Kazakhstan’s Young Political Scientists Discuss Socio-Economic Development Issues

March 3, 2023

On Friday, March 3, the Academy of Political Science at the Institute of Philosophy, Political Science and Religious Studies organized another meeting of the Young Experts Platform: Brainstorm of topical issues of political science. This time the meeting of young experts was devoted to current issues of social and economic development of Kazakhstan.

Rakhimbek Abdrakhmanov and Kenzhekhan Kabdesov made presentations on this platform.

Rakhimbek Abdrakhmanov, Executive Director of the Kazakhstani School of Applied Politics and Economic Research (www.ksap.kz), presented a paper entitled "De-oligopolization of Kazakhstan's Economy".

In particular, Mr. Abdrakhmanov dwelled on the so-called "black swans" in the economy of the country, structural problems and high level of monopolization in key sectors of the national economy: oil and gas, trade, transport and communications, construction and energy.

The presentation examined the peculiarities of the development of state capitalism in Kazakhstan, as well as the problems of efficiency of public administration at different levels. Demonopolization in the key sectors, and reducing the role of the state in the economy, and increasing the participation of business may have a positive impact on the problems of fighting poverty, in the context of a new proposed approach to the correlation of average wages and per capita average GDP.

Abdrakhmanov's research caused a great resonance among both experienced experts and the youth. There was a heated debate on the interpretation of a number of economic indicators, in particular the discrepancy official data of the statistical agencies of the country and international rating agencies on the incidence of poverty in Kazakhstan.
For example, Marat Baipakov, doctoral student of IPL, drew the speaker's attention to the difference of data, and Aldiyar Gadelbekov, student of Abylai Khan KazUIR WL, noted the dependence of the poverty rate on the quality of management. This issue was detailed by another young speaker Sailaubay.
Professor Junusov highly appreciated the problems of de-oligopolization of the economy posed by the presenter as a problem of middle-income countries, out of which "trap" is not easy enough, which requires close attention from both the state and other market participants.

The problem of the pace of reforming various sectors of the economy was sharply discussed. In particular, the mentor, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Professor Spanov noted the need for a comprehensive, systematic and evolutionary approach to the reform, which was not agreed by the presenter, citing the example of South Korea and several other countries, where reforms on demonopolization were implemented quite quickly and radically.
Well-known economist Meruert Makhmutova, in turn, noted the importance of analyzing the role of the state in the economy and the possibility of reducing its role in Kazakhstan. She came to the conclusion that the reforms from above become irreversible only if they are carried out taking into account the demands and interests of the society. The "Saakashvili case" in Georgia vividly demonstrates this situation.

In general, the panelists recommended Abdrakhmanov and young experts to continue their work in this direction, since the topic is of great applied importance in the light of changes and reforms currently taking place in our country, in particular the course of President Tokayev to fight against oligopolies as part of macroeconomic changes to improve the quality of the domestic economic model. Young researchers were advised to read the work of Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson, "The Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy."

The second speaker, Kenzhekhan Kabdesov, a doctoral student at KIMEP, examined in detail the impact of pendulum migration in the Almaty agglomeration on social and political processes in the metropolis.

This presentation dealt with issues of applied, microeconomic nature, which directly concerns a large number of people who are experiencing problems of transport provision. In particular, over 400 thousand people move in and out of Almaty every day. And this is a serious challenge to the transport infrastructure of the city, and, as the speaker noted, this problem has a great impact on the social well-being of citizens.

Professor Kadyrzhanov focused the attention of the young expert on the actualization of the political science discourse of this study. Student Koshevoy spoke about the serious importance of territorial distribution of labor resources and enterprises, in which he saw the root of the problems with transport collapse in the metropolis.

Professor Junusov noted the positive experience in resolving transportation problems in cities such as New York, Shanghai, and Baku, where the comprehensive development of urbanization programs led to the successful resolution of such problems. He suggested that the young experts should pay attention to the famous study by Janet Sadik-Khan "Battle for Cities".
The young experts who participated remotely through ZOOM asked many interesting and poignant questions.

For example, a master's student from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, a conflict resolution expert Usenova asked the problem of public-private partnership in the management of transport infrastructure in the city.

Mentor-mentor, a well-known economist, director of Public Policy Research Meruert Makhmutova focused on the fact that this study is about Public Policy, that is, the development of a coherent policy, not just government regulation of traffic. The problem is really complex and requires careful consideration by all subjects.

The advantage of Kabdesov's research was that he used data from sociological research, interviews and surveys of the population, which made the presentation quite lively and topical. This point of view was supported by the famous sociologist Eshpanova, noting the social significance of this problem. In general, Meruert Makhmutova warmly supported the project concept of Academy of Political Science, which allows to realize the real "brainstorming" with participation of young, creative experts and experienced scholars.

It is worth noting that the topics raised by the speakers cover the topical issues of political economy analysis, concerning the Kazakhstani society, both at the macro level and in terms of solving urgent social problems.
Thus, the Academy of Political Science promotes the involvement of new, innovative ideas and energy of young researchers, paired with the experience and fundamental scientific-theoretical knowledge of established experts-professionals, into the study and development of optimal solutions.

Source: Press Service of the Public Academy of Political Science (PAPS).