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Author Topic: The ruin of Russia
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 09 April 2003 09:22 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The ruin of Russia -- Joe Stiglitz in the Guardian

quote:
No rewriting of history can change the fact that neo-liberal reform produced undiluted economic decline

Joseph Stiglitz
Wednesday April 9, 2003
The Guardian

Ten years ago this month, Russia's parliament, the duma, was seeking to impeach President Boris Yeltsin, initiating a time of stalemate and struggle that ended seven months later when Yeltsin ordered tanks to fire on the duma's headquarters. Yeltsin's victory settled who ruled Russia and who would determine economic policy. But were Yeltsin's economic policy choices the right ones for Russia?

The move from communism to capitalism in Russia after 1991 was supposed to bring unprecedented prosperity. It did not. By the time of the rouble crisis of August 1998, output had fallen by almost half and poverty had increased from 2% of the population to over 40%.

Russia's performance since then has been impressive, yet its gross domestic product remains almost 30% below what it was in 1990. At 4% growth per annum, it will take Russia's economy another decade to get back to where it was when communism collapsed.



From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 09 April 2003 09:53 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I agreewith this:

quote:
In the long run, we should be concerned not just with the pace of economic growth but with the type of society that is created. To Russia's so-called reformers, the enormous concentration of ownership in Russia that emerged in the 1990s, is of no concern, so long as it generates growth.

But there is another vision of a market economy, one based on greater equality, which uses the power of markets to bring prosperity not just to the few but to all of society. That Russia's transition did not achieve this is not a surprise. That goal was not a part of the reformers' vision. The great paradox is that their view of economics was so stilted, so ideologically driven, that they failed even in their narrower objective of bringing about economic growth. What they achieved was undiluted decline. No rewriting of history will change this.


The IMF has the same basic policy everywhere; inequality, even huge inequality, is accepted if it brings growth. Often though, as in Argentina, inequality is created, but not growth. In Argentina as well as Russia, the insistence on a high level for the currency caused disaster. Favoured countries are allowed to devalue, but since EVERYONE can't devalue, some countries get the shaft.

Stiglitz is right that no rewriting of history can change this; that is why you don't read much about Russia's recent economic performance in your newspaper, though.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 09 April 2003 10:16 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's also an especially cruel thing to have done to Russia, as they had lived under 70 years of a government whose stated aim was (in name, if not in fact) a relatively egalitarian society.

Now I'm under no illusion that many Russians loved their government, but I'm also equally sure that many of them would have felt positive about what was going on if Gorbachev had remained in power and been able to marshal a steady diet of reforms along the Chinese lines while mixing in political reforms as well.

As it is, they were sold a bill of goods which turned out to be nonredeemable for anything except bupkiss.

Other countries that the IMF ruined didn't have a population conditioned into ways of thinking that surface egalitarianism creates, such as unrealistically high expectations about the "rewards" of capitalism.

As the aphorism goes, it took just 10 years of capitalism to make 70 years of communism look good.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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