ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

The Roots of the Georgian Mining Industry

In the early 1980’s, Soviet engineers drove a prospection tunnel into Sakdrissi hillock close to the small town of Kazreti, about 50 kilometers south of Tbilisi. Much to their surprise, they discovered that the hillock already bore a labyrinth of tunnels, and, as quickly became clear, these tunnels were manmade. An old gold mine had been discovered. 25 years later, a Georgian-German team of archaeologists excavated the site and reopened the ancient entrance to the mining complex. Inside the tunnels and around the entrance they found plenty of artefacts o...
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Guest — Tariel Zivzivadze
Many do not know this history. I would suggest making Georgian versions of these articles too and publicize more
Friday, 06 September 2013 3:03 PM
Guest — giorgi
What a barbarian decision! Thank you for bringing this up! I signed the petition, what else can be done to reverse it?
Friday, 06 September 2013 8:08 PM
Guest — nanachka
this is only one side of the story. i agree that it would be wonderful if this myth about ancient gold mines would turn out to be ... Read More
Saturday, 07 September 2013 9:09 PM
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American Dream vs. Georgian Dream

When I first started reading to my daughter I decided to buy a collection of Georgian fairy tales. However, as I started to read, I noticed that there were lots of things I did not agree with and found myself having to rephrase some of the passages as I read. I noticed that the poor are always portrayed as good characters and, no matter how they get rich (stealing from, deceiving or killing a “vicious rich giant”), social justice is assumed to have been met. I have always wondered what Natsarkekia, a lazy “ash digger”, who even after appropriating the gi...
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Guest — Rati
there's an interesting joke: what is the difference between American and Georgian dreams? American dream is "to become a millionai... Read More
Friday, 12 July 2013 7:07 AM
Guest — Eric Livny
Addiction to gambling is another attribute of the Georgian dream
Friday, 12 July 2013 7:07 AM
Guest — Giorgi
I think the "Natsarkekia" syndrome is temporary. From my personal observations people start to realize that only by hard working t... Read More
Friday, 12 July 2013 8:08 AM
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David the Economist

In 1122, King David IV. reconquered Tbilisi from the Muslims. In those times, a bloodbath among the former oppressors would have been the logical consequence of such a victory. Leaders of the High Middle Ages took merciless revenge against their enemies once they had defeated them. Yet David did not! To the contrary, he did not only let the former rulers live, but David was even anxious that the Muslim population might leave Tbilisi after the fall of the city. In order to send a strong signal of appreciation and friendship to the Muslim population, he ex...
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Guest — zviad bakhurauli
thanks for this article. ) economy of small countris like georgia are very different to big ones and it needs an individual approa... Read More
Saturday, 06 July 2013 12:12 AM
Guest — Lasha
Many thanks to authors for this wonderful blog. Now I know King David the Economist. I wish Georgian policy makers read this and t... Read More
Saturday, 06 July 2013 12:12 AM
Guest — KingOfKolchis
This is a very nice piece and would be particularly useful to feed into popular economic policy debate. To this end, would be grea... Read More
Monday, 08 July 2013 2:02 AM
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An Economist’s Comment on “Dodge or Die” on the Streets of Tbilisi

[“Dodge or Die” is a series of reports on the relationship between the pedestrian and the motorist in Georgia by Robert Linkous]. As Stephen Dowling put it in his BBC News article a few years ago, “when it comes to crossing the road, there's no such thing as an international standard. Every country does it differently.” How people drive and cross the road, according to Dowling, is a matter of a country’s cultural values. Is it really? Bad traffic habits are a grave problem in many cities around the world. Yet, while many have managed to largely solve the...
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Guest — Sanjit Dhami
Nice post and a very pressing problem indeed. My views below are not meant in any way to be criticisms of this article but rather ... Read More
Monday, 10 June 2013 11:11 AM
Guest — Y
"Understandably, enforcement would have to be particularly strict during a relatively short transition period to allow all traffic... Read More
Monday, 10 June 2013 11:11 AM
Guest — Eric Livny
A valid concern, but I don't think that the amount of political capital to be spent here is all that large. And there is some poli... Read More
Monday, 10 June 2013 2:02 PM
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The Soviet Hangover

Recently, we discussed the low ranking of Georgia when it comes to social capital (“Since When Do Georgians Trust Banks More Than Friends?”). In the 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index our country ranked #140 in the social capital subindex, out of 142 surveyed countries! This seems unbelievable and even shocking, but if we explore the topic a little bit deeper, we may find reasons for such a low ranking. The World Bank definition of social capital is the following: “Social capital refers to the institutions, relationships, and norms that shape the quality and ...
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Guest — Wiweck Singh
I believe, this is the one of the core constraint restraining development of Georgian economy and society at large.
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 10:10 AM
Guest — Giorgi Mekerishvili
Besides the lack of trust in such formal institutions due to the Soviet experience another reason for the low social capital is ci... Read More
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 11:11 AM
Guest — Helene Ryding
This also explains why housing blocks do not have reserve funds to cover repairs, or insulate their buildings.
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 12:12 PM
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The Economics of Happiness

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a very special country. When in 2004 King Wangchuck announced that there would be free elections and the kingdom would be gradually transformed into a democracy, people demonstrated in the streets against these reforms. They were so satisfied with their monarchy and their ruler that they tried to urge him not to give away any of his absolute powers to an elected parliament. Also economically, Bhutan is special. It is the only country in the world that does not try to maximize the gross domestic product (GDP). Instead, King Wangch...
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Guest — Eric
Since Bhutan was mentioned, here a scholarly article discussing Victor Pelevin's Generation П From Homo Sovieticus to Homo Zapiens... Read More
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 4:04 PM
Guest — Florian
"Consumer dystopia"? I have to read that book! :-)
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 1:01 PM
Guest — Quji
It is interesting, how more socialist and less socialist countries compare to each other. Also, did the HPI index catch the traged... Read More
Friday, 22 March 2013 5:05 PM
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