Saturday, 22 May 2010

There's one law for the rich and another for the poor the world over!

I enjoy nothing better than getting up early in the morning, banging on the old kettle, making my first early morning brew and tuning into BBC Radio 4; it really is a great time to get a handle on current affairs; and there is none other better or superior for information than honest-to-goodness Radio 4.


This morning one story and quite a little gem I thought, caught and grabbed my attention.

The Latvian government and police have been investigating for months a security breach. Apparently a hacker has managed to hack into government computers and then leaking data about the finances of banks and state-owned firms to the press and Latvian TV.
Using the alias "Neo" - a reference to The Matrix films – he has exposed and successfully; those cashing in on the recession in Latvia.

Before I proceed with this story it may be helpful to provide some background about Latvia for those of us that don’t know a great deal about this country which lies in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia, to the south by Lithuania, to the east by the Russian Federation, and to the southeast by Belarus, across the Baltic Sea to the west lies Sweden.

With a population of 2.24 million Latvia is one of the least-populous members of the European Union, and its population has declined since 1991.
In the global financial crisis Latvia has been hardest hit of the European Union member states, with a GDP decline of 26.54% in that period. Per Capita its GDP is only 57.3% of the EU average, making it one of the poorest member-states. In 2009, Latvia underwent a tempestuous change of government, and as a result, the country is facing renewed political instability.

After posting Europe's highest growth figures just a few years ago, the Latvian economy almost collapsed. It shrank at over a 10 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the country's credit rating, already the lowest in the Baltics, was cut to junk status. The government like the Greeks, strapped for cash, petitioned international financial institutions for aid and then introduced stringent austerity program, cutting some public expenditures to the bone, in return for the bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Then there are the banks, many from Scandinavia, which have provided in the good times plenty of easy credit, then when the tide turned and the capitalist greed bubble like elsewhere in the world collapsed and (proving that the problem is global) moved to collect on debts gone bad, hammering the poor and least well off yet again! So not surprisingly last year in January, an initially peaceful gathering of some 10,000 descended into rioting when, protesters attacked police and looted stores. In December 2008 the Latvian unemployment rate stood at 7%.By December 2009, the figure had risen to 22.8% today it stands at 24%. The number of unemployed has more than tripled since the onset of the crisis, giving Latvia the highest rate of unemployment growth in the EU.

So is it any wonder that ‘Neo’ brings forth the truth; that obviously hurts the mights that run our lives and society on behalf of capitalism. They say that sticks and stones break bones but words never hurt, unless it’s the words and information that some in world governments, would rather keep hidden from their people.

The Latvian authority’s unmasked and arrested ‘Neo’ on Tuesday 11 May, and it has since been reveled that Ilmārs Poikāns, 31 of Riga, was the man behind the hack that has been obsessively followed  on Tweeter. Poikāns hacks reveled through tax records of Latvia’s political and business elite. That whilst Teachers, Doctor’s, Nurses and other workers were taking pay cut’s and in some cases up to 70%, bankers and other top executives of municipal companies received huge monthly salaries — 4,000 lats (€5,700) and higher — while enormous bonuses, including 16,000 lats (€22,500) while as I say employees took wage reductions in light of budget cuts.

This proves that old adage taken as true, one law for the rich and another for the poor!

2 comments:

Chris H said...

In the West we often have a view of third world countries as dens of corruption.

But to be honest we in the West and the UK must surely hold the crown for corruption, it's just that we don't see it. It's all held within the business class or those in local and national politics.

Compared to the West the methods of corruption in the third world look much more equitable.

Your post also reminds us that it's no good trying to clean up the system we have. It needs pulling down completely.

Norbert said...

Hi Chris,

All I can say is with you on that 100
per cent!

The Socialist Way

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