The FINANCIAL - Opinion

The FINANCIAL -- As the world has watched tragic events in Ukraine unfold since late 2013, the future of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) policy has gone from being a niche topic to the centre of one of the biggest geopolitical crises the EU has faced since the Cold War. With eyes focused on Kiev, Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk the future of EU ties to the South Caucasus has somewhat slipped below the radar of most Western policymakers, with the three Eastern Partners all moving in different directions.

The FINANCIAL -- The “do no harm” (primum non nocere) principle is well known to students of medical schools. It is one of the most fundamental maxims in medicine, as formulated, for example, in theEpidemics book of the Hippocratic Collection: “The physician must … have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm“.

In this column I present WIN/Gallup International’s 38th End of Year Survey, which explores the outlook, expectations, views and beliefs of 64,002 people from 65 countries across the globe. GORBI, the Georgian member of Gallup International has been part of this initiative since the early 90s. The Georgian segment was conducted in December 2015 among 1,000 randomly selected respondents focusing on two parameters – optimism and economic well being. While both are subjective variables, the survey gives the common reader an overall understanding on global trends and current public sentiment.

Over the last 5 years, general attitudes towards Georgia’s key allies and neighbors, regardless of the nature of the political systems in these countries, have not changed significantly. This is also true regarding NATO and the EU, which continue to have overwhelming support among Georgians. In this column I present data on Georgian attitudes towards various countries and their respective leaders. The data is based on GORBI’s nationwide surveys conducted in late December 2014 among 1,000 or more respondents across the country except the occupied territories.

Peace, easily the most favourite toast at the Georgian supra (table) originated many centuries ago due to the country’s turbulent history in which wars against intruders of different flocks became a part of everyday life. But while it is easy to recite at a Georgian feast, it is difficult to maintain. Over the course of thousands of years, not a single generation has managed to avoid war, including my own. In this column I will focus on the willingness to fight for one’s homeland.

The FINANCIAL -- Bubbles belong to the most fascinating phenomena in a market. Suddenly, people are willing to pay prices which are completely out of touch with the fundamental economic values of assets. In the stock market bubble of the 1920s, persons who had never before considered to become investors borrowed money and bought shares, so as not to miss out on the chance to become rich. Euphoria grew and grew, until even housewives, dock workers, and cleaning personnel had no other topic to talk about but the news from the stock markets. All this went on until in 1929 the bubble burst, triggering off the infamous World Economic Crisis.

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