Romanian publish or perish

A change in the law in 2013 allows convicts to claim 30 days off their sentences for every work they publish while in prison. This has led Romanian tycoons and politicians imprisoned on corruption charges to indulge in a frenzy of scribbling. It is a system as corrupt as they are.

…Manuscripts must be written with pen and paper. According to Romanian journalists, wealthy prisoners generally hire outside academics as “research supervisors”. They, or other ghostwriters, do the actual writing; the work is then smuggled into jail, where the prisoner copies it out by hand. A publisher is paid to print a few copies, which are presented to the parole board, which (with no guidelines or expertise) judges whether it is worthy of a reduced sentence.

Most of the work has met with derision. Mr Copos, who wrote about the matrimonial alliances of medieval Romanian rulers, was accused of plagiarism. Mr Becali produced a picture-heavy book about his relationship with Steaua Bucharest, the football team which he controls. Realini Lupsa, a pop singer, wrote about stem cells in dental medicine. No one knows how many people have taken advantage of the system. One recent report put the figure at 73, with some prisoners producing up to five books in only a few months.

The story is here, via @DoubleEph.


Is there a specified number of words or pages per work?

No, but they have to have 13 citations from non-prisoners with a PhD degree from a school accredited in the EU.

"It is a system as corrupt as they are"

'Forget it, Jake, its Bucharest'

Seriously: you pass judgment on silly Commie pigeonshit like this?

Yet when JPMorganChase loses $6.2B in depositor's funds, or gets convicted of rigging currency markets, with a rap sheet as long as your arm, its radio silence here at S.S. Marginal Revolution?

Romanian politicians corrupt? Scoop du jour.

Decidedly not ANY small steps to a much better world.

Repeat with me: "The markets are efficient, the markets are efficient, ... " ... Everybody has his mood affiliation including our dear Tyler he is no less human than us....

Right, this is the best way to fund scientific research, and get pop singers interested in dentistry to boot. They should bring this to the US. Next time she gets arrested Lindsey Lohan can do her own research into optimizing pharmaceutical production for various trade journals and then get lower prices when released.

As corrupt as academia.

Most American jails allow time off for working. You push a mop around for a few days and get a day off. Course many of the prisoners don't really do much work.

Why would anyone but an anthropologist care? Is there some concern that this practice might spread to the West? Surely there must be some other un-American legal shenanigans in some remote part of the planet that have been undiscovered. How about digging them up?

Since when is make-work un-American? Millions of jobs (diversity industry jobs, for instance) paying good salaries could be eliminated without any loss of utility to the world, but with a significant drop in GDP. At least this book-for-break arrangement has the advantage of making the sleaziness and futility transparent. Now they just have to reform it or kill it. Wish I could say the same of other systems and practices. The American practice of legalizing bribery and corruption might confer the appearance of honest governance in a literal sense, but it doesn't really jive. Un-American shenanigans sometimes do start at home.

You're only interested in interesting shenanigans if there's a risk of them spreading to America?

With Amazon ebooks, this is no more than a get out of jail free card.

Speaking of books, this little contretemps is a window into how academia makes the acquisition of knowledge more expensive than it might be:

1. That case is much worse than your prissy "makes the acquisition of knowledge more expensive than it might be:". It's corruption.

2. At the same time it's idiotic to say "academia" does this, like academia is a single agent.

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