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Cristian f W i n E>(2TA - A Chronology of Credit Unions

ndemn ctre cititor

Prin noua sa carte, dedicat evoluiei asociaiilor profesionale, caselor de ajutor reciproc,
activitii de ntrajutorare i micrii cooperatiste n general, d o m n u l Cristian Florin
Bota reuete s n e c o n v i n g - dac m a i era nevoie - c m e m o r i a colectiv sau istoria
include tot ceea ce s-a ntmplat n trecut, fr n i c i o discriminare. S e c o l e la rnd,
istoricii s-au ocupat de aspectele spectaculoase de odinioar, de btlii i rzboaie, de
conductori, de viaa politic, de calamiti etc. Treptat, c m p u l cercetrilor s-a lrgit
i s-a adaptat sensibilitilor fiecrei epoci. Oamenii, publicul, comanditarii au
devenit mult m a i curioi, m a i dornici de cunoatere, cernd investigaii asupra unor
aspecte de via considerate altdat anistorice sau n e d e m n e de c o n s e m n a r e ori c h i a r
minore. P r i n c i p i u l este astzi - parafraznd u n c u n o s c u t proverb latin - axat pe ideea
c s u n t e m o a m e n i i, de aceea, n i m i c din ceea c e este o m e n e s c n trecut n u trebuie s
ne rmn strin.
Cartea de fa este o pledoarie pentru nevoia cunoaterii micrii cooperatiste
n domeniile creditului, ale ajutorului reciproc, ale ntrajutorrii materiale n general.
Autorul su, d o m n u l Cristian Florin Bota, n u este istoric, c i economist, dar este
pasionat de studiul trecutului, de investigarea unor t e m e variate din prezentul
oamenilor care a u trit odinioar. Pasiunea n u garanteaz n s calitatea superioar a
rezultatelor puse n pagin! Exist attea e x e m p l e de demersuri, m a i ales eseistice,
care pretind c s c h i m b perspectiva asupra trecutului i care sunt, n fapt, j a l n i c e
pastie, idei dezlnate, opinii nefondate, bazate doar pe impresii, zvonuri, veleiti!
S e c r e t u l reuitei n astfel de cazuri, n care nespecialitii se o c u p de cercetarea
trecutului, este u n u l destul de simplu: aceti amatori pasionai trebuie s fac efortul
de a-i nsui metodologia cercetrii istorice sau, c u alte cuvinte, t e h n i c i l e prelucrrii
izvoarelor. Istoria, c a orice disciplin tiinific, are u n arsenal de metode de
investigare a trecutului, de reguli care, c u n o s c u t e , exersate ndelung i aplicate
riguros, pot c o n d u c e la descoperirea adevrului istoric. Iar domnul Cristian Florin
Bota a fcut - n timp destul de ndelungat - u n astfel de ludabil efort de nsuire a
rigorilor m e s e r i e i de istoric i a reuit ceea ce puini pasionai reuesc, adic a
izbndit n strdania de a deveni i istoric autentic. Pornind de la aceste premise de
seriozitate profesional, D o m n i a S a a elaborat pn n prezent studii i monografii
dedicate unor localiti s a u altor aspecte din trecut. A c e s t e opere i-au asigurat deja o
carte de vizit onorabil, care l r e c o m a n d drept u n autor serios, aplecat spre
cercetarea surselor, bazat pe convingerea c istoria se reconstituie prin izvoare
(mrturii) i n u prin aluzii, figuri de stil, impresii sau sentimente.
In aceast carte, autorul pornete de la convingerea c oamenii, n toate
timpurile, au cutat c u nfrigurare s-i asigure un anumit confort, o siguran a zilei
de mine, o garanie pentru viitor, pentru c e e a ce romnii n u m e s c zile negre".
Investigatorul este c o n t i e n t de faptul c o a m e n i i au cutat i satisfacii morale,
spirituale, confesionale, politice, dar tie c linitea acestor o a m e n i a depins n primul
rnd de o m i n i m baz material. Principiul este clar: dei la n c e p u t a fost
cuvntul", spiritul o m e n e s c n u poate exista i aciona pe pmnt fr corp, iar corpul
trebuie s fie i hrnit, i adpostit, i nvemntat etc. De aceea, se pornete n lucrare

Cristian fin ><7T - O cronologie a Caselor de Ajutor Reciproc


de timpuriu, de c n d primii o a m e n i s-au gndit la aceste lucruri i au luat msuri de
obinere
a celor n e c e s a r e . Autorul aduce argumente pentru faptul c obinerea
mijloacelor de subzisten, de vieuire normal i chiar de prosperare se face, adesea,
mult mai b i n e prin organizaii i instrumente colective dect n m o d strict individual.
De aceea, trece prin istoria breslelor, a confreeriilor, a vecintilor medievale, pentru
a ajunge la instituiile moderne de credit, de ntrajutorare i de cooperare. S e oprete
mai n detaliu asupra u n o r u n o r organisme naionale i internaionale actuale (precum
Federaia Caselor de Ajutor R e c i p r o c din R o m n i a - FEDCAR, Reeaua European a
Uniunilor de Credit - E N C U i Consiliul Mondial al U n i u n i l o r de Credit - W O C C U ) ,
pe care le definete i crora le prezint evoluia. Iar modest intitulata cronologie a
caselor de ajutor r e c i p r o c " este de fapt o istorie a asociaiilor profesionale i a
uniunilor de credit din R o m n i a i din lume, a activitii de ntrajutorare n general,
derulate ntre secolele al XIV-lea i al XXI-lea.
Astfel, cartea devine o panoram a evoluiei unor instituii capitale pentru viaa
oamenilor, dar la care ne gndim rar sau ne gndim n u m a i c n d avem nevoie, fr s
b n u i m c o m p l e x i t a t e a lor, ndelungata lor tradiie, rosturile lor mai adnci. Autorul
m b i n n aceast lucrare dou e l e m e n t e eseniale, a n u m e specialitatea sa din viaa
cotidian i pasiunea pentru studiul trecutului, ceea ce reprezint o adevrat reet a
succesului. Prin urmare, a rezultat, n urma u n u i autentic efort de documentare i de
cercetare, o lucrare interesant i util n acelai timp, pe care o r e c o m a n d m c u toat
cldura cititorilor.
Cluj-Napoca, 2 4 februarie 2 0 1 3

Academician,
Ioan-Aurel
Pop

Foreword to the Reader

B y his n e w b o o k dedicated to the evolution of professional associations, credit


unions, mutual help activity and the cooperative m o v e m e n t in general, Mr. Cristian
Florin Bota manages to c o n v i n c e us-if n e e d be-that collective m e m o r y or history
include all that has h a p p e n e d in the past, without discrimination. For centuries,
historians have dealt with spectacular issues of the past, with battles and wars,
leaders, political life, natural disasters, etc. Gradually, the field of research e x t e n d e d
and adjusted to the sensitive issues of each era. T h e people, the public, the leaders
have b e c o m e more curious, more eager to learn, requesting investigations on some life
aspects previously c o n s i d e r e d to be a historical or unworthy of record, or even minor.
Paraphrasing a famous Latin proverb, one m a y say that nowadays the principle is
focused on the idea that we are h u m a n beings and, therefore, nothing that has b e e n
h u m a n in the past should r e m a i n u n k n o w n to us.
T h i s book is a plea for the n e e d to k n o w the cooperative m o v e m e n t in the field
of credit, mutual help, and material mutual aid in general. Its author, Mr. Cristian
Florin Bota, is not a historian, but an e c o n o m i s t , and he is passionate about the study
of the past, about the investigation of various issues of the time of the people w h o
lived in the past. However, passion does not guarantee the high quality of a written
work! T h e r e are so m a n y e x a m p l e s of approaches, especially essays, claiming they

Cristian florin E>TA - A Chronology of Credit Unions

change the perspective on the past, but, in fact, are nothing b u t poor pastiches,
rambling ideas, unjustified opinions, b a s e d only on impressions, hearsays, hints! T h e
secret of s u c c e s s i n s u c h c a s e s - w h e n people w h o are not specialists in the field deal
with the research of the past-is a rather simple one: these passionate amateurs have to
make an effort to learn the ver}'' methodology of the historical research or, in other
words, the t e c h n i q u e s of source processing. History, like a n y other scientific subject,
has a series of m e t h o d s to investigate the past, of rules w h i c h , if k n o w n , practiced for
a long period of time a n d rigorously applied, m a y lead to the discovery of the
historical truth. Mr. Cristian Florin Bota has made - for a rather long time - such a
c o m m e n d a b l e effort to learn the rigors of the profession of historian a n d managed to
do what few people achieve, i.e. h e was also successful in the endeavor of b e c o m i n g a
genuine historian. Starting from these prerequisites of professional earnestness, h e
has managed to elaborate so far several studies a n d monographs dedicated to certain
places or to other aspects of the past. T h e s e works have already granted h i m an
honorable visiting card, r e c o m m e n d i n g h i m as an important author, focused on the
verification of the sources, based on the belief that history c a n be retraced through
sources (evidence), n o t through allusions, figures of speech, impressions or feelings.
In this book, the author leaves from the belief that, since a n c i e n t times, people
have eagerly sought to secure a certain degree of comfort, of safety for tomorrow, a
guarantee for the future, for what the R o m a n i a n s call "black days" [that is the "rainy
days"]. T h e researcher is aware that people have also sought for moral, spiritual,
confessional a n d political satisfactions, but it is well k n o w n that the peace of m i n d of
these people d e p e n d e d first of all on a m i n i m a l material basis. T h e principle is
obvious: although "in the beginning was the Word", the h u m a n spirit c a n n o t exist a n d
act on earth without a body, a n d the body h a s to b e also fed a n d sheltered a n d
dressed. Therefore, the author starts his work from an early stage of h u m a n
development, w h e n people thought of these things a n d took measures in order to
obtain what w a s n e c e s s a r y for t h e m . T h e author brings arguments for the fact that
livelihood, normal living a n d even prosperity are often better a c h i e v e d b y m e a n s of
organizations a n d collective instruments than strictly b y individual m e a n s . Therefore,
he reviews the history of guilds, brotherhoods a n d medieval neighborhoods in order
to get to m o d e r n credit, m u t u a l aid a n d cooperation institutions. He insists in detail
on some current national a n d international institutions (such as the Federation of
Credit U n i o n s in R o m a n i a - FEDCAR, the European Network of Credit U n i o n s - E N C U
and the World C o u n c i l of Credit U n i o n s - W O C C U ) , w h i c h h e defines and w h o s e
evolution is presented. His book h u m b l y entitled "A Chronology of Credit U n i o n s " is
actually a history of professional associations a n d credit u n i o n s in R o m a n i a a n d
worldwide, of t h e m u t u a l help activity in general, covering the period b e t w e e n the
1 4 a n d the 2 1 century.
th

s t

As such, the book b e c o m e s a complete overview of the evolution of some


institutions crucial for people's life, of w h i c h w e rarely think, or perhaps w e think o f
t h e m only w h e n w e are i n need, without being aware of their complexity, their long
tradition, their deeper m e a n i n g s . In this work, the author c o m b i n e s two essential
elements, n a m e l y h i s specialty i n his current professional life a n d his passion for the
study of the past, w h i c h is a real recipe for s u c c e s s . Consequently, after a genuine
documentation a n d research effort, h e wrote an interesting as well as useful book that
we strongly r e c o m m e n d to the readers.
Cluj-Napoca, 2 4

t h

February 2 0 1 3

Professor Ioan-Aurel
Pop
Member of the Romanian

Academy