That’s the headline, anyway. And the piece starts out as though that’s a reasonable description of what’s happened:

When Bosnia abandoned communism about two decades ago, officials devised a plan that wouldn’t mean mass layoffs for state workers. It was supposed to be a smooth transition after the 1992-1995 war that left 100,000 dead and devastated the country’s infrastructure.

But it has been a disaster for people like Munevera Drugovac, a 58-year-old widow, who works for a company that was bought by a businessman in 2004. She hasn’t been paid in 19 months.

“Back then, I didn’t have electricity and heating because of the war,” she said. “Now, I don’t have it because of unpaid bills.”

More than 80 percent of privatizations have failed, becoming a core reason behind Bosnia’s worst unrest since the end of the war. Many well-connected tycoons have swept into these companies, stripping them of their assets, declaring bankruptcy and leaving thousands without jobs or with minimal pay.

So that’s privatisation, is it? The problem here is the selling of state-run interests to the private sector, is it?

No. That’s not the problem:

The Bosniak-Croat Federation is further divided in 10 cantons, each with a similar set of institutions, meaning that nearly 4 million people are governed by more than 150 ministries on four different levels of government – an expensive and ineffective system that scares off foreign investors and is preventing the country from joining the European Union.

The monthly salaries of parliamentarians are the highest in the region — up to 3,500 euros ($4,750.55) — while average salaries don’t exceed 350 euros.

Corruption is widespread and high taxes for the country’s bloated public sector eat away at residents’ paychecks. Privatizations have decimated the middle class and sent the working class into poverty.

Some observers believe widespread corruption has been allowed to flourish, benefiting an elite group with political connections.

“They have penetrated the state, turning the government itself into a facade,” said Denisa Kostovicova, an associate professor of global politics at the London School of Economics. “What now appears as a dysfunctional state is in actual fact a very functional system that distributes the privileges, but only to the networked.”

The problem is a still over-powerful state, cumbersome bureaucracy and the habits of communism.

But glance at the headline and you’d think it was the opposite.

UPDATE: Tim points out the same sort of corruption happens here, largely among the Labour Party and Union movement.

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This runs against my normal narrative, which might be all the more reason to mention it.

I was chatting earlier today with a partner in a criminal forensics consultancy. This firm (of ex-Met personnel, mainly) is employed by solicitors in complicated cases to perform forensic analysis of things like telephone records, which form a large part of most serious trials. The work just isn’t there at the moment. That’s because large complicated investigations have been scaled back, leaving the simpler ones to keep crime stats respectable.

So it sounds like the cuts really are having an impact on the investigation of serious crime. Ironically, they’re all waiting for the News International hacking cases to come through. Lots of telephone analysis there!

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Let me ease back into this, after a break of several months, with an easy one.

Norm asks: Why is one inequality different? The context is a piece contrasting the strides towards greater racial and gender equality in the USA with the widening economic stratification that has accompanied it.

Here’s the answer: one inequality is not different. Equality means ‘of opportunity’ – and this is precisely what is meant by greater racial and gender equality: equality of opportunity.

Differing economic outcomes are not a measure of equality. In fact, differing economic outcomes are an inevitable consequence of equality of opportunity.

The apparent paradox is no more than a conjuring trick with words. In the chalk corner we have equality. In the cheese corner we have redistribution of wealth. They aren’t the same thing at all and never will be, however much you try to redefine the meanings of words for the purpose of political rhetoric.

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Now, let me be fully understood as to what Free Traders really do want. We do not want cheap corn merely in order that we may have low money prices. What we desire is plenty of corn, and we are utterly careless what its price is, provided we obtain it at the natural price. All we ask is this, that corn shall follow the same law which the monopolists in food admit that labor must follow; that ‘it shall find its natural level in the markets of the world.’

Worth reading in full.

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From a WSJ blog:

According to the latest Internal Revenue Service report, the number of Americans renouncing their U.S. citizenship (or terminating their long-term permanent residency) has increased nearly ninefold since 2008.

The numbers are tiny, under 500 people per quarter. But the rate of increase of expatriations is precipitous. Why? Here’s one possible explanation from the same post:

“There is growing concern, particularly among the wealthy, about the future financial direction of the country,” said Paul L. Caron, Charles Hartsock Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. “This President constantly demonizes the wealthy, who undoubtedly are concerned about the tax policy that would emerge in 2012 if a re-elected Barack Obama, unconstrained by re-election concerns, finally confronts the budgetary train wreck that he has done so much to exacerbate.”

The USA has unusual tax laws, though, which exert claims over the incomes of Americans earning and living overseas. I’ve a feeling it is mainly US expats renouncing citizenship.

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It’s just been announced that interest rates are being held at 0.5% by the Bank of England. There’s been a lot of talk about rates because inflation is running above target. But isn’t this all just a form of theatre? QE increased the money supply, which is inflationary. In other words, inflation was government policy: of course there’s higher inflation than before. That was the idea, in part – when there’s inflation real wages fall and borrowers do well (the government is a big borrower).

The agonising over interest rates is just for show.

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My running-dog thesis is that both the major events of the past week – the arrest of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange on rape allegations, and the student ruck in Parliament Square – were specially arranged by some sort of Tory deity to confuse the Left and make it look stupid.

Andrew Gilligan, who goes on to say:

Last Thursday, the students didn’t just lose the vote in the Commons. They lost the sympathy of a lot of middle-of-the-road people – and most importantly, they lost control of the agenda. We should be talking about the injustice of some of the cuts, and the hopeless mess the Lib Dems found themselves in. Instead, we’re talking about the violence of the students.

Just so, and the more the subject of violence stays in discussion, the more true this is. That’s why some of the more self-satisfied left-wing bloggers who’ve been banging on about it repeatedly (Sunny Hundall and Paul Sagar come to mind) have simply revealed their own tactical stupidity. Assuming, that is, such stupidity wasn’t already obvious to the onlooker.

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