LATVIA – WRITERS
Circumstances are becoming more and more urgent. This is seen and felt not only by the people who are docents in education, but also by ordinary working people. Citizens’ savings are rapidly decreasing, consumer goods prices are only going up and up, and the purchasing power has decreased due to inflation, writes Egīls Līcītis in «Latvijas avīze».
Real wages have fallen by a tenth, the most basic foodstuffs in Riga are two or three times more expensive than in expensive Paris or London, and part of the year – winter – when you have to pay the heaviest heating bills, is yet to come. Even the current payments already make one’s hair stand on end. And after all, only ministers, MPs and representatives of the highest nomenclature in the country should receive reimbursements.
In micro-economics of every household, as well as in economy of the country as a whole, future perspectives are not so bright. The barometers of economic success all show bad weather and, even worse, the days will be overcast, with the sun hidden behind a thick blanket of clouds.
Economic activity has weakened and gone into negative territory, Latvians remain in the last places in the European Union. Because of the war, foreign investors do not consider it promising to invest in a distant Eastern European country. Transit shipments by sea, land and rail have ceased, and there is nowhere to get additional income.
Latvia’s electricity sector is in a critical state, in the sense that basic power generation sources have not been created thoughtlessly for many years and it is not known how additional capacity will be generated. What next, when there are more people working at a loss than earning – should we expect an unbearable recession, financial corrections, cost consolidation, economic downturn, crisis, collapse and bankruptcy?
This is not what mad mathematicians or feeble-minded scientists tell us, but it is what the representatives of our leading banks, financiers and economic coryphaei, who one day decided to become actual members of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, keep telling us. In fact, the researchers posing as economists and experts in financial affairs are making the critical situation worse, because as soon as they appear on the TV screen, it is already clear that the opening words will be «gentlemen, we have bad news»!
These ambassadors, like identical tin soldiers, have a pained look distant, lifeless and grey cheeks that never show the slightest smile. At the same time, the experts seem to burn with impatience, shifting from foot to foot to be the first to announce at the microphone the bad news that the public will greet without a single reproach.
Such talk by bank analysts, which is unadorned and contains not a hint of sweetening, does not improve the situation one cent. In brainwashing and composting, the verbose experts juggle terms as if from an economics textbook and with supposedly indisputable, proven facts, but somehow all predictions of economic know-it-alls endowed with rich imagination always fail to come true and the proposed development scenarios fail.
Expectations change and refine with enviable regularity, rising here and falling there, although, according to economic experts, they see the future as clearly in the distance as a landscape with a pretty girl changing her clothes in the lighted window of the house opposite.
Unfortunately, Luminor Bank economist Pēteris Strautiņš, with his bright head, eternally optimistic and unwavering message of uplift, who, in the estimation of his colleagues, will not stop enjoying life even in the grave, has also deflated like a punctured balloon and become a victim of the general atmosphere of negativity. Strautiņš’s stream of good news is tiny, while undesirable symptoms and bitter prognoses are pouring in like the horn of plenty.
Pēteris sour predictions – next year will not be a good one, GDP will fall, entrepreneurs will suffer, business environment will deteriorate, there will be neither growth nor development. In fact, the road to economic recession, crisis and collapse is open for all of us – no one can avoid it.
In difficult times, the Latvian people would gratefully accept support and help from measures agreed by the government, but they understand that when «building» a house of government and thinking about ideas, plans and tasks, politicians should not be disturbed. The minds of the people’s elected representatives are stuck in other things – selecting the best candidates for ministerial posts, in declarations. Officials are quite apathetic to the enthusiasm of the people, but as soon as they can, they will do so. They will tighten the screws, turn off the valves, grab the toolbox and proceed to rebuild the country and improve its condition.