Comment 21 Feb 17

Is Feudal Ex-Yugoslavia Incapable of Reform?

Western Balkan societies remain mired in squalor and resentment because we have not had the courage to demand anything better or confront our feudal, predatory elites.

Jasmin Mujanovic
BIRN
Macedonia's 'colorful revolution'. Photo: BETA

Politics, the American political scientist Harold Lasswell explained, is the process by which societies decide who gets what, when and how. So, who gets what, when and how in the Western Balkans? And what do these answers tell us about the present and future of the region?

Fittingly for societies still largely defined by essentially primitive or pre-modern forms of social order, Lasswell’s dictum in the Western Balkans is best tackled in reverse.

Political decisions in the Western Balkans are made within small, closed circles of power centered on a handful of “big men.”

They do not take place in parliaments or official institutions; they take place in backrooms and restaurants at the initiative of the relevant regional power brokers. 

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