The New Ways of a New Government


The old command is gone, long live the new! This is the most vibrant Modus Vivendi & Operandi in today’s Georgian politics. We all live and breathe what our TV sets tell us in the evenings about the current governmental alterations, as if our bliss and satiation totally depend on the ongoing administrative adjustments. I must’ve been looking into the fortune teller’s ball the other day, having caustically hinted on a small government in my previous piece. Our new prime-ministerial candidate (I would say, quite an impressive one even in his salad years) is starting his career with an emphasis on a reduced managerial echelon.

I also noticed that we are placing certain directorial magic in the figure ‘four’. Memorably, the newly-dropped ex-head of the Cabinet nursed the idea of four pillars in the Republic’s development – job creation, inclusion of business in the decision-making process, regional development and education. In the formative rhetoric of Georgia’s incipient administration, the four-bulwark promise sounds just as resonantly. There must be some undeniable fiscal and political thrill in this recurring digital obsession. Now, the four main directives that are proudly sitting on the renovated governmental desk are: first, taking to a successful finale the historic choice of the Georgian people of fully initiating Georgia in the European family of nations; second, the fundamentally reformed economic model based on fair play; third, a small government with effective and flexible administrative bodies in action; fourth, education, innovation and youth.

Speaking absolutely frankly and without an iota of facetious reservation, I love both - the ardent pledges of the former boss and the future undertakings of the coming-up man-in-charge, although they definitely repeat each other to a certain extent. How about making seven assurances of all those eight pledges? I am saying ‘seven’ because the last ones of each set are clearly the same. So we will consequently have the famous biblical figure, which will probably symbolize the entire process of development more expressly. OK, away with irony! Enough is enough! The overall journalistic propensity of mockery, which every so often sparkles in the coverage style of some of our media, might lead to nothing after all.

The incoming PM of Georgia has embarked on the idea of a small government. This is a purely western term which, in principle, happens to be a controversial issue, widely discussed in the West. The role of government, I have heard, was smaller before. For example, there were only three executive departments in George Washington’s first Cabinet, and those who are in favor of small government insist that the United States return to what the Founding Fathers reckoned optimal. The famous Jeffersonian wisdom sounds quite relevant today when it comes to limited government: ‘That government is best which governs least because its people discipline themselves’. President Reagan put it even better: ‘Government is not a solution to our problem; government is the problem’.

People around the world usually associate big government with bureaucratic attitudes, inefficient work, an intrusive style and corrupt activity. This might very well be true, but on the other hand, we have to bear in mind that government jobs are very cozy, lasting, attractive and well-paid, which most of us enjoy; governments construct roads; governments run healthcare and many other human-interest programs; government supports scientific research; they provide for our security inside and beyond the country limits. In a word, they do many good things that we normally take for granted, and oftentimes don’t even remember that they are functioning to our benefit.

This does not mean that I will ever go for big government. I’m simply giving the new government a little heads-up that the cutting of government has to be done very carefully. When two and a half years ago the Georgia’s governing potential was put in fresh capable hands, I felt elated and hopeful, and I wrote a eulogy to the new guy, which was run in this newspaper. I know for sure that he read it and liked it. Who wouldn’t? A lot of water has flowed under our old and repair-hungry bridges since then, and now he is gone too. Quite speedily, by the way! The nation is now watching one more swearing into duty of another chief vizier. And I wish him well!

By Nugzar B. Ruhadze

21 June 2018 18:59