Kassioun Editorial 1169: In What Direction Should We Move Internally?

Kassioun Editorial 1169: In What Direction Should We Move Internally?

The most important starting point for getting out of the Syrian tragedy is knowing the reasons that led us into it, and particularly knowing and understanding the mistakes of the past and learning from them so as not to repeat them. Only then can we talk not only about ways out of the crisis, but also about what should be done in the future, and in what direction we should move. If this is true of all types of policies, it is particularly true of socioeconomic policies.

Kassioun’s last editorial covered, somewhat intensively, the successive Syrian governments’ implementation of IMF and World Bank formulas; that is, the liberal formulas disguised under the name “social market economy” since 2005, though they had begun prior to that in more covert forms and at less obvious speeds. The tangible result of these policies, and without delving deeply into ideological theories between socialism or capitalism, is that the poverty rate in Syria rose during the years of the tenth five-year plan from 30% to 44%. This is in addition to the massive destruction that befell the agricultural, livestock, and industrial wealth as a result of the then partial lifting of subsidization off fuel and other practices of the state sector’s withdrawal from the productive field, and the economic field in general.

These results were themselves an essential part of the prelude to the crisis we are still experiencing today and, falling into which did not prompt us to learn from the lessons of the past to reverse the direction of the course that threw us into the crisis. Rather, what has happened so far, and what the behavior of successive governments warns of is that the same path and direction still prevail in practical behavior.

Once again, apart from ideological talk, progress in its socioeconomic sense and its comprehensive repercussions on all aspects of life is measured by two factors together: economic growth and social justice.

If we look at the Syrian economy’s modern history from this angle, we find that it achieved acceptable growth numbers in the 1970s, with an average of 5%. At that time, a certain amount of development took place, but its progress soon stopped. The growth and expansion of the class segments – newly emerging at the time – represented by the bureaucratic and parasitic bourgeoisie, led to a concentration of wealth that had a dual impact on social justice on the one hand, and on growth rates on the other hand. Growth cannot continue without completion of the production cycle through consumption, and when the general public’s consumption ability is reduced through a decrease in their share of national income, this will necessarily lead to a disruption in renewal of the production cycle, let alone its expansion. That is, it will inevitably lead to a decline in growth.

These negative processes deepened with Investment Law No. 10 of 1991 and have rapidly and disastrously deepened since 2005.

The actual way out, in the socioeconomic sense, is based on a complex criterion that is the deepest social justice and the highest growth. This growth should not be less than 10% over the next several years.

This way out requires moving in a completely opposite direction to the one that brought us towards 2011, and in concrete terms it means:

1- High-level state control over major strategic and extractive industries, and power generation.
2- Absolute control, amounting to monopolization, by the state over the foreign trade sector and internal wholesale trade, especially in basic commodities (including food in all its forms and sources).
3- Decisive infrastructure development, especially transportation, including a railway network linking all Syrian governorates.
4- Uprooting major corruption, diverting its previous and current resources as much as possible to the growth process, and reducing the gap between wages and profits till completely eliminated.

These and other steps are practically applicable, even within the conditions of the blockade and sanctions, which will continue for many more years at the very least. However, these steps require a real political will to carry them out, especially by taking advantage of the international conflict and positioning on the right side of history alongside the rising powers. This political will, in turn, requires a comprehensive political solution based on UNSC Resolution 2254 that reunifies the Syrian territory and the Syrian people as the primary stakeholders in striking the IMF and World Bank formulas, and in creating their own way of growth and development, in order to achieve the highest growth and deepest social justice.

(النسخة العربية)

Last modified on Sunday, 07 April 2024 20:05