Ronald Reagan Putin

On May 22, two free-market liberals will meet in the Kremlin: one an ex-oilman who is the son of a US president, the other an ex-KGB agent who is the son of a Saint Petersburg maintenance man. Despite their very different backgrounds, Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin are forging a remarkably close partnership. Indeed, cooperation in the international war on terrorism, the recent agreement to reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons, and Russia's rapprochement with NATO appear to be only the beginning of a process that is deepening by the day Russia's integration with the West.

But it is in economics, surprisingly, that the two men seem to share the most common ground. President Bush may be tempted to believe that Russia's current economic success is purely the result of high world oil prices. Prices aside, the difference between how Russian oil companies were managed in the early 1990s and how they are managed now is too dramatic to ignore. So, too, are management improvements in the food industry which have boosted output and quality. Throughout the economy, resources are finally flowing into the ever more efficient and well-organized market sector, rather than into the poorly managed Soviet industrial dinosaurs.

For those who know Russia, this is a staggering turn of events. Four years ago, big Russian companies were interested in state subsidies, not structural reforms. Now, business leaders believe that the stock-market capitalization of their companies depends on the investment climate. The value of their assets matters to them. They want to know how much they can borrow from abroad, or at what price shares in their companies may be sold in New York or London.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/rwpQA4k;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now