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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 60,358 44,428 38,700 52
GNI per capita
 US $ 2,310 1,850 1,720 100
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Romania


Update No: 157 - (26/06/10)

The crisis of neo-liberalism
Romania has not escaped the impact on the Balkans of the global economic crisis, although it is not in quite such a parlous state as Greece.

The crisis was not unexpected by several acute observers, notably George Soros and John Gray, Professor of European thought at London University. They both predicted in books published many years ago that the world economy, misguidedly pursuing a neo-liberal agenda, was riding for a fall.

It is all to do with that massive event, the collapse of communism, whose most vivid events were the fall of Ceausescu in December, 1989 and the failed coup of August, 1991 in the USSR, which led rapidly to its demise. Who did not think then that the West, triumphant in the Cold War, knew it all?

Western advisers came to town in the capitals of former
Communist country after country, peddling their neo-liberal ideology, that appeared to have won the Cold War. But the application of its shibboleths, privatisation, the freeing of the market, anti-etatisme and anti-regulation to the fore, has induced a crisis in the ex-communist world, and in the world beyond.

There is a parallel with the 1930s when capitalism was sliding out of control. Keynes is right after all - one needs a measure of state control.

Narrowly surviving a vote of no-confidence
Romania's centre-right Liberal Democratic government is the heir to this troubled legacy. It embraced the neo-liberal ideology enthusiastically in the 1990s and into the new millennium, but now realises new ideas are necessary. But it does not know quite what they are.

It is going through the motions of the old-fashioned ones so far.

It narrowly survived a no-confidence vote on June 15 against its proposed austerity package. The censorship motion, "stop social genocide," was put forward by 120 opposition members from the Social Democratic and Conservative parties. It failed before a full house in Parliament, announced the senate secretary, Liberal Democrat George David.

David said that between the two houses of Parliament 425 votes were cast, 228 votes in favour of the censorship motion and 197 votes against. Three votes were invalid. The motion needed 236 votes to pass.

The austerity measures propose cutting public sector salaries by 25 per cent and pensions by 15 per cent, in addition to imposing drastic cuts in the public sector, including social benefits.

Approximately 5,000 people gathered on June 15 outside the Romanian Parliament to protest against the government's unpopular austerity plan, say organizers. Romanian police prevented protesters from entering the building.

Trade Union Confederation Cartel Alfa says it is ready to continue the protests over the following days. Meanwhile, lawmakers continue to accuse each other of being unable to find viable solutions to the country's economic woes other than cutting employee wages and pensions.