Dogs in the manger
The sound of banknotes rustling in the hands of corporate and financial managers close to the outgoing HZDS party grew steadily louder in October.
It would be well-nigh impossible to prove that these gentlemen were engaged in what is know as "tunnelling" - the systematic financial looting of state firms or recently privatised companies. But given the number of large firms - machinery, engineering, steel making, chemical - that are suddenly having grave financial difficulties, coincidentally just as the motherly HZDS leaves office, one naturally suspects the worst.
Most corporate managers, of course, have no intention of leaving the country following the formation of the new government. What they have done to protect their positions is to change the statutes of their companies so that at least a two-thirds majority of shareholders is required either to oust them from their Supervisory or Control Board jobs, or to force restructuring moves that might actually end the reign of these corporate parasites.
This process has occured recently at massive firms like steel maker VSŽ and paints producer Chemolak, as well as at financial giants like the VÚB bank and insurer Slovenská poisťovňa.
These people and the changes they have introduced effectively block much of the resturucturing that the Slovak and corporate sector so desperately needs, Like spiteful dogs sitting in a cattle manger, unable to eat the hay but determined not to let other animals derive sustenance from their food, these managers will blight the business lanscape for years to come.
2. Nov 1998 at 0:00