TED Conversations

Plamen Chetelyazov

This conversation is closed.

Is Western Europe indifferent to Bulgarian agony?

Bulgaria is officially the EU`s poorest member. The salaries rarely exceed 250e. The country is one of the most corrupted in the EU according to the Transparency International Index. The census data confirmed that over the twenty-year period, emigration represented a 6% loss in the total population. High emigration levels were accompanied by low fertility rates, which contributed a further 12% loss. Moreover – the country has unenviable Press Freedom Index. Reporters without borders rank Bulgaria 87 which is a great retreat because back in 2003 Bulgaria ranked 34.
On 24 February more than 300 000 Bulgarians went out into the streets to express their indignation against the political monopoly and its derivatives – the monopoly of the market, the corruption, the poverty, the unemployment, the criminality... The people shout „We want future” and want radical change of the political system because the elections push in alleged new parties made of worn out politics in disrepute. Some of the demands are: no immunity for the members of the Bulgarian Parliament, limit of their mandates, recall of all former deputies, majoritarian voting system.
So far there is no adequate response from the political elite only a cosmetic change of the government and ugly but successful attempts to mount the protest.
The spokeswoman of the European Commission Pia Hansen said: “There is a democracy in Bulgaria and we respect that” but It must be a lie because few days ago Europe blocked Schengen membership for Bulgaria due to the functionality of the judicial system.
At the same time there is a wave of desperate people who literally set themselves on fire. 4 people already died for a month and one is still fighting for his life. The most famous case is the death of Plamen Goranov and now his name stands for this dreadful and shocking epidemic. The 36 years old photographer and mountain climber set himself on fire in front of the municipality building in his hometown of Varna on Feb. 20.


Closing Statement from Plamen Chetelyazov

Capitalism does not confer the same status as democracy! In this system the money is at the same time the capital potential, the ultimate goal and the greatest might. This basis contributes to the spreading of corruption, exploitation, manipulation, emotional degradation e.t.c. One of the ugliest defects is that people are learned to consider those who are poorer also less cultured, intelligent and capable.The real alternative to capitalism is a working democracy aiming at the progress of creative education and true freedom.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Apr 5 2013: I had noticed your post a week ago, but I didn't think that I had anything to offer, so I just watched the discussion postings from time to time. Now I have read more, enough to form a comment. I maybe the first to say that your cry for help is quite justified. My suggestion is to the Administration of EU to consider the timely and cost-efficient aid to Bulgaria before it's too late (until a bloody unrest occurred). I kept my self informed about the rescue of Ireland, Greece Spain and Cyprus of the Euro Dollar Zone members. In my opinion, they should start the rescue way early before the debt problems could be solved in no longer than 5 years maximum, or kick some of them out of the Euro system completely. Since Bulgaria is not an EURO member but an EU member, a timely economic aid plan should suffice. I hope that some one in the EU Commission will read this for the sake of your fellow Bulgarians The following is my suggestion:
    The EU Central Bank should urge and guarantee capital loss for the oil companies like British Petroleum , Royal Dutch Shell, TOTAL or StatOil to invest and explore the Bulgaria Black Sea region for oil/gas. Believe me, we in the U.S. are drilling using fracking right in our backyard, and the contamination problem can be solved with reasonable cost. And the EU Administration can easily set up an agency bank in Bulgaria with a loan from the EU Central Bank to make SMALL LOANS DIRECTLY TO BULGARIAN INDIVIDUAL SMALL BUSINESSES, like that in India, without going through the government there.
    I am a business and economic major in my undergraduate study. Believe me that capitalism is not a dirty word, at least it is better than government sponsored economic model. I don't have to use examples. Look for yourself. Furthermore, the conditions like you described there, really do not have that much more "wealth" to be 'explored" by the capitalists anyway. Remember, almost all the "rich countries", even China, started thru the route of capitalism.
    • thumb
      Apr 5 2013: Bulgarian governments tyrannize Bulgarians with inadequate and ridiculous Social policy that does not meet basic human needs. This however contributes to our strict Fiscal policy and so far we do not experience debt problems. We do not need financial aid - we need to uproot corruption in order to make real use of EU funds and attract foreign investors that will actually invest instead of plunder. We desperately need educated, honest and hard working politicians who will reform every single important area of social policy - welfare state, social security, unemployment insurance, environmental policy, pensions, health care, social housing, social care, child protection, social exclusion, education policy, crime and criminal justice. That is what the spokeswoman of the European Commission had to admit.

      I like your suggestion that the EU Administration can easily set up an agency bank in Bulgaria with a loan from the EU Central Bank to make small loans directly to Bulgarian individual small businesses without going through the government. The development of this idea will definitely help.

      I am not a specialist but I do not believe that fracking is safe. Our sole wealth is what’s left of our nature and tourism is the only allegedly successful branch here. And I say “what is left of our nature” because by means of corruption large areas of the cost and the forests were built-up without any adequate ecological evaluation.

      You say that “almost all the "rich countries" started thru the route of capitalism” but we do not have the time to evolve – we are small nation with only 6000000 people and as I said the census data confirmed that over the twenty-year period, emigration represented a 6% loss in the total population. High emigration levels were accompanied by low fertility rates, which contributed a further 12% loss.

      What we really need is an urgent and applicable surviving plan aiming at the important areas of social policy.
      • Apr 5 2013: I have one response to your post above. I have already realized that even though you and I both studied economics, but the basic theories were probably quite different because of the difference in each economics courses we took. Without going in details, I would guess that in your studies of economics, capitalism causes an inferior or unfair treatment to the labor force (the exploitation of labor by the capitalists), while I was taught that economic development is based on 3 elements; capital, labor and management. But, this is not the purpose of our discussion. We should concentrate on what works in modern era.
        If you are interested, I recommend for you to read one of the current (or just expired recently) TED Discussion under the title of "...Is capitalism sustainable ....". In the discussion, there is a major current of ideas saying that although capitalism is far from perfect, there re still no systems which are clearly better than it at current time or in the past.
        Let me also refer you to search the economic development of Poland, which is one of your fellow EU member countries and also one of Bulgaria's fellow countries formerly under the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union. By the way, I just read in today's news report that Hungary is also developing the idea of small loans to the small and medium businesses in their new policy. That's all I want to say. Wish you the best of luck.
        • thumb
          Apr 7 2013: Capitalism doesn't cause an inferior and unfair treatment to the labor force in my my studies. It causes it in my life. Maybe there is no system better than capitalism but there definitely is a better form of government and it is called democracy. If you are interested, I recommend you to watch one of the current TED talks under the title of "We the people and the republic we must reclaim". Wishing you all the best!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.