For the last 10 days or so, 7iber.com has been discussing very important issues affecting Jordan, ranging from water scarcity, energy, unemployment and economics to the recent changes in the government. I decided to dedicate this round up to these pressing matters.
On the recent changes in the govenment, 7iber encourages people to take part in the dialogue about the viability of this cabinet restructure, and what it means for Jordan:
With the latest cabinet changes taking place this past week, we’ve been forced to wonder just what these changes actually mean for Jordan’s political landscape. While the tendency for the same family names to remain in the orbit of Jordanian politics, with a mismatch between those names and their ministerial portfolios, remains dominant, it only reminds us that in Jordan, the names are more important than the institutions.
Yes, the people may have no say in who becomes a minister, however, that does not mean they are rendered voiceless throughout this process.
This all begs the question of solutions.
What do you think about the constant changes in government? Is it done to appease families and centralize power or do you think it is part of a larger attempt to get work done? What solutions do you think need to happen in both the short-run (strengthening institutions) and the long-run (an elected-government?
Have your say here.
Ramsey Tesdell addresses the issues of water scarcity and unemployment, which are ever-increasing worries for Jordan:
Jordan’s lack of water poses a serious risk to the political stability of the country. The next wars will be fought over the dwindling water resources in the region and lands that have been inhabited for millennia may become uninhabitable. Jordan’s lack of employment also poses a problem for the stability of the state. Youth under 24 consist of 70% or more of the population and far outnumber the number of jobs available and the number of jobs being created.
Water and unemployment can be see as two important problems for Jordan, but at the same time they should be seen as opportunities. The government should entice the private sector to begin developing water saving technologies and begin installing them in urban areas. The state owned petrol company should start using the huge profit the company makes every year through its monopoly, and invest in technologies such as wind farms and solar panels.
In another post, he brings up a web forum run by Jordan Time‘s economic analyst Yusuf Mansour, which aims at looking at the impediments for building the foundations of a creative economy in the kingdom:
In a December 23rd column in the Jordan Times Newspaper, economist Yusuf Mansour asked a pretty basic question, “Can Jordan become a creative economy where young people’s ideas, those with the most creative minds in the world, can be translated into a powerful industry worth billions of dollars?” He then followed this column up with one describing the obstacles to the creative economy.
First off, the website was a brilliant idea. Finally, someone with a mainstream voice, decided to take advantage of all the social technology and new media technologies available to them, and put the community back into the discussion. For far too long, newspapers and the government in this country have tabled the most important aspect, the people. Kudos to the website and kudos to those contributing to the conversation online.
And in the latest post, Mansour asks how we go about building the creative economy. He developed a format to push the conversation forward. So how do we do it? Mansour thinks you need to 1. develop a creative demand, 2. provide more creative products, 3. develop creative resources (entrepreneurs, works, equipment) and 4. cross-pollinate disciplines and carry a more multidisciplinary focus.
While a creative economy seems like a great idea, it is subject to a long-term commitment. This isn’t like the ICT endeavor where you quickly train a couple thousand people how to set up databases and get certifications on this or that technology. Building a creative economy will require fundamental changes to the educational system, the political system, and will no doubt shake the current business and political elite. This resistance will and can be overcome, but it won’t happen easily nor will happen quickly. A sustained effort is required. It will take some time to develop the actors in the field to sustain a creative economy.