Jan 16, 2009

Privatization is...

...the process of transferring ownership of business from the public sector (government) to the private sector (business);

...the reverse process of nationalization; and

...the deadliest thing to hit Russia since the Mongol Invasion? (Just rewatched Mongol recently. Best film of 2008, bar none.)

Today, Judy Dempsey reports in the New York Times on a most interesting study by David Stuckler: “Mass Privatization and the Post-Communist Mortality Crisis: A Cross-National Analysis.” Apparently, the faster a post-communist state privatizes, the more said state's mortality rate skyrockets. Russia was apparently the hardest hit of all. In 1985 the life expectancy of a Russian male was 67, and only last year, the life expectancy was 60. Why?

Unlike the governments of Russia and some other former Soviet states, most governments in Eastern Europe have tried to mitigate the “harmful effects of unemployment” that are linked to mortality, including smoking and alcoholism, the report said.

Maybe the privatization process in Russia should not have been led by a drunk. Just a thought, not a sermon.

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