Some people think I am too depressive and pessimistic writing that Latvia has basically destroyed all trust in state institutions and is heading for some form of failed nightwatchman government pretending to rule an increasingly alienated society drifting, at best, into some form of cooperative anarchy (organizing replacements of failed public services privately or by volunteer activity).
In fact, I was gently criticized for my pessimism by a Latvian academic (former "exile" Latvian) I met while grocery shopping.
Now, a prominent businessman/architect in Liepaja has said much the same in an interview with my former employer, the business newspaper Dienas bizness. Uldis Pīlēns says the way that the government has tried to react to the crisis has essentially destroyed public trust in fundamental democratic values -- the so-called legal reliance on getting a just return for taxes and social fees paid. Instead, pensions have been reduced, working pensioners driven from their jobs and teachers reduced to working for less pay educating future generations than Latvian janitors (sētnieki) ar paid for sweeping the streets with a broom made of twigs.
He also says that the behavior of the government in leaping to save the foundering Parex Bank with the first international loans it received, then acting chaotically to appear to cut the budget to get the next tranche (pensions won't be touched, then pensions are cut) has badly damaged Latvia's international image in the eyes of potential investors. A level of unemployment has been created that it will take 6 or 7 years to recover from. So Pīlēns, too, is saying that most of the next decade in Latvia is lost due to the cumulative mistakes and incompetance of several Latvian governments.