The Forum for Partners in Iran's Marketplace

October 2022, No. 101


Priority of Commitment over
Expertise in Our Economy

The inflation in the past three consecutive years is unprecedented in Iranís contemporary history, while there is no prospect of improving the existing conditions.

The main foundations of the country in the economy, society, politics, healthÖ have been compromised and many of the main institutions of the economy and society have been destroyed. The institutions of the market, competition, ownership, exchange, etc. are on the decline, while there is no room for the civil society; even the most solid social institution, namely the family, has suffered serious damage.

At the same time, the country is in a stage of depletion and the infrastructure has been seriously damaged. There is no space for the environment and even in the next two or three decades, water shortage threatens the country... The question is why has the Iranian society fallen into this abyss?

Mousa Ghaninejad, a senior economist, believes that our problem started when some people in Iran tried to reinvent the wheel. While the approaches that had been experienced in the world were in front of us and we could learn from them. He also thinks the plague of lacking theorization and schooling in economic decisions is one of the most important issues of the country. He is convinced that there are no signs of a change of policy among the officials.

At that time, the line of thinking of the revolutionaries who had just taken over political power was that in order to establish their ideal society, everything that had been formed in Iran until then as economic and political institutions should be abandoned as much as possible. The consequences of this way of thinking were that the established economic, social and administrative institutions of the country were completely transformed.

Even today we are struggling with the implications of that way of thinking that has continued to this day. We destroyed many institutions that existed before the revolution and replaced them with something that does not work properly. A clear example of the heresy of interest-free is banking, which replaced conventional global banking in Iran and has not achieved anything except the waste of huge financial resources. The origin of this heresy and other heresies like it is the idea or illusion that the whole world has gone the wrong way and the only right roadmap is ours.

 Another destructive heresy of that era, which has gripped our society until now, is the insistence that ďcommitmentĒ has priority over expertise. The necessity of using expertise in running the state affairs was questioned as Western ďmaterialisticĒ thinking, and commitment was prioritized instead, and that an expert without commitment should be discarded. But what does commitment mean? In practice, this concept has no other meaning than peopleís adherence to the beliefs of the higher administrative levels and ultimately the ruling power wielders.

Now look at the 13th government. This government is a very clear example of the result and way of thinking that we have faced in Iran.

Unfortunately, under the banner of this slogan, all peopleís expertises were ignored, experts were pushed aside and their place was taken by so-called committed ďinsidersĒ. Insiders are the people trusted by the high administrative ranks and ultimately the ruling political power holders. In this process of prioritizing commitment and entrusting work to insiders, we observed that everyone from prominent university professors to specialized forces working in offices and even elite military people were purged. In this way, after the revolution and in the process of dismissing ďnon-insiderĒ experts, the countryís management body was practically emptied of knowledge and expertise.

On the other hand, inexperienced but committed young managers after some time of work, when they might have gained experience and expertise, in many cases, after the political power changed hands among different political factions, they were often subject to expulsion under the pretext of lack of commitment! That is, the system works in such a way that the end result is the continuous discarding of experts, in any case, and the employment of ďcommittedĒ and inexperienced forces.

Today, if you look back, you will realize that year after year, more and more established institutions have been destroyed while those institutions did not have better alternatives. I emphasize that such a view led us to gradually lose experts. In this way, as the time of the revolution passed, the expert forces were left behind by revolutionary purges or they were removed by themselves with the passage of time and their age. But who took the place of these people? Unfortunately, there is no suitable alternative for them.

Now look at the 13th government. This government is a very clear example of the result and way of thinking that we have faced in Iran. Now, with a quick look at the cabinet, we realize that the level of specialized knowledge among the ministers and administrative bodies is much lower than the average knowledge of our society. This is due to the lack of expertise of the people who were chosen to accept the posts and positions simply because of their commitment.

Unfortunately, in the incumbent government giving priority to ďcommitmentĒ has gained more weight than previous governments. When commitment is prior for an official it means that he tells his subordinates that only loyalty to his own person can be used as a criterion. One of the most important roots of the disaster in the administrative structure has occurred in the same way. The level of specialized forces in the government and administrative structure, especially in the higher levels of responsibility, is very low today.

This situation is the result of the process the process the country has gone through over the past 40 years. If we examine the manpower of different governments of the past, we see that each government has gradually purged the non-committed forces in some way, and this has led to a further decline in the quality of specialized forces over time. When you generalize this method and policy to other economic and social institutions, you will understand why all the institutions and foundations of the society are being destroyed.

After the revolution in Iran, the thinking of those revolutionaries who wanted to erase Iranís history gradually prevailed. They believed that the real history of Iran and even Islam started from February 1979 (when the revolution occurred). They denied any achievements had been made until then. Little by little, we have seen that everything left from the past is considered materialistic and Western under different pretexts and is rejected. Some people apparently wanted to reinvent the wheel, as if all the experience that humanity has gained is nothing.

To our surprise, we saw that some people made the same claim about the history of Islam. Many revolutionaries had the same opinion about Islam and claimed that from now on, true Islam should prevail in the society, as if the history of 1400 years of Islam has gone in the wrong direction! This way of thinking eventually caused the destruction of institutions, even some religious institutions. Some sought to destroy most of the established institutions and replace them with something new. Unfortunately, this thinking still persists. Still, those in power do not want to admit that many problems are rooted in neglecting global expertise and experience.

When we listen to the words of the governments, we realize that in many cases they do not see any fault in themselves. It seems that either they see the economic problems as the result of the decisions and economic policies of the previous government, or they believe that the proponents of the open market economic thought have dragged the country into this abyss. What groups have the most contribution to the creation of the status quo?

Nowadays, it has become fashionable for some to justify their failures and inefficiencies by saying that the neoliberals did not let us implement our desired policies! My question is, what kind of people were at work in the last 40 years? Considering the rigid selections that have been made for the entry of ďinsidersĒ into the administrative body, how these neoliberals have been able to infiltrate the officials who are now being blamed for all the existing problems?

Raising these claims shows that, unfortunately, rationality has declined among some politicians ruling the country. The issue of the environment was mentioned earlier, but other parts of the country are also suffering from similar damages. We have not been able to control double-digit inflation for several decades; Not only did we not succeed in this regard, but the situation has gradually worsened.

The inflation in the past three consecutive years is unprecedented in Iranís contemporary history, while there is no prospect of improving the existing conditions. Why? Because there are no expert ideas to counter these problems. It is just slogans and nothing else!

Previous governments are always blamed for all the problems, and every government that comes to power claims that it can solve the problems on its own; however, we see in practice that these promises cannot be fulfilled and the dilemmas are constantly increasing. This cycle must stop at some point. Our officials should answer the question whether they believe in science or not. Do they believe that different problems of the country should be solved with scientific methods or not? Economics is science; as long as we have not accepted this fact economic problems will continue to intensify.


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