úterý 31. ledna 2006

Out, at last

The Karolinum Press has just launched my book on political economics. The book aims at undergrads and graduate students who want to study politics from an economic point of view. I welcome any comments to the book that can be purchased in Karolinum Press Bookshop, Celetna Str., Prague, or via online shop.

Theoretical Cuisine

This picture shows theoretical cuisine, in other words, ideal food without real substance. This is everyday meal of any theoretician. Delicious, if you get used to it.

pondělí 16. ledna 2006

A Liberal Sexual Society

I declare myself a cultural conservative. That is, I think that the most valuable artwork and writings deal with human responsibility to supraindividual values. (Two recent examples are "Santini's Tongue" by Czech Milos Urban and 2001 Pullitzer Prize "The " by Michael Chabbon.) The culture of masters as written for us, plebs, should be both adventurous, thrilling, exciting, and deeply rooted in certain values. "Deconstruction" is, in my eyes, nothing but a synonymum for work "under hopeless construction". Echoing only individual needs, for example sexual ones, reveals sooner or later pretty dull and empty.

On the other hand, I would never promote certain culture by any general policy. Speaking on sexuality in particular, I find restrictions useless and often counter-productive. No, now I don't speak only about abuses by homosexual priests... I think of my childhood, late 80s, when sexuality was behind a very thick cover. In spite of restrictions, there was a high dispersion of sexually transmitted diseases at that time. The age of the first intercourse was pretty low. And, most importantly, one could find the symbol of vagina on each and every corner.

After more than a decade of liberation, we have, as far as I know, a lower rate of sexually transmitted diseases. The age when youngsters begin to live sexually has not dropped, rather the opposite. And the vagina symbol moved into the theatre (recall Vagina Monologues) where it found the audience of frustrated female singles.

A liberal sexual society proves to be sexually more healthy. Cultural conservatives should also understand the price: people pay much more for sexually-related entertainment than on high culture.

čtvrtek 5. ledna 2006

2006: The Judgment Year

On New Year’s Eve midnight, Czech politicians entered a rushing electoral year. Most of them are nervous; no wonder, even Terminator was nervous on his “judgment day”. The outcome of elections seems to be unpredictable, which further stimulates the racking nerves. I such conditions, we can only benevolently recommend healthy lifestyle, lots of exercise and family life to all MPs, so that their pig-like bodies don’t collapse under coming heart attacks…

To sort out who may win and who not, it is necessary not to watch media and policy groups only. The reason is that we have clearly right-wing leaning media; also right-wing think tanks dominate left-wing ones (by five to zero). The influential young people are simply on the right.

But is it sufficient to predict that right-wingers win? No. Consider my generation of late 20s, early 30s. We are descendants of extremely egalitarian society. According to Michael Förster’s 2005 OECD study, Czech society has the lowest share of population in the least income deciles. Only 4% of people have an income below half of average (sic!). Among the new EU member states, the 20% of poorest have the highest share of total income (see World Development Indicators 2005).

This explains why Czech young elites dislike egalitarian policy. They cannot demand it, because they grew in extremely egalitarian conditions, and attribute all personal achievements to individual effort.

The generation forming public opinion in media must inevitably be against left-wingers; but that’s not enough to secure a win. Older generations have a different idea on how the state should equalize, based on their experiences, or, perhaps, misconceptions from the past. Unfortunately, these driving motives are difficult or impossible to un-root. Hence, I see the future of the Czech right rather bleak, even if I personally wish the opposite.

pondělí 2. ledna 2006

The Very Merry Christmas

Jachymek's visit was great, as usually, especially his joy from unpacking gifts where he expected only cars was so sweet. A funny and lovely gentleman. The complete photopage is here.

Xmas Party

Eva von Kreuzberg made a splendid Xmas party, where I was a gloegg-wizard, Tomas Vyhnanek a chief entertainer (see below), and Her Majesty Eva was an excellent hostess.