Ukraine’s economic future

From Noahpinion:

“Some people are going to see this post as premature. Though the Ukrainians have turned the tide against the Russian invaders, the outcome is still in doubt, and much destruction still lies in the future. But at this point it seems likely that a country called Ukraine will survive this conflict, with most or all of the territory it possessed before Putin invaded. So it’s time to start thinking about reconstruction and growth after the war’s end.

Certainly after the shooting stops, the first order of business — and the task of several years — will be to rebuild the parts of the country torn down by Putin’s assault. Cities like Mariupol and Kharkiv are being reduced to rubble, much of the country’s infrastructure is being torn up, and about a quarter of the entire population has been displaced. It took Japan and Germany both slightly over a decade after the end of WW2 to reach the level of income they had enjoyed before the war. Ukraine hopefully won’t be in quite such bad shape after this conflict, but this isn’t going to be the kind of thing a country bounces back from in 1 or 2 years.

Ukrainians will work very hard to rebuild their country, but they’re going to need help. And given the U.S. and Europe’s copious military assistance, it seems likely that they’ll offer rebuilding assistance as well. In fact, the EU has just started setting up a postwar reconstruction fund, and the U.S. has already spent $13 billion helping the Ukrainians. Both the U.S. and EU leadership know that they can’t afford to have a weak, economically backward Ukraine as the first line of defense against a newly malevolent Russia, and the Ukrainians’ cause has resonated deeply with the U.S. and EU populations alike. So expect copious economic aid to flow for at least a decade.

But aid alone doesn’t build a country into an economic powerhouse. We Americans tend to think that the Marshall Plan was how Germany rebuilt its economy after WW2, but in fact this only provided a small initial kick — most of West Germany’s economic rise in the mid and late 20th century happened via its own investment and industrialization, helped by favorable trade treaties with allied countries. Ditto for Japan.

And Ukraine really needs to build itself into an economic powerhouse. Russia has four times Ukraine’s population; having a higher GDP than a sanctions-stricken postwar Russia would help Ukraine even up the balance of power a bit. Remember that before the war, Ukraine’s economy had languished for three decades, with living standards well below those of Poland, Russia, or even Belarus:”

Continue reading here.

Posted by at 6:30 AM

Labels: Macro Demystified


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