In the recent World Bank study “Doing Business 2008″ Georgia which some years ago was on 122th position has raised to 18. place, immadiately after Estonia. This is best proof, that radical liberal reforms have really worked in Georgia. Georgia has liberalized its economy, moved away from lot of regulations, fought down corruption, introduced flat rate 12% tax, abolished most of custom tariffs. This has created real economic boom in Georgia, bringing in nearly 3 billion USD investments this year. It is easier to do business in Georgia than in any other transition country except Estonia. Looking on so called “developed” countries, Germany is on the same list on 20th, France 31th, Italy on 53th position. Georgia is really now in the mind of business.
MILTON FRIEDMAN’S LEGACY: WHAT IS IT AND WHERE DOES IT STAND TODAY?
Milton Friedman’s legacy in the modern World is best proof, that ideas really do matter. It is hard to imagine today’s World without ideas of Friedman. I have actually seen such kind of World, I lived in it nearly half of the life. This was Soviet Union, build on the ideas of Karl Marx, Lenin and Stalin. There was no place for concepts of freedom, free choice, citizens initiative and human dignity. This was a World of state control, orders and violence. Human beings did not have any value there.
In this World I heard first time the name of Milton Friedman. There was no possiblity to read his works, but noticing how much communist rulers hated this man, it became clear to me, that he must be a remarkable man. When I got access to books of Milton Friedman for the first time, I understood, that communists were actually right – Milton Friedman was a really dangerous man for them. Ideas of liberty and free market are the most powerful weapons in the fight against different kind of dictatorships and their legacy. It is important not only to win political fight against dictatorships. Even bigger challenge is to brake free and to move away from state control, support free initiative and free choice of people. This is the only way that countries can build up prosperous societies and develop human happiness. I have used the Friedmans ideas of free trade and flat rate tax in my home-country, Estonia. These have allowed us to become the most successful transition country in post-communist World. Estonia is a living proof that the ideas of Friedman really work. Less then fifty years ago there were not many people in the World who talked about free markets, competition and sound monetary policy. Milton Friedman was a man who was nearly alone keeping the idea of free markets alive. Now, when his ideas had been tested and proved that they really work and bring success it is easy to say that Friedman was right and Marx was wrong. Fifty years ago it was not so evident.
To represent the idea of freedom was for Friedman often thankless case. Unfortunately it still is. Too many countries in the World are trying to ignore the ideas of liberty. They know that the lessons of Marx allow them more easily to control and rule their people. Ideas of Friedman make people free – that is the reason why they are not liked among countries with big government or even worse, authoritarian regimes. According to them it might endanger both well-being and human happiness of people in such countries. The best what we can do in modern World is to keep the heritage of Milton Friedman alive and not to stop, develop the cause of freedom everywhere, in the West and in the East. Because all people deserve to be free.