanian people and how we can rekindle its trust in its leaders and in the future. You can't carry out reforms with an unhappy population.

Gaining power is not hard, what matters is what you do with it for the country.

The message conveyed through the vote has been very clear: change your ways or you will be replaced. In the electoral campaign, we have only witnessed a fight for power between two clans, just like it's always been over the last 25 years. Neither the winner, nor the loser had a solid program for the country, a political program, a vision about the future and about the major domestic and international challenges. We have only witnessed the country's disunion, not its unity.

Reporter: What does Romania look like, 25 years after the fall of communism? You said: "Romania is a permanent roundabout, we have been going in circles for 25 years ". What event/measures could get us out of that roundabout? Do you think that this year's presidential elections could bring about a change?

Călin Georgescu: Romania, after 25 years of post-communism, is a country in which those who lead us and have previously led us have been willing to make any concessions or to destroy everything to get the power. The result is a country that is bankrupt, living on borrowed money, for which the collapse has become a mathematical probability, amid a huge polarization of poverty and wealth. The only rescue can come from a daring country project, devised over the long and very long term, and very heavily tailored to Romania's profound realities. This great project could become a flag, which Romanians living here and everywhere in the world could rally behind; a project which would allow us, through its drafting and implementation, to recover our independence of thought and action, as a country; as project which can essentially be done through our own resources and capabilities. It is only so, by ourselves, that we will make Romania a respected country that matters in big politics, on a European and global level.

Today, Romania is a completely subservient country, too weak to have any say in what is happening in the world. A country whose citizens have lost their professionalism, with major demographic issues, which has abandoned its sovereignty and has destroyed the concept of school work, amid an alarming increase in illiteracy. We are no longer a destination, politically speaking, but a territory that you fly over, on the way towards other areas. Economically speaking, the country is a target of choice only for those transnational corporations that rob the natural patrimony or cause the population to go physically or psychologically sick with their poisonous products. We are a known spot on the map of organized crime, of human trafficking, a destination for the plundering of the patrimony or of natural resources, waste dumping and so many others criminal activities. Subservient countries, such as Romania, can not truly fight against internal corruption. In spite of the official rhetoric, they can not truly benefit from alliances with the powerful nations. In an extreme situation, a powerful country will not save a completely subordinated country that is in trouble, regardless of how many official guarantees it will have offered the former, it will only use it. The former Romanian states have had such experiences, not too long ago, think of the sad year 1812. And nowadays, Ukraine's example is more than telling.

In 25 years, Romania took a major step back away from history, from any debate concerning the major challenges of the world, it has been absent from the stage of diplomacy.

This country needs a calling. And that can only be achieved through a major project, that would unleash the energies of the whole nation. A project that would identify Romania's niche in the global competition of the 21st century, that would rebuild the country based on this fundamental premise; to create safe and well-paid jobs, a healthcare system focused on care for the individual instead of the profit of the pharmaceutical industry and the private health insurance companies; a project that would strategically rethink all the economic activities, reindustrialize the country using non-polluting technologies and the principles of civic economy - the economic model that I am proposing; to restore professionalism and to bring back Romanians' pleasure to work; above all else, a project with a perfect strategy for education, research, innovation, coupled with a demographic one, in order to ensure the nation will endure into eternity. For that, we need enthusiastic teachers and professors, fully dedicated to the nation's cause, models for youngsters. The love for beauty, for art should be reborn in every Romanian city. Let's not hesitate to bring in foreign specialists where needed. That is a perfectly natural thing to do, and it happens everywhere in the world where the desire for performance is above everything else - take for instance the case of the Canadian appointed as governor of the Bank of England. Major international issues, such as energy or resources, should be discussed in Bucharest. Serious international institutions, not the offices of some dummy corporations, should be located in Romania. That's what it means to be well regarded internationally, to matter and to be respected.

Spiru Haret used to say: "You invest in education, you reap in economy ". Evil forces have knowingly destroyed the love of country, patriotism, they have disrupted our history, to deprive us of the love for our land and of the will to be a worthy nation. The biggest political thinker of the Romanian nation, Mihai Eminescu, said: "Without the cult of the past there is no love of country ".

Going back to the elections that have just ended, they could only bring about a change for the better merely through hazard, The system defends itself very well, it adapts easily, its brings it actors to the stage, and only yields out of fear, when it is cornered.

Reporter: Do you think that there will be a reformation of the political class, as "the Facebook generation" massively came out to vote and punished those who have ignored it? Do you think that intellectuals have woken from their slumber?

Călin Georgescu: Social networks will not be able to produce a reformation of the political class. They can only act as a catalyst of reform, but they remain mere mass communication means of the times, which are used by honest people, as well as by crooks. The Facebook generation, used to constantly google using its smartphones, is overwhelmed by the volume of information it is being assaulted with. Its members cursorily absorb everything in a hurry and they do not have the patience to study things thoroughly. No one studies things thoroughly anymore in Romania and no one reads books anymore. In fact, 85% fewer books get sold than they used to 25 years ago. This is why the population can be manipulated through slogans and extravagant propaganda, devoid of truth and content. In Romania, some clans have been more skilled at using the social networks than others and as a result, they got a temporary political advantage. As for the power of "direct democracy" which makes the young people on Facebook so enthusiastic, it is an illusion for the most part. It exists in the virtual space, but it is very hard to implement in reality, as part of the current neoliberal system. Let's not forget that the system itself uses the internet to improve its image and to manipulate the population. I am all for direct, participative democracy. Direct democracy is not possible in a subservient state, with a mining- and extraction-based, neoliberal economy. It can only flourish in a civic economy, having a strong public sector as a partner, one that is guided by the idea of cooperation, in which every player participating in the social dialogue fights for the common ideal. What is needed first of all is an economic democracy. The notion of owner-worker is missing in the public discourse; this "molecule" of the civic economy is generated by the wide spread of productive ownership thanks to the forms of modern cooperatives or the organization of small producers into clusters, according to the Mondragón or Emilia Romagna model. We speak of "decentralization" when in fact, we should be talking about "distributed" systems. We speak about "infinite growth " when in fact we need a revolution of sustainability.

The centralization/decentralization pair belongs to the old, socialist and neoliberal paradigm. The civic economy that I am proposing, and which is already a force in many areas of the world, thinks in terms of "distributed" systems, of "peer to peer" dynamics, and small scale local production. Individual farmer agriculture, helped by the know-how of postindustrial agriculture, is more productive than industrial agriculture, which is eminently destructive. In Romania, however, farmer agriculture is still viewed as a hindrance by those who have the power.

While the Romanian economic system is about to implode, we are not doing any better in the area of culture and spirituality. It's very hard to find an upstanding intellectual nowadays. Romanian is being simply being butchered, it's like it has become a foreign language, its corruption is being promoted from the highest forums. The official church is tainted, and the hidden church is being oppressed. Most of the population is being led through imposture by the Pharisees who, as they live in sin, are always worried about losing their positions, and thus they seek to surround themselves with serfs who pay taxes, used for the debauchery and the vanities of their masters.

The reform of the political class has been discussed at length. This is false, because the goal is merely the redistribution of power and gaining advantages for those who hold it, by rotation. The only constant activity of the political class, over the last 25 years has been and remains the siphoning of the state's money, getting rich without any qualms. The current political class can not be reformed. It has to be replaced.

Reporter: What is your opinion on the measures that the Romanian government has taken over the last year? Which decisions do you think have been pro-business and which of them have harmed the business sector?

Călin Georgescu: I find it hard to think of any pro-business measures, considering the generalized chaos in the last year. Even though there have been some specific good measures, like the 5 pp cut of the Social Security contributions, they can not be separated from the disastrous context. As a matter of fact, even the measure of cutting the social security contributions was severely criticized politically, due to the failure to present in a transparent and credible manner the resources which would offset the drop in state budget revenue it would cause. Because of that, a measure which was considered very good for the business sector was perceived as a blunder or an electoral handout. The business sector has been hurt through the special construction tax (also known as the "pole tax"), which did result in increased revenues to the state budget, but which were obtained by taxing the honest taxpayers, who already had to bear a heavy fiscal burden.

On the other hand, most of the deeds in Romania are made with a correctional intent. Because of the high level of tax evasion, the laws try to stifle crime more than they try to stimulate the business sector. As a direct consequence, every economic entity is treated the same, as if they were all criminals. Absolutely every company is viewed by the laws and by the inspection bodies that way; accounts get frozen, demands for payment are sent by the tax administration, and companies' operations are disturbed, disregarding "the national fiscal interest". Thus, the state behaves like a swarm of ants, where everyone does their job of carrying their grains around, but there is no queen. There is no attention paid to the end result, which should be supporting the business sector and creating jobs.

The lack of concrete measures to fight tax evasion across the whole economic circuit has allowed businesspeople with feet of clay to get rich. Thus, in the trade area, for example, the state has no control over intra-community acquisitions, and thus there is an abundance of so-called dummy-companies, and tax evasion continues across the entire circuit, until the sale to the end consumers (individuals) without receipts.

There is no cash control in Romania. There was a draft law concerning a restriction of cash transactions, but the draft is stuck in the Parliament. Thus, the so-called dirty money in the economy circulates freely, in a financial circuit that allows the beneficiaries of illicit transactions to get rich, buying properties and other assets using cash, sometimes for huge amounts. Capping cash payments would force a large portion of the dirty money in the economy to surface, and the state would directly benefit from the taxation of those amounts.

Reporter: The activity of the National Anti-Corruption (DNA) has been very intense, during the electoral campaign. What are your expectations from this institution from hereon in?

Călin Georgescu: The Romanian judicial system is selective, abusive and very blatant in its selection, it will make an example as publicly as possible of those who are various opponents or those who support differing interests in the media, and those who are close to it get protected. Somewhere down the road, all those who got convicted reach a deal anyway; if the judicial system were fair, it would have done its job in every case, and the corrupt people who went to prison would have seen their fortune confiscated. The huge amounts stolen from the Romanian state could have represented a good foundation for national investment projects - which isn't happening.

Reporter: What is Romania's chance at development? What would be the steps of your project towards developing Romania?

Călin Georgescu: Starting off from what we know for sure is going to happen in the world, in other words a crisis of water and food, we can identify Romania's niche in the global economy. I have proposed a revolution of sustainability and a country project, "Food, Water and Energy", through which Romania could conquer the world, not just rebuild itself. It is a solution for prosperity by returning to simplicity. In other words, an economic model of proximity, where productive private property is bolstered, people are given the opportunity to provide security for their family, and the surplus of their work goes into the local and national economic circuit. This "Micro" is distributed across the board, and small companies ensure their economic autonomy by cooperating as part of a network. It is this model that has helped the tremendous growth of Taiwan or of the Toscana region, and partially, of Silicon Valley, to give you just a few examples. By investing in the infrastructure of the future, we will succeed in making Romania a model for many other countries. Especially amid the serious dysfunctionalities of the neoliberal model, the degradation of life all over Europe and the lack of vision of the EU, which continues to sink deep into crisis.

Reporter: Your name has been repeatedly mentioned as a nomination for the prime-minister position. How likely is the scenario Klaus Iohannis - president, Călin Georgescu - prime-minister? Would you accept such a position, under the current circumstances?

Călin Georgescu: I am ready to serve my country at any time, to work with anybody, but not unconditionally. And when it comes to the national interest, I am not open to negotiation.

Reporter: You've said that the needs of Romania's foreign policy are, first of all, preserving the identity of the state against the attacks from non-statal entities, in other words of the corporations and of "strategic investors" like hedge funds. What levers does the state have available to preserve its identity, in the context of globalization?

Călin Georgescu: The most precious institution that man has created over the course of history is the state. A society without the state is like a body without its head; such a society can expect anarchy, fragmentation and finally dissolution. When the state becomes captive, like it is now in Romania, it is no longer a state. It is just a chaos that is well-managed by those who have parasitized the state. The state has essentially been privatized and is no longer capable of responding to society's needs. The common good no longer exists as the supreme goal of the state.

There is no foundation more solid than the state-citizen pair. When the state is hit, undermined, incapacitated, its citizens become a population, an amorphous mass, they turn into creatures submitting to manipulation and uprooting.

Look at where Romanians are today, they've become foreigners in their own country!

The state is a wall of defense for everything that means Romanian life and culture. In its absence, our identity, our continued existence are in danger.

I am in favor of a powerful state.

Romania nowadays is a country under assault by corporations that have no country, whose single goal is immediate profit, by exploiting natural resources and people, who have become a resource as well. When interest from foreigners will no longer exist, because the resources have been depleted, or when the bill will be too high compared to the operating costs, the country will be abandoned like a depleted mine. And then it will be divided between the hyenas that surround it, because the only remaining stake will be geopolitical. In other words of the colony status of an "in-between" country, exclusively known for its "vocation" of being sold to foreigners for 30 silvers by the vassals who have climbed up in various public offices.

During these 25 years, every Romanian politician has unconditionally backed the extractive neoliberal model. This has not opposed communism, it has succeeded it with different means, as both systems need money to work. Implemented in life, the "Food, water, energy" project would mean, for Romania, the escape from the Babylonic captivity that it's been sentenced to through betrayal, imposture and theft. In order to prosper, the civic economy needs people that are independent, free, with a mentality and dignity of owners. No political party has sought to emancipate the people, meaning to provide every Romanian with the opportunity to be the master of their own destiny, in a country that is powerful and respected. The national interest has been nothing more than another made-up notion for politicians. The so-called "right" has always slept with the so-called "left" in the huge whorehouse bed that is Romanian politics.

For over 25 years, Romanian neoliberals, whether they place themselves on the left or on the right of the political stage, keep trying to convince us that the state shouldn't get involved in the economy. The economic chaos controlled by the criminal factions, where the state-owned companies have been privatized, is euphemistically called "the minimal state". I am a critic of the "minimal state" concept and I support the rebirth of the state owned company where there are natural monopolies, which are needed due to national security requirements (natural resources, hydroelectric dams, high-voltage power lines), and where the essential services need to be secured (mail; public transportation, healthcare, education, water distribution, etc.). With one very important mention, however: the management of state-owned companies has to be subjected to market discipline, and their management has to be faultless. We will be capable to limit and even eliminate the harmful influence of the non-statal entities, if we turn Romania into an economic fortress. Its walls of defense, in the economic sector, would be state-owned companies, the extended sector of the proximity economy, a financial sector characterized by the rekindling and the domination of popular banks and of credit unions, a farmer-dominated agriculture developed based on the most effective methods of postindustrial agriculture. And as a social unit, the most motivated entities, when it comes to defending Romania's economy, are families, and as economic entities, small producers, workers-owners who belong to associations (including the professional associations such as guilds), farming households, designers and innovators, the craftsmen of the 21st century.

I am strongly convinced that Romania needs a state of mind, not doctrines, and that can only come from the whole Romanian nation accepting a major country project. There can be nothing hidden, occult, ambiguous. Everything has to be transparent, clearly explained, easily understandable, so that Romanians know what they are fighting for. Then we will see how much strength we have and what we are capable of.

Reporter: Do you still stand by your opinion that Romania should not join the Euro? How do you support that statement?

Călin Georgescu: Of course I do! And what's more, I am saying that the national currency is the only important card we have left to play when it comes to maintaining our independence as a country.

For the correct information of citizens a very serious debate is necessary before deciding whether Romania should join the Eurozone or not. There are secondary effects that need to be analyzed - for instance, the artificial increase in prices.

Without going into too many technical details (there is a study by Giovanni Mastrobuoni, of Princeton University, which explains the technical side very well), we can say that - in spite of the official reports that have concluded that the switch to the Euro would have a limited impact in terms of price increases - the phenomenon was never fully investigated. So far, the analysis has been confined to the dynamic of inflation, but inflation is a synthetic indicator of the increase in prices that does not take under consideration essential elements, such as the people's need for time to get used to something new or the fact that some prices will unavoidably be "rounded". The perception of the majority of the EU citizens is that the switch to the Euro has caused significant price increases. Even Germans call it Teuro (Teur means "expensive" in German).

Another secondary effect is the abandonment of a very important lever - monetary policy. At a time where there is no longer a consensus between the major Western countries concerning monetary policy (see last year's situation, when Germany, Holland and Austria voted against the cut of the interest rate by the ECB), how will a country like Romania be able to defend its interests?

Please take the example of Great Britain. It is in the EU and it still maintains its national currency, the pound sterling. Why do you think that is? And then we immediately remember that London is the true financial-banking center of Europe and of the world.

Only scoundrels can so easily accept something so shady, simply because it is "European" or because that's what they are told to do.

There is nothing that is more important than national interest, not even life!

But unfortunately, in Romania, decision makers think small and act even smaller.

We need to think "out of the box", think freely, if we want to replace the current bankrupt economic model. We can't allow the financial sector to dominate the real economy anymore. The source of evil in the world is debt-money, which is the exclusive property of the banking system. Why couldn't the sovereign people issue money? Hundreds of cities all over the world issue "local money" - why couldn't a sovereign state do it? I am thinking of a currency that would truly belong to citizens, based on a fractional reserve of 100%. A restructured financial system, wherein lending is the separate from the issuing of currency. That kind of measures could make money work for the real economy, rather than for banks, would eliminate public and private debts, the inflation/deflation cycles and would allow a taxation rate of no more than 5%. We would achieve a redistribution of wealth and of private property based on merits and productive capabilities, eliminating financial speculation forever. it is not a pipe dream, but it takes courage, willingness to sacrifice, and love of country.

Reporter: How do you see Romania's relationship with its international partners, in the context of the conflicts in the region?

Călin Georgescu: I am going to quote general De Gaulle: "Countries don't have friends, they have allies, and alliances are useful as long as they serve the interest of your state".

As long as you are not strong economically, you allow great minds to compete in your country, you don't have a solid culture and society, you don't matter. Backstage deals, made only to protect certain people and the former secret police have destroyed the country.

Like I've already said: a country with leaders that are trying to outdo each other in serving others does not have partners, because it can not sit at the negotiation table, but rather under the table, shining the shoes of the powerful, i.e. those sitting at the table. Writer and political analyst Lev Vershinin reports an incident that is telling, in that regard: on February 20th, 2014, Ukrainian leader Yanukovich signed a deal with the opposition, an understanding whose guarantors were the foreign ministers of Poland, Germany and France. The next day, Yanukovich fled, and the guarantor powers washed their hands of the deal, because anything is permitted in the relationships with a weak and completely subservient state. There are many such examples, all over the world.

Today, Romania is a weak, poor and înapoiat, and what happened to Ukraine can very well happen to Romania, in one form or another, regardless of the membership in any organizations, partnerships, etc. No one is going to defend us, we have to be strong and be capable of defending ourselves.

Reporter: What is your opinion on Romania's relationship with the IMF?

Călin Georgescu: The term "relationship" is not accurate. A powerful country and a true leader would end the contract and any kind of "collaboration" with the IMF. Please name one place, of all those where it got involved, where the IMF has brought about prosperity? There isn't even one, please check. The IMF has helped Romania get into debt to make it into an easier prey for the hyenas that are watching. And that is following the initiative and through the plotting of those appointed to defend it and whose false reputation conceals the major fraud going on in this country.

Reporter: How can Romania prepare itself to deal with the water and food crisis, predicted to happen in 2020?

Călin Georgescu: Land is the greatest wealth that we have. The soil is Romania's true goldmine. And land isn't a commodity, it is our property, of everyone else's, it may not be sold, alienated, because it is the cornerstone of our birth and survival as a people. If we understand that and constantly live with that feeling, day by day, we make agriculture the spearhead of our national economic development, with the entire industry, with education and research subordinated to that objective. We will make the individual farmer household the European model of healthy living, and the Romanian peasant the authentic Christian symbol of the endurance of the Romanian people and the authentic carrier of civilization, in Europe and all over the world.

We are going to plan the wheat exchange in Brăila and the energy exchange in Bucharest, we are going to make Constanţa Romania's number one economic gateway, bigger than the Henri Coandă airport, and through exporting healthy food and clean water we are going to conquer Europe and the world!

This is our legacy, but also our vocation and our destiny, it is not a possible alternative among many, it is the only one! There is no plan B, because we do not have another country, all we have is Romania.

And first of all, I want the Romanian people to know what it wants and to realize what it can do!

Reporter: Thank you!

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