A plea for an economic strategy


Because knowledge has reached the stage where we can avoid development through crises as a way of progress and access development through the prior orientation of social phenomena, including those economic ones, in order to achieve desirable, even favorable states, through planned processes and synergistic actions. Changes imposed by the crises are made under the pressure of some negative conjunctions, and the solutions are usually exaggerated, valid in the short term and, most of the time, ineffective. Achieving strategies involves a design effort for what it means the medium-long term, a design to take advantage of favorable premises, to capitalize the opportunities and to minimize as far as possible the negative impact of crises or the lack of resources.
Then we are part of the European Union. We have clear obligations assumed by the programmatic documents of the selective club that we have been part of for 10 years. The Union understood that it must deal with their own future and that is why it has proposed in 2010 a 10 years strategy that is backed by three pillars: smart growth (developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation); sustainable growth (promoting a more efficient economy in terms of using the resources, more environmentally friendly and more competitive); inclusive growth (promoting a high employment rate to ensure social and territorial cohesion). Basically, enough to give direction to a disoriented economy.
But, as we know us, we dissimulate the assimilation of stipulations that could make us competitive at least with less developed economies that are outside the Union.
Romania does not have an economic strategy. The economic branches are developing or disappearing in the short term, capitalizing on favorable situations and taking over national, regional or worldwide crises. The concept of ”continuity in thinking” has become an improper condition for governmental function, the survival stratagems becoming the strategies of the moment. The uncontrolled direction of the economic branches- a manifest phenomenon in the last three decades-reminds of the Brownian movement and like the physical phenomenon, “Brownian economy” is dependent on the external energy, in our case on the capital inputs. It accelerates at the same time with the private or public equity inflows and it slows down when the capital goes down, with some inertia. Therefore, the economic growth of the last years means debts of about 40% of GDP, and the current account deficit evolution sustains the mentioned trend.
And if the politics is deficient in proposing sustainable policies, neither the business environment or the think-tanks have had success in combining ideas and suggesting debates that would lead to ideas of force or limits of action that has public support. As a consequence, the resources are consumed in an inefficient way and the chances of convergence with modern economies are being compromised.
Who can contribute to an economic strategy? Anyone who has something to propose and who can think critically. It is important, however, that they be empowered as ”composers”, and that states for capable people able to generate new and valuable ideas. The strategy development activity is closer to forecasting than extrapolating past data, and the imagination can help to identify and evaluate future elements that may affect the proposed vision.
How do we make a strategy? Any strategic approach starts with a sincere analysis of the current situation. And I emphasize sincerely. Therefore, the identification and the diagnosis of present problems is one of the conditions without which the implementation of any vision risks to fail before it starts. A retrospective glance, from a critical perspective, may reveal unjustified costs, inefficient areas, unused resources or unfocused opportunities. Contrary to the current approaches which consider mathematical modeling as miraculous, I support the qualitative analysis approach based on the premise that well-founded assumptions can exceed sophisticated mathematical methodologies.
The future involves a significant number of variables and values, and the attempt of choosing only a few of them and statistically estimate their implications may be meaningless. Of course, for some processes and phenomena with relatively slow and somehow linear variations, the econometric approach is useful. But the reality is far from being slow and linear, and the “black swans” did not get in mathematical calculations. Consecutively, suggesting as many hypotheses as possible and analyzing each of them using a structured analysis methodological device (which involves decomposition into elementary segments that can be analyzed independent from multiple operators) are stages that maintain the generation of scenarios. The good scenarios can represent the sketches of the future strategy, and the scenarios’ bad elements can be classified and hierarchized for contingency plans. The strategy’s resilience is mainly achieved through the contingency plans.
The Romanian economy needs general guidance, as we have limited resources. It is a basic hypothesis, as long as the economy’s laws are not contradicted by policies, programs or interests, all or at least … electoral. There is a need of economical and strategical decisions, on the medium to long term, to lead to a functional allocation of the resources in order to achieve the preconceived objectives, so that the wastage be limited to a minimum level and the efficiency of use be increased.
The common welfare, even in economy, is not a governmental or a political monopoly and it cannot only be seen every four years in the electoral programs or slogans. The visions on the economic development must be in the public debate permanently, this being the only way in which ideas can get the force to go beyond the electoral cycle or beyond the temporary mandates of the persons in charge of some institutions.