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Mircea Malitza, Calin Georgescu, Romania after Crisis. Reprofessionalization (Romania dupa criza. Reprofesionalizarea).

Mircea Malitza, Calin Georgescu, Romania after Crisis. Reprofessionalization (Romania dupa criza. Reprofesionalizarea), Ed. Compania, Bucuresti, 2010, 375p.

The book appeared in 2010 and has 375 pages; it is the result of a sustained work realized under the aegis of the Institute for Innovation and Development Projects (IPID) from Bucharest. In fact, this work gathers three previous works made under the same aegis, all of them having in common the Romania's re-professionalization. Covering subjects from human resources, democracy in Romania, economy, demography and sociology, agriculture, forests, environment and climate change, sustainable development, the future of school and learning, and the role of professionalism in Romania's economic, social and political history, this work wants to be a special piece or literature, and obtains a unique and special place in it.

It scrutinizes the past and present situation of Romanian society and economy, which are the reasons for the present state of facts, and which could be the perspectives in the medium and long run for Romania.

Being coordinated by two reputed scientists with international standing (Academician Mircea Malitza and Calin Georgescu, PhD) and edited by another well known personality, Sergiu Celac (the reports realized in 2009, and 2010 respectively), the book brings together the answers and punctual solutions of notorious researchers and specialists in different fields.

The sounds which spring from the book are clear, and the methodic symphony propagates a magic and hopeful music contrasting the noise and chaos specific to contemporary Romanian society and politics. In this symphony, the players are the Romanian society's professionals, its elite.

Even the chaos is a peculiarity of contemporary Romanian society, a hope for greater order and welfare exists; we already had examples and reforms made in Romania in the second part of nineteenth century by the elite and professionals of that period. A concentrated effort of some dedicated people brought civilization in a society characterized for almost a millennium by medieval behavior. These dedicated people, politicians with vision and specialist with recognized results--greatly outnumbered by ordinary citizens--made personal initiatives aimed at changing the Romanian archaic society, and their achievements, and the reputation gained by Romania due to their endeavors, could be regarded as miraculous.

The second part of the book--which is the first Report of IPID (2008) and which has four parts--presents the role of professionalism in Romanian history, and how professionalism tends to be concentrated in the societies influenced by Western culture. In the 19-th century the difference between the societies in Moldavia and Wallachia, which were characterized by immobility and conservatism due to their social organization, there being two social classes--the boyars and the peasants--strongly contrasts the Transylvanian social organization, where Western culture had a greater influence; here the diligence and professionalism in every day endeavor and behavior, and the predilection for high qualification labor, gave birth to idea of continuous learning during whole life, a key prerequisite for professionalism.

Adding to this peculiarity the urban concentration, there were to be found the necessary ingredients for the rising of welfare, liberty, and openness to the new; in the religious field, the plurality of religions gave birth to a more open and more mobile society, with greater receptivity, all of these being important ingredients for rising civilization's level.

The societies which were more open benefitted from their social situation, concentrating more and more welfare because they would create and sell high quality products which necessitated qualified workers during their production.

Here we can observe the role of professionals in the society. If a society have them and creates the adequate framework for their activity, the benefits they bring for that society are very great. We could observe that the professionalization is a process which ensures the survival and development of any society, being the main engine for adaptations imposed by historical changes.

Some visionary leaders in Moldavia and Wallachia as Mircea cel Batran, Mihai Viteazul, Dimitrie Cantemir, AI Cuza tried frantically to improve their societies through facilitating contacts with Western societies, but their endeavors hit the wall of immobility of their excessive conservative societies.

The modern period of Romania history, which begins in 1848, presents a state of affairs which greatly needs reforms and an organized method to put them in practice; we owe the greatest recognition to AI Cuza, which in only seven years of its reign had launched more reforms than Charles I, creating the base for Romanian state's modernization. He was concomitant a visionary, a brilliant diplomat, and a reformer; he was a professional of his days. After Cuza, Charles I had continued the reforms started by him, the Romanians benefiting from his thoroughness; he was just another professional.

But the greatest achievements in the period 1848-1914 are not to be met in economy, politics, or social areas, but in the domain of human resources, once the great Romanian personalities entered the history's scene, which brought significant contributions in cultural, scientific, and technical fields. The painters, writers, inventors, scientists, and engineers of that period are the proof that they represent the most valuable resource of the nation.

A short comparison and there could be noted a crude reality: today politicians try to find ways for gaining votes, while the professionals-- sometimes working in an anonymous silence--make history, entering the pages of state's history, their names being spoken today when somebody is looking for an address located on the streets in all great Romanian cities.

The real jump of Romanian society, economy, and culture had taken place in the fourth decade of previous century, as a result of high quality of education; as a result of the policies taken by visionary leaders, Romanian school, for the first time in its history, had the best teachers, and the best graduates, bringing to Romania a recognized international fame.

As a conclusion, if we desire a better society, we have to pay respect to professionals, and in order to create them, we need an appropriate educational system, adequate to the present and future needs of global society.

This truth is more obviously when we look backward in Romanian society during Ceausescu's reign, when professionals were replaced by mediocrity, and the state started to regress, process which generates strong reverberation even nowadays.

The massive de-professionalization of Romania during last two decades is due to the fact that the reforms taken after 1990 aimed the industry's destruction, and not at its modernization. Industry needs (a continue) education, which means that there is needed a system of education which could pump out the professionals; but the destruction of Romanian industry made the professional elite (engineers, technicians) to appear quite irrelevant to society, gaining social status the jobs which creates money immediately after the graduate enter the workplace.

In order to gain its well deserved place among the nations of the world, Romanians should escape its millenary old socio-economic system, based on rural and immobile society, and for this, there is badly needed the sustained professionalization; it needs schools and education in order to promote old mentality's changing taking account of the needs and responsibilities which are incumbent for Romania as member of European Union, which are focused mainly on sustainable development, research and development, high tech, culture and interdisciplinary education.

And the examples brought by Germany, Japan, and the Scandinavian countries which are important players in different fields on the international arena are visible proofs of the fact that the changing of mentality imposed by well intentioned elite is a key-element for the spectacular jump in time of those societies; and the mentality's changing means education and professionalization.

The example brought in Romania by Spiru Haret is eloquent: for a society to have flourishing economy and culture, there is needed a school reform, through modernization. The fruits could be harvested in three decades.

The investment in human capital is of outmost importance, and in Romania there is needed a strategy which promote a radical change in mentality at all levels of society, which should be focused upon sustainable development, and using in a responsible manner the natural resources. And of course, the professionals in administration are key-figures for incorruptible staff; mediocrity in administration means kickbacks, inefficiency, and financial loses, while professionalism in administration means a strong state, with greater acceptance by its citizens. This means that political class attained its purpose, the ordinary citizen being pleased with the life he lives.

The book provides the ways in which we can obtain welfare in Romania and can promote civilization in this splendid place. We need a coherent strategy at national level regarding research and development, we need a system which could provide continuous professional recycling for adult peoples, and we need modernization of Romanian educational system and a bettering of social position for Romanian intellectuals.

In other words, in Romania, there is greatly and urgently needed the reconstruction of human capital. We can benefit from present international crisis; as we hadn't already had strong structural elements which could generate great impetus for old types of energy consumption, the activation of investments in economic sectors as transportation, environment, and energy using new and environmentally friendly technologies, coupled with bettering of human capital resources capable of producing and using these new technologies, could be a very important ingredient for Romania's resuscitation; the financing of new technologies and the creation of better human resources wouldn't be in this case an expense, but an indispensable investment for future economic development and for jobs creation. This qualitative change could be regarded as unlimited, and it has a great potential; although nowadays in Romania there is a great incertitude, a constant element must be central in all debates: the human capital's quality will be decisive in the future, and its professionalism is of outmost importance for Romania in order to create for her the premises for acceding the deserved place among the nations of the world.

Taking account of great changes the world is facing, the role of education in shaping a sustainable culture whose visible effects would be the elements of attitude and behavior regarding environment and energy, is of outmost importance; it could provide the (continuous) framework for human capital development in a friendly manner in relation with the environment and taking care about the future generations.

But this would take place in a highly competitive environment: in present context, the accent is more and more moved from the question "what do you know", which implies more a static perspective, to the question "what do you know to do", having in mind a more dynamic system, which means that the most important are in this context the innovative capacity, the work and life experiences, the most important abilities becoming knowledge and skills.

For best results, there are needed uninterrupted reforms, and continuous education during whole life (long-life education) focusing upon interdisciplinary studies and modularity. It is a fitted framework for the scientific boon, which could compensate for present economic decline. It could be seen that now there is the moment when the scholar system should aim at contributing at changing unsustainable cultures, action which should take place at the table of present and future debates regarding world financial and economic systems, science, technology, and the ecology.

In the context of climate changes--which is debated in the book in connection with a new energy strategy--the agriculture and forestry's role is one of special importance for Romania. Romanian forests cover much little surface of national territory in comparison with other EU member countries, and the objective is to clad a greater surface of Romanian territory; this is a central element which could provide the adequate conditions for expanding the agriculture's role in Romanian economy. Climate change is a visible phenomenon, and it will bring changes in the way crops are obtained. A new generation of modernized peasants--which could be created through professionalization of this activity through education--and which in turn would practice a modern style agriculture is of outmost importance for Romania's future, taking account of future trends which would be brought by climate changes.

Adding to this natural phenomenon, which is generated in great part by human activities, the demographic decline and the deterioration of social composition of Romanian society, the professionalization at all levels of society becomes the key-element for Romanian society's survival and prosperity in the years to come.

And as professionalization and modernity are interconnected, every effort made for the rising the quality of human capital through a modern educational system generates the necessary auspices for creating a healthy democratic system, and a vibrant civil society. The university autonomy rises and falls in the same time with civil society's rise and fall, and its role could be a crucial one for escaping the traps which present crises pose to Romanian society.

Being a book written (and debated) by prominent Romanian scientists and specialists, it could be regarded as a capital book for understanding the activities and actions Romania should take in order to create for itself the access to modernity, and to retain an important place among her fellow members in European Union, and at the world stage.

Even the public profile of the most of its contributors have little visibility in comparison with puerile TV shows and pale images of political personalities which frantically fight to appear on "the screen", the sound judgment and vast experience of the contributors, which is synthesized in their presentations comprised in the book, recommends it to be read and reread by all Romanians who care about, and are interested in Romania's destiny, and in its great potential to take the place she deserves among the nations of the world.

They fight for providing that greatly needed music and harmony, which could homogenize Romanian society in a unique manner and in a crucial moment in its history, which in the middle of present turbulent sociopolitical actions appears to be the solely point of benchmark. They strive to provide the essential points of the framework in which the genuine Romanian professionals could flourish and could contribute to Romania's rising level of civilization.

Beniamin C. Benea*

* Beniamin C. Benea, PhD, teaches at University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, International Affairs Department. E-mail: .
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Author:Benea, Beniamin C.
Publication:Studia Europaea
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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