An Open Letter
Addressed to: The New Prime Minister
Of The Republic of Macedonia
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September 21st, 1998
By sheer coincidence, the 19/10/98 is bound to
be an important date both for Macedonia and for the world. In
Macedonia, the first results of its most important elections
hitherto will be published. In the world, this date will witness
the collapse of Wall Street and the official start of the
greatest economic depression in human history. Of course, no one
can predict the exact day but I predicted the global slump
and its climax in October as early as April
Macedonia faces a few threats related to this
sorry state of global affairs:
- All international aid will dry up.
Macedonia is heavily dependent on foreign aid for the
shoring up of its insupportable deficit in the balance of
- Macedonian goods will become even less
competitive than they are. Macedonia refused to
participate in the latest round of currency devaluations
- The global banking system will be
eradicated. There will be no private capital available to
replace international credits and grants.
- A wave of trade protectionism will sweep
the economies of the East and the West alike. Countries
from the USA to China and from Australia to Russia
will block imports and try to protect domestic
- The collapse of stock exchanges and banks
throughout the world will create a reverse "wealth
effect". People will feel poorer, they will consume
less, world growth and the growth in international trade
will be reversed.
- Less attention will be paid to
international crises. Economic depression breeds
political isolationism. Macedonia will be left to its
fate and may even face existential dangers.
Any new Prime Minister must immediately embark
on a "Program to Save Macedonia". Such a program must
have a geopolitical component (of which I am no expert) and an
The economic component must, as a minimum,
include the following elements:
- An immediate devaluation of the denar ("competitive
devaluation") with or without the consent of
the IMF. The IMF and the World Bank are under severe
criticism in the West now for gross mismanagement of the
global economy. They are bad advisors because they are
one track minded. They think only about fighting
inflation through deflating the economy. This is a
disastrous recipe, which already ruined the economies of
dozens of countries.
- A transparent, predictable exchange-rate
regime (trading within a band, for instance, or creeping,
- A declaration concerning the target of
annual inflation (10-15% is reasonable), accompanied by
the implementation of steps to make sure that it is not
- The immediate introduction of VAT in order
to encourage exports.
- The encouragement of exports by structural
means of reforming key sectors in the economy (like
customs, telecoms, courts, and banking). This could be
done swiftly by throwing the door open to foreigners. The
corrupt and inefficient customs service, for instance,
could be transferred to foreign management immediately.
Private arbitration courts can be established. All state
companies (including the Telecom) must be privatized
immediately and almost at any price. Failing banks must
be allowed to fail.
- Import controls on luxury goods (example:
cars, caviar) and the encouragement of import
substitution (Macedonian tomatoes, not Turkish ones).
Of course, these steps will hurt
the economic interests of many politicians and their crony
businessmen. But this is an emergency and time is unbelievably
short. Action must be taken immediately or there will be
no economy to benefit from in the future. All the citizens of
Macedonia: politicians, businessmen, journalists, workers,
intellectuals, farmers, the well-to-do and the no-goods have to
unite now. It is truly a question of "To act or to Die".
The world is entering the worst economic crisis in human history.
Small countries are better adapted than big ones to survive.
Macedonia could be an example to others a model to follow
or a warning. It depends only on the Macedonians.
This material is copyrighted.
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