Saturday, October 22, 2011

It May Not Be Perfect, But It's Doing Some Things Right

I wonder what their tax rates are:
It's one of the few summer evenings in Tallinn when it's warm enough to eat outside. Half of the dozen or so small tables in his restaurant are taken by Japanese, Finns, Danes and Dutchmen, but there are no Estonians. A meal at his restaurant is too expensive for them, says Nakosmatis. Then he describes the two Estonian women he hired as waitresses.

"They are hardworking, honest and never late," he says. The group of Greek men falls silent for a moment. "Strange country," says Elias.

Just what is it that makes such a country work? What's so great about Estonia?

"Muchas cosas pequeñas," or many little things, says Spaniard Naphtali Peral. He says that he established his company here in only half a day, mainly online. The record for establishing a company, he adds, is only 18 minutes. In other words, the government doesn't say: Hey, Peral, who do you think you are, starting a company, just like that? No, he says, the state actually encourages entrepreneurship, and says things like: So you have an idea, Peral! Go for it! And then he says that it takes him 20 minutes to prepare his semi-annual tax return, and that when it was time to slash the government budget, Estonia's cabinet ministers started with their own salaries...

(Economics Minister) Parts is vigorous, blonde, and athletic, but seems tired. He tries to conceal a yawn, explaining that he and his wife have just had their fourth child and nights have been short. "Comparisons are always difficult," he says. "But when we had finally escaped from Soviet socialism, we were sick and tired of government centralism. We wanted precisely the opposite in all respects: We wanted a transparent state. A country that isn't constantly intervening, nationalizing businesses, placing a bureaucracy above everything and imposing rules on people in every respect"...

Of course, he says, it's important to help a society's losers, the ones who are left behind. It would be wonderful, he adds, to have a fantastic healthcare system and offer social guarantees for every emergency. "But you have to have the money. We don't have it. Our average monthly income is €800. So we have to reflect on what's important for a society's development. It's the top performers, the successful ones. Ideas! Companies! Products! If all you do is administer, nothing comes of it. The state must clear the way for those who want to achieve something. That's the function of the state."
Actually encouraging business--who'd'a thunk that would work?

4 comments:

MikeAT said...

Actually encouraging business--who'd'a thunk that would work?

To answer the question Darren, Pat Brown, the former governor of your state and father of the chief resident idiot in Sacramento.

Strange...in our lifetime, in the People's Republic of California, a Democrat was supportive of business. That shows how radical the Dems have become over the last few generations.

mazenko said...

Oh, yeah, there's none of that in America. After seventy years of progressive policies, it's just so anti-business in the USA.

Bill said...

Yeah, how's that working out for them?
Estonia
US

Oh, with an unemployment rate of 13.3%, vs. the United States at, oh 9.1%. And a poverty rate of 19.7% vs. the US of 15.1%.

Darren said...

So you think their business climate is causing that? If so, I assert you're making a classic correlation error.