Over the past two weeks, after the second round of the presidential elections, there have been several events that call for providence. For example, Pendarovski’s inauguration in the absence of his main promoter; welcoming and sending off the pope; the success of Tamara Todevska at Eurovision; and recently the “Bogoevski” affair is boiling up. In addition to these events, with national or state importance, however, my attention was drawn to an event from the business world.
Many media, as an important news, placed the information that the company “Makpetrol” put into operation a refurbished gas station in Kumanovo! Developments of this type in Kumanovo and in all other cities and villages are important, there is no dilemma. Moreover, not every city, and not every gas station in it, is located on the corridor where our European perspective passes. Moreover, not every city has Sasko Kocev, who this year from the European Movement in Macedonia was declared a European figure of the year 2018.
However, what does it mean when such a banal event, such as the commissioning of a petrol station, is advertised in media as “Makpetrol” standard. I wonder what is being promoted as a “standard” by this company? The reason why I think that this event and this issue deserves sociological thinking is my conviction that “Makpetrol”, for many things, is a symbol of the true social power in Macedonia. As INA is a symbol for Croatia or “Petrol” for Slovenia, so Makpetrol is a symbol of such power in our country. Companies from this caliber do not wait for someone to give them something after the elections or something like that. They themselves take what they need and what they can, including political power and politicians.
The true, real power, as Don Vito Corleone says in a scene from The Godfather, is not given but is taken. True power is not given by anyone, but it is taken away from others. “Makpetrol” for many things is a symbol of such power in Macedonia. Many former and current development projects are connected to it, but also many political stories. Therefore, what this company promotes deserves attention and critical observation.
I wonder if “Makpetrol” standard means that other gas stations in Kumanovo or throughout the republic are arranged and equipped like this one just promoted? If their petrol station toilets are “by standard” outside, behind the main building and of course, with the standard equipment: a rusty loo, unreachably high positioned water dispenser with attached thread and a washbasin with a siphon that drains the water not into the sewage system, but before or on your shoes!
Just a reminder, until Lukoil came, “‘Makpetrol’ standard ‘meant precisely that. “Makpetrol” is one of those Macedonian monopolies who, until the arrival of a decent competition, only took from their customers. Taking from them they built their dominance. Then, with the help of their own connections in the political and university elite, they arranged the laws, for example, for the transformation of the former social capital by their own measure. Now, here we are, again, imposing their own “standards …”! Enough with such false greatness and standards! Fortunately, we have seen and learned what is better and what is a European standard. “‘Makpetrol’ standard ‘is a relic from the past. Spend some of the money you have accumulated as a monopolistic extra rent and finally lift up all your gas stations, if not higher, then at least at the level in which, in the fuel business, brought to us not by the European, but, imagine, the Russian competition!
The creation, establishment and praising of “Makpetrol” or any other standards is a very important social process. The process of establishing standards, called standardization, is just another name for establishing institutions and institutionalization. Some time ago I wrote about the importance of the institutionalization of social life. Building institutions and respecting them is the essence of an organized social life. Without institutions we live in chaos and domination of strong and aggressive individuals and their associations of different kind, including companies.
The normalization and stabilization of our mutual, say, our social relations, if it ever came to this, we will recognize exactly as the creation, institutionalization, use and expansion of standards. Globalization and European integration as one of its manifestations drives precisely on standardization. Standardization narrows the space for jazz and voluntary understandings and practices in all spheres of life.
The importance of the standards and their respect is also reflected in the statement by the Coordinative Body for the visit of Pope Francis to our country. In a statement issued after the visit, this body concluded that “the visit was conducted according to all the envisaged highest standards and procedures”. The standards and procedures for carrying out any work are important for many reasons. But the most important thing is that the standardization of activities prevents the devil from inserting into any of its details. The devil does not want the order, the norm, the rule. He likes cues, cunning, creativity, improvisation. Speaking in musical categories, standardization means classics, order, and predictability, as opposed to the surprising and exciting pop-ups, characteristic of jazz, for example.
We need standards in all areas of social life. Especially in politics. Yes. For politicians, the institutions are а Procrustean bed. On the one hand, they, as politicians, are that only when they find new and inventive solutions to current conflicts, as opposed to existing institutions. . On the other hand, their solutions become effective only if they are institutionalized and thus become an obstacle for some other politicians. But these are the social factors that set the standards. From that perspective, the brave move of the MP Pavle Bogoevski will become even greater if other politicians and public actors take him as a standard criterion for personal accountability to the public. In that desired track, the opposition VMRO-DPMNE has the next move. The party, as Gordan Georgiev remarked lucidly, “now has to take a pawn for a queen and save itself” and enforce the Mak … the standard not only for political but also for professional responsibility – no work, no salary.