Photo: Streets in Babylon, Iraq. Source: Wikipedia
The capacity of a nation to improve its performance in a variety of spheres of life chief among them the economy, society, and politics depends on the presence of vision among its senior decision-makers.
Having a vision is undoubtedly important, but it will not help the country’s position until it is implemented in real life, away from the spotlight of the media.
Today, Iraq suffers from a lack of economic vision among senior decision-makers, which has harmed the country’s economy’s performance. The sense that there is uncertainty regarding the economic vision, refers to the present-day representation of the Iraqi economy’s future state, i.e., how the economy would look then. Many in authority are debating resuming the state’s involvement in the economy and absorbing unemployment inside the state apparatus at a time when Iraq chose the market economy as its primary economic system without understanding how the market economy functions.
Evidence of the absence of economic vision
The significant contribution of the oil industry to the GDP in 2019 at present prices (59.1%), compared to the low contribution of the non-oil sector (40.9%), demonstrates the impact of the lack of an economic vision. Similarly, the budget deficit and its fluctuations continue as a result of its connection to oil earnings that are influenced by global energy prices. Additionally, political factors prevented its approval in other years.
Additionally, the continuing depletion of national wealth results from failing to develop a diverse production base that can fulfill both local and international demand due to the numerous imports competing with the monopoly of exports in the commodities balance.
The persistent dominance of the oil industry over the GDP, the budget deficit’s cyclical nature, and the continuation of the commodities imbalance are all glaring signs that the Iraqi economy is deteriorating. This decline paints a clear picture of the upper decision-makers lack of economic perspective.
Unemployment, poverty, and economic vision
It is important to note that poverty and economic vision are closely related; when an economic vision is there, poverty will diminish, and vice versa. Poverty will rise wherever an economic vision is lacking. Because Iraq lacks an economic vision, poverty rates have increased along with high unemployment rates, which vary depending on the source but are typically greater than 15%. As a result, unemployment and poverty are both blatant signs that Iraq lacks an economic vision.
Dubai, Babylon, and the economic vision
Both Dubai and Babylon were formerly well-known around the world, but the differences in terms of economic foresight and the content business are glaring. While historical art is lacking in Dubai at the moment, Babylon has a rich past. However, because Dubai had a clear economic strategy, it was able to produce something from nothing (the content business), and as a result, it is now ranked well across the board in many metrics.
Where Dubai strove to create a business-friendly environment and cutting-edge infrastructure that draws investors and businesspeople, eventually becoming a global trade hub, and pushed to shine a media spotlight on its cutting-edge growth to highlight it to the world and attract its attention.
Contrarily, due to a lack of an economic vision, Babylon has continued to experience unemployment and poverty despite having a rich historical past. As a result, it consistently ranks last globally in numerous metrics.
As a result of a lack of an economic vision and restrictions imposed by particular interests, Babylon has continued to be marginalized and suffer from neglect, loss, and retreat in a number of areas. In addition, officials in Babylon still hold the misconception that their country lacks adequate economic resources.
Dubai had a history of poverty, but since an economic vision was available, it was able to produce content, shine a media spotlight on it, and it occupied a significant place worldwide.
Although Babylon has a rich past, it has not been able to engage in that legacy in a way that makes it seem good right now because it lacks an economic strategy.
If there was an economic vision among the top decision makers in the country, in general; And the decision makers in the local governments in the ancient provinces, including Babylon in particular; Iraq would occupy an important position that exceeds that of the UAE, Dubai and many countries of the world, and become in the ranks of developed countries.
Because Iraq has a rich history and is the birthplace of the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and other civilizations, including those that invented cuneiform writing and law before Ur-Nammu and Hammurabi. Additionally, Iraq has a large number of archaeological and religious sites, including those in Babylon, Dhi Qar, Erbil, Baghdad, Mosul, and other cities. These sites are examples of hard power that can be displayed to the outside world as well as soft power, which can be applied to foreign policy in a way that supports domestic politics and the country’s economy.
Due to the shrines of imams like Imam Ali, Imam Hussein, Imam Muhammad al-Jawad, Imam Ali al-Hadi, and Imam al-Hasan al-Askari, peace be upon them, as well as the graves of numerous saints and upright people of various denominations and families, Iraq is currently regarded as the most receptive Shiite in the world.
Iraq’s situation will be quite different from where it is today if more consideration is given to the antiquities and cultural legacy it has, as well as investments made in modern infrastructure and the creation of an inviting investment environment using its mineral resources.
Creating a favorable investment atmosphere and providing cutting-edge infrastructure leads to two outcomes:
The first is the increased demand for the goods and services provided by the Iraqi economy as a result of the many sorts of visitors (archaeological, religious, and leisure) who visit Iraq.
Second, the influx of capital and businesspeople into Iraq, which translates into increased employment possibilities and an expansion of the economy’s supply of products and services.
Both outcomes will result in a more diverse economy, a better public budget, a better commodities balance of products and services, and a decrease in unemployment and poverty.
Having an economic vision and putting it into practice implies advancing the economy, and vice versa. To reflect favorably on its current situation, Iraq urgently needs to develop an economic strategy that prioritizes its illustrious past and comports itself in a way that is compatible with its standing as a civilized nation across the world. Iraq will have learned from its mistake and used its past to shape it’s present and future.
Disclaimer. The views and opinions expressed in this analysis are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MEPEI. Any content provided by our authors is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
About the author:
He is an Iraqi economist and university professor. He received his PhD. in International Economics from the University of Bucharest - Romania. He is renowned for his book “Globalization of Free Economy,” published in 2019 and distributed in bookstores throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. In the book, he puts forward a number of current theories for the development of the global economy. He has published numerous research papers as well, disseminated in a number of European university research centres and in multiple international academic journals. His academic body of work thus far has earned him a distinguished position among Romania’s academic circles.