Saturday, December 6, 2008

Stop, thief!

Walking on Maidan Nezhaleznosti the other day, I saw this banner and understood enough to know it was connected with the economic crisis. I thought I should probably snap a photo of it just in case. I was told later it translates roughly as:


Don't take back people's salaries!
Don't lay people off!

I'm not sure who exactly who is sponsoring this banner, but I believe it is some kind of workers' union. While I can't blame them for defending the interests of their members, I can't buy into equating business owners and managers who lay people off and cut salaries as stealing from the people. Granted, there are employers whose owners may actually did steal from the people 17 years ago to get where they are. But does lumping in all companies together like this really help? To me, it creates another division within a country that already has too many.

Don't get me wrong, I'm quite pissed off at the American financial system for the whole sub-prime mortgage fiasco, and think someone needs to go to jail and give back lots of money, not to mention keep an eye on these guys in the future to prevent this from happening again. But accepting the underlying premises of the belief expressed in this banner would get one a lifetime Communist Party membership. And at the risk of sounding insensitive, I also think it perpetuates the legacy of an entitlement mentality, that has been a drag on Ukraine's economic progress and social reform.

I'd be interested what alternative these guys are giving to entrepreneurs and businesses who are facing the prospect of bankruptcy by continuing with business as usual. In that case, who is trying to steal from whom?
Anyone have another opinion?