Sunday, 4 October 2009

Where you stand depends on where you sit

So why should they check if the third time is really lucky, if the second was twice as enough? The Irish voters chose on Friday to adopt the Lisbon Treaty, which they rejected in the previous referendum, held on 12th June 2008. Their decision, this time totally predictable doesn’t necessarily prove their support for the further integration within the European Union (though the framework of the process was vastly abridged in comparison to the draft of European Constitution), but it’s an excellent evidence for the old, but still up-to-date Polish saying: “Punkt widzenia zależy od punktu siedzenia”. In the last months before the outbreak of the financial crisis Irish citizens were definitely reluctant to embrace the document. Now, after their country has been hit be the crisis (the rapid rise in unemployment may serve as the best indicator) and its financial sector has been bailed out by the government they simply seek more security, which in their view can be given by the EU.

People’s views quite often depend on their situation. The disadvantaged, the poor, the unemployed usually tend to support socialists, whereas entrepreneurs and the well-off back liberals. My generation more and more often gives lie to that tendency. Some of my friends from university come from poverty-stricken families but their favour liberal solutions. The group of the ones from wealthy families eager to share their income with the poorer is still rather sparse, but the society is drifting in a good direction. That road will be long and rough unless the public figures realise they should serve as an example in this respect. How can an ordinary citizen stick to his views if the politicians change their minds according to the PR needs or if many biggest figures of financial sector claim less regulation when the business goes well (like in 2006 or 2007 in banks) and when they face serious troubles, they submissively queue up and beg for help from the public purse?

I could write more about those partly moral choices. Unfortunately, I’m short of time this weekend. My school, after the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection levied the fine of 270 thousand złoty on it, has launched a new austerity programme under which students are obliged to give lectures instead of lecturers and I have to prepare for the first one I’m delivering on Thursday. Well, to be precise it’s not a new internal regulation, but more and more lecturers shift the unpleasant duty of giving a lecture onto the students. It takes on a form of blackmailing – if you don’t do it, you won’t get a credit… I think it’s the third time within my course of studies when the teacher just sits and watches the presentations of students without making a substantial contribution. Is this the way the “leading” Polish school of economics” wants to catch up with the western universities. It’s a downfall…

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