Wednesday, April 02, 2008
liberalism in contradiction (1): Camp Bondsteel
Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. Even the Serb nationalists who suspect it to be a facility for processing heroin concede it is productive
The success of neoliberalism is expressed in the contrived aura of rationality that surrounds these institutions. The development of Kosovo during the SFRY period is, not without good reasons, often considered to have been particularly inefficacious. For example, Misha Glenny writes of Priština:
"The Grand Hotel itself is an unmistakeable monument of late Titoism in Prishtina. It was constructed in the 1970s at a time when the federal government in Belgrade pumped endless funds into Kosovo in the hope of curbing unrest among poor Albanians in the region. These monies fell into the hands of the Kosovo League of Communists bureaucracy, largely Albanian, whose ideal of infrastructural renewal was to erect many grandiose buildings in the capital. Such white elephants, however, should have been built after investment in jobs and primary requirements, such as improved road and rail access to Kosovo. Of the many pompous buildings which litter this provincial backwater, the Grand Hotel takes pride of place as the most ridiculous of all."
Reliable official statistics concerning Kosovo are difficult to find. According to a "marxist resource" "unemployment grew from 18.6 to 27.5 percent in the ten years from 1971 to 1981". The rate among the majority Albanian population would have been considerably greater.
Nine Years after the Kosovo war unemployment in this country may exceed 50%. Some of these unemployed have "jobs" in an unofficial economy probably more than half the size of the official one.
Camp Bondsteel, whose efficacy is beyond challenge, cost an estimated $350 million dollars to build and around $50 million dollars to run per year. Kosovo's annual budget in recent years has been around $1 billion dollars.
(more about Camp Bondsteel here)