No. 37

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How Can We Make It from the Hallway to the Drawing Room?

  • Mart Raudsaar

    Mart Raudsaar

    Editor-in-Chief of Riigikogu Toimetised issues 29–40

We could always do more and better, but Estonia has done an impressive job in economic development. From the Soviet era, I remember the queues at stores simply to get a shopping basket, which would only then allow you entry among the product shelves. The shelves had hardly anything on them. The most difficult times were obviously immediately before and after the restoration of the Republic of Estonia. Now we are entering a stage in our development where Estonia is no longer a country offering cheap labour. We should also not be a country offering cheap products; instead, we should move on to the next stage and offer products with a higher added value. This means that instead of a country that assembles components, we are making efforts to become a country that produces the end products, and this also involves branding. In other words, on the global market, we must enter into competition with the countries who previously used us as sub-contractors. This is where innovation comes in, helping us to be better not in strength or cheapness, but in smartness. This issue of Riigikogu Toimetised views the tasks in the Estonian economic development in the context of global economy.

Ülo Kaasik, Deputy Governor of Eesti Pank, discusses the European decade of crisis prevention from the financial point of view. Raul Eamets from the University of Tartu traces the directions of the future economic development, as well as the skills that we would come to need. Talking about the glass ceiling of our economy, Jaak Aaviksoo asks what would help us to make it from the hallway to the drawing room of the developed countries?

This question is dissected by Kadri Ukrainski, Indrek Tammeaid, Urmas Varblane, and others in their article Stimuli Have to Be Changed to Change Estonia’s Development Model. Their article shows that over the past two decades we have managed to impressively reduce our economic lag compared to a number of wealthiest countries in the world; for example, our lag with the UK has been reduced by 25 years, and our lag with France by 18 years. However, we are chasing a moving target because other economies are developing as well and our lag is by no means insignificant. In order to reach a new level, we need the government to coordinate our innovation policy, the authors argue.

Statistics Estonia has contributed several interesting and comprehensive articles to the issue. This issue of Riigikogu Toimetised contains a number of other excellent articles, but I would like to conclude by recommending Rein Taagepera’s essay on political thought, Would Estonia’s Electoral Law Allow for a “Polish” Outcome? In other words, would it be possible for certain Estonian political parties to win the elections by such a landslide that, to all intents and purposes, Estonia would become a two-party system.

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