Sunday, May 26, 2024

INEQUALITY

This logic is demotivating, depressing and discouraging for those few young people who hope that one day values ​​will surface here too. That one day this place will also become. That one day meritocracy will prevail over destructive partisanship in almost all state institutions.

Author: Xhelal Neziri

Division into groups is characteristic of every society. This is how it has historically been and will continue to be. People throughout history have been divided on racial, religious, geographic, ethnic, social, political, party bases… The most powerful group has always dominated and exploited the weakest. The most powerful group does not necessarily have to be the most numerous. In most cases we are dealing with the rule of the minority over the majority.

Until the end of the 19th century, the states belonged to royal families, religious clergy and feudal lords. This group was not even 1% of the society they led. The rest, the peasantry, worked just to survive. The former has not known where the limit of luxury is, while the latter have only known how to survive. The former enjoyed all the rights, the latter none.

Such a division has caused what is called a great turning point in history – the French Revolution of 1789. An uprising that removed the absolute power of the kings and gave the state to the people. And the people, through democratic mechanisms, began to choose the representatives in the institutions and their leaders. The motto of the Revolution “freedom, equality and fraternity” meant the creation of a just, equal and solidary society. Various ideological movements, which sought ideal societies, also started from here.

Modern states today have more sophisticated mechanisms to guarantee freedom, equality and human dignity as fundamental human rights. Thus, the modern state justifies itself only if it succeeds in creating mechanisms that would enable a fair distribution of wealth. Of course, not according to the communist concept, but in taxation and social policies. Crude capitalist states are not modern – they resemble monarchies with feudal systems.

TAXES

North Macedonia is also defined as a social state by the Constitution. “The Republic of North Macedonia is a sovereign, independent, democratic and social state,” states Article 1 of the Constitution. But how social is it really? A recent study conducted by some professors of SEEU reveals another reality: out of 3.4 billion euros of personal income for a year, close to half a billion goes to the accounts of only 1% of the population. According to state statistics, the number of active population in the labor market is close to 950 thousand. One percent of this number, i.e. only 9,500, have an average annual income of 50 thousand euros each, while the rest – i.e. 99% – have an average annual income of close to 3 thousand euros each. A great difference that deepens social divisions and produces turbulence of various natures. Therefore, this study recommends the transition from a flat personal income tax rate to a progressive one. With this reform, the richest would pay more tax because they could, while the poorest would be taxed less.

The experience of many states that have installed a progressive personal tax rate is that this reform has broad popular support. In fact, the rich “minority” has never problematized the reform as it considered it right. Therefore, today most of the countries, whether they are democratic or autocratic, have a correct system of paying taxes in order to mitigate social inequalities. However, this still seems mission impossible in North Macedonia. It seems that this wealthy 1 percent is much more powerful in running the state than the rest of the population. Or even very egocentric and unsupportive. The attempt to implement the progressive rate failed in 2019 because the richest found different ways to avoid the tax. This refusal of the rich to pay more tax led to a decrease in budget revenues, which forced the Ministry of Finance to put it under a moratorium for 36 months.

Competitions

Another disparity appears when it comes to employment opportunities and career advancement. It has been a long time since in North Macedonia you have to be “someone’s child” to get a job. It has become a rude normality, where discrimination based on social strata has replaced the discriminations of the communist and post-communist period.

There are a number of institutions, companies, commissions, boards and state agencies where the monthly salary is higher than that of the prime minister. Precisely these places are “reserved” by the powerful, at the central or local level, who do not understand power as a duty taken by the people to carry out work in the general interest, but as a vital opportunity to benefit themselves and to comfort others. relatives.

The competition has long been a formality and “annoying paper work”, while the evaluation of the qualification and quality of the candidates is in direct proportion to the level of the function held by “someone” behind them.

This logic is demotivating, depressing and discouraging for those few young people who hope that one day values ​​will surface here too. That one day this place will also become. That one-day meritocracy will prevail over destructive partisanship in almost all state institutions.

If we want to create a developed society, we must build an equal society. This equal society means justice, equal opportunities and solidarity. Replication of medieval monarchies can bring neither stability nor development.

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