DEVELOPMENT AND THE ROLE OF THE STATE; VISIONS OF POST-REVOLUTIONARY GEORGIA GOVERNMENT

Lela Rekhviashvili

Abstract


The current research asks what was the developmental trajectory communicated by the Georgian government since 2003 to domestic and international audiences? What kind of role did the Georgian government project in social and economic development? The paper looks at the evolution of the political narrative of development in Georgia throughout the years of 2004-2012. Through analyzing the narrative we will observe the challenges that the Georgian government was trying to address through dynamic modification of the narrative; and whether the narrative was consistent, coherent and able to give convincing justification of the pursued policies.

The paper concludes that the political narrative of development can be roughly divided into two periods: the pre-war and pre-election period of 2004-2007 and the 2008-2012 period. The years of 2004-2007 can be named a stage of the minimal state. In this period government outlines modernization and Europeanization as major goals for Georgia’s development. Development is understood in a traditional manner and largely equated with economic growth. The state reserves only minimal social functions of public sector salary provisions and supports only the most vulnerable - pensioners and the extremely poor. The years of 2008-2012 can be viewed as a period of a concerned and confused state. The Georgian government reconsiders its views on development and reformulates developmental goals into a reduction of poverty and unemployment. Thus the government becomes concerned with social problems.  Simultaneously, the rhetoric of the ‘state becoming the biggest investor’ sector is combined with the rhetoric of the minimal state. Throughout 2008-2012, despite a reformulation of problems, the government is unable to report on achievements concerning social problems, therefore it repeatedly takes pride in infrastructural development, starts making more promises for the future and extends its own deadlines for the resolution of social problems. Thus, in the second stage, the government loses consistency while identifying developmental model; takes new responsibilities in the social sphere, gets more involved in economic matters, but also tries to stick to the rhetoric of a minimal state - thus it becomes confused about redefining the role of the state.


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