National Agenda Pessimism

Why is it that pessimism must surround everything in Jordan? Everything is viewed as a failure as if we are expecting to move oceans overnight. I am a realist which means pessmism is by default an essential ingredient to my worldview, but when it comes to Jordan there are people who simply refuse everything and reject anything that can bring about change. I am optimistic about Jordan for one reason and one reason only: I am constantly asking myself the question "how worse can it really get?". When I factor in reform I find myself thinking "well what is the worst case scenario here? what are we going to loose that has not already been lost?" I mean technically 10 years ago we didn’t even have a plan. 10 years ago the government was saying "hey, everything is fine, now go back to sleep". A reluctance to admit even the most mundane realities. And people demanded a government that would stand up and say ‘we’ve made mistakes and we are suffering and here is what we’re going to do’. People actually shook their fists, really, I saw them. 10 years later we’re starting to see that demand materialize for the first time. So if you really feel pessimistic, if you really see this as a failure and that nothing will become of it, stick your head out the window and in the zealous tradition of Howard Beale, yell at the top of your lungs "I"M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!!!!". sometimes that makes me feel better. Here is an article of interest:

The government is soon due to reveal its "National Agenda" – a 10-year plan of ambitious political and economic reforms that have been talked about since King Abdullah came to the throne in 1999. Compiled by officials from both the private and public sectors and civil society, many Jordanians are already cynical about the exercise, given the opposition to change by many in the rich, ruling elite. Marwan Muasher, deputy prime minister who headed the agenda’s steering committee, acknowledges the challenge. "Most of the public started being sceptical about this, not because they’re not with reform but because they’re not sure the government means what it says and they’re not sure there’s a policy commitment to this programme," he said. "The National Agenda is an effort that will show people that yes, we will pass through two very difficult years but that we have a well-thought out, measurable programme that would not just get rid of the chronic problems that we have in our budget but result in a doubling of people’s incomes in 10 years." He said that for the first time in the Arab world, reform would be tied to performance indicators, a timeframe and budgetary allocations. Reports would be published on the reforms, which make an impressive list. They include a long-discussed electoral law to introduce party lists as part of an effort to lessen tribalism and patronage in political life, remove all legal discrimination against women, bring in universal health insurance and cut the unemployment rate by about half to 6.8 per cent in the next 10 years. Singapore and Ireland have been studied as role models, said Mr Muasher. But critics say parliament retains the power to dilute any changes, even if the king continues regulary to postpone its sessions. They say the intelligence services provide a safe and secure environment, but at the expense of stifling outspokenness in a country where much of the press imposes self-censorship on issues such as the royal family, the ruling classes or corruption. "The king is trying to bring new blood into the government and that’s to be welcomed but the old guard is a real monster and it’s hard to get rid of it," said one analyst. "All this talk of reform is very positive but it’s going to take a lot of time." On the economic front, Jordanians do speak of a sense of optimism after having weathered regional shocks such as the Palestinian intifada and the 2003 Iraq war. Gross domestic product is set to grow by more than 7 per cent again this year after registering growth of 7.5 per cent in 2004, up from only 4 per cent the previous year. But high oil prices, coupled with the receipt of only around half the fuel subsidies forecast from rich Gulf states, has forced the government to raise fuel prices twice this year. The budget deficit risks overshooting the target 3.3 per cent of GDP to more than 8 per cent, say analysts. Umayya Toukan, governor of the Central Bank of Jordan, said he was confident that the deficit would be controlled through a combination of measures. These include a phasing out of fuel subsidies by 2007, fiscal reforms and rising revenue collection and accelerated privatisation efforts. For this year, he spoke of an inflation rate of between 3 and 4 per cent after having managed to keep it between 2 and 3 per cent for the past two years. Mr Toukan said reforms would help to bring down the jobless rate. [source]

howard beale Howard Beale: shown here mad as hell about Jordan’s National Agenda


  • Nas wrote above :

    I mean technically 10 years ago we didnâ??t even have a plan

    Sorry to disappointe Nas but 10 years ago we technically did have a plan, but for one reason or another it was never carried through. The thing of it is though the world as well as Jordan had witnessed a great deal of changes over the same period and we are the children of today and tomorrow and not the children of yesterday. Let us hope that something unique and novel will happen this time around.

  • Hatem, what plan was there in 95? also im refering to something along the lines of the national agenda plan of massive reform. i’ve never heard nor seen anything of this calibre in our history

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