N O W , L O O K H E R E !
Chris MYRSKI, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2001 ...
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[ Remark: As far as the book is enormously big it is published here, by old habit, in small booklets amounting to about 50 (to 100) KB, containing normally from three to five papers. With this booklet begins the Section "For Newspapers" with its Contents, and the first portion of six materials. To add also that the footnotes, again by established here habit, are marked with "*" and placed immediately after the paragraph in [ ... ] brackets. ]
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CONTENTS OF THE SECTIONS
I. For Journals
II. For Newspapers
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Contents Of Section "For Newspapers"
The truth about Bulgaria
About the market and the Bulgarian
Five years of devastation
Do you want to lose your 13th pension?
Time to draw conclusions
About the elections and the demos
Requiem for one coalition
Something more about democracy
What we have messed with the Currency Board
Convergence, what is this?
Why the communism has fallen down?
And where are we?
Predictions for the year 1999
Can the Bulgarian pay 50% taxes?
Reflections on the eve of the "holiday"
About democracy and melioration
About democratic phenomenon
A step forward and two back
Again sharp turn
Oh God, what we eat!
Why the cocks crow early morning?
Does global warming exist?
The fatal 2013 year in Bulgaria
Why we vote, when we ... don't vote?
About the fascism from common sense positions
About the Social Ministry in Bulgaria
How to improve democratic protests?
Read Chris Myrski (in the sense of political reviews)
Thoughts about Ukraine
... new for newspapers
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THE TRUTH ABOUT BULGARIA*
[ * It was published on the 4th page of the newspaper "Anti" for 26 Aug - 01 Sep 1994, almost without abridgements, but under the rubric "Sorrowful results" (author Chris Mirkov), implicating entirely different (of the UDF) meaning. ]
In order to save time of already overloaded with information reader I will share with him (or her) this truth in the very beginning, freeing him in this way of the necessity to read the material at all. So, the truth is that we are incredibly poor!
And now, for those who will find five minutes free I will itemize five reasons why I think that this is so.
1. Somewhere about a month earlier was raised the question about our national reserve, where it turned out that it came up to 32 tonnes of gold (I quote from memory). It is interesting that then I have heard not a single economist, no matter that we have quite a lot such clever people (or, maybe, exactly for that reason?), to have made the simple arithmetic that 30 something tonnes, these are 30 something thousand kilos, or a bit more than 30 million grams, what if we divide to 10 mln Bulgarians (roughly speaking) gives by three grams and a bit per capita! In other words, the national reserve for each one of Bulgarians equals 1/10 ounce of gold, what, practically, is the smallest golden coin with size a little bigger than that of one stotinka /cent, only that made of pure gold (one golden dollar, or other coin is usually about 10 and more grams). More or less as much weighs the simplest wedding ring (about 5 grams), recalculated in 14 carat gold).
2. Many times I hear that they speak about international loans, which are given to Bulgaria by one or another organization, for this or that occasion, during the ruling of "our" Government, or, respectively, of "other" one. And it usually goes about sums of the order of 80 mln dollars, 150 mln dollars, even, I think, there were talks about 300 mln dollars (here and further I mean US dollars, naturally). As you see I am pretty imprecise with these numbers, because even if we were granted a loan of 500 mln $, than this would have given approximately by 50 dollars for a head, or a dinner in a decent (not luxurious) restaurant in the country giving us the loan. In other words, our creditors do not dare even to "pay us one dinner", because they doubt that we will succeed to return them the money sometime. And mark, please, that people speak about milliards only when it goes about our tiny levs (our national currency), or when this is our whole foreign debt.
3. One of the things, about which is spoken a lot, but never comes time to do it, is the privatization. In order not to sound unfounded I will make comparison with one of the "ours" (former communist country)— with the Czech Republic, which has population more or less like in Bulgaria, and a bit smaller territory. From the beginning of the last year (as far as I know), the Czechs have received the corresponding bonds or points for 50,000 crowns per head, which in the previous year were equal to our 50,000 levs, but now they come to 100,000 levs. At the same time we speak about privatization by us for 25,000 levs, and if it will be conducted at once, then it will be now not four but five times less than that in Czech republic (taking into account the bank interest rates for the gone away more than an year), and when it will be performed in Bulgaria then this ratio will be probably 10 times less per capita.
4. In regard of working salaries, then there these numbers are even more drastic: the minimal taxable salary in Bulgaria is roughly 2,000 lv, or 40 US$, against 1,000 - 1,200 US$ in a "normal" country; and the average salary is 60 - 80 US$, against 2,500 - 3,000 US$ in "normal" countries (the quotes are at the discretion of the reader about this, what is this normal country). In general, the proportion is about 30 times, what is quite real, because after the opening of our market the prices have nearly equalized (although I will not argue if someone will begin to state that our real salary is "only" 25 times less).
5. At the end, the fact that the alcohol by us is 7-8 times less expensive than in the "normal" countries (what is confirmed by the difference in prices in Bulgaria between our perfumed vodka bearing the name of traditional for us hard drink "rakiya", and the original Scotland raki /vodka called whiskey), says that the Bulgarian is so poor, that he even "can't get drunk like the other people" (for, if he could, you can be sure, the state should have begun to profit from this).
So that the truth, as was said in the beginning, is that we are incredibly (but, alas, you must give credit to the author) poor, though the optimists assert that everything will improve ... if we will have more luck with the politicians, as we have had in the football.
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ABOUT THE MARKET AND THE BULGARIAN*
(When we have a free market it remains only to learn how to shop)
[ * It is published an old and quite shortened version on page 10 of the newspaper "Newspaper for the home" even on 11-18 Nov 1994. Later is published almost full version on page 8 of the newspaper "Kontinent" of 28 Oct 1998. ]
Looking at our market for the last years one can come to the conclusion that it is not such as one would have liked it to be, or, saying it otherwise, not like in the other Western countries. In addition to the economic reasons and levers, with which the state must regulate the production and market, which we shall leave to the specialists, i.e. economists, to discuss (because the existence of market does not mean that it must function entirely unguided), significant influence shows also the psyche of Bulgarian buyer, which still is based on the model of centralized supply from totalitarian times. More precisely, such is the psyche of the people in the age above 50, but they are the major buyers by us, for the reason that those engaged with regular working hours are shopping at least twice less than the unemployed and pensioners. We will focus on five important moments of market economy, that are not enough clear to the masses, or at least are not well realized but are taken for some exceptions. They are the following:
1. Each company works for itself,
with the exception of financed by the state and the so called non-profit organizations, which work for to spend the given to them funds (or according to the well known from our past rule: "the goal is to justify the means"). There is not a firm or company that works for the client, in its disadvantage, with the exception of those cases where the interests of the clients coincide with those of the company, or in some short periods — of creating of its image! But except a work for gain or without it there is simply not a third way for functioning of a company for prolonged period of time. Such is the market, such is the capitalism, yet that is life.
2. Each price is established by the client,
not the producer, or the intermediary merchant, who may make all possible prognoses and analyses, but until "his majesty" the client says his heavy word these are only "calculations without the innkeeper" (as we in Bulgaria say). This is quite elementary, but not realized by the majority of Bulgarians, especially by the pensioners, who still think that there must be some committee on prices, as it was in the past. In order to convince ourselves in the correctness of our statement let us imagine that is sold such product which nobody can afford the luxury to by (say, space shuttle), and then whatever the companies have done, however scientifically they have set its price, the product would have not found its buyer. The producer or the merchant have the first word, but it is not determinative until the client accepts the product silently (similarly with the family, where the man is the head but the woman is the neck, as we like to say, and without her the head can do nothing). The influence, anyway, is mutual, but it is important to understand what is determinative. The ignorance about this situation not only produces many emotions for the elderly people (this, is some extent, is not so bad for them, because they need emotions, even the negative ones), but also inhibits the market, for the reason that, creating possibilities for momentary gains for some merchants, this, in fact, worsens their image as a whole (and isn't of advantage for anybody, since it isn't advantageous for the market).
3. Each advertisement is paid by the client
and, of course, not by the company, since it works only for gain! This statement is etymologically put in Slavonic word reklama, i.e. the English word "reclaim", which is decomposed in re + claim, and must mean returning of the invested in it money, what it also means in English (though there this is not exactly an advertisement; yet the Bulgarian word means also returning of some product back). The proper English word "advertisement", for its part, means something added to the price, only that here the root is German Vert meaning a value (what leads us to the Latin). This is quite naturally, but it is insulting (for those who come to the idea to give a thought about the matter) that the one who buys some widely advertised product pays, in reality, the advertising also for those who do not buy it. Still, every cloud has a silver lining, as the English proverb goes, what in this case reduces to this, that the ads outline the range of goods which are not pretty necessary for the general public, and, hence, a thoughtful buyer must restrain himself from buying them (looking for alternative things). Nobody does advertise bread, or cheese, or potatoes, sunflower oil, sugar, etc. (only if they are very special in something, and in this case also several times more expensive), because everybody knows them and buys in all cases, but are advertised: coca-cola, alcohol, cigarettes, sporting goods, prostitutes (ouch, sorry, "companions"), et cetera. The advertising, unquestionably, is the soul of trade and we can not do without it, but it is useful if the general public knows that the expenditures for it begin with 10% and reach to one third of the price of the product.**
[ ** It can be added that the contemporary market and economy rely mainly on the ... snobbery of citizens — but when one can allow himself to be a snob, not in conditions of misery. (From where one can draw the conclusion that — ha, ha — that the snobbery is cured in the easiest way with continuous misery!). ]
4. The market has no global regularities,
it has only some local tendencies (or trends), but also for them there is no guaranty how long they will continue, and this is the most important thing that has to be known. More precisely: the only global regularity which the market has is that it has no global regularities, which were accessible for the uninitiated (or profane) citizens, for the simple reason that they alone are participants in it, and when some regularity becomes obvious and people begin to correct their behaviour according to it, then it already changes, most often turning into its antipode! Even for the enlightened specialists in economics and marketing it, still, remains a phenomenon which can be analyzed (usually post factum), but not predicted sufficiently well. The model of saturated with a given product market correlates in some extent with the question of predicting the droughts, or floods, or flooding of the Nile, where the great (practically unlimited) number of unknowns makes the exact solution of the equation impossible. In addition to this the ads and all sorts of momentous moods of the masses can disturb the calculations (while for the flooding of Nile, for example, is of no importance what is the meaning of the ... crocodiles on the question).
For this reason the success comes more often to large companies, because they apply (if at all, of course) the only right strategy for moderate winnings, known under the name "divide and conquer" (or divide ed impera in Latin), investing in different areas, for to make possible that, loosing in one of them, they will gain in some other one. The small scale producer or buyer has practically no chances to win with risky operations as a rule, only as an exception, and for him remains the single possibility to work hard, yet not for to win but not to lose, and in such case he will do well with some minimal profit in a saturated market. The bad thing is that in Bulgaria both, the producers and the buyers, still dream to become rich at once, to grab a lot of money, and ... as a rule they lose. But what to do — this is characteristic for the stage of "green" capitalism, or for the period of initial accumulating (or stealing) of capitals, and this pursuit of the "golden calf" has continued in USA, probably, for more than a century, so that why it not to continue by us for at least half a century?
5. The market is profitable only for those, who can influence it,
and these are basically the large scale producers and traders, while the smaller producers and common buyers are forced to adjust to it, what in many cases is not in their interest. If our supply under the centralized planning, for example with foodstuffs, was not especially good, then this was explainable, either with some peculiarities of our market, or with our unwillingness to make it better (on account of, in the general case, our low living standard, although it is much lower today), because in Czech Republic in the sausage shops earlier were at least a dozen of varieties of sausages, and even in the former ("unbreakable") Soviet Union almost always were at least five sorts of cheeses and about ten assortments of melted cheeses, while in Bulgaria in the best case were two sorts of white cheese and two sorts of cheese. And besides, the abundance of products on the market does not necessarily mean abundance also at the homes, in what we now, on our bitter experience, become convinced. The competition, surely, is a good thing for stimulating of production, but it can be imitated also with a well done planning.
The market is good for the buyer when it is saturated and people make their purchases evenly and predictably. When this is done "on strips" or stormy, were it because somebody has said that certain product will rise in price (as a result of what it really rises), were it because people want to spend their money faster, in order to oppose the rapid devaluation, and then stay half an year "assimilating the food" like a python having devoured a whole lamb, or on the contrary — don't buy anything because wait until the product drops in price, and while they wait it begins to rise up — all this only hinders the normal market relations, from what the buyer indisputably loses. Lose as a rule also the sellers (and the producers who stay behind them), because the lack of rhythm confuses all forecasts. As the experienced men say, everything bad on this world comes from irregular relations (meaning intercourses), but the market is a kind of "intercourse" between the sellers and the buyers, and if we want that both parts took pleasure in this game (for the market is an interesting game and field for expression of many of us) then this must be done showing more intellect, or (what, as if, comes to the same thing) respect to the partner.
If we now want to outline
the main differences of our market from the Western one,
we are bound to acknowledge the following two things: the Bulgarian most often buys at high prices; and the production is done, usually, in packets, not evenly! In his desire to buy something cheaper the common buyer continues to make traditional queues, and in this situation the merchants offer him either abnormally high prices (they, surely, have not gone mad for to want to lose), or products of lower quality (again for the same reason). With this behaviour of his the Bulgarian as if alone "muddles the water" and nobody is guilty for the harm that he has made to himself! The advantages of market economy can show itself when the producer begins to look for a buyer for his goods and with that purpose tries to make them better, not vice versa. Another confusing moment comes from incomprehension of the difference between current shopping by little and some kinds of hoarding, where the majority of people buy en bloc not because of some reducing of prices (which to propose them there in so way, when they alone hurry to buy in bulk), but because that is what has got into their heads, or they have used to do so. When our people have decided that there has come the season for making of pickles then they, in any case, buy in bulk, and due to this in that time the prices jump up, although tomatoes can be canned in June and July, for example, if then they are cheaper. It is high time to learn to buy this, what they offer us (cheaper) in the moment, not this, what we want to buy, because this approach is more profitable not only for the buyer, but also for the seller, who has put out his goods and has interest to sell them. This is not question of poverty, because the Western people, who are ten times wealthier than us, react better to seasonable or momentous prices, stabilizing them in this way, while by us they "go crazy". And, surely, we must become used to the fact that on the market the goods never end, because their presence is maintained via the price mechanism!
The wish for quick enrichment, for its part, forces the producers to rush to "flood" the market with this, what is the most demanded, forgetting that they are not alone in the market and that the other producers make just the same. For this reason one year the potatoes become very cheaper, in another year these are the peppers, then tomatoes, then onion, then sugar, and so on, because each one bases his calculations on the gains in the previous year, which calculations are done "without the innkeeper". The market also without this is prone to cyclicity (as each natural process in the world) and there is no necessity to increase it, drawing down the lower positions of prices, and up — the higher ones. If we don't know in which direction to draw, then it is better not to draw at all, and instead of looking for maximal gain to look for constant and moderate one.
Of course, nobody was born knowing, and we have to adapt to the market long time, but the important thing is to understand that it is common for the whole nation and we are participants in it. The wish for personal win is natural, but the pursuit of mutual pleasure must also become natural for the Bulgarian. At any rate, there is no other way!
1994, Oct 1998
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FIVE YEARS OF DEVASTATION*
[ * Published on page 2 of the newspaper "Anteni" from 26 Oct 1994, shortened to the half but in this spirit (under a fictitious pseudonym A. Z. S-ov, decoded as Atanas Savov, what is entirely wrong guess). ]
There have gone five years from the time when our "Bai Tosho" have come down from the political scene (helped by his fighting comrades), five years when different political powers (parliamentary, extra-parliamentary, and backstage) have ruined everything what was possible to be ruined in our long-suffering homeland, and with "enviable" success! Conscientiously or unintentionally, reasonably or not, aiming at political or personal favours, but these five years (there's one word, by the way in the Slavonic languages, something like "fiveyeary") can be rightfully named five years of the biggest devastation: devastation in the "Party and Government", devastation in the Trade-unions, devastation in the Church, devastation in the army, as also in the militia-police, devastation in the science, devastation in the culture, devastation in the education, as well as in the healthcare, devastation in the center of Sofia, as also in the periphery, and in other towns, devastation in the villages, devastation in the scientific institutes and in the factories, devastation of the nature, as also in the human souls! Five years of devastation right and left, up and down, devastation amidst young and amidst old! But, still, each rule has its exceptions, namely: there has flourished moral laxity, has flourished crime and corruption, has flourished human stupidity everywhere where possible. From Balkan countries we were, maybe, the most educated, although the poorest state — now we are only the poorest (after Albania)! We have rejected the totalitarianism with total devastation — hurrah, gentlemen!
It is another question whether was necessary to destroy all this (and what exactly) or not, but the fact is that we have destroyed everything. Many can object that one can not build a new house on the rotten foundations of the old one, that it is necessary first to demolish them (maybe in order to build a new "factory of our life" — how has put it our poet Nikola Vaptsarov), that all this is valid for all totalitarian institutes, that they could not have reformed from within and it was necessary to crush them down and substitute with new ones, that as our science, so also our education, and medicine, and army, and militia, must have been created anew. This might be so, gentlemen, but when it is necessary to demolish our old house, then where will we live until we built the new one? What reasonable owner destroys his old house not having secured at least a temporary home? And our "temporary home" have become the campgrounds — both, literally and figuratively! We have rejected the red "bright future" in order to substitute it with blue one, but changing of the colour does not remove the utopia, it only creates turmoil on the "building site" of our life. The having become proverbial under the totalitarianism pun, that the errors of growth have turned to growth of errors, continues to be valid also today!
Whereas in some other countries it does not happen so! And I am not speaking about some distant and exotic countries but about some of our "brotherly", and even Slavonic, if you want, countries. And really, why it did not happen so in Czech Republic or Slovakia, and in Hungary, and in the Baltic countries? Why when in the other countries people have done gentle revolutions, in Bulgaria have happened "rough disorders"? Why when the other countries (well, surely not all of them) have rejected the communism, in order to show that they have realized its falsity, we have stuck to it as if have grasped a bag with gold coins, and later, when the same countries have begun already a turn to the left, in order to show that they have matured enough, for not to come to extremities in the negation, we continue to turn to the right and will we continue even more in this direction? Do we, really, like so much the poverty that still can not jump over the level from the times of "Bai Tosho" (with our about 50 US$ average monthly working salary nowadays), or are we chasing the level of Somalia? And why the Czech crown for five years has devalued roughly twice, while for this period our lev has done this at least 25 times? Well, we are not like in Russia or in Serbia, but we have also not their problems.
So that, if we are wise enough to perceive that we are silly (as have said the ancient folks), then we should have looked around first in Bulgaria, for to convince ourselves (if we have still some doubts about this) that everything is collapsing, then abroad, for to convince ourselves that it can be otherwise; and then to think a bit what a thing we can do in order not to give reasons to the civilized countries to laugh at the "drunkenness" of our whole nation (as has called it in his time our Renaissance writer Ivan Vazov), what has already begun to look like chronic alcoholism, because continues for such long time.
In the moment, in fact, we hesitate in which direction to move: to the left, when the "bright communist future" turned out to be complete utopia and the way to it — total stagnation, or to choose the right-wing capitalism from the beginning of the century, which proved to be quite cruel for our poor nation, and also amoral enough. But who looks for the truth at the ends he will not find it there! And the question also is not in this to avoid the oscillation (because this is impossible and would have been our next utopia), but to lessen its amplitude, to search for the state of equilibrium, to stick to the axial line of the way, to float in the middle of the river, or how you want to name this centralizing, what is just a question of reasonability. Otherwise it becomes free oscillation. Such oscillation, what we would have had if we take a wooden plank, fix it motionless at one end, deflect its other end to the left (for example) and leave it — then the free end will move initially in the right end position, then will return to the left, then again will move to the right, and so on many times, where most slowly it will move and most longer it will stay exactly in the end positions, which are the worst, while with greatest speed it will pass exactly the state of equilibrium, where it must finally stop. So that this is what would have done a wood or a tree, but we are not trees, gentlemen! ... Or, maybe, we, still, are trees?
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DO YOU WANT TO LOSE YOUR 13TH PENSION?
It is true that our people have become poor, the money does not suffice, and the more it does not suffice to those who have less then the others — this can't be denied. Yet the question is in this that the inertial thinking from the stagnation times hinders many pensioners (but also working people) to act adequately to the situation of high inflation and leads to loss of a thirteenth pension each year, putting it shortly. And the loss is pure, because you get nothing in return. Let us look at the things in more details.
An averagely taken pensioner receives 2,000 levs as pension and earns additionally in various ways about 1,000 lv, what gives approximately 3,000 lv income in a month. But then, the harder the Bulgarian is living the more he tries to economize — the so called "white money for black day" —, so that in the end of the month he, usually, puts about 1,000 lv in some saving account. Despite the possible objections of many pensioners, that they can't save so much money in month, I personally think that this calculations are valid for at least 2/3 of the pensioners in Bulgaria, but even if they were true only for 1/3 of them, and for the left part — for twice smaller sums, then it, still, is worthy to pay the necessary attention to what is said here (because it is not to be scorned at half of a pension, right?).
The middle between 3,000 and 1,000 is exactly 2,000 levs, i.e. each pensioner keeps at home on the average about 2,000 lv during the whole month (where similar is the situation also with the working people, who receive on the average 4,000 lv pure and come to zero before the next salary, or averagely again 2,000 lv). By the existing lowest possible interest rates (for termless deposits in DSK — 56% yearly, or 4.66% monthly) this gives about 90 lv lost in month, or for entire year — about 1,000 lv, i.e. half a pension till here.
An average pensioner has in his accounts saved money about 70,000 lv (i.e. about two yearly salaries, what is quite real). At the same time the difference in the compound interests between one-month deposits and six-months such is about 1.5% on the average for all banks, and this gives another half of a pension. And mark, please, that I don't speak how much you would have economized if you have bought shares of the company A&B, for example, because with the shares one may win, but may also lose; neither am I speaking about imaginary gains (say, if you buy each month by kilo meat less, then this will save you 200 lv, and if you don't buy 10 kilos, then this makes a whole pension "gained").
So that the 13th pension, the lost one, is a fact! It remains only to see what we gain at the expense of this loss, and this is the comfort to have money at hand in any moment. But isn't it possible to make so, that your money were accessible and you still received high interest, i.e. that "the wolf was satiated and the lamb remained alive"? It turns out that this is quite possible and we propose here the following simple scheme of distribution of deposits on the basis of 100 thousand levs, namely:
a) In DSK (State's Saving Bank), as the most secure place (which can go bankrupt only together with the State) you keep roughly half of your money, and more precisely: in two places by 20,000 lv for a term of one year, but shifted by six months and even on a fixed day of the month, whichever you choose. (As far as the queues in banks are the biggest respectively between the 5th and 15th day of the month, because in this period are paid the pensions; between 20th and 30th, when are paid the salaries; as well as in the first pair of days of each month, especially in the beginning of half of the year — then we propose to use some day between 15th and 20th). Let us accept as an example 15 Jan and 15 July respectively.
b) In five different banks (for the reason that, in the end, each bank can go bankrupt) you make deposits by 10,000 lv each month, from the months between the yearly deposits, for a term of six months (say, from 15th Feb to 15th June inclusive, by a month).
c) In the nearest to your home branch of DSK (or another bank) you make an usual current, termless deposit of maximum 10,000 levs.
d) At home you keep maximum 1,000 lv (half of a pension).
By this arrangement you have in your disposition the following sums: in every moment — roughly 500 lv (half of the 1,000 lv, as a middle); each working day — up to 10,000 lv; once in a month, summed — 20,000 lv (10,000 from the 6-month deposit, plus 10,000 from the current one); and twice in an year — the sum of 30,000 levs.
This distribution of you money meets the basic requirements of the strategy "divide and conquer" (dividing of the banks and periods). For greater completeness could be added one more rule for minimization of the risk, namely "the rule of the fearful" what says: the greater the proposed to you win (here, the interest), the less you allow to be "caught on the bait" (here, to put your money there)! In other words, counteract the advertisement.
A small detail: there exist some banks which allow you to "return the time back", counting each month for 30 days, respectively also for bigger periods, what for an year gives difference of five days. So that if you want to shift the maturity of some deposit with a pair of days back make use of these banks. Naturally, this is not significant, but it is always good to have less to remember, so that if all your deposits fall on one day of the month this turns to be pretty convenient.
So that: to lose or not your 13th pension — the choice is yours!
P.S. By an average interest rate of about 5%, as it is in Bulgaria somewhere since 1998, it is clear that with such tricks one will never come to a whole pension, but to only about 50-100 levs (in 2005), yet this also is money which should not be thrown to the wind. In addition, it is correct to divide your money in (at least) two different hard currencies. All these are obvious things, but the main reason why people avoid to do this is that they just don't like to be moderate (no matter what the ancient Greeks have said on that question).
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TIME TO DRAW CONCLUSIONS
Briefly said, the situation in Bulgaria is clear — there is no center. But the point is: why there is no center? Why there are by us very small number of politicians with influence, who have succeeded to restrain themselves not to become "red" (meant are the former communists), neither "blue" (the "only" democrats, according to them), more than "needed", when already the ancient Greeks have written on the temple of Apollo at Delphi the slogan "Nothing above measure"? And if we ask ourselves this question then it is difficult not to come to the conclusion that moderation, worldly experience, and wisdom, these notions are to a great extent synonyms and are associated primarily with the mature age. And really, in our dissolved Parliament, according to my modest opinion, the average age was about 40 years, where in the times of our "Bai Tosho" the average age tended to 65 years, or our Parliament has become significantly younger.
Surely, in sports, sciences, and in many other activities, existed age barrier, and even if it is not obligatory, still, the top achievements are possible most often up to 35 (rarely to 40) years. But these are activities for which usually fast reflexes are necessary, while in the politics, in practice, is exactly on the contrary — important is not the speed, but the reasonability of the decisions, which comes after the age of the "dashing" youth, or up 40 and above. And in our Parliament, maybe, only a third of the members were on age above 45 and, I think, again more or less as many were below 35. This, exactly, has determined the colour of our former Parliament not as blue or red, but as green, in sense of unripe! Precisely this was our trouble. In this was our main unnecessary striving and if we can realize this even now — it is still good.
The next moment is related with the way of centering of political powers, what are pretending to be doing both, the red and the blue ones. But I can allow myself to have some doubts in this, because we are coming to the old proverb about the wolf and its skin, and, besides, centering can't be done from one side only, it requires simultaneous movement from the both ends, otherwise not the Parliament is centering, but the center of Parliament is shifting, what is not the same thing.
We must remind ourselves that the blue party have emerged because there existed the red one, similarly to the emergence of communism in the beginning of the century, and of the fascism, too, in order to oppose the cruel capitalism of that time, and also one another. Now the right-wing powers in the Parliament have returned us so successfully in the wild and cruel capitalism from the beginning of the century, has happened such stratification in the society, and such impoverishment, that the voters with good reason turn again to the left, i.e. the history as if begins to repeat. But this is not centering, this is battle of ideas! On the other hand, our people must be glad, that only for five years they have succeeded to convince themselves that neither the left-wing reality (45 years is enough — the well known slogan of UDF, the Union of Democratic Forces), nor the right-wing alternative (there have passed less than 45 months, and this also is enough) are good. The ideas sound very nice, but their realization is limping, for the reason that the truth is not at the ends, it is in the middle, and, hence, both poles just must converge!
In worldwide scale it happened exactly so: the capitalism, as more adaptive, has succeeded for more than half a century to move quite to the left and to socialize itself to such extent, that in a number of contemporary countries this socialism, about which we have talked so much, is largely built; the socialism, for its part, has tried to turn to the right, but because of "right-wing phobia" and organic incapability it just collapsed. Somehow or other, however, both ends have met, regardless of the terminology. It remains only to hope that in our Parliament, too, will happen some similar movement from both ends, as they say, "with the help of God".
One question, which our Parliament has not succeeded to solve to the end, because it has not wanted to do this, was to change the minimal barrier for participation of political powers in it to the really minimal, i.e. to one person, or, say, to three persons, in order to avoid some occasional errors. As far as both political colossi stand at both poles, the existing system is directed to elimination of all levels of moderation. But we should not forget that a river does not consist of its left, neither of its right, bank, it is what is between them! Otherwise the river splits in two arms, and when one nation divides itself in two parts it is obvious what happens, so that if our readers want that there were, still, one river in our political life, then they are just compelled to look for party in the middle. Even if the chances for putting of such party in our Parliament are very small, nevertheless we must try to do this. This is simply the only reasonable alternative for our country.
But let us also not forget the piquant idiosyncrasy, that everybody learns from the mistakes of the others, but from his or her own — does not want! Because of this our political powers cal learn only when they stay in opposition (for then they can not make errors alone for the reason that they don't take whatever decisions, and the errors of the others are so many that they can be, as we say, shoveled with a spade)! In this situation the only way for some party or coalition to straighten and improve itself (if it is really viable) is to go in opposition. From what follows, my honorable readers, that if you truly care for parties at both poles, then the single way to help them is not to vote for them! If this happens then, you can be sure, in the next elections they will shine in a new light, else they will continue to "smear", either themselves, or one another.
In the end let us imagine some cowboy from the Wild West having lots of guns: one has served him faithfully more than 45 years but lately has begun to fail and shoots much to the left, in spite of all smearing and the changing of its whole hammer mechanism; another gun has emerged not long ago, it has modern design and is with dark-blue colour, it was recommended to him by the best Western weapon experts, but it shoots much to the right; the other guns he has not yet tried, trough some of them he has even not once shot. But time has not to be lost and expert commissions to be appointed, he must shoot because he is encircled and the bullets are running out. How you think, dear readers, the cowboy will behave?
P.S. In 2008 is seen quite clear (but it was seen also ten years earlier) that the question about the center is highly important, and because the left- and right-wing poles are centering itself very slowly it remains only the possibility of emerging of new parties, which have to be centered as much as possible, or at least that they wouldn't have reasons for fundamental tensions between them only because of this that, hmm, one of them cry "uhh" and the others "hurrah" (in what, as if, consists the main difference between our UDF and BSP — the latter are the former communists). The new more or less centrist party was the emerged in the very beginning of 21st century "Tsarist" party, because, at least in theory, our people thought that the Tsar will think about them (and not about his land holdings, as it, basically, turned out to be). Well (if we take aside the question with his lands, which just "pocks the eyes" of the Bulgarian), they are up to some extent a center, if not for other reasons then at least because during their mandate they were "anti" both, the blue and the red ones, so that they have no other choice left to them, but this is not exactly that center, which the author has in mind, and which our people seek.
The proper centrist party, of course, is, before, as well as now, the Turkish party, MRF (Movement for Rights and Freedoms), without which no one Parliament can do, which, it turns out, is just forced to be centrist, for the simple reason that it is not party in the conventional meaning of the word! It is not classical party because this about the rights and freedoms is no special platform or idea; its single platform is that it is ethnical, and in this case it must be liked by all Turks in Bulgaria. Yeah, but all Turks are like all Bulgarians — there are among them poor and wealthy, intelligent and simple, and so on, so that their leaders can't avoid to try to please, as far as this is possible, all of them, and the easiest way to do this is via moderation (by which nobody wins much, but also nobody loses much). So that it turns out that the ethnicity is not such a bad platform for a political party, as many in Bulgaria present this; and also, in the end, maybe it is better if we were taken by the Turks (not that they show special desire to do this, because this, what they most of all want, and this for more than a century now, is to enter in Europe, so that everything that can spoil their image is obviously undesirable for them), than the Chinese or Americans, because with the Turks we have at least common tastes (and understand their, hmm, curses, where with the Chinese we have still no experience, and what concerns the Americans — for them we are simply the next "white Negroes").
But in addition to this BSP (Bulgarian Socialist Party), as much as it succeeds in this, also centers (even the ... causa perduta, UDF, too), and then what else remains to this party, when it has entered in incredible coalition with "Royal courtiers" and "Ottomans". The bad thing in this process of centering is only ... our nation, because the common people are those who require their extremes, even if some of them "smell" of fascists, what impression have made, at least in the beginning, the comrades of "Haiduk Sider" (i.e. Volen Siderov, but "volen" means free, like a haiduk); they can also not be downright fascist, for the reason that the ideas of this movement, at least according to the author, have no ground by us, but this is another topic (it, looking soberly, in a poor country like our, can exist ground only for the socialism, but we are all running away from it like "the devil from the incense", so that let us not count us for big experts on "soil science").
At least on the question of age we are moving in the right direction to the average one and above it, but there may be simple explanation of this — the "youngsters" in the politics have grown up now (if we do not count the attacking "storm troopers" of "Ataka" of just mentioned Siderov, but they also will grow old with the time).
And generally, it is easy to make conclusions, everybody can make them having a bit of common sense (and people do them, if we judge by this that now half of the population does not vote), the bad thing is only that the voice of people is usually vulgar (what are nearly synonyms for the Western world).
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ABOUT THE ELECTIONS AND THE DEMOS
Every election, performed in a big group of people and by incomplete information, is, as a rule, unreasonable and represents itself, in fact, a procedure for confirming of the unreasonability! Although at a first sight this sounds like a paradox the allegation is true. By many nations exist sayings in the sense that the choice is a torment, but our assertion is that in the majority of cases this tormentation is also meaningless! It is another question when one thinks to buy, say, mince meat or cheese, or to buy nothing at all, because it is cheaper so (with the current prices). Or when a handful of people — a Board of Directors, or some Bureau, or Commission, and so on — chose between several candidates, because then the choice is used to average the voices, and the very commission in this case is competent enough and has the necessary information. The more, however, the group grows, or the information becomes insufficient, the more unreasonable the choice turns out to be.
This has to be obvious, by this formulation, because the reason is something objective, something that can't be consequence of the meanings of a group of people, and if there existed some exact procedure or consequence of actions (algorithm, if we make use of this more contemporary terminology), applying which we can get the right decision, then there is no need to conduct a choice, using which we may even miss the right decision! Said otherwise, this means that the admission of existence of reasonableness in a multi-parametric choice, under conditions that we are not clear about neither the methods of assessment of each different parameter, nor the ways for "weighing" of all parameters together, seems quite doubtful, but if this could have been evaluated, then it is necessary this to be done. Yet if such evaluation can be performed, then our choice becomes entirely redundant, for the reason that must be applied exactly this algorithm for evaluation and not the common choice.
So for example, who can formulate exactly how long the nose of a given President must be or how high he must cock up his nose; or also what is more important: the number of his shoes or his tertiary education; as also what is preferable: that he was gynecologist, or meteorologist, or musicologist, or to be, as usually is said, man of the people, i.e. the tertiary education is of no importance? Surely, when one gathers together many people it happens averaging of the opinions, what many people wrongly accept for reasonable, but this is just an averaging of the stupidity, and can't add more reasonability!
Together with this, but looked from another side, it turns that the choice is an alternative variant of the lot or divination (and it doesn't matter whether on coffee grounds, or on legume beans, entrails of sacrificial animals, or in some other way) — methods applied from deep antiquity in cases when one is not in condition to take reasonable decision, were it because one has not all necessary information, were it because one is not able to process it in the right manner. This is in sense that here and there we are confronted with unreasonable decision, but in many cases it is just necessary to take some decision, even not quite reasonable, and, naturally, that in such cases one chooses the lesser evil or the less unreasonable decision.
This phenomenon, let us call it "reasonable unreasonability", was marked in ancient times, for to make possible the coming to us of the fable about Buridan's ass, what animal (not what some of you might have thought), posed before two entirely equal haystacks, could not have made his choice to begin eating from the biggest one, and being, after all, an ass and as obstinate as an ass, at the end simply died of hunger. We cite these judgements in order to convince the reader that in many cases (i.e. in the majority of everyday situations) the reasonable consists in the unreasonable, but what are we to do — such is our world! In other words, some "higher reasonability" ("divine" intervention, or a lot) can change some unreasonableness into its antipode, so that, generally, we are not to be much bothered by the not-reasonableness of our, or of the others, behaviour, but, still, the very ascertainment of this fact is useful.
If we now look at the general democratic elections, where people who do not understand (i.e. they don't know the subject area, were it of the governing, were if of the jurisprudence, or economy, etc.) chose people who they don't know (one lives with somebody a dozen of years and in the end it turns out that one does not know the other well enough, and what remains when one has never been able to ask the other one personally about something what interests him or her) and this not requiring whatever document for their qualification (for there is no obligatory tertiary or even college political education), then it is quite normal to agree with the above-said about the obvious unreasonability of such elections!
And in addition to everything else these elections are pretty expensive (at least for our poor country) and practically unnecessary because each more or less good sociological research (where are computed also the percentages of errors via using of several control groups) costs at least thousand times less and can do the same work. The higher reasonability in this case is purely psychological: nothing "shuts the mouths" of the people so good as the opportunity to express their meanings (despite the fact that the common people are not very competent)! This was clear to the more wiser rulers already at the dawn of democracy in Ancient Greece and is stated that the it (the democracy), in fact, was introduced initially by the tyrant Pisistratos, not by the very people.
However, it must be stressed that the fact of unreasonability of the democratic elections does not mean that they are unnecessary and have to be boycotted, or that it is necessary to leave the others to vote instead of us (because this, at least in our view, will make them even more unreasonable, for one usually does not doubt that he alone behaves reasonable), but that one has to take them with the necessary dose (unreasonable) reasonableness. In the end, it is not so important for whom you will vote, because, anyway: according with the demos goes the -cracy!
I would like to evolve a little my thought with the known sentence of the Shopp (they are living around Sofia), that "the wife must be cheated, for otherwise she will go to some other to be cheated". This wisdom is valid even stronger for the politicians and the people (or for the pastor, meant as shepherd, and the flock), so that one political figure "must be able to cheat (or deceive, delude, bamboozle, etc.) the people" ("But he is surely able!" — will say our Shopp) and here is necessary to mention that the point isn't in this are the people manipulated (if we use this contemporary, also in the Bulgarian, word), but is this done to their advantage, and, first of all, is this delusion well thought or the people find it very easy (because we all know, reading some book or watching a film, that this isn't the actual reality but only some fiction or fable, yet this is interesting for us and we are satisfied if the fable or manipulation makes us happy).
And not only the politician, each one of us, in a democratic society has the right (well, not that also the obligation) to deceive, bamboozle or manipulate, ones neighbour (and what else is the commercial advertising, if not the next manipulation of the people?), even only in one's own interest (although this is not explicitly written in our, or in some other one, Constitution)! This may not be much reasonable, because if everybody deceives then life becomes very complicated, but it already is such and the higher reason in this case is in this, not to stand strongly against the human nature. Anyway, instead of citing our Shopp we could have quoted the similar Latin sentence which says that: Mundus vult decipi, or, translated in English, that "The world wants to be deceived!".
But let us return to the elections and remind you that, as alternative of the arbitrary choice, if the situation is very complicated (and in Bulgaria it, as if very often, is such) they can be simplified with some other alternative method. For example, it is necessary to vote and you see that as the left-wing, so also the right-ones, are not capable to better the things (or as have put it our eminent compatriot Bai Ganyu, from the novel by Aleko Konstantinov: "all are swindlers and scoundrels"), the "non-ethnic" (at least in their own view) center has not enough influence over the people, the peasants, as usual, can not live without "field boundaries" and always have not succeeded to divide something between them, and non-UDF democrats (at least according to them) do not exist, or else they don't succeed to enter the "Talking shop" (translation of the word Parliament). So if the situation is so entangled can be proposed one quite attractive method, which, however, can turn to be very suitable for Bulgarian bipolar political model.
The recipe is as follows: a) if you are man, and have to vote, then in the election day you stay up, wash yourself, shave, breakfast (or not — according to your income), put your new clothes for the occasion, go out on the street and move to the premises where have to give your voice, but before to come there you look to what side you have positioned ... your "instrument" in this special day, and if it is in the left trouser leg you vote for the left-wing, else if it is in the right one — for the right-wing (and surely the probability that it has stuck exactly in the middle is practically equal to zero); b) if you are woman then the procedure in the beginning is the same (without the shaving, is supposed), and then you cast a look at the symbol of masculinity of your husband or lover (as it befits a woman), or choose yourself some man on the street (as it also befits a woman) and vote in accordance with what you find to be the case. Who knows whether in this procedure some "higher" reason is not hidden?
If this method does not suit you then you can apply one rule known, possibly, since Roman times, which we will call for shortness the "rule of the husband"*. It is based on the method of elimination and is the following: if you are married husband and have to make some important choice, which you can't do alone, then you ask your wife and act as possibly on the contrary to this, what she has advised you; if you are man but unmarried — use your girl friend or neighbour woman for the purpose; and if you are woman then just make the opposite of what you have thought to do (as it also often happens with the women). It is surprisingly how good results this method can give in a wide number of cases.
[ * The algorithms of choice are elaborated in more details in the feuilleton "Are you ready for the elections?". ]
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