Nudien, esmu pateicīgs Robertam Putnim, ka viņš ielika linku uz Financial Times rakstu par Latvijas krīzi savā politika.lv emuārā. Šis taču ir tik fantastiski interesants raksts, ka man nāca smiekli un gribējās raudāt vienlaicīgi, kad es to lasīju. Piemēram, šinī fragmentā, kur tiek intervēta Ingrīda Blūma:
But even before the crash, many insiders realised the game was up. In 2006 Bluma and other bankers went to the government and suggested it slow down the economy and property market. Recalling this in the coffee house, she spoke slowly, precisely, searching for the right words in English as she tried to understand what had happened. “I think this was one of our major mistakes – we were too slow with it,” she said. “And we were too soft. We said we need a government budget without deficit. They said this is impossible this year; maybe two years later. We said okay.”
Late in 2006 Bluma resigned from Hansabank for “personal reasons”. A senior official at the Bank of Latvia quit too, to study Buddhism abroad. A friend of his insists that the man’s interest in Buddhism was longstanding, but it did look awfully as though the crew were leaving the sinking ship.
“My own role in these years – frankly I am probably not objective,” Bluma said. She paused, then added: “What I personally still feel: responsible. I think about Hansabank. I hope that in three years time Hansabank will be a really successful bank in Latvia. Then I will feel happy about it.” After which, being a prudent lady, she swept her uneaten raisin biscuits into a bag and took them home.
Man ir visai pagrūti lasīt Blūmas atstāstīto sarunu. Man ir vienkārši pārsteigums par tā laika valdības aunapierību – IKP pieaugums ap 10% un bezdeficīta budžets – varbūt pēc diviem gadiem! Visbeidzot, reportiera bezkaislīgais apraksts, kā Blūma vispirms sev sit pie krūtīm un katoliskā nožēlas ekstāzē sauc “Mea culpa” un tad savāc savus neapēstos cepumus… ir gluži vai Čārlza Dikensa spalvas cienīga ironija. Vai, piemēram, šis laikmeta gara rezumējums:
From 2004, Latvian politicians were finally free to do as they liked. For years they had listened to westerners telling them what to do to get into the EU; now they were in. Ainars Šlesers, a politician who once campaigned as “Šuperman”, wrote in 2004: “One should quit warning about some kind of economic overheating. We ought to push the pedal to the metal.” Even if inflation hit 15 per cent, Latvia was a special case. The laws of economics didn’t apply.
After the bubble burst the country’s finance minister was asked what had happened. “Nothing special,” he replied, helplessly. This is now a Latvian catchphrase. Some people have put in on their T-shirts. It sums things up nicely: the crash was nothing special, or exactly what you would expect given government policy.
Un tagad šis “supermens” ir ievēlēts Rīgas Domē un es nudien nezinu, pēc kādiem apsvērumiem vēlētāji vadījās? Ka viss vēl nav pietiekami izsaimniekots un “aizlaists dēlī”? Es nezinu, vai tas ir tas sliktākais. Varbūt, ka visšausmīgākais ir šī ļoti īsā, bet konkrētā krīzes analīze:
This is how a country can blow a bubble that will definitely burst: 1) Run high inflation; 2) Borrow profusely; 3) Import much more than it exports; 4) Build an economy on speculation in assets; 5) Put no public funds aside for a rainy day; 6) Meanwhile, peg its currency to a stable currency.
Latvia ticked every box.
Es saprotu, ka politiķi Latvijā nebija neko īpaši spoži. Tomēr, kur īsti bija mūsu finanšu speciālisti, ierēdņi un intelektuāļi? Tomēr es nezinu, ko lai saka par šādu mūsu pašreizējā premjera atainojumu:
Dombrovskis is a physicist-turned-economist, and that’s exactly what he looks like, with his straight brown hair, ill-fitting suit and unpretentious glasses. He tore open a plastic box of cream, poured it into his coffee and talked like an economics teacher who is disappointed in his class. He had stern words for Latvian consumers: “Of course there was too much optimism, in Latvia and I would say in most of the world. People were kind of expecting growth continuing forever, and here we are in this very difficult situation.” He had stern words for Scandinavian banks: “To borrow irresponsibly you need someone to lend irresponsibly.” But above all, Dombrovskis had stern words for his own predecessors: “Government was quite clearly ignoring some of the fundamental rules of economy.”
. . .
He was happy talking about numbers, but when I asked him to describe the pain ordinary Latvians were now suffering, he was stuck. Instead of empathy, he offered more numbers: the recent 15 per cent cut in state salaries, the coming cut of 20 per cent more, the freezing of pensions, etcetera etcetera. Nobody can dismiss this man as a touchy-feely Clintonian.
Kā teicu iepriekš – man nāca smiekli par Dombrovska kā ekonomikas pasniedzēja raksturojumu, jo tas patiešām ir ārkārtīgi trāpīgs. Visās intervijās ar ārzemju medijiem, īpaši zviedru medijiem, Dombrovskis atstāj perfekti kompetenta cilvēka iespaidu (kas ir pilnīgs pretstats Slakterim un Kalvītim), tādēļ man nav nekad bijis kauns ne par viņa angļu valodu, ne par viņa pateiktā būtību. Tomēr Dombrovksa sausums arī ir ārkārtīgi uzkrītošs. Varētu teikt, ka viņš ir tipiski tehnokrātisks, ja vien nebūtu kārdinājums teikt, ka nejūtīgs.
Tomēr interesants bija arī reportiera iespaids par latviešu reakciju uz krīzi:
“I actually thought my employees would perceive it in the worst way,” she told me. “They had bought flats, they had bought cars. But after we had the meeting, from the way they reacted, I was very close to tears. They said, ‘If we all try to stick together, we will make it.’” How did she explain their phlegmatism? “That’s a good thing about people in this part of Europe,” she replied. “We have been through difficult times. Our parents have been through difficult times. We understand a crisis. We will just go through it.”
Many people I spoke to in Riga made Kotova’s point: Latvians had had ample experience of crises over the last century. “They are not as spoiled as Swedes and Icelanders,” said Anders Paalzow, Swedish rector of the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga [..]
Latvians remember worse times. In April, Eurobarometer, the polling arm of the European Commission, polled 27,218 people in the 27 EU countries about the economic crisis. Latvians are probably the hardest-hit Europeans. Yet, Eurobarometer found, they were also among the four most optimistic nations about the future impact of the crisis on the world. Given this country’s history, an economic depression is only a blip.
Iesaku izlasīt Financial Times rakstu visā pilnībā – tā ir aizraujoša lasāmviela. Un arī viela pārdomām.
PS – Un šo rakstu es noteikti izprintēšu. Jo piekrītu Vjačeslavam Dombrovskim un Vairai Vīķei Freibergai, ka Latvijas gadījums ir vienkārši pārāk klasisks, lai to neizmantotu pedagoģiskiem nolūkiem. Diemžēl, Latvija jau ir kļuvusi par case study, kā novest valsts ekonomiku “līdz kliņķim”.