Kassioun Editorial 1056: What Does The Lifting of Subsidies Mean Today?

Kassioun Editorial 1056: What Does The Lifting of Subsidies Mean Today?

Over the last few days and under the slogan of “redistributing subsidies to those who deserve it”, more than half a million Syrian families, that is nearly 3 million Syrians, were decategorized as “deserving subsidies”. This was directly reflected in raising the price of a bundle of bread for these people to 1300 Syrian pounds; meaning that the cost of bread alone, if a family of five consumes two bundles per day, will reach 78000 Syrian pounds per month. That means bread alone now consumes almost the entire average salary.

Since the 1960s, the subsidy policy has been an acknowledgment by the state that wages were insufficient. That is, the average salary was too low to secure the minimum standard of living.
Subsidy, in this sense, was never an objective in itself, but rather was a form of secondary distribution of wealth, aimed at compensating wage earners and – in part – for their wages falling below their minimum standard of living.

The historical trend of subsidies after the 1960s was on the rise, also as a partial compensation for the ever-rising gap between wages and prices, and between wage earners and profit holders. Since the adoption of the so-called “social market economy” in 2005, and even though the gap itself has continued to widen, there has been a reversal of the historical trend and gradually moving towards reduction of subsidies, the completion of which we are seeing today.

Lifting subsidies can only be completed if the wages are sufficient. Today’s wages are not only insufficient, but they are almost worthless compared to living needs.
The decline in the wages’ purchasing power is due to several factors, the most prominent of which is the drop in the exchange rate of the Syrian pound, in parallel with the transition that took place from the state’s monopoly on importing basic foodstuffs, to opening the door for major traders to participate in this process, all the way to handing over this entire monopoly to the major traders.
If the situation of wages in Syria today is known and clear in comparison with the standard of living, then what does the lifting of subsidies mean, except that it is exactly an implementation of the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank?
Those recommendations that targeted subsidies not only in Syria, but also in all countries that, in the middle of the last century, had taken some steps towards social justice and building highly productive economies.

In addition, and from the point of view of the interest of the domestic profit holders, the gradual lifting of subsidies, albeit in its beginnings and in one of its aspects, was an expression of the need of the big corruption forces, whose pockets have been filled primarily with the plundering of the public sector, to diverting their thefts from “under the mattress” to investment, and “legally”, today it means additional and more dangerous things, including:

First: Ending any real productive identity of the Syrian economy, and permanently transforming it into an economy of aid, taxes, ventures, and illegal business.
Second: Impoverishing people to this degree, means pushing them towards compulsory involvement in black market activities, which have become a main source of finance for the big corruption forces who are in control. It also means pushing the entire country into the scene of the crime economy with its various types and branches. This means direct destruction of the foundations of the state’s existence and the foundations of community bonding, and implicitly a destruction of the morals, culture, and general psychological structure of society for many years to come.
Third: Impoverishing people to this degree, means working to subjugate them towards accepting all and any options, including those that involve major deviations from the historical positioning of Syria.
The ongoing process of lifting subsidies, while threatening the state and society alike, reaffirms the mission of a political solution and the implementation of UNSC Resolution 2254 as an urgent mission to achieve fundamental comprehensive change, political and socioeconomic.

(النسخة العربية)

Last modified on Sunday, 06 February 2022 20:27
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