Cyclopedia Of Economics 1st edition

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VII. So, What's Next?

No modern country, however self-deluded and backward, can survive without a banking system. The Central Bank's pernicious and overwhelming presence virtually guarantees a repeat of 1998. Russia - like Japan - is living on time borrowed against its oil collateral. Should oil prices wither - what remains of the banking system may collapse, Russian securities will be dumped, Russian debts "deferred". The Central Bank may emerge either more strengthened by the devastation - or weakened to the point of actual reform.

In the eventuality of a confluence between this financial Armageddon and Russia's entry to the WTO - the crisis is bound to become more ominous. Russia is on the verge of opening itself to real competition from the West - including (perhaps especially so) in the financial sector. It is revamping its law books - but does not have the administrative mechanism it takes to implement them. It has a rich tradition of obstructionism, venality, political interference, and patronage.

Foreign competition is the equivalent of an economic crisis in a country like Russia. Should this be coupled with domestic financial mayhem - Russia may be transformed to the worse. Expect interesting times ahead.

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