Friday, December 26, 2008

Reboot V: Target Lower Economic Growth

For the world to go back to equilibrium, with respect to Mother Earth, the world should not tolerate rapid economic growth of 8% and 10% and be thought clever or responsible.

The most decent growth should at the rate of the growth of the labour force which in China should be around 1% to 2% while for Malaysia it should be about 2% to 3%.

An excessively rapid economic growth target is often a political devise for the government of the day to justify its continuing mandate to govern. This has been used for a long time some island economies where the strategy has effectively displaced the original population while waves and waves of foreign investors and foreign workers. The state becomes a concept and GDP growth a statistical measurement that is used to argue for political legitimacy.

This economic lull is a good time to defocus on economic growth as a aggregate statistic and to come down at least to the agency levels and the state government levels to scrutiny these important interfaces for the ordinary people. The monopoly of the federal government of the income tax and the use of this income tax to concentrate on areas that politicians see everyday which is necessarily the capital city means that areas outside the capital tend to be neglected. Furthermore, leaving state governments to source their income from natural resources is a sure way for the rapid destruction of the natural environment and the tendency to seek rent from urban development.

To turn around the economy from decline, the immediate should be zero economic growth if the economy has been declining. If the economy is growing at 3%, then I would say this is satisfactory growth given the circumstances. In other words, the policy focus should not be to pump prime. The policy focus should be to engage in structural changes for the economy. The tendency for the home economy to grow in fits means that the old structure based on privatisation and mega projects should be put to the past. The future policy should engage the people by opening up opportunities for them through enlightened policy and by providing them support in the form of establishing or re-establishing the proper institutions for justice, fairness, security and the protection of individual rights and property rights.

We are now suffering from a high in economic growth and should down come down to more realistic levels.

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