Last night I got the privilege of having a meaningful and very fruitful, and inspiring chat with four of the most prominent and experienced Economists in Maldives. It was just a friendly coffee and happened to last for four hours. We discussed various issues in our economy; including but not limited to; the nature of the political economy in Maldives, current financial turmoil in the world, dollar liquidity in the market, and youth employment problem in the country.
The political economy in Maldives, as it happens in many other developing poor countries is very much depressing. The President we had for the last 30 years had absolute power, the means and a few capable minds to shape up and ‘sequence’ the correct economic measures and bring about much needed economic reforms to our country. However, he provided the opportunity to those businessmen to pat on his back, and as a result, these businessmen were rewarded with ‘resorts’ and many other privileges with the blessing of the government, and at the expense of the rest of the Maldivians. These powerful businessmen then hindered the economic development of the whole country in many ways, and enabled them to establish and maintain a monopoly on major sectors of the economy. They try to squeeze as much of the scarce available wealth and resources in the country with the help of the government and the President. The mistake made by the President: to let the businessmen pat on his back!
What has happened since then? The same businessmen contested for the parliament and controlled seats in the parliament while under oath to serve and protect the rights of the fellow citizens. But, it is their self-interests that they are protecting. Their own businesses that they want to grow - At the expense of the rest of the people in the country.
I should write about the rest of the discussion at a later time.