Zurab Japaridze: As of the Argonauts to Shevardnadze
Friday, 20 November, 2015

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 geopolitical 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.

Zurab talked about the traditional attitudes of Georgians towards the usury, its negative consequences and what it took for Ilia Chavchavadze to establish the first Bank in Georgia. Zurab described liberal monetary policy that characterized Georgia all along the history. He also called first Georgian entrepreneurs who are less know but very important figures in Georgian history.

Greater analysis was devoted to the importance of the trade routes of different periods of history, but all of them had the common the most significant positive effect on Georgia’s well-being. When Georgia was divided into feudal territories, each of them had their own taxes that made it unattractive for being a transit corridor and trade routes passed along depressing situation even further.