ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Tamta Maridashvili has not set their biography yet
Apr
12

Red or Blue!

Have you ever wondered why the color of the United National Movement (UNM) is red while Georgian Dream (GD) is blue? Why not green and orange? It might be that red and blue offer a contrast, and they also symbolize quite different things.1 And, contrast is indeed what they each seek. These two parties have dominated Georgian politics since 2012, and it is now difficult to recall the subject they built a consensus around or even one that they have tried to discuss. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), in its report on the 2018 ...
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Nov
27

Does Georgia Need Highly Educated Workers?

A pleasant surprise awaited me on my first day as a student of Tbilisi State University’s Business and Economics Faculty. Thanks to my performance on the national admission exam (ერთიანი ეროვნული გამოცდები), I was inducted into the so-called “Elite Group,” piloted by TSU in an effort to attract Georgia’s best and brightest. There were 50 of us in the group, mostly from working class families, and none felt like they belonged to any kind of “elite.” In the end, I really enjoyed my “elite” status. Not because I could assert dominance over “mere mortals,” b...
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Oct
23

Telavi, the Capital of Georgian Beer Drinking?

Telavi, the former capital of the Kingdom of Kakheti, is a beautiful town with spectacular views of the Alazani Valley and Caucasian mountains. In the 18th century, King Erekle II reigned from Telavi. The palace can still be seen, and the statue of King Erekle stands proudly in the middle of the city's town square. More importantly for the city dwellers, Telavi is the capital of Georgia’s traditional winemaking.  This month, however, the capital of Georgia’s winemaking has for a couple of days become the capital of Georgian beer drinking, in the bes...
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Mar
20

Has The Orthodox Church Been Too Successful?

For a long time, it has been a taboo to criticize the Orthodox Church in Georgia. Quite recently, however, the clergymen themselves lifted this taboo by publicly carrying out their conflicts. The visit of Pope Francis in September 2016 sparked a plethora of mutual accusations. Archpriest Davit Isakadze was against the Pope’s visit and blamed the two other Archpriests Toedore Gignadze and Aleksandre Galdava for being sectarians and church enemies. These accusations were rebutted by Archpriests Levan Mateshvili and Ilia Chigladze, who called for protecting...
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Dec
03

The Textile Industry Stopping by in Georgia

My dad used to tell me stories about the exciting period when the Soviet Union’s economy started faltering and public resources were suddenly up for grabs in the chaos capitalism that emerged. While this period is usually associated with the appearance of crafty oligarchs, in Georgia also less wily businessmen could exploit the circumstances, among them many Turks. As the American journal The Tennessean wrote in 1977: “Soviet blue jeans may look like jeans, but that doesn't mean they are… One of the country's most exasperating problems is trying to satis...
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Sep
27

Jobs for Life in Georgian Universities?

Few may have noticed an amendment to the Georgian Law on Higher Education, passed in December 2015, which potentially ushers in a new era for Georgia’s higher education system. As of January 2017, (some) Georgian professors and senior research staff will be appointed for an indefinite term (i.e. given "tenure"). Offered decent compensation and protected from political pressures and job insecurity, they will be able to indulge in academic endeavors, nurturing a new generation of Georgian academics and promoting Georgian science onto the global scene. This...
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