Currently I am reading a fascinating book that shed lights on the importance of social development in the progress of nations. Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, thoughtfully and articulately argue in their book Why Nations Fail, a fundamental question of our time,
“Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine? Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are?
Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny.
The core concept of the book – with which I agree – demonstrates through research and analysis that difference between rich nations and poor nations is not the geographic factors – refuted by strong example such as South/ North Korea, or in Uganda; nor the cultural factors where the authors provide wonderful examples in the communities of people including the great example of the Bushong and Lele people in Congo. As a reminder, these two tribes despite living in the same country of the Congo offer us wonderful lessons for development.
The Bushong and Leo peoples have an identical culture in terms of music, food and traditional clothing and similar languages but their economic outcome and life standards differ significantly due to the different social and economic infrastructure, religion does not have a role as well as some sociologists try to deliberate, highly obvious by the rise of Singapore and the Chinese cities in the modern economy or the rise of the muslim empire in Andalusia or the dramatic economic failure of some of the Christian African nations. The most crucial factor that plays a decisive role in the level of development that a country reaches is the level of institutional arrangements that the people posses has been well evaluated and vetted as a contributor factory for school success.
The most dominant characteristic is this; societies and communities which provide “inclusive institutions” throughout the country – to all its people – will have greater prosperity, greater health and wellness – and integrity rather than instead of centralizing the economic resources and the political power under the grasp of one group of people whether the political elite or the business monsters or the military heads.
History is full of success stories for those nations who were able to chart a deliberate course of action to create an advanced society with solid pillars of equality and efficacy.
The industrial revolution was primarily driven by the free market and competitive relationships with countries such as India which represented a dominate trading part for the United Kingdom. Over 100 years ago, the clothing market was governed by a series of a solid institutions that incentivized inventors and investors to collaborate to find solutions to compete by reducing the manpower needed to wheel. Thus, Britain dominated the clothing market all over the world supported by a high quality shipping transportation system accompanied by the biggest maritime power in the world to assure the safety of the travels. This dominant system, however, unravelled because underlying foundations were unjust and exploitative. Fearful of a dominant monarchy, the United States from its earliest days sought to develop a very different scenarios for governance at all levels of government seeking to balance the needs of the state and the federal government. In writing the laws which govern the land, the United States sought to develop a system that would support the will of the people and the individual against a powerful monarchy and exclusive institutions that only benefit their interests instead of interests of the greater people of the economy. The US constitution established a set of guiding principles and while the history of the application of these laws and traditions have resulted in powerful individuals and forces exceeding the just limits and interpretations of these laws. Indeed, the United States endured its most costly loss of life during its own civil war.
As for Syria, I think even as violence continues across the county, and even as we await the small and proactive attempts (often individual driven and organized), we know that we must begin to delineate the principles of those institutions as we will have a great opportunity to shape our mindsets toward these objectives due to the dreadful war which has proved the fruitlessness of the exclusive institutions, stubbornness and lack of equality. Specifically, we must gather the political will to work towards the social acceptance of this new approach and we must draw together a set of highly dedicated people who believe in these ideas, and who will commit to work endless hours to assure that Syrian institutions are operated with integrity with a core set of principals who share a desire for neutrality, inclusiveness, and integrity.
As Syria, we must strive for developing a core set of principles for our current and emerging public and private enterprises within the country so that leading and dominant institutions will have the kind of corporate governance structures and corporate citizenship models which will further shape our rights and duties, our citizenship experience and will give us the right direction toward the future where ethics and integrity and the rule of law will be the standards for our just (and profitable and sustainable) society.
BS in Business Administration, concentration in Finance
Stuart School of Business’14