I’ve taken a bit of heat in comments to my post on poor signs for investors in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan because it appears that Oriflame probably was doing some illegal things in Uzbekistan. Though I only brought up Uzbekistan as a contrast to why investors are beginning to have more worries about Kyrgyzstan, I think the point stands that Uzbekistan’s business climate is poor. And on occasion, it gets really poor for murky reasons that invite the explanation that powerful members of the regime or their associates are simply being rapacious.
For example, the Alayskiy bazaar clothing market and nearby shops are being closed and demolished to make way for a parking lot, just like the shops on Navoi street recently were (see also).* Surely some illegal things such as black market currency exchange go on at these markets, but the game is rigged, so everyone’s doing something illegal to survive. So, I honestly ask, what’s the rationale for these actions? How is it wise to cannibalize or otherwise distort economic activity like this?
For more on this and some discussion of the lack of official explanation, see neweurasia.
*Yes, apologists, I realize that eminent domain laws in the US have similar effects. And, yes, I oppose their use to transfer property to developers. But in the US, we usually know which wealthy businessman is benefiting from the government’s land grabs.