Saturday, January 15, 2005

An interesting analysis

In this article--Between Regimes: The Relationship Between Internal & External Factors. James SHERR. Zerkalo Nedeli On The WEB--the author discusses some of the problems that Yuschenko confronts.

There are some problems with it:

--He says Yuschenko may take office but that doesn't mean he has power. I think the revolution showed he has power. Maybe he means power over government but I think that is exaggerated. The scrambling going on by those who have been in power to position themselves better for a Yuschenko regime suggests differently. Even the oligarchs in the east are making positive statements which are not nothing.

If he means not in complete control of the government that is probably true. But I think that can be remedied fairly quickly with a series of appointments and Yuschenko's requirements that his potential appointees be disinterested is a good start.

I think he has power and that is being seen now and will be made plain very quickly.

--He makes the argument that corruption is mostly an economic problem. It isn't. It is a cultural problem. That makes it more of a difficulty than if it were purely economic. But even if it were economic it is hard for me to see that even paying a living wage would stop it. If a person is used to having a dacha out in the country or a Mercedes in his garage as a result of payola, why wouldn't his eyes get bigger if he had both a better wage and the possibility of more money through bribes? A bigger dacha and winter trips to Grenoble.

It is better to decrease the number of opportunities for bribes. Then work on a better ethic.

--The east/west problem. I think he overstates the problems there are between the east and the west. The east doesn't like Yuschenko it is true. But they have not shown themselves to dislike him so much as to make their way on their own to Kiev to shut down the government. If they have a job and the economy is fine, they will settle in like the rest of Ukraine. But that is the real problem for Yuschenko, making sure that they do have a job and that the economy doesn't turn sour. If there is major economic dislocation, that could spell trouble. And what was done in the Orange Revolution can be repeated, this time with out of work miners.

The rest of this is pretty good and it raises issues that will need to be addressed by Yuschenko, sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Corruption is cultural; economics is cultural. Economists tend to portray resource decisions in a technocratic fashion, which is similiar in some ways to how Soviet economic planners portrayed them. Positive culture leads to positive economic results. Hong Kong and Singapore are not exactly resource rich while Russia is resource rich. Economists generally fail to account for the underlying premises that make an economy possible. The underlying premises tend to be broadly speaking cultural, but more specifically political in the grander sense of the organizing principles of a community (society is a late addition to human language, by the way).

My own experience in Cook County, Illinois, is that the people taking advantage of political positions, formal and informal, do so because of cultural kinds of factors more than poverty. Representative Rostenkowski was one of the leading economic decision makers in the United States when he was taking kickbacks from his future son-in-law for a public job and essentially stealing postage stamps. He did not need the money. If you are interested in corruption, the local scene here is just bubbling. The previous governor should go on trial soon and a wide variety of investigations have lead to indictments in recent weeks. The best place to find out about that here is the Chicago Sun-Times website.