Igor Mazepa
Founder and CEO
 

How not to lose another decade

In 2015, Ukraine's GDP will be about $ 85 billion only.

We had the same GDP ten years ago.

Let alone this amount is negligible compared to income of private foreign companies.

What does this mean? We have stuck in time.

One may blame the circumstances - the crisis of 2008, external aggressors - La-la-la - or predecessors, but it is only the catalysts of our problems, not their real essence.

Yes, we had external shocks, but for some reason, Poland was able to show 2.6% growth in 2009, when our GDP fell at a rate of -14.8%.

Yes, there is an external aggression, but for some reason the international financiers are more concerned about corruption and the slow pace of reforms, and not a military threat from the East.

About predecessors, which we have chosen ourselves, it is better keep the mouth shut!

It is believed that management failures of the country leaders are the main cause of our poverty trap. Certainly, it is. But there is another side of the coin: politicians are mirror images of citizens' demands and moods.

It is the nature of democracy. If an ordinary Ukrainian does not want to pay a full price for gas and wants the state to maintain him/her, a politician will act accordingly. And who cares of drastic consequences of such generosity.

It turns out that the steady growth and well-being of the country are victims of the ideology of ordinary “free riders”, who like populism, paternalism and all other "benefits" to be paid by someone else.

Probably, such a concept as "the Ukrainian success story" - to steal from the budget and not go to jail – is not even worth mentioning.

How to break out from the vicious circle? Of course, it would be good to get your own Leszek Balcerowicz or Lee Kuan Yew, who would rain or shine break the backward-looking, but a habitual way of life of Ukrainians.

But while we are waiting for "the very" leader, I suggest that socially active citizens engage in the promotion of the ideas and principles that will pave the way to full self-realization of our society.

No, I'm not talking about lobbying. I'm talking about establishment of clear and acceptable rules of game for all honest players. No, I'm not talking about making money in the here and now. I'm talking about the creation of stable conditions for healthy competition, which would fairly and systematically push the best people upwards.

And no, I'm not talking about the election. I'm talking about the social movement, which can be a real "advocate of the common sense" in the dialogue between the society and government.

Looking forward to the question, what does a businessman has to social movements, and how to secure the unbiased attitude. I answer.

Such a movement has emerged; it is called "the price of state". The movement instills a sense of ownership in relation to budget money and weans from the usual idea that the state will pay for everything.

My colleagues and I want to support this initiative and urge you to do the same. It is implemented by the Analytical Center "CASE Ukraine", which strictly adheres to the unbiased process.

How will it work, and what shall we do?

It will be a collaboration think tank and business following models of the world's top think tanks, like Bruegel and CEPS, where the business allows the center to make independent findings, and the center undertakes to beat populism in the minds of ordinary citizens using facts and arguments.

What form will our work take? The form of "a social audit", promotion of evidence-based policy principles, various educational campaigns.

For example, I as a taxpayer want to save money on the state apparatus and raise efficiency of use of my taxes. "Social audit" - an independent, non-profit analysis - can answer that question.

Reformers in the government are good, but an independent view is very important. Practice of developed countries shows that it were discussions with civil society that gave birth to the Western institutions we like to appeal to.

How can you join us?

We want to work on the crowd funding principles, when none of the sponsors has decisive influence on the process (work without the oligarchs).

For people who want to actively participate in our initiative - to elect the Business Council, establish the research agenda - we provide for a full membership.

For those who are just interested in a separate project, such as limitation of powers of the sanitary and epidemiological agency and save money on its maintenance, it is possible to support a single direction.

We want to gather people willing to create, and not to ask, around the "The Price of the State" project. People who are tired of the long-lasting debate about "who should feed the Ukrainians." We are going to attract businessmen who want the state to serve them, not to “milk”.

We have exiting time now. The window of opportunity is open wide. We cannot miss the chance.

http://www.epravda.com.ua/rus/columns/2015/04/16/5...