Saturday, May 25, 2024

Wealthy businessmen and life in debt

  • Non-distribution of wages to workers from 120 companies that received state aid, increase of electricity by 7.4%, lack of progressive taxation and strengthening of the oligarchy open the dilemma whether the constitution that guarantees “social justice” is respected in the country.
  • Social justice is defined as a concept of equitable relations between the individual and society, measured by the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity and social privileges.
  • The priority of political parties should definitely be social justice, if they do not want their left terrain in the future to be taken by the parties of the extreme left (like Levica) or right (like Integra).

Author: Xhelal Neziri

That Northern Macedonia is defined as a social state, this can be seen if one reads its Constitution. In 15 parts and articles it is stated that the state has an obligation to ensure the life and well-being of the citizen. The preamble, meanwhile, states that Northern Macedonia is founded, among other things, “to ensure social justice, economic well-being and personal or common development.”

From Aristotle’s Politics to modern political scientists, social justice has been defined as a concept of a just relationship between the individual and society, measured by the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges.

It has never been so since the founding of the state. The distribution of wealth has been and is being done on corrupt and criminal grounds. Privatization in the 1990s created the first oligarchs – the heirs of communism – to occupy most state institutions. Since 1998 we have the oligarchs of democracy, and since 2006 were created the ones that still control the vital industries of the state – energy, food, health and construction.

In 2016 in Northern Macedonia won a government led by a party called on the values ​​of social equality – the Social Democratic League of Macedonia (SDSM). Its program, among other things, said that the gap between rich and poor would be reduced and the middle class – the working class – would be strengthened. But, after a term, the situation is like this:

1. The progressive tax was imposed, but then withdrawn due to the pressure of the selfish capitalists. This type of system predicts the amount of tax depending on the amount of revenue. The one who earns more pays more, the one who earns less pays less. A system used in many European countries to guarantee social justice, even though most of them are run by right-wing parties.

2. Only in April and May, owners of 120 companies received close to 400,000 euros state aid to distribute wages to workers, but those funds did not come out of the owners’ account. So, from the taxes of all citizens they have received budget funds not to leave the workers bad, but in fact they have left them at the mercy of fate.

3. In times of crisis from COVID-19, when state and private energy companies count millions as profit, citizens are surprised by the increase in energy prices by 7.4%. According to official data, in 2019 state-owned energy companies have presented a net profit of 10 million euros, of which ELEM 7 million and MEPSO 3 million euros. Austrian EVN, meanwhile, has announced a net profit of 33 million euros.

Businessmen are of course important to the state because they provide jobs for most of the society, fill the state coffers with the taxes they pay and provide development for the society and the state. But, they should not be above the law and the Constitution, as it has been so far.

The EU integration process, through the closure of six clusters of chapters in the accession talks, will nevertheless improve the situation of workers. However, a more direct reaction of workers to any violation of the rights guaranteed by laws and the constitution is needed for things to go well.

The priority of political parties should definitely be social justice, if they do not want the extreme left (like Levica) or right (like Integra) movements to take their ground.

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