There is a major problem in Jordan with regards to resources, and I mean resources of all kinds and not just the natural. It is a problem that is common across the board when it comes to developing countries but I think such nations that end up emerging from such an economic category manage to fix this quintessential problem: wastage.
The amount of wastage is just horrendous in a country with little to no resources, and not just the natural kind. Think about the amount of water that is wasted for example: some where around 51%. Consider that we are ranked fourth in the world when it comes to countries with the least amount of water. Consider that a lot of the large-scale development has been opening the avenues for more wastage.
But also think about petrol and gas. How many people in this country get theirs for free? The coupon booklets are common for various people in government as well as the diplomatic arena and other foreign residents, and all together their numbers may stack up in the thousands. Think about all the gas-guzzling cars and the wasted opportunity to make use of the circumstances we’re in gas-wise to actually force people to purchase more economically-sound cars.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the free market and I believe that people should be allowed to purchase whatever they like. But there are certain circumstances where national problems require national attention, and in this context we are all part of one community that must engage and empathize as a common denominator. In other words: no man is an island.
And in times like these we may find a bit of truth in that statement – now more than ever.
Ramadan is upon us and the amount of food wastage on a social level is also quite horrendous. I’m not saying we should resort to the extreme of imposing a food quota, but I think awareness campaigns, especially those that play on the religious-front (as, after all, this is a holy month) might help raise awareness. If that doesn’t work, then one, somewhat ludicrous idea, would be to set consumption levels and raise prices for anyone wanting to purchase over that level. That “rich tax” would be used to pay for lower prices for limited-income families: kind of a robin hood scheme.
But that’s just an idea to illustrate the larger point: there is a great deal of this population that is not doing all it can to align itself with what I see as national concerns. And this is troubling for me. I’m not looking at this from some birds-eye-view, macro-socialist kind of standpoint, but a very specific point of view, one that is relative to Jordan and is relative to our current dilemma. Yes, perhaps a little redistribution of wealth is in order, but the underlying fact remains: the gap between rich and poor is spiraling out of control and it doesn’t feel like anyone really cares.
We have a list of problems when it comes to resources yet we are a country that doesn’t act like we’re suffering a deficit. In fact, most of the times, it seems like we’re operating as if we enjoy a surplus of everything. Oil, water, food, etc.
I don’t know what it will take.
Does our society need to be re-educated in the ways of consumption? Do our policymakers need to realign their attention towards curing the wastage issues we face?
Essentially, this is a point I’m trying to make: it is an issue that requires a national conscience. One that stems from farmer to policymaker. We are all in the same boat. This entails a national awareness of the disparities in our society, one that is lost on a small portion of this country that holds most of its wealth. Another semi-ludicrous idea: offering weekend trip down to the less-fortunate areas of the country; could start a whole new wave of domestic-tourism.
I don’t have the “ultimate” solution, although I know that it doesn’t boil down to just one but rather a cocktail dose operating on various fronts simultaneously, as all good policies should.
What I do know is that there is a great deal of concern on creation, more so than on preservation and this is a problem for me. More resources, more wealth, more jobs more, more and more. And that’s great. But it seems in the process of “creating more”, there is a great deal of neglect for preserving what we already have. And I think we’ll find that if we focus a little more on preserving, we might actually be able to secure a great deal more. It makes little sense to focus so much on how to fill the proverbial bucket with water if the bucket has a hole in it.