Alexandru Georgescu
Alexandru Georgescu
Economist, Research Fellow with the EURISC Foundation, studying geopolitics, international security issues and critical infrastructure protection, currently in a Ph.D. research program on the latter subject
The Race to the Bottom in Oil

The Race to the Bottom in Oil

With the developed world in transition towards a short and medium-term economic self-flagellation as a means of reducing the impact of the SARS-COV-2 virus spread, there is little room for economic news that is not related to markets tumbling and toilet paper becoming contraband. While it started with the shutdown in Hubei province in China and the associated tough (but successful) quarantine and social distancing measures, the economic crisis has moved onto Western nations, where the collective impact of the virus has already exceeded that in China. The measures which the experts (and, reluctantly, and too late for comfort, the politicians) are calling for are throwing prodigious amounts of sand in the gears of a system that developed organically to thrive on mobility, access, just-in-time logistics and a global division of labor. Regardless of the terrifying human costs of the crisis, the economic consequences will be the making of the leadership and will unravel carefully synchronized supply and production chains, as well as industries on which the (precarious) livelihood of millions depends, such as tourism.  More


The War of the Worlds: Macro-societies in Battle Against Micro-organisms

The War of the Worlds: Macro-societies in Battle Against Micro-organisms

As the lockdown has been relaxed (in Romania, the homeland of TMFI), yet social distancing is still a sacrosanct recommendation, we release the second episode from our collection of editorial products, this time from our in-house harvest. We hope that the variety and the quality of these “corona-readings” to function as a cure equally for unjustified anxieties and for mind hibernation. More


The Market for Ideas: Supplying and Demanding Thoughtfulness

The Market for Ideas: Supplying and Demanding Thoughtfulness

It has been three years since our project – The Market for Ideas – took shape. We have tried to present our readers with interesting ideas from a wide variety of fields and penned by a wide variety of others. To the best of our abilities, we have tried not to turn this journal into a publication by Romanians for Romanians, only in English, which would be snobbery, but a shared space in which Romanian issues could be presented alongside more general considerations for the edification of a diverse and educated, but non-expert audience. The figures back us up, both on Facebook and on the website, where Romanians are still a plurality, but no longer the majority of our readers. Hopefully, we have not driven any of them away; instead, we rather managed to interest some people in our corner of the Internet, which is a difficult thing to do in a world given to shallow and homogenizing diversity. Facts and figures: TMFI is being read in 188 jurisdictions all over the world and its writers come from more than 50 countries. More


A Romanian Perspective on the Three Seas Initiative

A Romanian Perspective on the Three Seas Initiative

The Three Seas Initiative is a recent formula describing an older concept. Romania is a reflexive supporter of regional cooperation initiatives, but it is paying special attention to this initiative, as it encompasses a geopolitically significant area with relevance to long-term Romanian interests. This paper argues that this valuable initiative has a latent geopolitical subtext with regards to the two powers flanking the region which is perceived as such, if not commonly articulated, by the countries of the initiative. At the same time, the Black Sea will be a main deciding factor for the success and failure of the Initiatives, owing to several underlying conditions, as well as potential complicating factors. Any sort of Three Seas Initiative development will have to keep this in mind or else risk a concentration of vulnerabilities in the middle portion of the Initiative’s geographical space. The Three Seas Initiative must also be regarded from the perspective of synergies with Chinese initiatives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the 16+1 cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries. More


Pandora’s Botnet

Pandora’s Botnet

Cybersecurity is mentioned so often that it has become a cliché like climate change, with the other thing they have in common being a disagreement on what solutions are required, who is responsible for them and whether there is a responsibility in changing behaviour so as to minimize these risks. All of these difficult questions are left unanswered not just by the conceptual breadth and diversity of the issue at hand, but also by the ease with which dilettantes and people with agendas can spot facile solutions that obviate the need for difficult questions and answers. More


Global Initiatives and Supply Chains

Global Initiatives and Supply Chains

The security of global supply chains is a topic that the global public is actively debating for the first time since the OPEC crisis of 1973.There have been incidents since then that have highlighted the vulnerabilities produced by this stage of globalization, but none with universal and widespread impact until the coronavirus pandemic, which was followed up by the war in Ukraine starting in February 2022 and the sanctions levied against Russia. Two contradictory phenomena occurred during the pandemic – on the one hand, border closures and measures to reserve domestic production of medical supplies and equipment produced supply crises. On the other side, when restrictions were eased, global transportation thawed and the economy recovered, several nations experienced a crisis in both domestic and global logistical capacity (the USA and the UK being the best-known cases). Notable recent examples from 2020-2022 include: the oil tanker crisis waiting off the US coast due to a lack of oil storage capacity in the context of declining demand (leading to negative oil prices in futures markets); the international freight transport capacity crisis; the semiconductor crisis, which forced production cuts in the automotive industry, including in Romania; the raw materials crisis for the pharmaceutical industry, felt for example in India; the plastics production crisis; domestic fuel and freight supply crises in countries such as the UK; US problems in unloading container ships and ensuring multimodal transport, etc. There are several causes for these events, including government restrictions, consumer elasticity, the influence of economic uncertainty on business decisions to cut back on transportation fleets (especially road freight), the pandemic’s effects on employee health, and more. They all have one thing in common: the pandemic’s role as a persistent source of uncertainty and a force disrupting international and domestic economic connections.  More


The Saudi Shake-up

The Saudi Shake-up

News of the ongoing purge of numerous high-level officials and Saudi Royal Family members by the Saudi government has rattled global markets and raised further doubts regarding the stability of the Kingdom. What some are calling a counter-coup is presented as an anti-corruption move that saw over 1,200 bank accounts frozen and numerous assets being seized. Two Saudi princes have also died, one in an as yet unexplained helicopter crash near the Yemeni border and the other, the youngest son of King Fahd who ruled Saudi Arabia until 2005, died in a shoot-out between his security detail and government forces. More


Italy’s New Populist Government, in Context

Italy’s New Populist Government, in Context

Contrary to many pundits, many of them hysterics with crypto-fascist hallucinations, I do not believe the victory of Giorgia Meloni has a meaningful significance at the European level. There were many voices anticipating an advance of populist political movements in the context of economic difficulties and the energy crisis. The same voices are certainly right in a way – voters tend to lean towards anti-system, radical or just populist parties when they are not satisfied with the existing situation and pessimistic about the future. However, the mania of the European mainstream for populist prediction is an artifact of the media cycle, since any event must be exploited to the maximum for sensationalism and to introduce an anxious sense of vertigo in the public, to maximize clicks and views. More


Evergrande – a Test of China

Evergrande – a Test of China

For several months, the financial world has been watching with concern the evolution of Evergrande Group in China, whose financial problems have conjured up the specter of an economic contagion that can destabilize not only China's opaque financial system but also that of a world in which China has assumed a central role of the economic engine. China's biggest real estate company is, in some ways, emblematic of its explosive business model in the world's most dynamic economy. The company has more than 770 projects in 200 Chinese cities and has nearly two million apartments to deliver to buyers who, in some cases, have pre-paid the delivery price in the overheated real estate market of this country. The non-delivery of these units could generate social disturbances and affect the trust of the population in the economic governance of the country provided by the Communist Party, whose "Chinese dream" and "national regeneration" have an important economic component based on ensuring the prosperity of the common Chinese. After a series of delays in due bond payments, Evergrande found last-minute resources to make some payments and resume construction, sparking theories of government involvement. At the same time, even policies of the government precipitated this crisis against the background of the attempt to restore financial order in an economy characterized by speculative bubbles, primarily in real estate.  More


The Return of Microeconomics

The Return of Microeconomics

The recent launch of the English version of the seminal study “Some Microeconomic Landmarks of the Transition Process in Romania” by Prof. Cezar Mereuță is an important step in the process of exposing the notable work of Romanian scholars to their peers abroad.The initial Romanian edition appeared in 2015 and crowned 17 years of research into the structure of 1,009 markets between 1995 and 2012. His work is not only a peerless assessment of the developmental history of the Romanian economy post-transition, but a valuable work of microeconomics in its own right. More


Voices from the Goulash Archipelago

Voices from the Goulash Archipelago

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has made his yearly pilgrimages to Băile Tușnad (Tusnádfürdő in Hungarian) in Romania into opportunities for oracular speeches on the fate of the Hungarian nation and for the West. This is part of his successful attempt to portray himself to the electorate back home and in the Hungarian near abroad, but also for partners in the West and the East, as a visionary statesman addressing civilizational and national decline rather than just another opportunistic politician seeing a line he could cynically use. His forays into ideological dialogue with American and European political forces (through appearances by him and his allies in CPAC in the US and the recent National Conservatism Conference in Brussels) have made him a persona non grata to the European liberal set, but also raised his and his country’s stature in the minds of disaffected Westerners. His recent speech in Băile Tușnad / Tusnádfürdő was erudite and wide ranging, and inspired significant outcry in Europe and, partly, in the US, through his use of racial language in describing Western decline and his hopes for Hungarian continuity and flourishing. Everybody and his mother are either praising or attacking Orbán for this speech and I thought I would briefly throw my hat into the ring, not necessarily for commenting his speech but rather the metapolitical context in which it was made.  More


The Three Seas Initiative – Much Ado about Something

The Three Seas Initiative – Much Ado about Something

In pre-war Poland, Marshal Józef Piłsudski developed a grand strategy titled Prometheanism, which meant to weaken the Russian Empire and its successor state, the Soviet Union, by encouraging national independence movements. The movement eventually incorporated a related initiative, that of the Intermarium, a system of alliances, which some had hoped would become a future Federation, linking the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, as a united front against the advance of the Soviet juggernaut. It failed, but the concept held lingering appeal and was resurrected time and time again as a geopolitical solution to perennial Eastern European insecurity in relation to Russia in its various incarnations.  More


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