The Moorish Wanderer

the Moroccan radical left constitutional proposals and their impact on economic growth

Posted in Uncategorized by Zouhair ABH on August 1, 2009

Funny thing actually, the idea was rumbling in my mind since a long time : the Unified Socialist Party has a courageous stand on constitutional reforms in Morocco, though it cannot translate this political proposal into quantitative process of objectives. Obviously, I am not a trained economist (not as yet), but I would like to contribute, by bringing about some literature in the issue.

Fortunately, the IMF -as well as some economists specialised in Growth and Political economics- provided an impressive documentation, that shall be of use for this present paper. Let us start off with some general guidelines.

This paper shall be the starting point. It discusses the relations between growth and institutions. Luckily, Morocco is part of the panel used to build up the data and the model. But first, one needs to determine exactly what the concept institutions stand for : following North’s definition (1990) it is defined as “the formal and informal constraints on political, economic, and social interactions”. From this perspective, “good” institutions are viewed as establishing an incentive structure that reduces uncertainty and promotes efficiency—hence contributing to stronger economic performance. I shall pause, as the current political system, as described by Waterbury (1974), is not very keen on reducing uncertainty or promoting efficiency (if so, the Makhzen-like patterns of behaviour would have disappeared a long time ago…). It is therefore established that promoting transparency, stability and law-ruled open political relations are the essence of ‘good’ institutions.

Income effects : Another way of looking at things, is that good institutions could affect positively income per capita (and subsequently, income inequality). The following graph shows a strong relation between the two variables Income Institution

The comparison between advanced and developing economies shows a significant positive correlation between real GDP growth and a certain ‘positive’ aggregate indicator of governance measurement.

Now, let us have a look to the proposals put forward by the Moroccan radical left :
– Government responsibility and accountability : the Prime Ministers and their governments have genuine power of decision, with close accountability to the Parliament.
It goes without saying that the government should be formed from one or a coalition of parties that have absolute majority, and these parties have to report to their voters and to the nation, and only so.
– Democracy and freedom of speech : as former political prisoners, most of the ‘old guard’ Morrocan radical leftists are on the edge of freedom of speech issues : most of them are members of the Moroccan human rights movements, which means that their constitutional proposals are heavily influenced by the obsession -albeit a sane one- to provide the decent infrastructures for Moroccan citizens
– The rule of law : the constitutional reforms seek the disappearance of extra-constitutional structures. It means that as long as Makhzen-like behaviour subsist, there cannot be in Morocco a genuine, objective and impersonal rule of law.
– State intervention : Radical Leftists might have old-fashioned ideas about economic policies -such as indicative planning economies- but their political stand in economic issues is paradoxically a reassuring signal to local businesses : the commitment of the Radical Left leaders shows that they can stick to their pledges, making their policies stable, or at least, predictable (in financial markets, a leftist Central Bank governor is a sign of the independence and transparency the monetary authorities will show in its policies)

Scores

From those excrepts, I can say proudly that for the time being, the only political party that could bring economic growth and stability is the Socialist Unified Party, because it is the only political power that calls for a new institutional paradigm, for a fairer distribution of power, and for the rule of universal, unbiaised rule of Law. The next article in economic issues will try and adress the quantitative weakness of these proposals. I am confident that the ideals of the radical left can be translated into figures, and that those figures are entirely in favour of the kind of democracy we commited ourselves to defend and promote.

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