Natalia Vitrenko: Eurasian Integration as a Chance for Survival in the Global Economic Crisis
April 15, 2013 • 9:31AM

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Natalia Vitrenko began her presentation to the Schiller Institute New Paradigm Conference in Flörsheim with the question, how we can save the global economy, because this decides the fate of mankind. Four factors have to be corrected: 1) Money — it has to be there for goods and production. 2) The global financial system — we have to get rid of the fictitious money, the offshore centers, the IMF conditionalities, with which whole countries can be destroyed. 3) The worldwide banking system — it is necessary because we need capital for infrastructure and other construction. But now it sucks the blood out of the economies. And the secret banking and similar things are there, to continue with this. 4) World trade — it is today free trade, to open the markets of the countries of the Second and the Third Worlds, to plunder their raw materials and their workforces.

Then Mrs. Vitrenko talked about the situation in Ukraine. After the end of the Soviet Union in 1990, Ukraine became a member of the IMF. The IMF bribed the politicians and so Ukraine became a victim of liberalization, deregulation, and privatization. Between 1990 and now, the GDP of Ukraine has shrunk to 63% of its original size. Other examples are the production of rolled steel, which shrank to 43%. Tractor production shrank to 5.7%, in a country in which much of the population lives in the countryside. Machine tool production shrank to 0.1% of its original size! Where Ukraine produced 35,000 machine tools in 1990, in 2012, it produced only 40!

Science was always the main motor of the Ukrainian economy. From the 500,000 people employed in the science sector in 1990, only 170,000 people are left. The others are without work or work abroad.

The people became more and more impoverished because of the economic crisis. Life expectancy in Ukraine plummeted in the last 20 years, from 71 years to 68 years, and today the average life expectancy of men is only 62 years. From the 52 million inhabitants 20 years ago, there are only 38.6 million left. Some 7 million have died, and another 7 million left the country, to find work abroad.

What is to be done? Mrs. Vitrenko proposes regional associations for regional markets. And also regional currencies, to not to be dependent on the big financial powers. Alexander Hamilton said you need a National Bank and protective tariffs to build a viable nation. And this is necessary for the regional associations. The "Eurasian Customs Union," founded by Russia for the former republics of the Soviet Union, would be a regional association, that gives Ukraine a future again.