Minding the parking meters

The Czech press digest Fleet Sheet puts out a free email bulletin with blog-like observations on Czech culture, business and politics. Though it’s sometimes a bit off base, it’s worth looking at to get a sense of the scene in Prague. Today’s

Why does Prague airport have expensive self-service parking machines, when the CR is a mecca for low wages?… It’s still possible to get shoes or a broken TV repaired in the CR, but the march toward the European welfare state will soon raise taxes and wage costs so high that it’ll be cheaper to throw out the old shoes and buy new ones. Premier Spidla told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that reconciling the costs of modernizing the welfare state and the impact on common people is a European-wide problem without a solution. If the European welfare model collapses, he said, so will the EU itself. Then Czechs could go back to minding the parking lot.

An interesting statement with wide implications, although I’m not exactly sure there’s such a strong connection between parking meters, broken televisions, and the European welfare state.

4 thoughts on “Minding the parking meters

  1. Goodness, Czechs could have to rely on their own efforts. Can’t have that. Why, the common man may start to think of himself as being capable of running his own affairs. Give him a sense of accomplishment and he may start paying attention to what the ruling cl… politicians are up to and consequently throw them out on their ears.

    This could be the end of European Nannyism.

    Can’t have that. Let’s blame the Americans.

  2. For what it’s worth, you can still get shoes repaired in Britain, although I wouldn’t be surprised if a new television can be had for the cost of repairing one.

    As for the airport parking, it might have been designed by foreign consultants who didn’t even think about employing human beings to sell tickets…

  3. A lot of the same stuff was noted during Russia’s “transition to poverty.” Western cars were better than Russian cars, so all the Russian car dealerships started carrying western cars, which no one could afford. So, Russians ended up out of work, and few cars sold. This process was repeated up and down Russian industry. Businesses would carry high-quality, high-priced goods that no one could afford. Then, when Russian industry had completely tanked, they started importing the cheapest, lowest quality foreign goods because there were no locally made goods to buy.

    It’s not even a uniquely eastern European problem. Africa is very much in the same boat. A lot of countries got out of this only by using asymetric trade barriers.

    The link to taxation, however, is a bit weak. If it’s cheaper to use labour to collect parking fees than using machines now, the problem is poor decision-making on the part of property owners.

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