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Why I don't think that Ukraine has bright future ahead
Disclaimer: This is not an anti-ukranian or pro Russia post, I wish only the best for Ukrainian people and Russia has most of the same and many unique problems.
Ukraine in 1991 was one of the richest countries in Eastern Europe, being on par with Russia and above such countries as Poland and Belarus. The crisis of the 90s escaped Poland, but was shared by the rest, after which Ukraine lagged behind its neighbors in development. We can say that this is due to such factors as Poland's membership in the EU or the presence of oil in the Russian Federation, but a noticeable lag even behind Belarus shows that this is not the sufficient explanation.
Such estimates of GDP PPP per capita in this context are often criticized for ignoring the problem of the shadow economy or, in plain language, "envelope wages". Only this problem is not unique to Ukraine, but a common feature of the CIS countries, and in it, it is more pronounced than in Belarus or Russia, but not enough to explain such a large gap.
Also, quite often one can hear about the supposed difference in the distribution of economic development in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, allegedly in the second there is greater decentralization and a smaller difference between regions. But in terms of GRP per capita, excluding, for obvious reasons, oil and gas regions like Yamal, in both countries one can see approximately same and strong difference between the capital and the poorest regions. This is also true for Belarus. Similar trend can be seen in HDI ranking - Russia standing at 52nd place, Kazakhstan at 56th Belarus at 60th and Ukraine at 77th.
There are many possible reasons that could explain such an outstanding backwardness of Ukraine even by the standards of the CIS. From crazy theories about the genetic or cultural inferiority of its inhabitants to a more adequate analysis of the particular corruption and arrogance of the elites. I won't pretend to know the right one and I don't even need to find some exact answer to this riddle. It’s enough to ask the question: “Why and what will change or has already changed in 2022, which has not happened in the history of this country?”.
War that will make patriots out of corrupt oligarchs? It started in 2014. A new president who promises to fix everything and fix corruption? It's happened so many times it's not funny anymore. Additional grants/loans/Marshall Plan 2.0? Didn't billions of dollars and euros already have go one way into Ukraine? Where did they go? They will go there the next time if there current corrupt system remains. European integration? It has been talked about since the 90s and European leaders are now talking about "the long road ahead for Ukraine", the status of a candidate is not at all a guarantee of an early entry, ask Turkey, Serbia and Montenegro. Why would EU want the poorest European country after Moldova, with the highest corruption and similar to Georgia problems(that of course could be theoretically solved in the near future but this is beside the point)? EU had enough of one Hungary with Orban stealing economic aid with his cronies, it doesn't need a second one. These internal problems will have to be corrected on their own, before, and not after, entry.
But there might be not enough time to for solving them. Ukrainian demographics are awful, a very old population with average age much closer to western countries and not states with similar economic development, which, at the same time, also has the opportunity to relatively freely leave for better countries. For the same reason that Ukrainian patriots in Canada still not returned and will not return in their entirety to help their homeland, major part of today's refugees have already found or will find work and will remain in Europe, having made a reasonable, rational choice.
P.S. It is more my personal pet peeve and not part of the argument but I think that this and similar economic deals that still going on are very strong evidence of some corrupt dealings going on between oligarchs from both sides.
A paragraph of questions is generally not one actually looking for them to be engaged, but I'll take a stab.
And has had multiple decisive impacts against Russian intentions since 2013.
Multiple Russian efforts failed due to various sorts of nationalism by oligarchs refusing to cooperate with Russian pressure efforts. This started with the elite split over the Russian pressure on Yanukovych's corrupt reversal on the European Union association agreement in favor of the Eurasian Union in 2013, and dramatically escalated when many of the oligarchs in Yanukovych's own power base refused to support his Russian-pressured effort to start shooting protestors during Euromaidan, and then the major flop of the NovaRussia uprising in Eastern Ukraine where oligarchs generally supported post-Maidan Kyiv rather than join the Russian effort to astroturf a grassroots popular revolt. This doesn't even touch on the 2022 government cohesion in face of Russian invasion.
It's not that war has made patriots out of corrupt oligarchs. There is a war because a surprising number of corrupt oligarchs were already nationalists even before 2014.
The relevant consideration for Ukrainian corruption considerations isn't because there's a new president, but that the war has created a new legal contexts and oversight measures with Ukraianian political support. This has not happened so many times before.
First, let's just be clear on something. The primary donor of economic aid, the states of the European Union, are not out to 'fix everything and fix corruption.' This is a false standard.
It also misses a key point of the European Union, which uses what others might call obvious corruption via patronage networks as a standard cohesion mechanism. The European Union is absolutely involved in the patronage system, and the way that even internal EU aid works is that governments taking aid are expected to use it broadly in the categories intended (agriculture subsidies on agriculture, not yachts), but who, exactly, gets the funds and how are left to the governments. It's a basic pro-European incentive scheme to build pro-EU interest groups who really like getting money and so are positively inclined to European influence in order to keeping it coming. This sort of pork is not what the Europeans consider unacceptable corruption, and patronage network of government elites building pro-government business elite networks is not the problem.
Since the war has started, Ukraine has gotten not only increased aid, but increased attention and various oversight mechanisms. Western donors, after all, have strong interests in seeing where their increase goes, and that it's having the desired strategic effect. The Ukrainian government, which is dependent on them in a way it was not under previous presidents, is in little position to refuse access, and has actually had an interest in granting access to its own information systems just to underscore how desperate the situation is. What has resulted is various access and tracking systems to western backers, which both gives institutions like the IMF insight on what is needed economically, and the Americans access militarily, but also also establish mechanisms. While some level of fraud is unavoidable- just look to the various western corruption issues around COVID monies- the war has brought new access into systems were the unacceptable corruptions rely on being opaque.
The war has also changed the political dimensions for western-pressured reforms. The Europeans have absolutely used the leverage of aid and Ukrainian desires/desperate to join the European community to pressure the Ukrainian government to make legal and administrative changes to improve on corruption. One of these results- something no previous president did- was dissolve the Kyiv Administrative District Court, one of the most notoriously corrupt court systems in the countries.
Between a confluence of crisis letting the government act, unique access and leverage by westerners pressing reforms, and domestic political support for the both, Ukraine has been undergoing major legal and structural shakeups no previous president of the last decades has matched.
To the front, to salaries, to infrastructure and item purchases, and many other things needed in a war.
This is what I mean by question streams not actually being asked with the intent of receiving answers. The first is not a question or even referring to a specific thing (or, in the case of Marshal Plan 2.0, a thing that has happened), the second conflates the value/cost all forms of assistance, and the third presumes corruption for unanswered questions, even when the question doesn't even make sense.
Where does aid go? It depends on what the aid is, and when, and how one calculates. Since Ukraine is in a war, let's just take a single example: a single vehicle donation to the Ukrainian military.
Let's take a BMP-1. A BMP-1 is an early Soviet-era armored personnel carrier. It's not particularly good, but it serves a purpose. A google search says a single one costs roughly 1 million USD. But what is the cost? Not, actually, 1 million USD. BMP-1s are old, the cost of production was already consumed long ago, and in many cases are just legacy hard ware not intended for current use by their own militaries, and were slated for eventual replacement by more modern kit. Giving 30 BMP-1s is not equivalent to taxing your citizens $30,000,000 and then handing it over to the Ukrainian government for them to turn into yachts.
The answer to all unknown expenditures is not 'it was all wasted due to corruption.'
Appealing to the 90s, when Ukraine's elite and public were very indifferent about European association (and the European Union did not exist), and not 2014, when a major seminal moment saw the Ukrainian body politic actively affirm a desire for European association, is willfully ignoring quite a bit of context. Euromaidan wasn't a pro-European fanclub protesting, it was a result of long-established European-supported engagement structures successfully connecting with both publics and key elite interests to such a degree that a Russian-pressured lethal force crackdown was rejected by key members of the ruling coalition. The pro-EU political base in Ukraine has not been fair-weather or transient, enduring almost a decade of war now and demonstrating both enduring strength and conviction in a way that many of your examples have not, divided as they were for internal reasons.
Turkey is an interesting argument if you want to make it, but I'd argue Turkey was more interested in joining in the 90s/early 2000s than the EU was in letting them in... but this is due to factors not relatable to Ukraine, such as being a large muslim country and UK internal politics. The Ukrainians are not seen as outsiders in the way Turkey was, nor are they an election or two away from a conservative muslim government.
MTF for character limit.
"It's not that war has made patriots out of corrupt oligarchs. There is a war because a surprising number of corrupt oligarchs were already nationalists even before 2014."
This irrelevant to my post about economical prospects, nationalist corrupt oligarchs are still corrupt oligarchs that prevent any meaningful raising of quality of life. "
"Between a confluence of crisis letting the government act, unique access and leverage by westerners pressing reforms, and domestic political support for the both, Ukraine has been undergoing major legal and structural shakeups no previous president of the last decades has matched."
This is a good point and you can say that maybe western oversight in relation to war will fix things generally. I personally don't believe because western influence while helping to win wars generally doesn`t fix corruption, but this can be special case because of the closeness of Ukraine to Europe, so there only way to test this is wait a couple of years.
"To the front, to salaries, to infrastructure and item purchases, and many other things needed in a war."
I know why would you think that I am talking about recent military help by US but I not. This text could have been written and posted before the war with almost no changes. I'm talking aid and loans that were given before and didn't help Ukraine reach at least Belarus level. Military aid mostly goes to the front because it is question of survival to the corrupt elites(and many civilians but they aren`t people who decide) and most of them are nationalists.
"Appealing to the 90s, when Ukraine's elite and public were very indifferent about European association (and the European Union did not exist), and not 2014"
Do you disagree with the factual statement talks of the euro integration started in the 90s? In my opinion this is objectively true and this is why I written it like I did. I don't say that ascendancy to EU is impossible in the next 20 years. I just showing of countries like Montenegro that widespread support isn`t enough to join quickly. If war related campaigns will succesfully pressure European countries into accepting Ukraine with all of its barrage of problems than it will be great but I don't think this is likely.
"The question is not 'why', but rather 'why are not you aware of the following?'"
You can list similar benefits for any country bordering the EU problem along this pros there are cons, some them not so obvious.
"To start, being poor is not the issue for Ukraine"
But why is it poorer than Belarus - this is the issue. And actually it very much the problem for people who live there and that's why they are trying to escape it, sometimes going through the occupied territories because borders of their own country are closed for half of population.
"The Europeans engage in their own corruption a plenty"
For some reason corruption perceptiveness and other indexes don`t show it. Corruption in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus is staggering, you can't talk about it lightly. You at least should agree that your view of EU is quite unusual.
This is entirely relevant, because nationalist corrupt oligarchs have priorities greater than solely self-enrichment. Hence the qualifier.
You didn't talk about any specific sort or amount of aid. Raising military aid as an example demonstrates the shortcoming.
Are you? Because you're not actually identifying any specific aid packages, by any specific amount, with any targetted goal that they failed to meet. You're continuing to conflate different types and targets of aid, and inventing a metric they failed by. This is basic assuming the conclusion.
Even the metric you're probably referring to- GDP per capita- doesn't actually speak to corruption or failure of aid. Belarus is a country of about 10 million people, whose economy is a not particularly impressive but still established manufacturing economy in value-adding industry. Ukraine is a country of about 40 million, but far more of a farming and resource-extraction based economy, much further down on the value chain. The fact that Belarus has a GDP per capita of about $8.5k USD to Ukraine's $5k USD is neither particular surprising.
Nor does it indicate a failure of aid, because- again- you're not identifying any actual aid amounts give, or what their target effects are. Raising to $5k GDP/capita could be an amazing result, or a normal result, or a terrible result- you're not indicating. Raising GDP per capita may not be the goal of aid at all- the aid could be going to other purposes, like developing civil society institutions, or developing state capacity, or other things for which raising average citizen salaries is neither the point or the goal.
Sure. I disagree it's the relevant facts to assessing or characterizing the situation that you are describing, and thus an unfit argument. If you are almost two decades out of date of relevant context, you are two decades out of date.
The nature, characteristics, level of social and government commitment, and reciprocal interest in Ukrainian association with the EU is entirely different between now and the 90s. Making a like-to-like argument of the conversations of the 90s to today is a false comparison, even if individual facts are true.
To restate- you're not giving relevant facts, because the relevant fact isn't 'widespread support,' but a collection of dynamics of which 'widespread support' is just one. You did not make the argument on the basis of broader contexts.
Of course I can, but the topic of your post isn't other countries bordering the EU, it is Ukraine, and you were the one making on argument on the reasons, or lack of reasons, for the Europeans to consider it.
If you intend to make an effort post on the pros and cons of Ukraine, I expect you to be able to competently speak to the pros.
While I am always pleased to see a motte and bailey alive in the wild, this is not the issue you were basing your argument on before, and is not actually an obstacle to joining the European Union. It's also appealing to a selective metric- while GDP per capita is poorer than Belarus, GDP is richer, and this is without considering other factors like the ongoing consequence of the multi-year war.
Of course it is. It's also coming from someone unusually well read, and unusually interested in understanding how states interact. It doesn't change that "treason never prospers, for if it prospers none doth call it treason" has been an insight older than most of the modern states of the EU.
The reason that corruption perceptiveness doesn't register for most forms of corruption is because they aren't perceived as corruption by the societies doing them. It's 'just a way of business,' or cultural tradition, or some other euphism. What makes corruption distinct is that it is treated as a pejorative... but if it's treated as a euphism, or a beneficit thing, it's categorically different. That's why it's a corruption perception index, and not a patronage network index, even though patronage networks are one of the most classic forms of corruption.
In the European Union, one of the various systemic patronage network on the continent is the European Cohesion Fund. Between 2021-2027, it is allocated a 48 billion euro budget. The description of the fund, in its own words is: The Cohesion Fund provides support to EU Member States with a gross national income per capita below 90% (EU-27 average) to strengthen the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the EU. It supports investments through dedicated national or regional programmes.
This is not some secretive conspiracy. It's proudly announced in the European Commission website, including a nifty map graphic tool to look up individual projects to see just how much is being spent in your country or region:
It American political terms, this is pork barrel projects. In systemic power structure terms, this is a 8-billion-euro-a-year patronage network system in which richer countries pay the poorer countries for deference and continued alignment with the policy preferences of the EU's leading (donor) powers... and, as demonstrated in 2022, punish the poorer dissenters by withholding the patronage until compliance improves, when Hungary and Poland had their cohesion funds suspended (or threatened to be suspended). This is power of the purse politics.
In outsider terms, this is also a pretty basic form of monetary influence influence over elected leaders. Legitimately elected politicians are variously being bribed to support policies their electorates may nor, or being fiscally punished to coerce them into changing policies that do have electorate support. This is being done across levels of society to create parallel influence structures outside of electorate control, as these pressures can be used to target national leaders (nationally-distributed funds) but also bypass national leaders to pressure select regions or targeted dependencies (regional funds) to apply political effects in exchange for cash. These funds are broadly going into efforts that are not, and would not be, economically viable without these grants, developing dependencies by special interest groups hooked on maintaining, and expanding, these artificial funding stream and do so by applying influence from the inside of the power politics in favor of external monetary interests.
But it's not going to be perceived as corruption to most Europeans because this is accepted business, and the petty nuances of political policy changes in exchange for money aren't bad if you use the right words. It's about Fortifying Democracy, or Countering Far-Right Governments, or Restoring Rule of Law. It's Good Things, and thus cannot be corruption because Corruption is Bad.
But it's still a patronage network aimed at creating political effects in favor of the patrons. Corruption is a pejorative, but at its heart most corruption at a social level is various forms of patronage networks and groups making deals with eachother. Corruption is just what people call these dynamics when they don't approve of them- it's just a 'who, whom' instead of actual opposition to patronage networks trying to influence politics.
It can be relevant to political discussion, it is not to discussion about Ukranian economy.
The point in the post that you replying served only to answer sentiment that bright future for Ukraine is guarantied because of American and European aid. I don't need to delve in the specifics, I just need to cite the existance of aid before and that this didn't help economical development of Ukraine. Maybe its givers didn't have this as a goal, but this is one of the many explanations of ukrainian poverty that I decided to not list to limit size of the post.
You can propose this as an explanation but is wrong and obviously wrong to any person that lived or lives in those countries, if you don`t could have at least looked at the Wikipedia's page for both nations' economies and than find that in both nations majority of gpd claims service sector(Belarus 51% Ukraine 60%) and agricultural sector being minor differs slightly between countries(Belarus 8% Ukraine 12%). If we decide to compare Ukraine and Belarus we can say that Ukraine has modern service based economy while Belarus still has large industry sector. But this can't be explanation to anything as can't be alternative reality Ukraine where it farming and resource-extraction based economy, they aren't categorically poor.
No, I'm not trying to show pros and cons, only the reasons why I'm not as optimistic about Ukraine's future as an average twitter user(Ukrainian, Russian or American). Pros are already assumed in the context of discussion and I replying to them by showing economic data and trends that show that these benefits didn't help Ukraine before.
You misunderstood me, not poverty, not gpd per capita, not giant shadow economy are issues that are in my opinion are an obstacle to join EU but the cause of these issues, cause that I don't name because nor I nor experts in the field are sure about it.
Thank you for expressing your point and I will not argue with it because while I disagree with it, I'm not well read on this to try to defend my position on EU.
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The practical effect of the Cohesion Fund thus far has been channeling vast amounts of €€€ to the same far-right governments, though, arguably helping them maintain the economic growth that has, in the end, underpinned their rule (and also served as an avenue of corruption, ie. Orban's childhood friends getting real paid and so on). Of course, one can see the (heretofore ineffective) threat to end that money as EU pulling leash... but another way of seeing it is that it really is bad when Orban sends my tax euros to some guy's companies because he can, and it's good if that sort of a thing is ended even if Orban's show of picking conspicuous fights with EU is effective for making it look to some like he's just being punished for loving his country too much.
I don't disagree that you can have that perspective, but this gets back to my point that Orban's sin isn't running a corrupt patronage network, but in running a corrupt patronage network in the wrong way. The patronage network itself is not the problem- the European Union system wouldn't care if Orban was sending your tax euros to some guy's companies if Orban was singing the right tune, just as the American system doesn't really care when the family members of leading politicians end up as well compensated members of corporate or charity boards, or retired from government directly into media gigs of the Fourth Estate supposedly watching them during time in government.
At the end of the day, the European Union, and the governments of Europe that compose it, are groups of people grouped by political alliances and mutually beneficial arrangements. 'I scratch your back and you scratch mine' is one of the oldest quid pro quos there is, and it only sounds nefarious if you call it quid pro quo as opposed to 'compromise' or 'horse trading' or 'coalition building.' Different words can be used to re-characterize the same pushes and pulls of power.
There's actually an argument I've read before that corruption- at least in these more modest forms of mutual benefit- is a key part of building and maintain broad social groups, which would fall apart into zero-sum infighting without the common largess. This does seem to be a deliberate point of the European Project- a sort of bribing everyone to go along and get along- and is one reason the Polish and Hungary 'rebellions' are so politically disruptive. It's not about the money itself, but the rejection of a social contract that used money to mitigate the issues / autonomy of minor states, even as the European Project focused on the highest priority issue of controlling the risk of conflict between the most power (and richest donors), Germany and France (and, to an extent, UK). The EU, as a project designed to keep peace on the continent, has no higher priority than keeping Germany and France at peace, and certainly not beneficit corruption to keep others happy enough.
Where it falls apart, however, is when people start stigmatizing the natural, or the common, and losing sight of what their euphemisms actually decide. When people talk about Ukraine as a corrupt system, it's not a corrupt system in the sense of 'the cartels have intimidated the government into turning a blind eye,' or 'the police chief is always drunk and just does what the occupying army says.' It's important to understand that there are different types of corruption, the types that are relevant in different ways, and how different they are from your own euphisms and accepted practices before you point them out as the Obvious Reasons This Won't Work.
(Which you didn't, but I'm just rambling.)
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Global food stability, advanced chip making, strategic depth, sentiment, internal European power struggles over the political center of gravity take your pick. The question is not 'why', but rather 'why are not you aware of the following?'
To start, being poor is not the issue for Ukraine. A poor GDP per capita in the European context is a cheap work force, which is a significant part of corporate viability in the European model. This is absolutely a mixed bag, but also kind of the point for the european economic model of the internal market and internal migration from east to west. Nor is the monumental costs of rebuilding Ukraine the objection- this is, after all, money that will be spent by European countries on their European companies to do business in Ukraine, in the name of integration. Different stakeholders have different interests, but no one expects Ukraine to circle a drain of constant recession and de-investment, which means there is profit to be made.
First, global food stability under European influence. Ukraine is poor in many things, but very, very rich in food, and had roughly a global share of nearly 9% global wheat, 10% barley, and 16% corn. This is 'regional famine prevention' levels of food production, and having it under European auspices- and not under Russian, where the food pressure has been used already for macroeconomic blackmail attempts- is a major global asset in the expected decades to come of global demographics. When the third rail fear of European politics is mass migration, having the food stability of the middle east not under Russian influence is rather important.
Second, Ukraine was responsible for 50% of global production of neon gas, which was a byproduct of industrial plants specifically built for it during the Soviet Union. This is relevant because industrial-grade neon is a key resource in high-value chipmaking. Any polity wanting to play for the advanced technology spheres needs a good source of neon, and while the war has degraded/destroyed a lot of Ukraine's, it's still a strategic interest to have regardless of corruption.
Third, strategic depth between Europe and Russia doesn't just go in Russia's favor. One of the key shocks to the European public was the realization that war was literally only a long day's car drive from Berlin, and the prospects of a Russian-dominated Ukraine on the border of Poland is a significant concern to countries like Poland. Among other things, Ukraine is a buffer, and like Finland a demonstrably capable buffer able between Russia and others.
Fourth, sentiment is not to be overlooked. European governments are broadly accountable to their voters, and the pursuit of re-election does mean that things that are popular with the voters will effect decision maker cost-benefits. This is most obvious in leading power Germany, where the government's obvious resistance to aiding Ukraine- from the helmet fiasco to stated fears of escalation- have been regularly overpowered by not just external pressure, but internal pressure. A German government whose voters supported neutrality would be much more resistant to pressure- a German government whose own voters want it to deliver arms finds itself backtracking its prior concerns. The same applies to corruption- corruption of Ukraine is not the most significant emotional concern European voters have about it, and corruption is only an obstacle in so much as people are otherwise neutral.
Fifth and finally, internal EU politics. There are two key nexus of interests that have an interest in resisting Ukrainian entry regardless of corruption- EuroFederalists, who fear a new nation will be too emotional to defer to the EUropean nationalism intended to replace nation-based nationalism, and the French-German axis, whose power within the EU frays as more members join, to the point that the French-German alignment is no longer the 'motor' of European policy in the way it once was. To those groups, any entry of a state of 40+ million people (half of Germany) would be a major barrier to the centralization of European Union power over European states, or the ability of France and Germany to jointly dominate that power over the other European states. To other countries, this isn't a bug, it's a feature, and expansion-of-the-EU-to-weaken-it has been a core policy of much of the European Expansion advocates, which has included powerful countries (UK, previously), weaker countries (who want to keep the EU loose instead of centralized), and especially the Eastern countries (who doubt Germany/France having their interests at heart vis-a-vis russia policy). Regardless of any level of corruption in Ukraine, people who want to move the political center of gravity eastward, or at least away from France and Germany, and who are not on board with a European unitary state will have an interest in Ukrainian ascession. Notably both parties are flexible on this as part of the give-and-take of European politics- the French and Germans have raised the prospects of watering down the veto as a precondition to allowing entry, others have used the Ukrainian issue to leverage the French and Germans into Russia policies that both were inclined to resist until dragged across the line.
There are plenty of reasons, and whether you find them compelling or not, you should at least be aware of other people's perspectives.
The EU's problem with Hungary and Orban isn't 'stealing economic aid,' it's that he uses the patronage network funding for non-pro-EU patronage networks. He's a fly in the ointment, but the ointment has always been largess to build patronage influence.
All in all, my position is you radically misunderstand the corruption dynamics involved in both Ukraine and in the EU itself, and are over-fixating on this issue. Corruption isn't why Ukraine will be barred entry by the likes of Germany or France- corruption will be the pretext used to facilitate, further, and defend their own interests within the European Union, that a Ukrainian entry might disrupt. The Europeans engage in their own corruption a plenty, and are quite willing to turn a blind eye when it suits them- what matters more is not that there is corruption, but the sort, and the tradeoffs.
This is interesting, and I'm totally unfamiliar with neon production. What is the realistic medium term impact of, say, this production disappearing completely? Are there significant barriers to production being ramped up elsewhere? Is it mostly just some capital expenditure, and since the Soviets dropped das capital previously to build it, it hasn't been profitable to build much else, but if it disappeared, then within 5-10 years, new capital could be easily dropped to pretty much make up for the gap with some modest final price increase?
Not exactly an expert on neon production, though for a good pop-culture roundup on the importance of neon production that overlaps, try this-
So to guess at your questions-
-From what I've read, the chip market is going to suck for the forseeable future, and this is separate from the US lawfare against Chinese chip-making capacity. (One may even suspect that it was timed and launched with this expectation.) Chip production bottlenecks for the next several years- easily 5-to-10?- are going to hurt a lot of industries, and compound the economic woes of anyone currently either unable to afford relevant industries (potentially Europe with energy prices), legally access relevant technologies (China and Russia), or just weren't a player.
-Ramping up production elsewhere is possible, but difficult, and it's unclear how fast/able anyone is able to do this. Ukraine was used during the Soviet Union for reasons including steel production and logistics. Steel production- which provided the economies of scale mentioned before- is very energy intensive. The European energy-intensive industries were based on assumptions of cheap Russian energy imports... which aren't here anymore. I'd bet my blouse that China and the US have efforts, but I'm not familiar with anything specific.
-While in the longer term I'm given to understand a lot more people will develop neon production capacity out of need, the issue isn't so much the final price of neon then, but what the dynamics of the interim are between now and then. By the time neon supply restabilizes, the world could go through some major economic transitions or inflection points that radically reshape the global economy. Europe's efforts to combat Russian energy warfare are disguising a lot of the industrial pain behind consumer price controls. China has basically given up deflating some serious economic bubbles in the name of social stability... which means worse effects if they pop. Global demographic changes are accelerating, as rich countries get older and smaller. This great chip disruption could be the sort of thing that snarls a lot of countries on that front for a few years... by which point it's too late.
Or maybe that's over-stating it. Regardless, having any sort of control over a vital high-technology input resource is useful.
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