On Thursday, November 19, ISET hosted Zurab Japaridze, a member of the Parliament of Georgia. The title of his presentation was “As of the Argonauts to Shevardnadze”. Zurab presented the economic history of Georgia and discussed various factors affecting its development along the way. The material was unique and heavily based on different alternative historical sources describing economic phenomena of the past. Zurab described history in the context of geo-political and foreign relationships. He tried to show that the success of the country was always tied to its economic situation. Among others, he presented thoughtful economic reforms of David the Builder which led to country’s prosperity. Zurab hypothesized that later failure against Mongols was caused by the weakened economy. Discovered fake money from King Tamar’s period indicates that country’s economic situation was not healthy.

On November 18th, ISET hosted Principle Economist of Asian Development Bank, Dr. Donghyun Park, who gave a presentation on Inequality, Inclusive Growth, and Fiscal Policy in Asia.

Dr. Donghyun Park discussed how a recent sharp growth in Asia had a positive effect on the reduction of poverty in the region. However, income inequality is still high and in many Asian countries keeps growing. International experience shows that public spending can reduce income inequality. Representative examples of this trend are government expenditures on education and health. By opening more public schools with better educational level, government helps poor portion of population, as rich people always have option to receive good education from expensive private schools.

On October 8, ISET hosted Andreja Marusic, the World Bank’s Global Lead for Business Environment. Ms. Marusic delivered a presentation “Doing Business and Beyond”. The presentation covered a general overview and current international practices in business environment reforms as well as the important systemic issues of moving from ad-hoc business environment reforms (such as the Doing Business indicators centric reforms) to a more sustainable approach, including a focus on predictability, transparency, public consultation and Regulatory Impact Assessment.

In the begging of her presentation Andreja Marusic listed “traditional” business environment reform ideas and pointed out some new areas to focus on like: risk based regulations and implementation gap, sectorial and sub-national regulatory reforms etc. She also showed the main changes in Doing Business Report and explained that the new system compares countries to the best practice (New Zealand).

On Tuesday, October 27th, ISET hosted Zurab Tchiaberashvili, former Mayor of Tbilisi, former Minister of Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, and current professor at Ilia State University. Mr. Tchiaberashvili delivered a presentation titled “Healthcare in Georgia: Challenges Ahead.”
Mr. Tchiaberashvili talked about Georgian healthcare systems Georgia transitioned through during different time periods. Using the data from different studies he showed that, while healthcare system in 2004-2005 benefited reach more than poor, during 2006-2007, with the introduction of new system, situation changed. In short, Georgia’s poor became better recipients of the assistance.

On September 30, ISET hosted Dwight Nystrom, Chief of Political and Economic Affairs of the US Embassy. His presentation was titled: “The Reach and Limitations of American Economic Power” and it was focused on US’s footprint on the global economy. Mr. Nystrom also discussed US economic conditions within different sections. According to the data he provided, the US share of GDP in global GDP began declining in 2000 and after the 2008 global financial crisis it began to fall even more sharply. Furthermore, he mentioned merchandise trade partners over the last 35 years. In 1980 case the first three trade partners for US were Canada, Japan and Mexico, but in 2014 Japan was replaced by China. This phenomenon exists for several reasons, but the primary cause is the cheap labor force of China. However, US still remains attractive place for investors, because it still leads the world in foreign direct investment and several other key indicators.

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