Ask Not What the World Can Do for You, Georgia!

In an attempt to tailor to Georgia John Kennedy’s famous quote from his inaugural speech, having slightly modified it, I got carried away with contemplating Georgia’s role in world affairs, which in itself is a very complicated and painful theme to embark on but one I still wanted to risk.

We are a small but very proud nation. Proud we are of our heroic past and the antique Christian architecture; we take pride in speaking the unique Georgian language, equipped with the unique Georgian writing; we are proud of our polyphonic choral singing, folk choreography, ethnic cuisine and outstanding hospitality. We are proud and self-centered on those values so much that we seem convinced in perfect sufficiency of our contribution to world culture, as if we have rendered more than our dues unto its spirituality.

While this statement may be true, we now need to concentrate on how much we are contributing to the contemporary world’s material life. Time to ask ourselves a question – what is it that we manufacture so qualitatively in Georgia that the world wants to purchase from us? In what practicable way do we get the world interested in a product which is Made in Georgia? Aren’t we getting tired of being proud of only our past without having any pride in communicating with the rest of the world via links that are clearly commercial?

Trade is not a flaw. Trade is a merit. Why shun it? It is the glue that keeps Mankind together, and we want to be extensive users of that adhesive. Commerce keeps Mankind alive, and it makes no sense to handle it with indolence and despondency. Frankly, it would be not very fair or decent on our part to be asking the world to constantly lend us a hand. It cannot be give-give all the time; it needs to be give-and-take for a change. Using whatever commercial smarts we might have, we can trade even those oddities that we already have historically, without any industrial sweat. Just as a starter, of course! For a more serious image of a nation involved in global economic circulation for survival, we certainly have to be active and prolific producers and traders.

Georgians have a funny saying: that they are talented but lazy people. This might be the case if not very true at all. Talent is all over the place in Georgia but nobody has enough talent here to ask a question: how much of that Georgian talent is being shown to the world in order for us to have enough feedback to let us live in the lap of the luxury? Forget about the luxury – just above the water, even! We have to somehow understand that nobody will give us anything, except when we are panhandling, unless we give out to them first. And for us to give out, we need to have, and to have we need to produce, and to produce we need to work and learn how to trade the received product gainfully.

Why these frequent talks about economy, and that much ado about nothing, which we hear all over media from morning to night? The arena for turning Georgia into a serious producer and seller is open, filled with natural resources, a labor force, knowhow and people hungry for work. Why can’t we then have enough locally generated goods to earn clientele around the globe thanks to our effort to be ranked among the nations who make and sell?

I know it is easier to say than do, but the world is not completely devoid of examples and precedents of nations becoming better off as a result of scientifically corroborated good economic and commercial practices. The human experience in handling national economies optimally and correctly is huge, and it is available to anybody. Why is it impossible for those who want to run this country to look into that experience and handle it so that words are substituted by deeds? I don’t want to see reason fall on deaf ear and blind eye in Georgia.

Illustration: Brian Patrick Grady

Nugzar B. Ruhadze

29 December 2016 19:25