When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

From Poland, No Pity For Cypriots -- Or Ourselves

When a crooked system is allowed to fester, there are few who are free of blame -- and little chance we will remained unscathed. A view from the European Union's eastern front.

Out of the shadows
Out of the shadows
Jacek Żakowski


I feel no pity for Cypriots, they got what they deserved. Their ‘free rider’ state has been a parasite to the European Union, and neighboring countries. Cyprus wanted to make its living by helping fraudsters. I am not surprised that nobody is running to help.

I also don’t have any sympathy for the gangsters, bribe givers, shifty businessmen and other swindlers from the EU and its surroundings, who have long since found haven for their dirty money on Cyprus. I’m not moved by the laments over their bank deposits being stolen by the state. For years they have been using Cyprus to rob their homelands, forcing their governments to turn a blind eye on this growing issue.

It’s a grotesque paradox that those who have been robbing the states are screaming the loudest, that they’re being robbed by the state.

I don’t sympathize either with us, ordinary Europeans, who will be touched by the consequences of the loss of credibility in the banking system. We let our governments tolerate a gigantic sham exempting the rich from taxes and shifting costs of state maintenance to the poor. Even when it came to light that these kinds of frauds are one of the reasons for the crisis, and despite the fact that the leaders of the world’s greatest economies acknowledged it, we accepted as citizens that it would continue.

We need to learn our lesson, even if we feel we were misled, manipulated by the crooked few telling us that this is how it has to be.

Not reality

How could this all happen? To a large extent, it's because half-a-century of tranquility made Europeans believe that the state is a kind of Limited Liability Company where the risks and costs borne by citizens are proportional to the taxes they pay. According to this neoliberal idea, if the country’s efficiency is low, we need to minimize the risk by lowering our input, meaning taxes. People should focus on their private sphere and avoid losing time on the public one. This even includes voting.

The current events shaking Cyprus remind us that those neoliberal, individualistic, selfish motives don’t fit the reality. It is clear as a bell that a state is an Unlimited Liability Company. The liability is total. Thinking that the national problems aren’t ours is a delusion. We cannot neglect the public sphere with impunity. When we citizens push problems under the rug, minding our own business, the state goes astray. If our intellectual laziness let us believe in the nonsense proclaimed by some scam artists, when we let them buy politicians, sooner or later we’ll pay for that in our own lives and well-being.

The price we are paying now is still low. The swindlers will lose their tax haven, and a part of their fortunes. Cypriots will lose the fraudulent source of their wealth. Politicians and various experts who supported this system will lose their sponsors.

And we, as citizens? We will not only lose some money, but more importantly the illusion that democracy guarantees everything, even without our active participation. It doesn’t. In matters of state, the rule of limited liability doesn’t work. Neither our money or our houses, health or even life will be safe so long as we will believe that we can simply not bother.

In democracy there’s no escape from civil responsibility. It will get us sooner or later.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

eyes on the U.S.

Murdoch's Resignation Adds To Biden Good Luck With The Media — A Repeat Of FDR?

Robert Murdoch's resignation from Fox News Corp. so soon before the next U.S. presidential elections begs the question of how directly media coverage has impacted Joe Biden as a figure, and what this new shift in power will mean for the current President.

Close up photograph of a opy of The Independent features Rupert Murdoch striking a pensive countenance as his 'News of the World' tabloid newspaper announced its last edition will run

July 7, 2011 - London, England: A copy of The Independent features Rupert Murdoch striking a pensive countenance as his 'News of the World' tabloid newspaper announced its last edition will run July 11, 2011 amid a torrid scandal involving phone hacking.

Mark Makela/ZUMA
Michael J. Socolow

Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States of America on Jan. 20, 2021.

Imagine if someone could go back in time and inform him and his communications team that a few pivotal changes in the media would occur during his first three years in office.

There’s the latest news that Rubert Murdoch, 92, stepped down as the chairperson of Fox Corp. and News Corp. on Sept. 21, 2023. Since the 1980s, Murdoch, who will be replaced by his son Lachlan, has been the most powerful right-wing media executivein the U.S.

While it’s not clear whether Fox will be any tamer under Lachlan, Murdoch’s departure is likely good news for Biden, who reportedly despises the media baron.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest