Octavian-Dragomir Jora
Octavian-Dragomir Jora
Economist, Associate Professor, Ph.D., the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, editor and journalist, interested in comparative economic systems, cultural economics, geopolitics and geo-economy
A Kingdom in Heaven, a Serfdom on Earth

A Kingdom in Heaven, a Serfdom on Earth

When states become “more sovereign” than human persons and their property rights, when the positive law outweighs the natural one, when people become peoples before being free, here is a question we might ask: will there ever be peace in a land that is so holy for so many, who, by the machinations of the politics of warmongers, arrive at hating each other with such undisguised anger?  More

No. 5-6, May.-Aug. 2017 2017


Santa-Nomics and Santa-Comics Stories

Santa-Nomics and Santa-Comics Stories

The gift of wisdom (which does not reside in Santa’s bag of gifts) also enjoins us to reflect an additional second beyond the first impulse. For instance, Christmas is a parable of austere Birth, but we celebrate it with bells and whistles; Christmas floods us with gifts, but with every useless little thing that we receive, some say, welfare is lost; Christmas remains a Christian holiday, but it externalizes secular glamour into a globalization which is decorated with Xmasy globes. More

No. 5-6, May.-Aug. 2017 2017


The Road to Sibiu, the Road to Wisdom

The Road to Sibiu, the Road to Wisdom

2018 found Romania celebrating a century of nation-state unity. 2019 finds Romania as the home of the European unity. A freely and firmly committed community of nations is one of the most delicate enterprises of mankind, one that up to now no empire has succeeded in preserving. The nation seemed the ultimate aggregate. But ration is the ultimate aggregator. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


The Earthly Algorithms of the Heavenly Affairs

The Earthly Algorithms of the Heavenly Affairs

The papal institution opens up the road to redemption for more than 1.200 million Roman-Catholics – that is for the so-called “Western Christianity” –, according to Vatican statistics. Through its doctrine of closeness to God, far and away from any canonical schisms, the Holy See inspires all Christianity, pervasively radiating to all hemispheres, over other distinct cults as well. The fact is that to be able to order the immanent chaos while indulging your mind to wander with the transcendent is a tough penance. Even if you have adhered to your faith wholeheartedly, the spiritual stakes were and are under assail by the modern-version-of-Canaan capitalist hedonism (now called insatiable consumerism), by the anti-social socialism (now dead, but still not buried), and by “welfare-warfare” statism (now, as ever, trying to divide and conquer, and command and control). The aforesaid progenitors of the human “fallen existence” have declared foreclosure on the most valuable assets of the life we lead, all except for the “perceivable physical” biases. The pitfalls looming ahead of all our mundane trespasses, entailed by the very nature of the interaction with our own kind, tarnished as that may be, are lurking as far as the eye can see, even what we now call in vernacular the supreme “consultancy” and “governance”: namely, the one covering the “salvation of our souls”. All human beings, with all their burning passions, are, since the beginning of times, fumbling in the dark to find their way to reach Him. And the mission is not easier even for His most faithful servants. As the supreme pontiffs, the Bishops of Rome, are (supposed to be).  More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


Obelix Runs Away from Fiscalix

Obelix Runs Away from Fiscalix

The “fear” of taxation dies hard. In 2013, Gerard Depardieu became a French “tax refugee” in the Russian Federation. Half a decade since then, he became a Russian tax debtor in the Russian Federation. In 2018, he was listed in Russia’s Federal Court Marshals Service database as owing taxes in Saransk (the capital of Mordovia, somewhere in “Yevropeyskaya Rossiya”), where he was registered.  More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


The Frontier of Science Is Expansive and Expensive

The Frontier of Science Is Expansive and Expensive

The CERN physicists announced, around mid-March 2013, that the particle discovered a year before, which they had claimed to be the Higgs boson “with 99% certainty”, had gained another “1% of certainty”. That is it, the verdict is in! The particle which bestows mass on us, the source of our weight, has become a factual given. We have found the Creator among quanta, but we still need to search deeply into our souls to find Him, if we want the mystery of Creation to ever be completely revealed to us. The attempt to re-create the Creation remains a costly business.  More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


People’s Republic of Competitive Cooperation Present China’s Silky Ties

People’s Republic of Competitive Cooperation
Present China’s Silky Ties

China has a special geometry and geography of time, and whenever you touch its lands and breathe its epochs, you understand that the sizes and units of measure are different. When travelling to China, a foreigner cannot ignore the time-space continuum in which reigns the cosmopolitan-and-comradely cohabitation of apartment skyscrapers, sometime taller than their corporate cousins, pictures of hard-core communist planner Mao featuring on banknotes circulating in a market economy, workers and peasants equipped with much more than blunt sickles and hammers, apparatchiks and free spirits, mundane youngsters and flying shaolin monks. “To understand China’s last hundred years, see Shanghai. To understand China’s last thousand years, see Beijing. And to understand China’s last three thousand years, see Henan Province”, here is a good piece of advice for those who want to take the perfect tour of China. More

No. 4, Mar.-Apr. 2017 2017


Cultural Goods and Cultural Welfare

Cultural Goods and Cultural Welfare

The core intellectual conundrum that fuels the present essay is the following: is culture a product made in “free markets” or a “public good” to be provided by the state – allegedly the only societal institution able to grant individuals the collective means for bundling cultural values, for breeding cultural capital, and for maintaining sustainable cultural behaviour? The answers diverge culturally: from laissez-faire French harmonists to Marxist or Maoist communists, from cosmopolitan libertarians to nationalist autarkists, from old-school conservatives to politically-correct progressives, from Maecenas-entrepreneurs to sacrosanct bureaucrats, from freelance, self-contained artists to publicly-subsidized, politically-connected spoiled artificers. More

No. 4, Mar.-Apr. 2017 2017


The Anathema of Secession

The Anathema of Secession

Talking about secession in the house of the modern state is, depending on the tastes and the actual situation of the speaker, either something absolutely hilarious (if not even dangerous), or something absolutely legitimate (if not even necessary). It is a historical fact that the current world, in its settlement as state-centred reality, of cohabiting territorial monopolies of legitimate use of force, was built on a foundation which, in the meantime, became a geopolitical quasi-taboo: the principle of self-determination. This self-determination, in its pure form, does not involve something that should mandatorily be seen as insidious, but a natural prolongation of human liberty and personal property – two civilizational benchmarks which, we must admit, are still treated as indigest on certain lands, in certain times. And if the state is portrayed and perceived as a social contract, then it can only be accepted as valid if closed between free men, within the limits of their legitimate patrimony, including their territorial possessions, under a strictly consented jurisdictional framework. (Or not quite so?)  More

No. 4, Mar.-Apr. 2017 2017


Three Unions in a (Life)Boat

Three Unions in a (Life)Boat

The unions of states, in their either federalist or inter-governmental setting, are portrayed in economics and political science literature, by certain scholars and pundits, as quasi-romance stories and, by others, as purely-cynical undertakings: they are, for the first, expressions of common destinies, while for the second, mere cartels of political exploitation. Though, beyond charitable or circumspect translation of state gatherings, the undeniable facts are that the state, as an organization of humans, has a maximizing logic and that this logic is exercised as the monopoly of (legitimate?) violence with the privilege of (unconsented?) expropriation, by taxation, regulation and inflationary redistribution of purchasing power. Maximization logic of the state (apparatus) – rightly de-homogenized from the rest of society – leads to a triple choice: to increase domestic exploitation, to expand abroad, or both. More

No. 4, Mar.-Apr. 2017 2017


Romania’s Neighbourhoods:An Exercise of Critical Thinking

Romania’s Neighbourhoods:
An Exercise of Critical Thinking

At the township level, the “community spirit” is a function of knowledge, and proper action, about / towards people – as persons – and their places – or properties, either private or public. A community is defined equally by bonds and bounds, wisely informed and duly enforced, so that a neighbourly peace, not necessarily a heavenly harmony, will emerge and endure. In Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” there is a famous line – “Good fences make good neighbours” – suggesting the common sense truth that order among humans requires, much sooner than empathy or sympathy, an order “in rem”, with respect to their belongings, which are part and parcel of their personal universes – teleological prolongations of their beings. “The Bible tells us to love our neighbours and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people”, said once G.K. Chesterton. This might be the most pessimistic view of a neighbourhood, which we are advised to treat with utmost kindness. If love is too much to ask, then the next line of defence is to understand, not understate, things. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Culture and Property Rights

Culture and Property Rights

The International Book Fair Bookfest 2017 gave me the opportunity to exchange some thoughts, with quite exquisite and exigent readers, on my recent work – Spiritualitate, materialitate și proprietate. Cultura mea, cultura ta, cultura noastră, cultura lor (Editura ASE, 2016) [Spirituality, Materiality and Property. My Culture, Your Culture, Our Culture, Their Culture]. Addressed for now mainly to a Romanian readership (by its publication language) the book basically hosts a worldwide-relevant question, though not so frequently or explicitly asked (to say the least): “Is culture a public(ly enforceable) good or a private(ly producible) one?”. The question is being complicated by the fact that the culture deals with consensual, socializing, public values (we speak of preferences, traditions, beliefs, which, by definition, unite before they separate), as it is also true that the human person is the one who gives meaning to social aggregates (the methodological individualism, despite hasty amendments is crux in social sciences). Or speaking in “economics” (nota bene: the science of human action in a (praxeo)logical, commonsensical, un-sterilely-sophisticated expression): What makes a culture become a Culture? (Economic) freedom or (political) interventionism? More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


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OEconomica No. 1, 2016