They understand the economy but neglect the politics

By Jumana Ghunaimat

In a country with limited financial and natural resources like Jordan – that as a result rely heavily on the people’s pockets to fulfill its obligations – it is a given that the political formula is different than that of a country that is rich in natural resources.

اضافة اعلان

We have several models in our region; there are countries so rich that even the citizens are not interested in political participation, especially after the results of the “Arab Spring”, and are content with the generous social safety net, which guarantees them more luxury and decent living only, and their desire to play a larger role within their countries is diminishing.

The previous formula, with all the points of contention within it, is viable on the short term, as long as the state can “pet” the citizen. However, it is a lackluster and disposable in countries like Jordan, where the governments need financial resources from the taxpayers, to manage to fulfill their essential duties, like healthcare, education, and infrastructure, and provide for a social safety net to protect the feeble segment within the society.

Jordanians know that they are paying for a large chunk of their government’s activities and services, in addition to paying the salaries of the government officials. But, at the same time, the average Jordanian understands that his/her power on these issues is limited. He/she might discover a few violations here and there - which are relevant to how his/her money is being spent and channeled – that might create a general feeling of social discontent.

Changing the formula has become a necessity, to an extent that makes people realize that the money they are paying gives them a right to play a larger role within the public life, and diminish their feeling of being marginalized, which is not possible without some new political tools and an inclusive environment.

Politically, Jordan adopts the rich country’s formula. Political participation is at its lower limit and the social hopes are limitless – and there lies the difference. While Jordan’s economic principles are in line with those of a poor country, why are its political methods not?

Creating a health atmosphere necessitates balancing what the citizens pay with what they get in terms of political rights. Democracies understand this to a T.

However, continuing with the current formula as is, means one thing; the continuous lack of transparency good governance, both of which need well-established principles and organizations within the state.

Those with agendas and privileges, who stood to earn a lot from the current formula, are playing a large role to maintain the status quo, which in its turn is maintaining the current violations and widens the gap between the reality and the aspirations.

The idea is simple and logical; those who pay have the power to manage the payment. The road to that is a political reform of different taste and smell.


This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.