Transitions to Good Governance
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Transitions to Good Governance

Creating Virtuous Circles of Anti-corruption

Edited by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and Michael Johnston

Why have so few countries managed to leave systematic corruption behind, while in many others modernization is still a mere façade? How do we escape the trap of corruption, to reach a governance system based on ethical universalism? In this unique book, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi and Michael Johnston lead a team of eminent researchers on an illuminating path towards deconstructing the few virtuous circles in contemporary governance. The book combines a solid theoretical framework with quantitative evidence and case studies from around the world. While extracting lessons to be learned from the success cases covered, Transitions to Good Governance avoids being prescriptive and successfully contributes to the understanding of virtuous circles in contemporary good governance.
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Chapter 4: Georgia: breaking out of a vicious circle

Alexander Kupatadze

Abstract

Georgia represents a remarkable case of transformation from a particularistic regime to ethical universalism, even though it remains a ‘borderline’ case. This chapter looks at Georgia’s path to reform in 2004–2012. It outlines a timeline of changes; discusses political actors of change and their backgrounds; and then looks at internal and external factors which were regarded as significant in bringing about such change. It is argued that the young elite, both ideologically and structurally cohesive, capitalized on the window of opportunity and implemented ‘big bang’ reform in 2004–2008. As time passed, the new incumbents developed vested interests that became apparent in 2008–2012 when a state–business nexus re-emerged, with the state apparatus becoming increasingly manipulated for the sake of private and group interests. These interests undermined market competition, and elite networks used state power to control economic and political structures during the Saakashvili administration. Even though concerns over particularistic practices have remained, petty bribery has decreased substantially.

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