Friday, May 25, 2012

Comparative Analysis Research Paper

Comparative Analysis Research Paper

1. In this part of the paper, a comparative analysis of regional economies listed below will be provided.

(1) Moscow and Moscow Region
In Moscow and Moscow region, the structure of economy is very different. While the city of Moscow boasts a well-developed services and large public sector, the Moscow region is heavily industrialized: metals, chemicals, oil, electricity and foodstuffs are produced there. There are major factories manufacturing aerospace equipment, trains and carriages for under- and overground transportation, elevators, photographic and optical equipment, construction materials, medications, textiles, carpets and pottery. The region is an important transport hub, and a sizeable proportion if its profits is derived from transit of goods as well as financial and migrant flows. It attracts highly qualified workforce from across the country and abroad. Therefore, the region’s economic potential is estimated as very high, although there are some pressing social and environmental problems discussed below that might have a detrimental impact on its future development.

(2) Western Siberia
Western Siberia is the primary location of oil and gas extraction and processing. Metal industry, especially production of alluminium, is also of high importance for regional economy. The rise of such industries under the condition of ineffective or even inexistent law enforcement and massive corruption provided for the emergence of so-called oligarchs who managed to consolidate wealth and then also political influence in their hands. Largest oilfields are in the vicinity of Tyumen, and the biggest oil refinery is situated in Omsk. The Kuznetsk Basin is important for coal mining and production of steel, iron, machinery and chemicals. Since wood and water are two other major sources of income, logging and generation of hydroelectric power add to the region’s budget. Transportation is another feature of regional economy which makes it more sustainable: Trans-Siberian, South Siberian and Turkestan-Siberian railways cross the area, and navigation is possible around Ob-Irtysh watershed. Wheat, sugar beets, oats and rice are grown.

We can write a custom research paper on Comparative Analysis for you!

(3) Ukraine
Like any other Soviet republic, Ukraine suffered the negative consequences of USSR disintegration. For the first time, GDP growth was registered in 2000 and averaged 7 percent in the subsequent years. A minor crisis occurred in 2005, the year after the Orange Revolution, when apprehensions about political stability prompted citizens to withdraw 13 percent of deposits in two months, the IMF (2008) informs. Coupled with a 30 percent fall in the price of steel, Ukraine’s main export, it resulted in lackluster growth of less than 3 percent. The economy recovered next year due to steady capital inflows, Russia’s energy subsidies, and the rise of steel prices that exceeded their long-term trend.

The country was particularly hit by the global financial crisis. Exports growth, availability of short-term capital and strong consumption overheated the economy. Banks’ loan-to-deposit ratio increased to 140 percent. Real estate prices in Kiev were higher than in Amsterdam or Rome, with new construction sites operating round the clock. Incomes rose by as much as 40 percent, and imports increased by nearly 60 percent. In 2007, Ukraine boasted second highest growth of stock market index in the world, up by 135 percent. This allowed the government to pursue expansionary fiscal policy with large investments in pensions and infrastructure. Revenues were also used to increase the size of the government. A downside was runaway inflation, peaking at 31 percent in May 2008, accompanied by a 50 percent jump in food prices.

The bubble burst exactly when the global crisis hit, and Ukraine was exposed as a country most vulnerable to the vagaries of international commodity and capital markets. Steel, which accounts for 40 percent of Ukraine’s exports, fell in price by 65 percent between July and November 2008. Half of the country’s steel mills stood idle last December. Metallurgy accounts for 30 percent of Ukraine’s GDP, employs half a million people, and generates 12 percent of tax revenues, American intelligence agency Stratfor (2008) estimates. To further aggravate the situation, shutdown of international capital markets and the need to service the multibillion-dollar debt for Russian gas imports dealt a mighty blow to the government’s fiscal position.
Slowdown in construction and retail sectors was felt as well. According to the World Bank, real GDP fell from 11 percent year on year expansion in August to the 14 percent contraction in November (Hugh, 2008). National currency, hryvnia, lost half of its value since the end of summer. The currency was de facto pegged to the US dollar because of the hyperinflation in the mid-1990s which reached 10,000 percent in 1993 (Ghosh, 1996).

While Ukraine grew at astonishing rate for the last several years, structural vulnerabilities of its economy were exposed by the crisis. These deep-seated problems include the reliance of the banking sector on foreign funding, weak market institutions, difficult business environment, the highest share of shadow economy in the region, stalled land reform and contested privatization. Economic troubles are aggravated by systemic political risk: administrative inefficiency, poor rule of law, protection of vested interests, weak corporate governance, government’s interference in the economy, and risks of property expropriation are the problems marring the investment climate. The country has started to recover from the crisis with the help of an emergency loan from the IMF, yet the progress has been limited to date.

(4) Georgia
Most ex-Soviet republics went to the IMF and World Bank for assistance following the collapse of the USSR, and Georgia was no exception. The country has implemented all the recommendations coming from Washington consistently and in good faith; therefore, it managed to restore economic stability and boasted a substantial rate of growth in the early 2000s. Georgian economy suffered a slowdown after the Asian financial crisis and the present economic downturn.

About half of Georgian population work in agriculture, given a rather low level of urbanization. However, much of it is subsistence farming, when households grow just enough for their own consumption. A major exporting sector of agriculture is winemaking. Traditionally, most of wine produced in Georgia was sold to Russia. Amid political conflict, Russia banned wine imports from the Caucasus republic in 2006, which had a devastating effect on the Georgian economy. Russia also banned the imports of Georgian mineral water Borjomi as a result of “a trade war between the small Caucasus state and its giant neighbour” (Walsh, 2006, para. 1).

Other important sources of income are Black Sea tourism, citrus fruits, tea and grapes (although damage has been done to this industry by the conflict in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia), manganese and copper, machinery, chemicals, textiles, and hydroelectric power – Georgia exports some of its electricity to Russia.

5) Kazakhstan
First of all, it is necessary to mention that Kazakh economy is the largest in Central Asia. Minerals, metals and oil are the basis for Kazakhstan’s newfound richness. Moreover, climatic conditions across most of its vast steppe are very favorable for agriculture: apples, walnuts and grains are grown there. Machine building, more specifically construction, agricultural and military equipment, is also well-developed. The country followed the fate of all other ex-Soviet countries and suffered a major recession during the 1990s. However, growth picked up in the 2000s, particularly due to the rising prices of its main exports, oil and gas. At the same time, developing Caspian Sea oil fields is an undertaking contested by local residents and environmentalists.

In 2000, Kazakhstan repaid all of its debt to the IMF, seven years earlier than planned, becoming the first ex-Soviet republic to do so. Two years after, it was given investment-grade credit rating by a major international agency. The country aims to be independent in terms of economic policy yet maintains close links with Russia.

2. In this part of the paper, contemporary social and economic conditions and environmental problems in Moscow City will be analyzed. Visitors sometimes describe this metropolis, with a population of ten and a half million, as a grim and morose place where insecurity and depression are in the air, especially in the wake of the global financial crisis. Moscow is a city of glaring inequalities: while a small proportion of population is extremely rich, many people live in poverty. As a consequence, Moscow is named among the world’s most expensive cities. Russian economy, fueled by petrodollars but also suffering from runaway inflation, has allowed some people to accumulate extreme wealth, while others are deprived of their right to a decent living standard: “Moscow has the highest number of billionaires in any one city, but it also has many people on about $200 a month” (BBC, 2008, para. 3).

Political corruption is another major problem. For instance, “[o]pposition leaders in Russia have accused the authorities of fixing the forthcoming election for a new city council in Moscow, and claim that all democratic candidates have been kicked off the ballot” (Harding, 2009, para. 1).

Still, it is easier to find work in Moscow than in many other cities in the Russian Federation, especially the countryside, therefore there is constant internal migration from the periphery to the capital city. There are palpable tensions between people born in Moscow and those who have come there only recently. These tensions are very significant if we speak about migrants from former Soviet republics such as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, or from regions of Russia with predominantly Muslim population, such as Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria and Dagestan. Migrants from Chechnya are believed to engage in criminal activities; Chechen mafia is world-famous for its brutality, vast network of contacts and access to resources, both human and economic (Stratfor, 2008). Migrants from Central Asian countries are also sometimes discriminated, yet they are rather looked down upon than expressed hostility against.

For rich people, the so-called oligarchs, there are a lot of luxurious shops and leisure facilities in Moscow. The city is also a major business hotspot, and there are a lot of services for business travelers on expense accounts. Some people speak of “two Moscows”, one “geared at the ordinary citizens who use the subway, live in apartment blocks and baulk at the flashy restaurants and shops aimed at the minted moguls - and Western tourists - who earn far more than they do” (BBC, 2009, “Parallel lives”, para. 3).

Perhaps because many young females living in Moscow secretly cherish a dream of marrying an oligarch or at least a well-to-do Westerner, style and image are very important for them. Moscow girls usually wear high heels and flamboyant outfits at any time of the day, regardless of whether they are going to work or a nightclub: “If there is one thing Muscovites like to do, it is to flash what disposable income they do have” (BBC, 2009, “Parallel lives”, para. 4). Since people are obsessed with logos and other brand attributes, a vast majority of Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags Moscow girls are floating around with are fake.

What makes Moscow so expensive are the real estate prices. Few young managers are able to afford renting a place of their own, and buying an apartment is a pipe dream for most of them. At the same time, some sort of a middle class has started to emerge recently, as many global companies are setting up their offices in Russia.

Since real estate is so profitable, a lot of conflicts concerning property development flare up on a regular basis. In October, Moscow’s mayor was accused “of flattening the Russian capital’s architectural heritage and replacing its historic buildings with tasteless sham replicas” after “builders knocked down a protected 19th-century make way for a block of luxury flats” (Harding, 2009, para. 12).

Environmental problems also loom large. Rapid development has left little land for open spaces and green areas. Furthermore, due to its extremely large size, there are constant traffic jams in Moscow. There is a well-known case when the Spartak football team’s bus got stuck in one of massive jams, and players had to take the metro to be in time for their game (Rodgers, 2007). At the same time, metro network is very well-developed, fast and convenient. If Moscow authorities succeeded in encouraging residents to use it instead of private cars, the environmental situation could be ameliorated. Since it is much faster to commute by metro than drive though the city center, especially during rush hours, some people drive from their homes to the nearest metro station and live their cars there to continue the journey underground. Moscow authorities plan “to construct underground parking located by the end-of-the-line metro stations. Drivers will leave their car by the station and take a 20-minute metro ride instead of a few hours stuck in traffic” (Alenushkin, 2009, “Uncorking the jam”, para. 3). Moscow’s metro is hailed as “a model of speed and efficiency” putting “London - with its frequent delays and seemingly endless engineering works - to shame” (Rodgers, 2007, “Driven Underground”, para. 2) However, meteo is still overcrowded, which can be explained by the mundane fact that there are more residents in Moscow than the city can handle. Thus, many Muscovites prefer cars, for the reasons of both comfort and status: abundance of cars in Moscow is “the most obvious sign of Russia’s new wealth” (Rodgers, 2007, “Struck in traffic”, para. 7). Presently, the authorities estimate “the total number of cars registered in Moscow at 3.82 million and this number grows annually by some 200,000-300,000 news cars” (Alenushkin, 2009, para. 2). It is predicted to rise to 8 million by 2015. There have been suggestions to introduce a traffic congestion charge, like in London. However, “[i]n a city where having to pay to park is still considered daylight robbery, the idea of paying to drive won't be an overnight hit” (Rodgers, 2007, “Struck in traffic”, para. 16). Parking is one of the factors contributing to neverending jams, since traffic rules allow drivers to leave their cars at an angle to the sidewalk, which takes up half a lane on each side of the road (Alenushkin, 2009).

As a result of intense traffic, but also because of planes and round-the-clock construction work, noise pollution has reached unacceptable levels. Moscow's Environmental Health Service estimates 70 percent of city’s residents live in dangerous noise conditions (Arnold, 2007). Air pollution is also on the rise due to the number of cars in the city. However, traffic jams and attendant problems are not the only environmental issues in Moscow City. Moskva river on which the city stands suffer from waste dumping and occasional oil spills.

3. In this part of the essay, the consequences of the USSR’s breakdown for Siberia will be analyzed. First of all, it is necessary to note that the dissolution of the Soviet Union brought about great hardship for all of its former republics and regions. Its collapse left all of them economically devastated: the crisis of the 1990s was several times deeper than the Great Depression in the U.S. People did not have anything to eat for days, and children were not allowed to play outside from fear of kidnappers and racketeers. A vast proportion of population lost all of their savings and social security benefits during the collapse.

The effects of the collapse in Siberia where felt even more than in some other parts. Siberia was integrated very well into Soviet economic structures, and severance of ties with other republics had a very negative impact on the region’s economy. Siberia is rich in natural resources, therefore primary economic activities there are related to mining, extraction and oil pumping. Siberia is a “land mass bigger than Europe and the US combined, 12% of the world's forests, the biggest gas reserves on the globe, gold and diamonds, oil and furs” (Traynor, 2002, “Cruelty”, para. 1). During the USSR times, natural resources from Siberia were exported to other republics in return for manufactured goods. When the collapse occurred, Siberia faced a problem any non-diversified oil economy would face if international markets were to shut down suddenly: unable to export and import in the same quantities as before, the region was not able to meet its own economic needs.

Some cities were built – in accordance with the central plan – to serve the needs of one particular factory or military facility. When the latter closed in early 1990s, there were no jobs left in such cities, they were left in misery and decay. Such towns were many: Siberia “exerts a powerful hold on the Russian imagination, the very word conjuring romantic stirrings of conquest and forebodings of cruelty” (Traynor, 2002, “Cruelty”, para. 1), and Soviet planners were eager to colonize Siberia and get access to its natural resources. Prison camps and secretly military facilities were also located there. Sometimes residents were forced to move to Siberia; in other cases, they moved voluntarily in search of a better life. Those who came to live in Siberia were rewarded by the Soviets: new towns “offered jobs, hope, and community – a new life carved out of the taiga in a latterday example of Russia’s endless quest to tame the immense wilderness that is Siberia” (Traynor, 2002, para. 1).

It all came to an end when the USSR disintegrated. Without jobs and means for subsistence, people started to migrate massively to other parts of the country of even other countries as “a result of idling factories, collapsed collective farms, the closure of coal, diamond, and gold mines, the decline of the once massive military industries, and the decay of the frontier garrisons in what was a heavily militarised society” (Traynor, 2002, “Cruelty”, para. 15).

Infrastructure – like water and heating facilities – is now missing in many places, since there are no officials or funds to look after it. What happened to Siberia after the end of the Soviet era is sometimes referred to as the failure of “one of the most brutally ambitious social engineering projects attempted anywhere” (Traynor, “Cruelty”, 2002, para. 6). During the 1990s, more than 60 percent of inhabitants left the Chukotka region, while Magadan lost more than half its residents. From the Arctic naval port of Murmansk, 15 percents migrated elsewhere. 12 percent moved to the west from the Russian Far East, which in absolute number would exceed a million people. 20 percent of inhabitants were evacuated in the framework of government initiatives aimed at saving on the high costs of sustaining life in the extreme north (Traynor, 2002).

Therefore, it is quite evident that social and demographic ills exacerbated economic problems in the region following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Most of Siberian population lives in cities, which suffer from unacceptable levels of pollution, and rural areas are in decay. Furthermore, population is declining and ageing simultaneously, and Siberia is already one of the most thinly populated areas in the world. Additional problems are caused by the fact that there are more women in Russia than men. In Siberia, it had led some groups to advocate for polygamy, since the problem of “men shortage” in rural Siberia is “exacerbated by war, alcoholism and mass economic migration” (Katbamna, 2009, para. 7).

A minor turnaround happened when Putin became president. Having consolidated some power over the decaying region, he placed a high emphasis on oil and gas extraction in Siberia. Still, few residents on the ground felt the effects of change. It looks like “the gas monopoly Gazprom, the oil majors, the aluminum tsars will continue to exploit Siberia’s mineral wealth and fill Moscow’s coffers” (Traynor, 2002, “Lifeblood”, para. 3). There are ongoing attempts to reverse the processes of economic decline and loss of population, yet it remains to be seen if they can deliver. For example, Russian government has approved a plan for “3.5-fold growth in Siberia's gross domestic product by 2020 and a diversification of the Siberian economy away from reliance on raw materials into hi-tech industries and manufacturing” (Traynor, 2002, “Lifeblood”, para. 4).

Such plans are welcome only by the Russian government itself. Western experts argue the best thing which can be done in this situation is to move people from Siberia to the European part of Russia (Traynor, 2002). However, it is important not to move Siberians to Moscow and Moscow region, which are already overpopulated. There are many areas in the European part of Russia with favorable climatic conditions and manufacturing potential which could use additional human resources.
  • CAUTION! Free research paper samples & examples of research papers on Comparative Analysis are 100% plagiarized!!!
At - professional research writing service - you can buy custom research papers on Comparative Analysis topics, 100% written from scratch. employs top-rated Ph.D. and Master's experts only to write superior-quality custom essays, term papers, research papers, thesis & dissertations at affordable rates. knows HOW effectively to help high school, college & university students with writing the highest grade custom papers online.
Custom Research Paper on Comparative Analysis
Enjoy our Professional Research Paper Writing Service!

No comments:

Post a Comment