ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Dec
15

The Economics of Great Personalities

Some weeks ago, I was invited by a development bank to the Hotel Eden in Kvareli, Kakheti, where we discussed Georgia’s possibilities to develop economically. When we talked about the potential of the manufacturing sector, one of the attending bank employees said: “The problem is that Georgia does not have Rudolf Diesel and Nikolaus Otto.” I think that there is some truth in this sentence, which one might alter so that it fits better to modern times: “The problem is that Georgia does not have a Mark Zuckerberg/Steve Jobs/Bill Gates/Larry Page” or, to rem...
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Guest — RT
> If Einstein was born to smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, it is unlikely that his great potential would have materialized. I hear... Read More
Monday, 15 December 2014 12:12 PM
Guest — Florian
The problem is the vicious nepotism. If jobs are assigned primarily by connection, not by qualification, of course it is unattract... Read More
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 4:04 PM
Guest — Nino
Indeed, we need to get the institutional framework right.Unfortunately, today people, who could be great personalities do not have... Read More
Monday, 15 December 2014 12:12 PM
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Dec
12

Traffic Traumas

Recently, one of the authors of this article was crossing a street with a crowd of people at green pedestrian light close to Marjanishvili metro station, when a Mercedes was accelerating and heading towards the people, ignoring the red light, making the crowd splash in all directions. A police car was standing nearby, doing nothing. Walking and driving in Tbilisi is usually dangerous and stressful. When walking around, pedestrians must continuously monitor the cars in their vicinity, even when walking on the sidewalks. The task of avoiding to be hit by c...
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Guest — TTT
Well,to my knowledge we already have fines for both Pedestrians and Car Drivers and Cameras as well; The problem is enforcement of... Read More
Friday, 12 December 2014 2:02 PM
Guest — Nino
In fact, there has also been fines for pedestrians in Georgia and it was enforced in the years 2006-2007. However, for some reason... Read More
Friday, 12 December 2014 5:05 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Thank you for your comment, Nino! Publicly shaming reckless drivers would be an excellent component of the overall policy solution... Read More
Saturday, 13 December 2014 11:11 AM
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Nov
07

From Soviet to Post-Soviet Consumerism

In a sense, life was relatively simple back in the Soviet Union days. Consumers had few choices, and material aspirations were limited to the unholy trinity of “apartment, car and dacha”. That said, homo Sovieticus spent enormous amounts of time and energy in chasing material goods ranging from potatoes to nylon stockings and cars. A part of Soviet consumer behavior was about satisfying basic needs (as in the potatoes example above). But there was a discernible element of conspicuous consumption as well. Possession of a luxurious Pobeda car was deemed an...
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Guest — Levan Pavlenishvili
In my undergraduate years one of my lecturers was ex prime-minister of Georgian SSR, Mr. Nodar Chitanava who appears to be a neigh... Read More
Thursday, 13 November 2014 10:10 AM
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Oct
03

Pride and Prejudice in Georgian Food Consumption

GEORGIAN “SUPRAS” AND POVERTY Hospitality is one of the most prized aspects of the Georgian culture. Welcoming (literal translation: "respecting") guests is a matter of great pride for any family. My mother grew up in a small Imeretian village, and as she tells me, the kids of the family were not allowed to eat until the guests were fully "respected", i.e. properly fed. Even the poorest household in the village would go out of its way (and income) to impress its guests with a cornucopia of local delicacies, meats, veggies, and homemade wine. To this day,...
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Guest — Zurab Garakanidze
'...every third household reports difficulties in access to food (in contrast with every 5th urban household)' ----------- It is n... Read More
Monday, 06 October 2014 5:05 AM
Guest — Nino Doghonadze
Dear Zurab, of course, your point is legitimate for any extensive research on this topic. In this short article the main issue was... Read More
Saturday, 11 October 2014 2:02 PM
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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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Jul
14

Common Language, Education, and Nation Building

(Translation by Elene Grdzelidze) Back in the middle of the 19th century, Georgia was much more fragmented and unequal than today. It was a society consisting of a huge mass of illiterate peasants (mostly serfs working the lands of their lords and the church), a sliver of urban population (large parts of which, particularly in Tbilisi, were not ethnically Georgian), and a relatively large proportion (up to 5%) of nobility, organized according to a rigid hierarchical system and controlling much of the country’s land. The beginning of Georgia’s national re...
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Guest — Eric Livny
I very much agree, Florian. I would also add another aspect. In another country we both know very well (Israel), there is another ... Read More
Monday, 14 July 2014 4:04 PM
Guest — Florian Biermann
Elites can be parasitic or constructive, and while in a feudal society they tend to be on the parasitic side, it was a great custo... Read More
Monday, 14 July 2014 3:03 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Thanks, Randy! It is indeed interesting how Sweden resolved the tension between private and public schooling:From Wikipedia:"Prior... Read More
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 6:06 AM
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