March 14, 2017
It’s a bit of a misnomer that Slovakia is a small country. Sure, it doesn’t have the land mass of Russia, the population of China, or the natural resources of Canada, but Slovaks like to underestimate themselves and use wealth, population, and geographic area as an excuse.
In my opinion the wisest words spoken by American President George W. Bush were when he coined the phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” (here, here, and in many other speeches) Merely holding low expectations for someone indicates that you have a bigoted opinion of that person. Having low expectations implies that a person is something less.
Slovaks tend to place low expectations on themselves. Some like to call Slovakia poor, lamenting that if only it were bigger it would be a better, more successful place. This is despite the fact that approximately 160+ countries in the world are poorer than Slovakia. Additionally, the Bratislava area has one of the 10 highest incomes (in terms of purchasing power) of any other area in Europe, including rural areas of much richer and more well-established countries. Bratislava is one of the wealthiest cities in Europe according to GDP per capita measured in terms of purchasing power for locally produced goods. By this measure, Bratislava and Prague are richer than ANY PART of Austria, Greece, Finland, Austria, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, or Italy.
Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.