Saturday, January 31, 2009

Perestroika, Iranian-style

Under its most recent development plan, Iran has adopted a privatization program, but it is unlikely to unfold in a straightforward way. Iranian industries have been protected with state money for so long that no one knows what they are actually worth, and Iranian labour law makes it impossible for new owners to streamline bloated workforces. The mot likely buyers of state-backed companies, analysts told me, are those favored by the government: Revolutionary Guards, Islamic foundations. Consequently, privatization will at first permit an armed and unaccountable oligarchy to amass still more wealth.
 -- from The Rationalist, a fascinating account of the Iranian economy since the Islamic revolution, included in a profile of Mohammad Tabibian by Laura Secor.  

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