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June 13, 1994
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 142
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

An Obsolete Memorandum

by Zoran Jelicic

The latest number of the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia (35/94) brought the Serbian Government's decision on dissolving the Government's Economic Council. The decision went into effect a day after publication, to be precise, on May 31, and thus ended the mandate of the Economic Council's president and its members. The matter concerns retired professor of political economy and academician Ivan Maksimovic (president) and members Nikola Cobeljic, Slobodan Komazec, Lazar Pejic, Dragana Gnjatovic...

As usual, the Government offered no explanation, so that the reasons can only be guessed at.

To all intents and purposes, funds do not seem to have been the reason for the dissolving of the Economic Council.

Members of the former Economic Council will now have more time for other activities. This was confirmed by Ivan Maksimovic in the Novi Sad daily ``Dnevnik'': in a lengthy interview, there is no mention of the dissolved Economic Council, but a lot of time is devoted to the ``Serbian cause.''

The reader learns that the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences (SANU) will soon schedule a discussion on the Memorandum, ``with the idea of denying devilish fabrications.'' However, as one reads on, it becomes unclear if this will concern SANU in the real sense of the word, because Maksimovic says that it is hardly likely that Memorandum 2 could become the program of SANU as a whole: ``The past few years have brought, among other things, political pluralism; members of the Academy are divided into several formal and informal groups,'' said Maksimovic.

Briefly, this continuation of the notorious Memorandum, judging by the ambitions of its authors, has numerous goalsscientific and intellectual, the Serbian question, but viewed impartially, it all seems to boil down to justifying the antiSerb goals of the first Memorandum. Serbs today, view the ``Serbian question'' through the new dinar introduced with National Bank of Yugoslavia Governor Avramovic's measures for curbing hyperinflation, i.e. through a healthy national currency, the bugbear of the creators of the first Memorandum, regardless of the fact whether the matter concerned economists or theoreticians of integral selfmanagement, men like Mihajlo Markovic and Ljuba Tadic, for whom all evil in the otherwise idyllic Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia began at the very mention of the word market.

Even without a market, life can sometimes be brutal. Competition arises even in the field of monopolyholders. Members of the former Economic Council can find consolation in the fact such a body still exists at the Federal level. The Federal Government came up a proposal for returning the setting of prices and their control within the state's competencies. Experts turned down the proposal, while Federal PM Radoje Kontic who is more flexible, and probably has Serbia's new course in mind, said that what the market system needed was a law on controlling price monopolies, rather than the proposed market regulations.

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