Ukrainian government has to work to promote “sustainable optimism,” to do something the people would really believe in, said Economist Robert J. Shiller, 2013 Nobel Laureate in Economics. “We need the optimism that we see now in Ukraine to be sustainable. We do not look at the latest growth numbers as an indication of success, but we have to look at how the culture is changing,” the economist said at a Ukrainian breakfast hosted by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Davos. Shiller emphasized the importance of cultural change in Ukraine through education, especially regarding corruption perception.
“We do not look at the latest growth numbers as an indication of success, but we have to look at how the culture is changing,” the Nobel laureate said.
Chief Executive Officer of General Atlantic Bill Ford added that Ukraine was lucky to have a powerful education system and very strong engineering talents.
“But that talent has to believe in the opportunity and return to Ukraine and develop business here. Ukraine is going to see a generation of young people who will build digital businesses within Ukraine. I think that the thing that will really create enthusiasm and confidence for the country is young entrepreneurs who will build real businesses and real success in bringing technology in,” the expert noted.
He emphasized that other components of success are the fight against corruption and the rule of law.
“Ukraine’s problem with the corruption is not so much the corruption itself but the perception of corruption,” Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman of The Carlyle Group David M. Rubenstein said at the Ukrainian breakfast in Davos. He explained that many investors eager to invest in emerging markets because they are seeking higher rate of investment return are afraid of being criticized because even though you did nothing wrong, because of that perception of the corruption, people would think you do something wrong.
“I think, Ukraine has to work on its image as well as the reality. I think that the government is interested in attracting foreign capital and getting rid of the perception of corruption as well as the reality,” he added.
Businessman and philanthropist Victor Pinchuk also emphasized that Ukraine, along with continuing reforms and confronting Russian aggression, needs to build a strong narrative.
“Many agree that in terms of reforms and defending against the aggression, Ukraine’s leadership does a job that is not bad at all. The narrative is also crucial. We must be everywhere and show simply the truth. It is not all white but much whiter than the stereotype,” Pinchuk said.