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
Deciphering Timelessness through Ephemeral Numbers

Deciphering Timelessness through Ephemeral Numbers

I first made the acquaintance of Professor Cezar Mereuță in the most natural way a young novice economist can meet a master of the profession: as a name on a textbook. In the Professor’s case, his exposure to “the market for ideas” has always been deliberately bimodal: both in the realm of academia and in economic mass-media. I, too, have chosen to heed this tenet of dualism, for although scientific truth is sublime, its social value is only apparent once it is communicated: the “economy” of (the economic) science is inevitably a “mixed” one, its nature being both “public” (in the sense of its popularisation, not politicisation) and “private” (in the sense of being responsible for the appropriateness of one’s terminology and the adequacy of one’s methodology). Among economists, discussions can veer into opaqueness, yet it is clear that disseminating the fruits of economic research via mass-media has always been a goal of Professor Mereuță, for the sake of civility and the civil population at large. I worked alongside him for roughly twelve years, first as a reader, then as editor, foreword author and, lastly, co-author.  More


For a Privatization of Environmental Public Policies

For a Privatization of Environmental Public Policies

Climate change and sustainable development are, somehow, like “love and marriage”, and they go together like “a horse and carriage”; and if you ask “the local [as well as global] gentry”, they will say that this is “elementary”. But despite a basic consensus, that something is happening to our earthly environment and something must rapidly be done, the problem is much more delicate scientifically and politically. More


The Sustainable University: Concept and Conception

The Sustainable University: Concept and Conception

“Sustainable University” is a kind of phrase to emanate a semantic scent with connotations – traced back to an ages-old polarity, yet always at great fashion in social affairs – seemingly both conservative and progressive. Really? Can we so frivolously mix polarities, opposites, antinomies? Well, let’s see. We are talking about conservatism because university and sustainability are involved in activating if not an “instinct”, at least a “rationale” for preserving/perpetuating the knowledge within people and the resources needed to make it work. As we are also talking about progressivism because both try to do it not in ankylosis, but in advancing such knowledge (i.e., in economics, on the allocation of scarce resources) across generations, and the society learns to evolve through each and every member, who is educated to evaluate. Conservation and progress can work together.  More


The Lords of the Olympic Rings

The Lords of the Olympic Rings

The idea of ​​sport is associated to peace almost in a reflex manner. At the same time, prosperity is being called into the arena of sport’s allies. But if we overcome the reflexes and become reflexive, we can take into account the counter-opinions to the standard pleadings according to which sports competitions, for example the Olympic Games, both in their original, ancient expression and in modern and contemporary forms, would be, politically, victories against war, and economically, it would mean triumphs against waste. More


Three “Mister K” and Our Recovery from Eastern European “Kafkian” Absurdum

Three “Mister K” and Our Recovery from Eastern European “Kafkian” Absurdum

In Kafka’s novel, Das Schloß [The Castle], there is a gentleman bearing the name “K” who unsuccessfully tries to obtain a hearing with the enigmatic ruler of a bureaucratic citadel dominating, physically and psychically, an alienated village community, to secure a living in that surreal neighbourhood. In Der Prozess [The Trial], a certain Joseph K. gets arrested and accused by an obscure authority for a crime never unveiled, either to him or anyone else (including the millions of readers of the novel). In Amerika [America], the main character, Karl Rossmann, lives a David-Coppefield-ian life within an illusive and deluding “new world”. All three novels are part of the “absurdist literature”, are unfinished and are posthumous. Even though Kafka didn’t experience communism, his novels can be seen as a crude premonition of that epoch. In the present essay we shall speak, however, about three different characters whose names start with the Kafkian effigy “K” and whose professional careers were devoted to the extraction of Eastern Europe from the absurdum of communism: the Polish philosopher and historian of ideas Leszek Kołakowski (1927-2009), the Hungarian economist János Kornai (b. 1928) and the ex-President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus (b. 1941). More


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


Super Bowl and a Soup Bowl

Super Bowl and a Soup Bowl

Football is a community distilled product (“You’ll never walk alone” goes the Liverpool F.C. anthem, adopted, against all odds - in the Beatles city, from a Pink Floyd show tune). Football unevenly blends feelings brewed by a collective order civilization which yet reeks of a wriggling culture of conflict. Association football is, among the rest of the team sports, the paragon that can most successfully neutralize societal disaggregation. Unlike theatrical performance (with which it imparts the technical and tactical demands of the plot, the actors getting into a play of mutual relations in which the spectator is merely a “spy”), the soccer performers are participants in a web of mutually shared strategy game rules where the spectator solely intrudes as a spy. The football show will also stand apart from the gigs, say, a pop-rock concert (akin in that they both trigger deep visceral sensations, still distinct where the former lacks the gut feeling usually associated with inward mystery myths, while the latter is a product explicitly delivered to its fans). This game will always generate peculiar reactions. It re-unites there where entropic drives are marked: the football supporters will allow themselves to be drugged with the cause and the strategy of the game, only when they experience this excitement with the punter on the left, right, in front and behind. The football fan will thrive feeding not only on the peers sitting close in the stand but also on the combined energies of the crowd, shouting against opponents, yet strangely aggregated by the empathy for the other team supporters. Go! Go! Go! Boo! More


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


Long Live Europe!

Long Live Europe!

European Union remains one profoundly unaccomplished political project for too many reasons. Despite a continuous external growth, since the inception, and internal maturation, it was not able to fill entirely the “real estate” of the cultural habitat which – by both stretches of the mind and grace of geography – was and is considered to represent the whole (and holy) Europe: the Norwegians and the Swiss were not seduced by the “tender offer” Brussels displayed towards them, though they are solid parts of the continent’s historical trunk either in its “heroic” (the Viking expeditions by sea) or in its “settled” (Europe’s inland highly celebrated democracy) epochs. Also, EU struggles to digest and metabolise some of the Central and Eastern European new-comers, while the Western Balkans, with the residual nation-states of the ex-Yugoslavian failed multinational union, seem, with the notable exception of Croatia, so “estranged” from Europe. More


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


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


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-romantic 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. The 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


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OEconomica No. 1, 2016