Octavian-Dragomir Jora
Octavian-Dragomir Jora
Economist, Associate Professor, Ph.D., the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, editor and journalist, interested in comparative economic systems, cultural economics, geopolitics and geo-economy
The Anathema of Secession

The Anathema of Secession

Talking about secession in the house of the modern state is, depending on the tastes and the actual situation of the speaker, either something absolutely hilarious (if not even dangerous), or something absolutely legitimate (if not even necessary). It is a historical fact that the current world, in its settlement as state-centred reality, of cohabiting territorial monopolies of legitimate use of force, was built on a foundation which, in the meantime, became a geopolitical quasi-taboo: the principle of self-determination. This self-determination, in its pure form, does not involve something that should mandatorily be seen as insidious, but a natural prolongation of human liberty and personal property – two civilizational benchmarks which, we must admit, are still treated as indigest on certain lands, in certain times. And if the state is portrayed and perceived as a social contract, then it can only be accepted as valid if closed between free men, within the limits of their legitimate patrimony, including their territorial possessions, under a strictly consented jurisdictional framework. (Or not quite so?)  More


Three Unions in a (Life)Boat

Three Unions in a (Life)Boat

The unions of states, in their either federalist or inter-governmental setting, are portrayed in economics and political science literature, by certain scholars and pundits, as quasi-romance stories and, by others, as purely-cynical undertakings: they are, for the first, expressions of common destinies, while for the second, mere cartels of political exploitation. Though, beyond charitable or circumspect translation of state gatherings, the undeniable facts are that the state, as an organization of humans, has a maximizing logic and that this logic is exercised as the monopoly of (legitimate?) violence with the privilege of (unconsented?) expropriation, by taxation, regulation and inflationary redistribution of purchasing power. Maximization logic of the state (apparatus) – rightly de-homogenized from the rest of society – leads to a triple choice: to increase domestic exploitation, to expand abroad, or both. More


The Sustainable University: Concept and Conception

The Sustainable University: Concept and Conception

“Sustainable University” is a kind of phrase to emanate a semantic scent with connotations – traced back to an ages-old polarity, yet always at great fashion in social affairs – seemingly both conservative and progressive. Really? Can we so frivolously mix polarities, opposites, antinomies? Well, let’s see. We are talking about conservatism because university and sustainability are involved in activating if not an “instinct”, at least a “rationale” for preserving/perpetuating the knowledge within people and the resources needed to make it work. As we are also talking about progressivism because both try to do it not in ankylosis, but in advancing such knowledge (i.e., in economics, on the allocation of scarce resources) across generations, and the society learns to evolve through each and every member, who is educated to evaluate. Conservation and progress can work together.  More


Romania’s Neighbourhoods:An Exercise of Critical Thinking

Romania’s Neighbourhoods:
An Exercise of Critical Thinking

At the township level, the “community spirit” is a function of knowledge, and proper action, about / towards people – as persons – and their places – or properties, either private or public. A community is defined equally by bonds and bounds, wisely informed and duly enforced, so that a neighbourly peace, not necessarily a heavenly harmony, will emerge and endure. In Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” there is a famous line – “Good fences make good neighbours” – suggesting the common sense truth that order among humans requires, much sooner than empathy or sympathy, an order “in rem”, with respect to their belongings, which are part and parcel of their personal universes – teleological prolongations of their beings. “The Bible tells us to love our neighbours and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people”, said once G.K. Chesterton. This might be the most pessimistic view of a neighbourhood, which we are advised to treat with utmost kindness. If love is too much to ask, then the next line of defence is to understand, not understate, things. More


Culture and Property Rights

Culture and Property Rights

The International Book Fair Bookfest 2017 gave me the opportunity to exchange some thoughts, with quite exquisite and exigent readers, on my recent work – Spiritualitate, materialitate și proprietate. Cultura mea, cultura ta, cultura noastră, cultura lor (Editura ASE, 2016) [Spirituality, Materiality and Property. My Culture, Your Culture, Our Culture, Their Culture]. Addressed for now mainly to a Romanian readership (by its publication language) the book basically hosts a worldwide-relevant question, though not so frequently or explicitly asked (to say the least): “Is culture a public(ly enforceable) good or a private(ly producible) one?”. The question is being complicated by the fact that the culture deals with consensual, socializing, public values (we speak of preferences, traditions, beliefs, which, by definition, unite before they separate), as it is also true that the human person is the one who gives meaning to social aggregates (the methodological individualism, despite hasty amendments is crux in social sciences). Or speaking in “economics” (nota bene: the science of human action in a (praxeo)logical, commonsensical, un-sterilely-sophisticated expression): What makes a culture become a Culture? (Economic) freedom or (political) interventionism? More


Always Betting on God

Always Betting on God

Forever interacting with a world where both he and the things around him are beyond his reach, man longs for infinity. Although his powers of action are limited by the constraints of time and space, man clings to his reason not only to order the reality of scarcity, but also to probe the mysteries of the beyond. He has only one life ahead to understand what awaits “beyond” and his only guilt is that of not being aware enough of the full importance of this “before”. We were endowed with reason from the very beginning and we use it to productively take part in the social metabolism, otherwise the animal instinct activated by implacable bio-physical-chemical laws would have sufficed. Reason is also the source for the understanding of the world as it is (to us) and of the world as it should be (to us). This assumption leads to the idea that reason is not only the best means to detect temptation but more often than not, the biggest temptation itself. More


AD 2017 is Anno Donald 1

AD 2017 is Anno Donald 1

The advent of Donald J. Trump hardly resembles the prologue to some great national redemption, for it is not clear what kind of greatness he has in mind for his beloved America. As for the international landscape, his “twilightenment” reigns supreme, for it is not clear who are the (real) alien friends and foes of the “archetypal”/“average” (yet so imaginary) US citizen. Trump’s moral code is literally undecipherable, his logic is humoral, his values are untraceable, while his value is a secret formula of his capitalist net worth and democratic trustworthiness. What is common to any of Trump’s portraits is his basic uncommonness: he serves a Union whose domestic polarization he embodies, while his foreign policy seems foreign to any present day routine. But if we want to capture the essence of his discourse (or at least of the perceptions of others regarding it), there are two basic concepts that in no case should be ignored: anti-political correctness and populismMore


The Revolution from Within

The Revolution from Within

Revolutions are experiences of a purgatorial sort. They remake people’s lives and indeed rewrite not only their present and future but their past as well. The latter gets to be turned either into a memorial of avenged pain and suffering or into an archaeological site of bygone morality. And there, some find themselves scrapping feverishly through the debris for relics of a past “against the tide” righteousness, to be convertible into strategic assets in the “New Order” life. More


Trump’s Transatlantic Impaired Partnership

Trump’s Transatlantic Impaired Partnership

The two shores, and lands, of the North Atlantic – the Eastern and the Western ones – are subject to a movement where, metaphorically speaking, the economy tries to beat the geography, while politics seem to team up either with the first one or with the second. The name of the game is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP –, the famously hard-to-get deal between the US and EU, whose first official round of talks began in 2013, with the intention to bring about lower trade tariffs and to reduce regulatory barriers that make exchanges between the US and the EU more costly than they should. Geophysics literally distances America from Europe, the orogenesis of the Mid-Atlantic ridge pushing aside the tectonic plates where “the new world” and “the old continent” sit. More


Marx & Spencer

Marx & Spencer

The wordplay in the title blissfully suggests that mirth is a legitimate reaction to the connotations of a mundanely “hallowed” name. Phonetically, it insinuates an English apparel retailer, much appreciated by the in-crowd. Visually, there seems to be a “spelling” mistake. Obviously, it is just a caprice, of the same character as the caprices history slams in our faces; these caprices are (also) known as coincidences. They make up the tools based on which some individuals torment themselves to transform the historical fact into invariant lessons. Those individuals may be labelled “hasty” historians. And the most “arrogant” of them postulate with no remorse universal laws from past uniqueness.  More


Football and Invisible Hands

Football and Invisible Hands

The British Isles have shared with our world, among others, two paradigms of sociality: the classic economic liberalism and the modern game of football. Contrasting the proverbial avarice, Scotland has handed us two apostles of the… “invisible hand”, that witty formula touching both the social matter-of-course and the footballer’s fetish: Adam Smith and Sir Alex Ferguson. Professor of logic and moral philosophy, searching for a unified theory of society and bringing together ideas of theology, ethics, politics and law, Adam Smith came to write the first systematic treatise on political economy in history. Smith’s thesis contrasts its logical simplicity with the complicated sophistry employed by those who ignore it: if individuals were free to pursue their own interests, doing it through entrepreneurship and commerce, with respect for the freedom of the others, the society as a whole will improve its condition, coordinating itself via the market. And opposed to the invisible hand is the statists’ “hand play”. More


Journal of Reasonable Arguments

Journal of Reasonable Arguments

“A «market for ideas», is that what we’ve been missing now, in times of severe and tangible hardships?!” Such a reaction is a performative contradiction, since this invective expresses, in itself, an idea, even before the emitter tries, by shouting, to rob himself and us of the value of a train of thought through his “heckler’s veto”. More


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OEconomica No. 1, 2016