EDITORIAL: The public is entitled to full debate
The current debate about the economy and unemployment is a debate about the dynamics of handling the economy and the little room which exists for variations in policy.
It is also a debate about the economy and the impact on it of the vagaries of politics. And finally, it is essentially a debate about our democracy and the politics of choice; choice by the voters and choice by the government.
We feel it is important for the public to understand what is going on. The sending home of 3 000 or more workers is said to be necessary because the analysis of the economics of our public financing says that the country cannot afford to continue to spend money that it does not have. But the debate also touches on politics, because the decision-makers are politicians, operating in the realm of politics.
There is need for a higher level of public awareness of the nature of our politics and the nuances of the political system. This is necessary so that as interested parties in the political process, the public can form its own informed perspective on the various statements dropping from the lips of the politicians from time to time.
If voters are the ultimate choosers of those whom will govern them, then their decisions should be fortified by a more than general understanding of how the policies of the various competing political parties may affect their lives. With such an increased understanding; policies can be evaluated and rejected or accepted on a basis which is more rational than emotional.
For example, all countries, individuals and companies may need from time to time to borrow funds for personal national or corporate development. So that voters should not reject out of hand, proposals which are rooted in raising capital.
Yet they need to be equipped with enough general knowledge to recognize when too much borrowing can be dangerous; for it can be; whether the borrower is a country or an individual.
The Press may be the appropriate vehicle for the sharing of such wider knowledge, but those members of the society who are trained in public finance and economics or who otherwise understand the issues must be prepared to share the wisdom of their knowledge with the public.
Opposition parties have a special duty. They must examine and if need be, oppose the policies of the ruling party, because they provide the voters with “the alternative government” whenever the voters have the opportunity to make a choice of governors.
This current debate is therefore one of the most critical debates in our recent history. The decisions and conclusions drawn by the public will shape the future of our democracy, and the relationship of that democracy to the political economy of our country.
We urge all public-spirited citizens to recognize that the big issues of the day such as a fixed exchange rate, the reserves, the fiscal deficit and the Gross Domestic Product are not figments of the imagination, or parts of some fairy tale.
These things are as important to us as individuals; as blood is to the human body. In any new national conversation about our public affairs, the people of this country should insist on a full and proper discussion of the critical aspects of our political economy. It is their entitlement.