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Tax the Oligarchs

Around the world, there is concern about the arrest of Russian oil billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The worry is that Russia may be backtracking from democracy and the rule of law.

Russia faces numerous problems posed by the legacy of Communism and the way the transition from Communism to a market economy was handled. One set of problems concerns politics and the difficulties of creating democracy and the rule of law after decades of totalitarianism. Another relates to economics.

Two grievous economic policy errors were committed during Yeltsin's presidency. The first, as I argue in my book Globalization and its Discontents , was to create incentives that led to asset stripping rather than wealth creation. The other was to squander the few positive legacies left from the Communist era.

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  1. op_campanella7_Aurelien MeunierGetty Images_billgatesrichardbransonthumbsup Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

    Abolish the Billionaires?

    Edoardo Campanella

    Even many of the wealthiest Americans would agree that the United States needs to overhaul its tax policies to restore a sense of social justice. But, notes Edoardo Campanella, Future of the World Fellow at IE University's Center for the Governance of Change, such reforms would not be enough to restart the engines of social mobility and promote greater equality of opportunity.

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