ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Dec
20

Give Your Country a Holiday Gift: Buy Small, Buy Local, Buy Georgian!

Once again, Georgians across the country are preparing for the holiday season, making travel plans, crushing walnuts for gozinaki, and buying gifts for their friends and families. Gifts are an important part of celebrating the New Year and Christmas, signifying the importance of friendship and allowing us to treat our loved ones to something to start a brand new year in style. It is therefore no coincidence that November and December are some of the strongest months for purchasing consumer goods in Georgia, not to mention across Europe and America. ...
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Dec
12

Russo-Turkish Drama: a Christmas Gift for the Georgian Economy?

A “STAB IN THE BACK” AND ITS “GRAVE CONSEQUENCES” On November 24th, a Turkish Air Force fighter jet shot down a Russian SU-24 that briefly strayed into its airspace. One pilot was killed, and another member of the Russian military perished in the rescue attempt. Vladimir Putin called the event a “stab in the back” even though he had turned his back on Turkish warnings about incursions into its airspace. Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, facetiously stated that Turkey would not apologize for the event and that Russia should be the one apologizing. ...
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Nov
23

Georgia’s Ravaging Nepotism

Georgian media is full of stories about nepotism and the funny justifications of those involved: When Irakli Garibashvili, still being Minister of the Interior, was confronted with nepotism allegations, he replied: “Don’t you know that a relative of your wife is not your relative?” When the 23-year-old brother of Vice Prime Minister Kakhi Kaladze’s wife was appointed head of the City Hall’s department for education, sports, and youth affairs, Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania stated that he had “known him for a long time and did not consider any oth...
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Nov
16

Less Bureaucracy Is Good, But Not Good Enough!

“Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up” – Thomas Wayne to his son (Batman).   The Georgian Government’s pride and joy of the previous years has been its high standing in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. Investors, policymakers, and economy-watchers around the world have opened editions of magazines like The Economist to see full-page advertisements about why Georgia is ‘different’ among Post-Soviet countries when it comes to doing business. A line such as “Georgia is different because we are the World Bank’s ...
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Nov
07

Georgian Tea: Finding New Strength in Unity?

After many years of chaos and utter collapse, Georgia’s once glorious tea industry is again showing signs of life. More and more individual farmers and businesses – mostly very small, but some quite ambitious, such as Geoplant (known for its “Gurieli” brand) – grow, process and pack tea. Despite competition from major producing countries and international brands, Georgian tea has great export potential because of the value attached to it all over the former Soviet Union.  While the potential is clearly there, it is not at all clear what strategy sho...
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Oct
03

Georgian Wine: Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best

"You mean there's a catch?""Sure there's a catch", Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch-22. Anyone who [claims he is crazy because he] wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy."Joseph Heller, Catch 22 Пока гром не грянет, мужик не перекрестится.Русская народная пословица   The Georgian wine industry had a couple of very good years in 2013 and 2014, following the opening of the Russian market. Exports skyrocketed, prices of grapes followed suit. For all the talk about diversification, within just two years, Russia’s share in the total exports o...
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