Triumph Of The (Unfree) Market

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

We Americans like to think that much of our industrial and economic success is a result of a free market and private ownership. Russia's experience with unbridled capitalism has engendered more mixed feelings, and with them a Kremlin-centric approach to economic development. The Wall Street Journal documents the decline of Russian automaker AvtoVAZ into corruption, kleptomania and crime under free-market conditions in the 1990's, and the government intervention which attracted Renault's recent purchase of 25 percent of the company. These government takeovers not only tend to make Russian companies more efficient and less crime-ridden ( although this assertion may be suspect), they also serve the political ends of eliminating wealthy oligarchs who could pose a challenge to President Putin's growing authoritarianism. With "plans to float stakes in a raft of companies it has taken over," the Kremlin may just be headed toward yet another radical economic experiment for the country that has witnessed more than its fair share of experimental economics. But will western companies and authoritarian state-run companies mesh over the long-term?

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Gunit Gunit on Mar 24, 2008

    'those idiots', please, like there is no corruption in the west, no wars for profit, just pure honorable democracy, that we need to spread around the world. The problem there is the same as the problem here; the rich serving each other and screwing the rest.

  • Andy D Andy D on Mar 24, 2008

    Heh heh, oh for the bad ol' cold war days. 'Member when Boris and Natasha stole the plans for the 55 Packard so Mr Big could be driven around in a Zil?

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Mar 24, 2008

    Hmmmm.... I have to ask at this point. What's the difference between the Russian government and the American government? Strictly in terms of bail outs and takeovers OUR government is just as bad if not worse. Since when should a federal government use taxpayer's money to effectively sell a company to a private firm. A firm that gets to take on zero debt, while the American taxpayer is involuntarily forced to pay for it all. In the case of the Russians, the prior owners get screwed. In the case of the Americans, the non-owners, the taxpayers (and most likely their children) get screwed. Let's face it. They both suck but I would consider the modern American version to be far far worse.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Mar 25, 2008

    Oh come on. Scream about the downside of the US all you want, but does anyone here REALLY think the US and Russia are comparable? This is really just hyperbole, right?