And here we are already, Episode 3 of our Romanian saga.
How do Romanians, on average, relate to their ENVIRONMENT? What is going on with deforestation? Why is the majority of Romanians still unvaccinated against Covid and why is the polarization on this topic so dire?
All legitimate questions.
While most of the highly-educated urban population falls in line with Western cultural patterns, choosing to trust science and employ knowledge, skill, and technology to control their environment, the vast majority of Romanians still adopts a fatalistic world view, whereby one must adjust and adapt to the environment, and accept what is predestined. While Romanians rarely attempt to subdue their environment, they are also not particularly keen on protecting it. Traditionally, they did not believe they can influence it much. Things are, however, changing in this respect as well. There is now – on the one hand – evidence of increasingly predatory behavior towards natural resources (extreme short-term orientation), and – on the other hand – serious activisms to protect the forests and natural habitats of flora and fauna, as well as a strong push for digitization, transparency, and good governance.
In terms of particularism vs. universalism (in other words, what comes first: people or rules? what takes precedence: the principle or the personal circumstances?) Romanians sit right on a fault line. While most people declare they wish to be governed by clear rules and principled public servants, the reality is that most of them expect personal circumstances to at least excuse, if not justify – even demand! – the occasional breaking of rules.
Given the extent of the brain drain and the dilemmas raised by the pandemic, it is likely that tensions between the two cultural paradigms will endure and it will be interesting to see in which direction the pendulum will eventually swing.
To be continued… 😉