Sacred trees or sacred cows?
Arvamus 29 Jul 2010  EWR
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Edward Lucas,Eastern Approaches blog, Economist.com

The Economist’s print edition recently looked at the brave attempt by the Lithuanian government to get a grip on that country's sprawling holdings of state-owned industries. Lithuania may be a small country, but the principle is an important one. As the article noted:

Dig into the political undergrowth anywhere between the Baltic and the Black Seas and you soon find curious connections between state-owned enterprises, officials and politicians. They mostly escape public scrutiny—not least because politicians of all stripes tend to benefit from the state firms’ largesse.

Success in Lithuania would therefore be good news for dozens of other countries, faced with the need to balance their budgets and improve their competitiveness. Rent-seekers may squeal, but voters will applaud what could be seen as the final act of the transition away from a planned economy and towards modern welfare capitalism.

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