Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Corporate Takeover of Serbia

"Having decided to commence the public procurement process, the government agreed to send invitations for the placement of bids directly to the following bidders: Rothschild; UBS; Goldman Sachs; BNP Paribas SA; HSBC Bank plc; Morgan Stanley; Citigroup Inc; Merrill Lynch; Lazard; ABN AMRO; Deutsche Bank AG; Deloitte; Lehman Brothers; PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Corp Fin; Ernst & Young; SG; Dresdner Klinwort; JP Morgan; KPMG Corp Fin; Macquarie Bank Ltd (MBL); M&A International Inc; ING; Credit Suisse; CALYON."

reports the Serbia Business website, regarding the imminent sale of JAT- the state-owned airline.

I've repeatedly argued, in articles such as this one, that the western intervention against Yugoslavia was motivated purely by economic and strategic- and not humanitarian concerns, and nothing that has gone on in the country since the fall of President Milosevic contradicts the thesis.

One of the very first things the new "reform" government in Belgrade did
after defeating Milosevic's leftist bloc in elections, was to redraft the country's privatisation law. Under the new law, 70% of a privatised company could be sold to Serbian and foreign investors, with just 15% for the workers and 15% for citizens.
Under the previous law, any privatisation deal would have to allocate 60% of the shares to workers. It's not rocket science to understand why removing Milosevic and his "unreconstructed" socialist bloc from power was such an urgent priority for global capital and the politicans who represent their interest.

But hey- don't get the idea that all things are bad in Serbia these days. Despite the record unemployment and growing numbers of people living in poverty since the country "reformed" its economy, there's still some bright news.

New Belgrade is to have the biggest shopping mall in the Balkans! And the shops "will offer all the major global consumer brands"

Three cheers for President Tadic and Mr Kostunica! They've sold our entire country, but at least we'll be able to go to Starbucks!


Anonymous said...

Do you believe the state should own airlines?

Neil Clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil Clark said...

I have absolutely no problem with the state owning airlines. It worked well enough for 60-70 years all over the world until the neo-liberal fanatics came along and said: "You can't have state-owned airlines".
By contrast, the privatised BA hasn't been such a great success has it? Is there anyone out there who travels BA and who is satisfied with it?

Anonymous said...

Your article in the Guardian is shocking. thank you for the link.

Would you please recommend a good website, or a book, explains the real story of Kosovo bombing?

also, is your hotmail address still valid?

Anonymous said...

"our entire country"? I was under the apparently mistaken impression that you are British.

Anonymous said...

"Three cheers for President Tadic and Mr Kostunica! They've sold our entire country, but at least we'll be able to go to Starbucks!"

Obviosuly written in the third person!

Anonymous said...

Well I am a Serb and I can say that Kostunica was the Trojan Horse that opened the doors of our country to the occupiers and Tadic is US's man, just as Dzindzic was Germany's. The noise they are making over Kosovo and Metohija at the moment is only because Putin has given them the word. Either they mend their ways or they will be out.

Is it OK only when Britain had a state owned airline? Just like nationalism, it's OK to have it in the US, UK and all those other countries which bombed us for being "nationalists".

It is a catastrophe when Serbia, parts of which could feed the rest of Europe, now has to import rubbish from abroad, because it has to export it's own products. Luckily there is still enough excellent produce which is just about cheap enough to feed the majority of the population whose living standard has nosedived.

On the other hand, there are clothing and shoe shops (e.g. Mango, Levi's, etc) whose prices are the same as London or Paris. There are banks on every corner from everywhere you can imagine. The question begs itself. Who can afford to buy these clothes and where is the money coming from to justify the existence of these banks?