WE MUST sell everything that can be sold - in conscience." Can you imagine a Scottish politician even hinting at such a sentiment? The quote is from Kakha Bendukide, the new economics minister of the Republic of Georgia.
There seems to be little he will not auction. He only takes cash. Promissory notes or other devices do not interest this remarkable evangelist for free markets. Where our leaders accrue ever more barnacles of dependency, Bendukide has sold off the concert halls and even, amazingly, the national Mint. With the blessing of the new-broom president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, and the prime minister, Zurab Zhvania, the economy minister is shedding most of the Georgian state's assets.
Something remarkable seems to happen. It is close to alchemy. Liabilities on the public books are transformed into assets in the marketplace. All that is needed is the application of proper pricing and quality ... or abandoning unwanted services into those valued in exchange.
Bendukide has sold off the international airport, the oil terminals, the state's vineyards, film studios, and phone company. He did not pause to urge the civil servants in the department of industrial policy or