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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Edi Rama in Brussels today
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DP program promotes 'development as freedom'
by Altin Gjeta *
As the April 25 election approaches, the Democratic Party is unveiling the main pillars of its governing program, at the center of which is clearly the economy. As I have had the opportunity to point out before, post-1990s Albania has been dominated by anti-political narratives by creating empty reference points in public discourse (eg anti-Berishism, anti-communism) with the sole aim of manipulating public opinion. public and evasion of responsibilities for misgovernance and corruption in the system, which has led to extreme social polarization in the country and general disgust towards all political parties. For this reason, I think that talking about a program and articulating alternative political ideas in an Albania immersed in economic, moral and institutional depression,
During his two terms as Prime Minister, Mr. Rama has built and cemented an economic model, which in practical and theoretical terms is known as the state oligarchy, typical of the former Soviet republics. In such a model, the main economic actor is the state. This means that in a country like Albania, which is floating in a pre-democratic state, where the principle of control and balance of power has fallen, the institution of elections is distorted and free media is under constant pressure, the group or interest groups who have captured the state completely control the economy. According to this model, the state controls all economic resources in the country and distributes them to its customers in various forms, such as concessions, exclusive licenses, or long-term public-private partnership contracts.
Under Rama's government, this oligarchic statist model has been set up in the system. While the Socialist Party propagates that the fiscal burden has increased only for the rich, in fact, direct taxes (progressive personal income tax) and indirect (turnover tax, energy price increase, corporate income tax 15%, corruption in public administration) show that the real fiscal burden has increased at the expense of the weaker strata of society. Consequently, this has not only not narrowed the gap between the rich and other strata of society but has widened it by striking, in particular, the middle class which is also the backbone of a free society.
So, the application of such a working philosophy which claims that a group of bureaucrats (proven incompetent and corrupt) in Tirana know how to better spend the money of Albanians in the public interest, has brought devastating consequences for the country, such as the growth of inequality, mass emigration and the construction of a lazy, unproductive economy, based almost entirely on the state budget. Finally, what is even worse in the long run, this economic model has eroded the space of freedom in Albanian society. According to a recent OSCD report, Albania ranks fourth in the world for the emigration of skilled labor, which shows that the most vital and educated part of society has been unable to realize its potential here.
Përkundër këtij modeli, PD propozon një program qeverisës që mbështet atë çka Amartya Sen, nobelist në ekonomi, e ka quajtur ‘zhvillimi si liri’. Sipas Sen, zhvillimi ekonomik dhe liria janë dy komponentë përplotësues të lidhur pazgjidhshmërisht me njëra-tjetrën. Liria individuale (politike, civile, ekonomike) është themeli i zhvillimit ekonomik, ndërsa zhvillimi ekonomik zgjeron në mënyrë eksponenciale lirinë duke luftuar varfërinë, pabarazinë dhe pengesat objektive si sëmundjet, paaftësitë fizike që deprivojnë shumë njerëz nga ndjekja e një jete të mirë dhe të dinjitetshme.
Unlike the SP, which in fact does not articulate political ideas but only attacks the opposition with populist rhetoric, the PD program with the flat 9% tax and the facilitation of tariffs, bureaucracies, and indirect taxes aims to expand the space of individual freedom and promoting entrepreneurship by leaving more money in the pockets of citizens. According to this philosophy, the DP thinks that people know how to spend and invest their money better than a group of bureaucrats or politicians, no matter how well-intentioned and knowledgeable they may be. Because, as Friedrich Hayek argues in his book The Constitution of Freedom, scientific knowledge is not the sum of all knowledge, and that information on economic relations is distributed horizontally to ordinary people from the most remote village to the capital where they rise. skyscrapers. This economic model,
To the economic program, PD has attached two other complementary elements, education and health, which in my opinion are very important for its success. Mr. Basha has stated that he will increase salaries for doctors and nurses and that the money will follow the patient, while in terms of education, in addition to increasing salaries for teachers and professors, PD has unveiled an ambitious financial support package for pupils and students. Of course, this has a financial bill, which makes some of Mr. Basha's commitments seem unrealistic. However, the experience of developed countries (EU countries, Japan, South Asian tigers) has shown that without a good health service and an education system that responds to the challenges of the time it is very difficult to build a competitive economy and diversified. Adam Smith,
Of course, this economic model would remain incomplete if it did not rely on a democratic political system that guarantees political freedoms and human rights. According to Amartya Sen, democratic regimes and economic development have shown that they support each other because in a democratic system the rulers are constantly controlled by the public through regular elections, media, courts, etc. However, he continues, we must understand that no such economic and political model guarantees economic development in itself without social commitment. But, an economic and political model that aims to expand the space of freedom creates society opportunities (social opportunities) for development, opportunities which it must know how to use. Thus,
* Chevening fellow. Researcher at the Albanian Center for Good Governance