Before we introduce our program of participative governance it is necessary to draw a brief
outlook on Lebanon's social and economic make up as it stands today.
has been, to say the least, precarious during the past twenty years. Many external factors
have certainly contributed to the general instability in the country. However we believe that
our successive governments should have worked harder to preserve the national harmony
that is the first prerequisite to security and stability.
2) Social justice: Essential social services, like quality education and affordable health
and retirement security have never been entirely satisfactory in the past. Lately, with a
creeping inflation and a high cost of living, they have become nearly out of reach for many
members of the low income population.
3) Infrastructure: Insignificant amounts were spent on infrastructure during the past
twenty years, leaving it in a state of near disrepair. According to the present Minister of
Economy, no less than twenty billion US dollars will be needed to rebuild properly and/or
update the water and the energy supply systems, the roads, the ports, the public transport,
the waste collection and treating systems etc.
4) Economic Growth: During the past few years international observers have hailed
Lebanon’s economic growth and the resilience of its financial and monetary systems. One
cannot deny that some sectors of the economy like real estate, construction, insurance, and
banking have boomed spectacularly during that period. This growth however has been
accompanied by a serious fall back in many other sectors, like agriculture, and industry and
some stagnation in the domain of telecommunications. Even tourism compares
somewhat unfavorably with the performance of other neighboring countries like Cyprus,
Jordan and Syria. This has brought many economists to contest the justification of the high
growth development rate (GDP) adopted by the authorities.
5) Fair distribution of public revenue: All the above shortcomings coupled with a
skewed financial and fiscal policy, and the absence of an effective management of the
country’s public debt, have contributed to bring about an uneven distribution of the country’s
earnings and resources. A relatively small proportion of the population, the bankers, the
real estate investors, and the large entrepreneurs, are getting substantially richer, while the
members of the middle and the low income class have seen their revenue dwindle
substantially with the rise of the cost of living (energy, fuel, food, school fees, rents etc.) and
the absence of suitably remunerated jobs at home.
Emigration has partially compensated for these shortcomings but that has also resulted in
a brain drain of the population that is bound to seriously mortgage the prospects of the
country’s future economic development. Already most of the government ministries in
Lebanon suffer from an acute shortage of young and qualified personnel urgently required
to implement a meaningful and badly needed reform within the Public Administration.
6) Management of public funds: It is fair to assume that, during the past two decades,
the management of public funds has not been entirely satisfactory. We find ourselves,
twenty years later, with a public debt of nearly sixty billion US dollars, a recurring yearly
deficit of four billion US dollars, and nothing much to show for it in terms of security,
stability, social justice, and economic prosperity.