Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar | Neoliberalism in action: the case of a post-communist state in Eurasia (Georgia)

Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar | Neoliberalism in action: the case of a post-communist state in Eurasia (Georgia)
Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar | Neoliberalism in action: the case of a post-communist state in Eurasia (Georgia)

Principal speaker

Adjunct Professor Iyanatul (Yan) Islam, Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University

The Eurasian post-communist state of Georgia went through a major overhaul of its economic and social policies after the Rose Revolution of 2003. This transformation was undertaken by the former President Mikheil Saakashvili, with the late Kakha Bendukidze, who was then the Minister for Economy, playing a pivotal role. They regarded Georgia as a case of "radical, catch-up reforms'. These reforms conform closely to the guiding principles of economic neoliberalism. They entail constitutional limits on fiscal policy, a flat income tax rate, an independent central bank preoccupied with price stability, highly deregulated labour markets, pro-business reforms and a targeted approach to social protection. The Georgian version of neoliberalism provided some benefits - steady growth, low inflation, and low public debt - but they were offset by unsatisfactory labour market and social indicators, including the challenge of a declining population. Regime change in 2012 in a social democratic direction has ushered some changes, notably in the realm of social protection and the labour inspection system, but key aspects from the period of "radical, catch-up reforms' have remained intact.

Yan was Professor of International Business, School of International Business and Asian Studies, Griffith University, Nathan Campus, Brisbane, Australia from 2003 to 2010, having first joined Griffith in 1989. He is an international development economist educated at Manchester [Bachelor of Arts in Economics], Western Ontario [Master of Arts in Economics], Cambridge [PhD, Economic Development]. He is the author and co-author of more than 100 publications consisting of refereed journal articles, books and edited volumes, book chapters, working papers, policy reports and commentaries in leading on-line journals (voxeu.org and Social Europe Journal). He is ranked among the top 10 percent of authors by download statistics in the Social Science Research Council Network (SSRN, Elsevier). He is one of the founding editors of the Journal of Asia-Pacific Economy [Routledge] and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the South Asian Journal of Human Resources Management [Sage].


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