Sharing economy services are no stranger to controversies. Supporters claim ride-sharing services to be easy to use, good quality and safe, while opponents argue that government-backed compliance measures are in place for a reason and these illegal services undermine hardworking law-abiding taxi drivers.
The sharing economy is a relatively new phenomenon. It combines various ideas and technologies in order to provide new value to market participants who were previously excluded from the market or had limited access to it. At the same time, it increases competition resulting in lower prices, increases entrepreneurship and household incomes.
We proudly present you a collection of articles and analyses devoted to (first and foremost) the sharing economy and secondly, to the digital challenges our region faces. Because as the fictional but nonetheless real Ayn Rand once said, “If you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn”. And, after all, sharing is caring, right?
We have the pleasure to present you the fourth issue of the 4liberty.eu Review. This time, we have decided to devote our magazine to the key issues many European societies face: populism, radicalisms and migration. For the first time you may not only read the issue online but also download it directly in Full Version and as Separate Articles.
Ne te quaesiveris extra, the golden rule of Ralph Waldo Emerson, seems to have recently backfired. Central Estern European authorities have internalised it to such an extent that they rarely listen to any arguments coming from others. This tendcency to “trust thyself” plays well into the hands of populists who have no problem with exploiting it to the fullest.
A populist in a democracy has to attract support first by continuously emphasizing threats, such as terrorism – and offering himself as an effective strongman. An authoritarian leader can enforce this sentiment from above, only using threats as a justification (or even posing a threat himself).
What if I told you that the poorest EU member state is a country in which economic populism is more often the rule of a thumb, rather than an exception? Would that surprise you, or would you think it is a fate just deserved by both the Bulgarian public and its government?
Protagonists of the free market have been therefore put into a somewhat defensive position and in the public debate we have been increasingly facing populist arguments for less competition and more state intervention. However, the battle will certainly not be won by simply denying the shift of paradigms.
The primary goal of populist politicians is to capture (or rather to “buy”) political support, win elections or keep political power. Therefore, they do not use tools necessary to bring long-term prosperity to the people but rather take advantage of whatever can guarantee them short-term political gains.
Central European countries remain committed to a parliamentary system of governance as opposed to the presidential system favored by most of their counterparts in the former Soviet bloc. Their stories were supposed to have happy endings and make Central Europe a valedictorian of the European Union. Unfortunately, this did not last long.