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.