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


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


Always Betting on God

Always Betting on God

Forever interacting with a world where both he and the things around him are beyond his reach, man longs for infinity. Although his powers of action are limited by the constraints of time and space, man clings to his reason not only to order the reality of scarcity, but also to probe the mysteries of the beyond. He has only one life ahead to understand what awaits “beyond” and his only guilt is that of not being aware enough of the full importance of this “before”. We were endowed with reason from the very beginning and we use it to productively take part in the social metabolism, otherwise the animal instinct activated by implacable bio-physical-chemical laws would have sufficed. Reason is also the source for the understanding of the world as it is (to us) and of the world as it should be (to us). This assumption leads to the idea that reason is not only the best means to detect temptation but more often than not, the biggest temptation itself. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


AD 2017 is Anno Donald 1

AD 2017 is Anno Donald 1

The advent of Donald J. Trump hardly resembles the prologue to some great national redemption, for it is not clear what kind of greatness he has in mind for his beloved America. As for the international landscape, his “twilightenment” reigns supreme, for it is not clear who are the (real) alien friends and foes of the “archetypal”/“average” (yet so imaginary) US citizen. Trump’s moral code is literally undecipherable, his logic is humoral, his values are untraceable, while his value is a secret formula of his capitalist net worth and democratic trustworthiness. What is common to any of Trump’s portraits is his basic uncommonness: he serves a Union whose domestic polarization he embodies, while his foreign policy seems foreign to any present day routine. But if we want to capture the essence of his discourse (or at least of the perceptions of others regarding it), there are two basic concepts that in no case should be ignored: anti-political correctness and populismMore

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


The Revolution from Within

The Revolution from Within

Revolutions are experiences of a purgatorial sort. They remake people’s lives and indeed rewrite not only their present and future but their past as well. The latter gets to be turned either into a memorial of avenged pain and suffering or into an archaeological site of bygone morality. And there, some find themselves scrapping feverishly through the debris for relics of a past “against the tide” righteousness, to be convertible into strategic assets in the “New Order” life. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


Trump’s Transatlantic Impaired Partnership

Trump’s Transatlantic Impaired Partnership

The two shores, and lands, of the North Atlantic – the Eastern and the Western ones – are subject to a movement where, metaphorically speaking, the economy tries to beat the geography, while politics seem to team up either with the first one or with the second. The name of the game is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP –, the famously hard-to-get deal between the US and EU, whose first official round of talks began in 2013, with the intention to bring about lower trade tariffs and to reduce regulatory barriers that make exchanges between the US and the EU more costly than they should. Geophysics literally distances America from Europe, the orogenesis of the Mid-Atlantic ridge pushing aside the tectonic plates where “the new world” and “the old continent” sit. More

No. 2, Nov.-Dec. 2016 2016


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OEconomica No. 1, 2016