ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Nov
25

Economic Reflections in the Kakheti Mountains

Over the last weekend I was invited by an international development bank to run a workshop in the nice Hotel Eden in Kvareli, Kakheti. The topic of the workshop was “Georgia’s economic future”. We started the workshop by discussing the great promise of development economics: “Do the right policy, and you’ll be fine”. Economists like Thorvaldur Gylfason like to show the growth paths of pairs of countries with somewhat similar characteristics, like Mauritius and Madagascar, Singapore and Malaysia, Botswana and Nigeria, and Ireland and Greece. In these pair...
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Guest — Eric Livny
Having just come from Korea, and having observed the Korean economic miracle from close range (thought not at great depth), I can ... Read More
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 4:04 PM
Guest — NP
Very nice! Now, here is a (provocative?) comment about the following statement (and what follows it). "Afterwards, a country has t... Read More
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 4:04 PM
Guest — Adam
I still think there's plenty of room for growth in all sectors in Georgia and I see catch-up growth everywhere I go. There's now a... Read More
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 8:08 PM
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Oct
21

Market Twilight

Last week, I began to discuss the question whether Francis Fukuyama’s hypothesis about convergence to liberal democracy and capitalism is at least partially right. While the countries of the world have not been moving towards democracy in the last 25 years, he could still be right that the future belongs to the markets. This week, however, I will argue that this is not the case. CAPITALISM OF THE PAST: WARM AND COZY In the works of libertarians like Ayn Rand and David Friedman, one can find a deep-rooted conviction that the outcomes of markets are not on...
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Guest — Eric Livny
Interesting stuff, but I did not quite understand how computer-assisted planning will help humans in their race against the machin... Read More
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 3:03 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Florian, proving a theorem is very different from inventing one :-) I know a lot of creative people with very little problem solvi... Read More
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 8:08 PM
Guest — Florian
Eric, thanks a lot for your comment.Once my techno-communism was implemented, there is no need anymore for humans to race against ... Read More
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 5:05 PM
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Oct
14

Is Capitalism the Final Stage of History?

No. In this two-part article I will argue that there are challenges to capitalism on the horizon which are virtually unsurmountable. There are good reasons to believe that in 30 years from now we will not see global dominance of market systems anymore. FUKUYAMA VS. MARX A few weeks ago, one of the worldwide most influential thinkers of the last 30 years visited Tbilisi to give a speech at the Free University: Francis Fukuyama. Fukuyama became famous through his book The End of History and the Last Man (1992) which offers a reinterpretation of Hegelian id...
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Guest — Eric Livny
Putting this article out is surely an act of bravery. I'll be very happy to continue discussing after you publish the second part.... Read More
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:10 AM
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Sep
30

The Ice Bucket Challenge: Does Motivation Matter?

In summer, social media were flooded with videos showing your friends (and celebrities of all levels of prominence) pouring buckets of icy water over their heads. While some people enjoyed watching this (and even participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge), many were unnerved by this charity campaign which was hardly distinguishable from an ordinary spam attack, were it not for the fact that now your friends and acquaintances were spamming you. A third group however, showed the most interesting reaction: they became moral about it. For those who do not kno...
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Guest — Eric Livny
This discussion is quite relevant to a very wide range of phenomena. For instance, what immediately springs to mind is the concept... Read More
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 11:11 AM
Guest — Gregory Levonian
Florian and Saba are right, but for the wrong reasons. To condemn selfish motivations for doing good deeds is flawed. One could ar... Read More
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 3:03 PM
Guest — Zurab Garakanidze
how can I submit a blog?
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 4:04 PM
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Apr
07

Do Economies Need Economists?

According to a rumor circulating among economists, there exists an econometric study which shows that the economy of a nation is doing worse the more great economists it produces. While this may be a myth, casual observation suggests that the correlation between the economic performance of a country and the quality of its economics profession is indeed unclear. The United Kingdom was home to the greatest economists of all times (Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, and David Ricardo, to name just a few), yet throughout great parts of the 20th century, the Br...
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Guest — Florian Biermann
No question, the role and aim of economic theory is a controversial issue. Many people will disagree with our point of view. I had... Read More
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 2:02 PM
Guest — Randy Filer
A generally good essay but I must object to one assertion. In contrast to the authors, who state "economic theory does not intend... Read More
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 1:01 AM
Guest — Eric
Given my rather limited knowledge of applied sociology, I think it has tons of predictive power concerning behavioral patterns. Be... Read More
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 3:03 PM
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Mar
31

The Ethics of Empty Stomachs

At the end of Act 2 of Bertolt Brecht’s Three-Penny-Opera, the proletarian petty criminal Macheath and his prostitute Jenny reply to the bourgeois representatives of the establishment urging them to uphold moral standards: “First comes a full stomach, then comes ethics!” This aphorism echoes the widely held contention that ethical behavior is a privilege of those who have satisfied their material needs. How can one expect somebody who is fighting for survival to be decent and honorable? Indeed, when civilization broke down during wars and disasters, huma...
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Guest — Zahra
History of growth associated with development and switch from agriculture to industry and then to service sector. As the more inco... Read More
Monday, 21 April 2014 7:07 PM
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