მიშა თავხელიძე

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The Path to Greece

Why are bureaucrats in Brussels so concerned about the fate of metallurgic plant workers in Kutaisi? That question came to my mind when the desire of the European Union (EU) to change the Labor Code of Georgia became a topical issue. Everything started in Kutaisi this past September when police detained thirty-four striking workers at a privately owned metallurgic plant there. According to police, the strikers were detained after they prevented other personnel from working, in particular by...

Shashlyk and A Salad, Please!

Have you ever been poisoned from veal shashlyk? No? Me neither. In the marketplace, however, anyone can sell whatever they want, as leading journalists have many times indignantly reported on our most widely viewed TV channel. The Soviet Union, of course, exercised complete control over food standards. Those who lived in those grim times surely remember the state public health surveillance and control service called SANEPID or the Sanitary Epidemiological Station. Even in those times of total...

Trade Union is Evil!

 “No king on earth is as safe in his job as a Trade Union official. There is only one thing that can get him sacked; and that is drink. Not even that, as long as he doesn't actually fall down.” George Bernard Shaw Any mafia is a pyramid-shaped hierarchical structure in which money flows from bottom to top and never in the reverse direction. Such is, for example, the Soprano family (from the popular U.S. TV series The Sopranos) or Kakha Targamadze’s militia (from the Georgia of Eduard...

Money Drip Stand

“Government subsidies can be critically analyzed according to a simple principle: You are smarter than the government, so when the government pays you to do something you wouldn't do on your own, it is almost always paying you to do something stupid.” This principle formulated by American political satirist P.J. O'Rourke can be applied in analyzing steps taken by any government, including ours in its plan to subsidize agriculture this year. A little while ago, the Georgian President even...

Moral Climate

I must admit: I might be either uneducated or dishonest. Before explaining why I may be stupid or a scoundrel, let us first agree on terminology. When we are warned (persistently!) about climate change and called on to do something (everything!) about it, we are being duped. Climate has always changed, is changing now, and will continue to change. Climate (atmosphere, weather) changes in cycles. The length of some cycles spans hundreds of thousands of years; those of others, a mere eight...

Inflation Kills

 No, this road will not take us to Singapore! It instead may take us backward, I’m afraid. In the last quarter of 2010 alone, Singapore’s economy grew as much as Georgia’s economy did for the entire year (by nearly seven percent). Georgia’s real (inflation-adjusted) Gross Domestic Product increased by little more than six percent while Singapore’s rose almost fifteen percent. In November 2010 alone, Singapore was visited by as many people as Georgia was throughout the year (by about one...

Economic Liberty Track

If enacted, the Act’s ambitious reach may turn out to be a game changer for Georgia’s still-developing economy. However, its passage may turn out to be only a mixed blessing as the initiative is in some ways insufficient. The Economic Liberty Act is intended to restrict the state’s ability to meddle in the affairs of the economy and grant power over tax changes directly to the electorate. Reducing state expenses and debt by 30 and 60 percent, respectively, was one of the initial aims of the...

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