Bogdan C. Enache
Bogdan C. Enache
Political scientist, former business journalist, book reviewer; interested in politics, economics and the art of living
Romania’s “Sonderweg” to Illiberal Democracy

Romania’s “Sonderweg” to Illiberal Democracy

In German historiography, there is a current of thought dating to the 19th century regarding a “special path” (Sonderweg) of political development in Germany or German settled areas. Its first incarnation was a positive one, underlying the German aptitude for social reform and development in the absence of dangerous pressures. After WW2, it became a way of explaining the rise of Nazism and retconning it as inevitable, thus making the leap from theory to tool for self-blame. This article argues that Romania is undergoing its own Sonderweg to illiberalism, based on local specificities of a political and structural nature. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


Inflation Surpassing Populism

Inflation Surpassing Populism

In a Europe locked-in below-target inflation, for the most part, one country basically surpasses all others. Romania managed to almost triple its inflation rate one month into the New Year, after a brief – and unique period in the last quarter century or so – when the headline figure was actually negative. What’s behind this astonishing success, or not such a success after all? More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


How the Latest Trump Tariffs Will Affect Romania

How the Latest Trump Tariffs Will Affect Romania

On March 1st, US President Donald Trump announced that his administration will unilaterally introduce new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in the United States of America. Officially motivated by national security concerns under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, the announcement follows a similar decision to unilaterally introduce new tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines, for reasons of unfair competition, taken at the end of January. Along with pressures for a redrawing of the North-American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada and the retreat from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the decision constitutes the most palpable expression to date of the United States’ new protectionist trade policy, to which Donald Trump alluded to since he was campaigning on an “America first” platform for the White House back in 2016. But unlike the solar panels and washing machines tariffs of a month and a half ago, which targeted primarily Chinese, South Korean and other Asian economies, the new steel and aluminum tariffs risk triggering a full-scale trade war with the European Union’s – still – 28 nations trade block, Romania included.  More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


The Bear Stearns of Romania

The Bear Stearns of Romania

Despite a lot of public rhetoric and noisy politics, the Romanian episode of the recent Great Financial Crisis has not been adequately chronicled to date.True, in Romania, a country with a low – but increasing – financialization rate by Western standards, there has not been any Lehman Brothers-style bankruptcy in the local banking industry. However, despite repeated public statements made, since the beginning of the Crisis, by Mugur Isărescu and other officials at the National Bank of Romania (BNR), that the Romanian financial system is crisis-proofed, there has actually been a Bear Stearns-type of failure not long after the global panic spread into the country as well.  More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


Can Trade Wars Be Good for the Economy?

Can Trade Wars Be Good for the Economy?

With the world economic community focused on US President Donald Trump’s acrobatics of escalating and deescalating trade battles, the question naturally arises if there’s actually any truth to his two-part statement, or tweet, that “trade wars are good, and easy to win”. Indeed, protectionism is an economic policy older than the science of Economics itself, but according to the classical theory of Smith and Ricardo it is just the oldest folly in the history of Economics. Modern neoclassical Economics incorporates and strongly validates the Smithian and Ricardian condemnation of protectionism, allowing deviations from it only in some exceptional and clearly specified situations. The explanation neoclassical Economics offers for the persistence of protectionism as a policy has changed however, replacing folly with a rational public choice theory of concentrated benefits for the beneficiaries and dispersed costs for those harmed. But is protectionism and its long history really just a folly?  More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


The Euro’s Italian Job

The Euro’s Italian Job

Although part of the euro sovereign debt crisis that triggered a double-dip Eurozone recession in 2012 and turned control of public spending – or austerity – into a reverse-keynesian precept for calming the market’s animal spirits, Italy’s conundrum is quite different from that of Greece, Spain, Ireland or Portugal with which the country is often grouped together by financial analysts. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


An International Auction for Romanian Wild Brown Bears

An International Auction for Romanian Wild Brown Bears

In late August 2017, the Romanian Government, through the Ministry for the Environment, decided to allow the shooting of 140 brown bears in the Carpathian Mountains as an administrative measure to curb the bear population in the country, which in some areas is threatening peasant livestock and even the safety of town dwellers. Although the Government backpedalled on its decision in the face of strong pressure from the public and conservationist groups – who accused it of giving in to the hunting industry’s lobby and spurious bear population statistics –, ultimately reaffirming its ban on the trophy hunting of bears and other protected species in the country, it is worth reflecting on how economics can balance public and private interests in the management and conservation of wildlife. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


The Emerging Frontier of the Bucharest Stock Market

The Emerging Frontier of the Bucharest Stock Market

Since 2016, The Bucharest Stock Exchange (Bursa de Valori București - BVB) is actively seeking official recognition of emerging market status from the world’s leading providers of stock market services. In fall last year, for instance, BVB entered FTSE Russel’s “Watchlist”, the London Stock Exchange’s research and rating agency shortlist of potential emerging markets, while also being under the consideration of S&P, MSCI and Stoxx. More

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 2017


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OEconomica No. 1, 2016