August 22, 2007

The Lying Builder and the Cyprus Problem

No, I am not implying that the relationship between the lying builder and the Cyprus problem arises from the secret Turkish agent that has planted this story on the net to defame the impeccable reputation of Southern Stravaraland (as always, just a geographical term). Even though I did hear this reaction to the lying builder website, I am willing to bet that this time Turkey, the duplicitous Brits and The Foreign Finger are not, individually or collectively, directly involved in funding, building or maintaining the lying builder website.

Let’s take things from the beginning. We are told of the lying builder, a builder who most likely saw the price of an asset he sold in advance rise in value from the time he originally signed the contract. And he decided to withdraw from his side of the bargain, leaving the buying Brit to lick his wounds, count his money losses and build innovative web pages to expose his plight. Now, for those of you leaving in Stravaraland circa 1999, this does not sound like fantasy, right? Front-running by stock market agents was the same activity as what the lying builder did, and moreover, at least the lying builder built himself the asset he was selling.

Not honoring a contract is not a surprise, not in Stravaraland, not in any other country of the world. Caveat Emptor, Buyer Beware is basic advice. In Stravaraland, though, this is a lot worse. Because even though the buyer might be careful, not honoring a contract does not automatically mean what one should expect, namely court, jail and damages paid to the offended party within a reasonable amount of time. What it typically means, unfortunately, is buyer mocked and ridiculed for being outsmarted by the clever street-smart man. Typically, a cheaper and much more efficient way to deal with such offending parties, is to hire a hitman, who for as low as 500 pounds (at least in the glory days of 1999-2000), can arrange for a bomb to be placed under the car of the offending party. Whether the offending party is inside the car at the time of blast-off is extra and optional and it really depends on whether the offended party is willing to part with his money for ever or not. Basically, a bully needs their bully and the law does not, to date, have had the ability to interfere with this ancient way of settling accounts. This traditional way of dealing with issues is therefore still practiced in Stravaraland for the lack of any alternative, efficient ways of dealing with the failings of the legal system.
(And now I am including Northern Stravaraland in this since there it seems this ancient tradition is practiced at an even higher level).

Now, how can this be related to the Cyprus Problem you may ask? Well, if the business people in a country do not trust the law to be enforced within their own land, imagine how much less they can trust a third party (say Turkey) to ever stand by an agreement. International law is much more difficult to implement/enforce than local law and if local law is not to be trusted, why should international law be? Since finding a bigger bully than the Turkish army might be a tad difficult in the region, we are stuck in a situation where nobody dares make a move. The small step forward might be to start enforcing the law at speeds that are faster than one’s finite lifetime. Then, maybe, relying on bullies to get the job done might become a thing of the past and maybe the law can be trusted to function like it should in a civil (and civilized) society. Even without necessarily helping to solve the Cyprus Problem, that could be termed "progress".


Blogger Sceptic Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. What really drives me crazy in Cyprus is how people choose to ignore laws, regulations, warnings and advice because laws are things that apply to everybody else but not us.

The consistent failure of authorities to come down on offenders of all kinds, types and creeds is also most worrying because it has created a culture, deeply ingrained in our DNA by now, that cheats and offenders somehow prosper and only fools and the weak need to obey the law and behave responsively.

This is an aspect that Cyprus suffers a lot and needs to be improved and I guess the courts is a place to begin. But we also need to educate people that obeying the law has a social function and ultimately social and economic benefit because when everybody does whatever they want, in the end nothing happens. A bit like what is happening currently in Cyprus.

As the Romans used to say, let justice be done though the heavens fall.

22 August, 2007 11:25  

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