ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Apr
06

Should the World Sacrifice the Economy to Save Lives Today?

No two countries that both have a McDonald's have ever been at war wrote American political commentator and author Thomas L. Friedman in 1996. Since then, of course, there have been plenty of instances of countries with McDonald’s warring, including Russia and Georgia. Though, one should not take Friedman’s phrase too literally. Rather he implies that the spread of McDonald's is a part of a worldwide phenomenon of countries integrating with the global economy, which, in turn, makes wars less likely. Well, Kudos to globalization. But also, thanks to globa...
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May
20

Does Your Smartphone Make You an “Unconscious” Villain?

Our dependence on smartphones can hardly be described as anything other than addictive. We invariably use them to document trips and thus to have the world at our fingertips. Though, these precious little gadgets have a dark history that we, as consumers, unconsciously support. Unfortunately, we will not be able to discuss in detail all the negative impacts within the supply chain of smartphones. Nonetheless, we wish this article to serve as an awakening, and a reminder, of what we as consumers are promoting. Moreover, what we - and governments - could d...
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Jul
02

Will Georgia Ever Get to the World Cup?

“…….. Georgia clearly has potential. The country is small (5 million people), and horribly poor (even today, average income is below $4,000 per year). If Georgians could just become as rich as Croatia, they too could start beating England at Wembley.” – Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, Soccernomics, (2006, p.287) “Football was born in England, grew to Brazil and died in Georgia” – a well-known joke about Georgian football. This summer, Russia is again at the epicenter of the world, but this time for hosting the 21st FIFA World Cup football tourna...
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Jun
27

We'll Take Our Countries Back and Make Them Great Again!

For the likes of Boris Johnson, currently UK’s most popular politician and a leading figure of the Brexit revolt, “The European Union has become too remote, too opaque and not accountable enough to the people it is meant to serve.” But how about the UK itself? How close are 10 Downing Street or Westminster to the working class folks of England’s industrial north? How representative is Britain’s Eton-educated ‘political class’ of the people they are meant to serve? And if Boris Johnson is lauding the British people for deciding to take control of their ow...
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Jul
24

Exclusive Interview with Professor Matthias Matthijs: Greece and the Eurozone Crisis

Today I’m sitting down for a conversation across a continent and an ocean. Our guest is Professor Matthias Matthijs of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is the editor of the renowned and timely book “The Future of the Euro,” and two-time recipient of the Max M. Fisher award for excellence in teaching at SAIS. We will be talking about the Eurozone crisis and the lessons other small-state economies and their policymakers can learn from Greece’s unfortunate situation. Q. Professor Matthijs, thank you for sitting down...
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Mar
21

The Crisis in Ukraine and the Georgian Economy

When Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich decided not to sign the association agreement with the European Union and instead opted for a Russian package of long-term economic support, many Ukrainians perceived this not to be a purely economic decision.  Rather, they feared this to be a renunciation of Western cultural and political values, and – to put it mildly – were not happy about this development. The Russian political system, characterized by a prepotent president, constrained civil rights, and a government controlling important parts of the e...
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