Technocratic Traps of Policy Reforms

Russia's President Vladimir Putin thanks fans and Russians demonstrate against reforms

Rejecting the expert opinions of educated specialists in trade, finance and other areas is tantamount to killing geese that lay golden eggs. “Nations that hope to contribute and compete in the modern world require skilled professionals, especially in complex areas such as taxation and banking, and political leaders cannot govern without such professionals,” explains Vladimir Gel’man, a professor at the European University at St. Petersburg/University of Helsinki. Disrespect for technocrats hinders reform efforts and encourages corruption. Trends include delegation of tasks for the purpose of blaming others, increased influence of outside special-interest groups, emphasis on quick fixes rather than long-term analysis, and intense focus on the whims of a few political leaders. Gel’man offers examples from post-Soviet Russia, but the warning applies to any nation with leaders who get their way by disparaging the experts. – YaleGlobal