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Luxury shopping in Moscow
Luxury shopping in Moscow
Nadezhda Petrova

MOSCOW — It’s not often that the government’s plan and the people’s plan match as well as they do right now. The government is projecting an increase in real incomes in the next couple of years, but it also anticipates a decrease in the amount that people will save.

And that is precisely what people seem to be doing. According to a recent survey, 78% percent of Russians save less than 10% of their income, and 31% — substantially more than last year — save nothing at all.

That means they are spending more money, which is good both for the economy and for the Ministry of Economic Development. One economist says that if people were more tight-fisted, the economy would be in much worse shape.

Spending at any cost

Most Russians do put at least some money aside. Given that 59% of people say they are worried about their finances after retirement, you would think that retirement savings would be the most popular reason to save. But that’s not the case. Surveys have shown that the most common reasons for saving are to bankroll a vacation or to buy a car.

“Just like our government, the people have a very short-term horizon for planning,” explains Marina Krasilnikova, head researcher on quality of life issues at the Levada-Center. “That’s why they don’t often make decisions that have a long-term effect. “There is a certain amount of mistrust of financial and societal institutions, which makes it even harder.” This is all despite the alarming changes being made to pension plans.

Part of what’s so interesting about this phenomenon is that surveys show Russians dislike shopping more than any other country. Yet they are shopping, buying and investing in the Russian economy.

Image-conscious

Russians are joined by residents of other BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) in their preference for quality over quantity. They are more brand-conscious than Europeans are, and regard brand names as status symbols.

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Economy

The Bogus Concept Of "Carbon-Neutral" Oil

The Colombian president recently said that the country had exported one million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset oil. But in an unregulated carbon market, such a claim is pure greenwashing.

People walk in the streets of Bogotá

María Mónica Monsalve Sánchez

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ - In March this year, various national and corporate leaders met in Houston, Texas, for CERAWeek, an annual conference to discuss the world's energy challenges. Colombia's President Iván Duque took the opportunity to remind participants that his country produced just 0.6% of the world's carbon emissions even as it had raised crude production to one million barrels a day.

He said oil should not be seen as an enemy, since the fight was really against greenhouse gas emissions. He also revealed at the event that the country's national oil firm, Ecopetrol, had sold the Asian market its first million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset crude, consisting of the entire extraction, production and exportation chain.

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