Last couple of days I had a chance to be present at several events that tend to address some of the issues that are present in Latvia. For example, migration of people to other countries, level of education and is Latvia an attractive place to live. Yesterday Paul Krugman posted in The New York Times Opinion pages his conclusions based on real GDP growth and unemployment rate of Latvia.
So in what reality is an economy whose real GDP is still 15 percent below the pre-crisis peak, and whose unemployment rate is still 9 points above the pre-crisis trough, a stunning success story that refutes the pessimists? I mean, better to be growing fairly fast than not, but surely this isn’t cause to break out the champagne.
It seems to me that Latvia is doing well, at least figures seems to be fine. Taking into account that there have been a huge recession during last years and that unemployment rate in 2010M01 was close to 22% in 2012 we are doing fine. Also it is easy to remember all the bankruptcies that took place, yes, now we can be much more optimistic than two years ago. But is Latvia really a nice place to live? Is country governed in a way that country is moving from point A to B but we know that there will be also point C and in long run we are already seeing point E? I am afraid that answer is ‘no’.
While Latvia is presented to the world as a success story in overcoming the world’s deepest recession, Re:Baltica‘s investigation finds that the country has some of the highest poverty, unemployment and income inequality rates in the EU. What can be done differently to avoid the high human costs of austerity?
Somehow it seems that effective public administration is goal of all goals and actually there are no real goals that are set ahead. It seems that Latvia has been working on effective public administration since establishment of independence. It is true that there should be an effective public administration but maybe Latvia has to move to the next level – innovation on fields where Latvia has competing edge? If there is none, maybe competing edge should be found? It is said by Mr.Pavluts and others as well that there should be Latvian Nokia or Skype – nice stories but stories of Finland and Estonia. Latvia has to be frank, following idles is useless – good examples should be known, cases studied but Latvia has to go its own way and has to help its own companies that are currently working in Latvia. Key to success is in a belief and notion of society that there will be a Tomorrow and that Latvia is changing for good. That is when people will find Latvia an attractive place to live.