Opinion

The FINANCIAL -- The conclusion of the Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union was euphorically acclaimed by Georgian media as well as political and economic decision makers. Part of the AA is the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA).

The FINANCIAL -- Until recently, Coca Cola was the only manmade product with the greatest reach across our planet. No matter the political regime, religion or the distance from the nearest bottling factory, the product would be there, even in countries lacking the most basic infrastructure. However, thanks to new electronic gadgets and increasing internet access– Facebook is taking the lead as the world’s most consumable manmade product.

The FINANCIAL -- In Georgia, employment is often found not through prevailing in fair, orderly selection processes, but through personal connections. This is a well-known fact almost nobody denies. It is evident in almost every Georgian firm and institution.

The FINANCIAL -- Over the past decade, Georgia has undergone dramatic changes. A colored revolution ushered in a pro-Western regime, resulting in serious efforts to combat institutional corruption and organized crime; Moscow’s lost its central Caucasus command HQ in Tbilisi, and replaced its military bases in Georgia proper with bigger ones in the breakaway regions, and it would be a mistake not to mention Georgia’s first democratic regime change in 2012 since becoming an independent state nearly 25 years ago.

The FINANCIAL -- In the first part of this article (available on the homepage of The Financial and the ISET Economist Blog), I described some of the adverse incentives resulting from a social welfare system. Then I argued that according to Simon Kuznet’s famous paradigm, increasing inequality is hardly evitable when a country enters a growth trajectory (as Georgia did in 2003), and I reasoned that it is at least an ambivalent (not to say questionable) policy for Georgia, at its current state of development, to fight inequality by social welfare measures.

The FINANCIAL -- One day in my village, I saw our neighbors carrying TV sets, refrigerators, parabolic antennas, and washing machines out of their house. Soon I found out that they were hiding all that stuff from the state audit agency that was about to check eligibility for social benefits.

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