Dr. Hassan Sobhani is a Tehran University Professor of Economics, specifically Islamic Economy, Finance and Monetary Systems. He was a Majlis deputy in fifth, sixth and seventh editions. He has published his performance during 12 years presence in Majlis in 12 volumes of books.
IRAN NEWS ECONOMIC DESK
In his recent interview with Sobh Eghtesad Persian economy daily, a publication from Sokhan Goster which is the license-holder of IRAN NEWS, Dr. Sobahani underscored the significance of economic security in the national security of any country.
When he was asked about security in Iran which is emphasized every where and his definition of security, he said that when one talks about security he may mean physical security like border security. He added that the current approach to security issue in the country is outdated and this approach has totally changed in the past four decades.
Dr. Sobhani added that in the past when one talked about security, all attentions were focused on defensive security with indicators like military power, and any country had good condition in military sector was considered as a country with high security.
He noted that in recent decades the definition of security has turned from defensive to economic one and countries are weighed based on their economic power than their military powers. He went on to say that in some articles, national security have been synonymous with economic security and some believe that national security is that economic security.
So those countries which enjoy high economic power and their people’s condition is defendable in terms of economy, enjoys more security, he added.
He reiterated those countries which have economic security have definitely national securities and in Iran, officials have paid attention to the economic security but how far they have progressed and been successful in order to say that it has guaranteed the national security is questionable.
On the factors of economic security, Dr. Sobhani said that economic security has essentially been based on two factors. He said the first factor is to provide and prepare welfare facilities in the country for the citizens, adding that economic policies should be in a way that people even in the farthest part of the country and in the borders feel that all facilities are more than their minimum needs and they become content with the economic condition as they support the condition and try for improving it.
Dr. Sobhani added that the second factor is country’s impact in the international communities and the world. He added, “Suppose one country has managed to satisfy its nation with domestic economic security and it enjoys favorable hegemony. It means other countries accept it and its words, and in accepting it, they do not feel superiority. Those countries which enjoy such a status beyond their borders can actually influence the international system in favor of themselves. If factors of domestic welfare and satisfaction as well as influencing international community are accompanied by their indexes, then we can say economic security exists.”
On finding a country in the Middle East with having both two factors together, Dr. Sobhani said that it is difficult to find one as you can see that the U.S. imposed sanctions and other big countries follow it because of their interests.
When asked why satisfaction index among Iranians is low no matter of their financial condition, he said that it is natural and man innately looks for more and no one can fight with this human nature.
He added, “The question is whether people who are in better economic condition are ready to pay heavy costs for more facilities. Complaining about the current condition does not necessarily mean that they are ready to interrupt current situation which may have heavy social and political costs. You can barely find people with good financial condition to risk unless they cannot earn their living. So they stage protests and pay for it because they have nothing to lose and their condition would not become worse than current condition. Of course what was said does not mean would happen. For example during the elections and during the conducted polls, people are asked who will win the election. Some names are raised and people are asked to whom they may vote. They name for example Mr. X but when they cast their votes, they vote for another candidate. Here there are one feeling and one performance. Mostly performance is criticized but it does not mean the condition is so bad that he is discontent in order to change it.
When Mr. Sobhani was asked on the performance of governments on economic security in Iran after the Islamic Revolution, he said that in terms of economic security, governments have not been successful. He added, “The reason for my belief is that the average inflation rate has been 19 to 19.30 percent from 1989 to 2016.It means every 5 years people’s purchase power has been halved. The average unemployment rate has been between 11.5 to 12 percent and the average annual per capita has been 6m tomans, it means 500,000 tomans monthly. These limited indicators show that people are struggling economically. If satisfaction towards economy is one of the economic security factors, the country does not get good mark. Every government tries to reap the results of its predecessor. Maybe we can say in some indexes, reformist government performed better. We should study the reason. During the reformist government except the first year, the oil price rose and did not fall and even during “Love and affection” government oil revenues jumped and the government had whopping oil incomes but it faced sanctions.
Dr. Sobhani noted that losing economic power has negative impact on the social security, adding that fall in purchase power makes people poorer and poverty makes room neither for personality nor religion. He went on to say that for this reason the number of crimes and felonies is on the rise in the country, adding that impacts of lack of economic security in the society are limitless.
On how the country can fortify the social security in the society, he said that no one can present solutions and to resolve problems in few years.
Dr. Sobhani noted that economic policies of all governments have been the same in Iran and today’s economy is the result of economic policies of the country in the past 30 years and if a policy does not bear fruit, it should be corrected but nobody is ready for it.
He added that mechanism should be designed in a way to provide people with their necessary needs and they should not be worried about health, education and jobs.
He also called for a change in the approach of banking system which is Iran’s economy Achilles heel. He said depositing money in banks and to live based on interests from their deposits will force no one to production as the Constitutions mentions economy should be pushed ahead through interest-less loans.
Dr Sobhani reiterated that economy in the Constitutions should replace the current economy and production should be encouraged in the society.
He also said that many educated people have been in the governments and exist in the country who have also educated abroad and they have good views but their views do not fit rent-seeking and un-productive economy.
He also admitted that one of the reasons that governments do not reform is that educational body of the country is omnipresent and they do whatever the educational system has taught them and their knowledge mostly does not useful for the national economy because reality of the economy is totally different with what they have learned, adding that un-productive private sector and defected university system should be blamed for the current economic condition.
- source : IRAN NEWS