Back to Command Economy
10 October, 2013
Back to Command Economy
A couple of days ago I was asked to make a translation of the Law on Agricultural Cooperatives from Georgian into English, which was meant to be sent out to the International Cooperative Alliance for comments thereof. I am chronically short of time but I agreed to do the job because I am interested in matters concerning the global cooperative movement in general and a chance for this movement to be developed here in Georgia, in particular.
Actually I have
run before several articles on the subject in this newspaper and I certainly knew that the Georgian government had created a special Agency within the system of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia for the development of cooperatives in this country. Frankly, I was surprised to have heard that somebody needed to make this serious addition to the already existing thick red tape within the managerial realm of Georgia. But when I read into the text of the new law I knew immediately that we have never left the boundaries of socialist command economy, tied and bound with bureaucratic ropes and shackled with dark and heavy system of state control over free enterprise. Cooperative-oriented economy is one of the simplest and clearest forms of democracy, invented by man. For it to exist and operate, people only need free will, some money, a little patience, reasonable amount of smarts and desire to work. Nothing else! The deliberately imposed state control over a cooperative could only be detrimental for a cooperative as well the state itself. I thought the time of senseless planning and command in the economy had already gone by. Not true! We are still there, as it seems. I regret I cannot quote the entire text of the new law of Georgia on cooperatives – not enough room on the page! And still, I would love to make a couple of comments on what I am reading in the text of the weird law, which says that the state agency should grant and terminate the status of agricultural cooperatives, implement the state-supported promotional measures, work out proposals and recommendations, do consulting, develop manpower and train personnel for agricultural cooperatives, also support professional development of leading workforce of cooperatives, organize scientific-technical conferences, exhibitions, seminars and meetings, monitor the activity of agricultural cooperatives, request and receive information from cooperatives, let the authorized persons go to agricultural cooperatives for getting acquainted with their work on the spot, and so on and so forth. We were using exactly the same kind of lingo in official documents a quarter of a century ago when I worked for the soviet government. These are exactly the same ideas which were perpetuated by the soviet regime in order for it to have a firm controlling grip on the economy. No doubt, this newly-baked law on agricultural cooperatives is propelling us real fast towards what was known in soviet times as KOLKHOZ – Collective Farm. The entire contemporary world – with some exceptions though – thinks that the command economy is detrimental, and gives preference to free enterprise. Free from the overdone state control of course! And right from the blue, the Georgian management elite wants to impose this harsh state control on the new cooperative movement which is still in a fledgling state but is trying to recover itself from recent bankruptcy, robbery, loss of property, untimely liquidation and unwise treatment on part of the governments that come and go in Georgia, leaving a devastating track on the life of the nation either deliberately or inadvertently. Who wants the law that gets into the way of free human will to create adequate economic means for survival? Who needs the law that cripples the human endeavor for doing maximum in the minimum of time? Who needs a law that is full of outdated soviet-type provisions, expressed in the manner that has ruined the soviet empire and eliminated its shaky dilapidated economy? Who needs a law that is against progress and works on fettering the laborious hands of a working man who just wants to create a product and sell it without any unnecessary steps in between the human sweat and the final product, ready for sale? I can’t wait to hear the commentary of the International Cooperative Alliance on the subject. Isn’t it wonderful that there is somebody out there who can share with us a professional word?
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