Thinning: Business as an Indicator

18.05.2011, 13:27
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As a part of Summer at Strelka programme, our students also lead lectures and round table discussions choosing topics and guest speakers completely on their own. On Monday, students of the research theme Thinning invited two journalists who are experts in current situation in the regions — Nikolai Kononov, the editor of ForbesRussia.ru and the author of the book «God without a Car» and Anna Sokolova, who also writes for Forbes and recently published her book Moscow Region Corporation: How the Richest Region in Russia was Bankrupted.

During the meeting, students and journalists talked about how business in the area exemplifies the state of the region as a whole. (As a part of Thinning research theme, students study regions through seven main topics: suburbs, summer houses, tourism, infrastructure, borders, agriculture, anthropogenic landscapes).

The journalists explained that climate can stimulate business in different ways. For example, in Yakutia harsh climate and underdeveloped infrastructure provokes businessmen to be active and fight to grow their companies, while in Adygea comfortable conditions for agriculture make employers and employees rather relaxed. The students understood that generally a lot depends on psychology and behavior; moreover, both of these aspects change slowly. Business has to adapt not only to local authorities and infrastructure, but also to the way their product is perceived in a particular place and how the workers behave.

Sometimes even the most innovative entrepreneurs lose when it comes to psychology and behavior. In one Russian village the owner of a local company can’t win the trust of local people, despite the fact that he is helping to build houses and new blocks, regularly sends staff for training to Finland and pays his workers twice as much than the average salary in Moscow. Finally, journalists shared their general approach of assessing the region in terms of its prospects for business. Forbes usually is interested in:

— the presence of large chain retailers and fast food restaurants in the region — they are the scouts, the detectives, who closely evaluate the area, and settle only there, where all is well;

— the cost of electricity connection;

— the attitude of local government towards businessmen

— the state of labor market, in particular, the number graduates and the quality of their education;

— the level of income in the region;

• and even the number of murders.