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How do we develop?

Jul 30,2022 - Last updated at Jul 30,2022

The world has traditionally been divided into developing and developed countries. For some time now, we have been labelled as a “developing” country.

How do we develop further and, hopefully, become a developed country?

This is the billion-dollar question, and we need, if we want to proceed in the desired direction, to give a precise answer along with a clear vision and meticulous action plans.

We should remind at the outset that the vision is there, epitomised in the country’s constitution, the King’s designation letters to the prime ministers, the Royal Discussion Papers, Vision 2025, and many other strategies, agendas and action plans, most of which, or most parts of which, remain in closed drawers.

What is required is to pull them out of the drawers, put them on the table, draw up a clear and relevant roadmap on the basis of their valuable contents, and start implementing, without us having to reinvent the wheel and start thinking from square one, as we most often do.

The second billion-dollar question is: Who is responsible for development in our society?

The answer is three-fold, not one as is often assumed.

The first pertains to officials and leaders in the various sectors, and at the various levels of responsibility, for they have been designated with the task, and clearly they have to shoulder the biggest responsibility.

We remind that these leaders and officials are supposed to have been carefully chosen for the job and they are thus expected to diligently perform and deliver results.

And we should continue to push so that these officials and leaders work conscientiously and unwaveringly and achieve the expected outcomes.

This is all clear to all of us. But what may not be clear is that development does not lie on the shoulders of the said officials and leaders only. There are two other state/societal components that are equally important.

The first, which is the second fold beside the first referred to above, on which we pin high hopes, pertains to our institutions, which are spread across the various sectors.

We in Jordan pride ourselves on having built strong institutions in the past centennial, and that these institutions should, and do, push our society forward.

Most of our institutions are efficient and they do function effectively. Some of them are, in fact, success stories regarding their reliability and deliverables.

In these institutions, we should not forget, there are many capable innovators and scientists who could play a vital role in the transformation of our society.

We pin high hopes on them, and they are, like their peers the world over, expected to contribute significantly to the development of our society.

If one looks at developed societies, one finds the advances and leaps they were able to make are more due to the excellent achievements of the innovators and scientists than those of the politicians.

Where are the achievements of innovators and scientists in our society: At our universities, our research institutions, and our academies?

Unfortunately, we do not have much contribution from them; and the sad thing is that we seem to have forgotten that their efforts are crucial to our society’s advancement.

Look at what scholars, innovators, and scientists have done in other societies, beginning with finding a vaccine to the COVID-19 virus and ending with launching the James Webb Telescope, which is expected to revolutionise our thinking regarding the origins and various details of our universe.

Time our scholars, innovators, and scientists lived up to the challenge and to our expectations of them.

The second component, which is the third fold, is the role of ordinary individuals or citizens.

Much of change and development lies on the shoulders of ordinary people and citizens. All efforts one exerts, no matter how humble, at the level of the family, the neighbourhood and society is crucial to societal development.

All efforts by all individuals count, and so do their observance of laws, commitment to wise water and electricity consumption, to cleanliness and protection of the environment, and to discipline and order.

Positive thinking, positive attitudes, volunteerism, and good initiatives all play a fundamental role.

The sad thing in our society regarding this is: We seem to have forgotten the importance of individual effort and role; and the individual has developed the habit of expecting others to do things, but not him/herself.

And this is an unhealthy phenomenon.

Development then is not the job of officials and politicians only, even though a lot is expected of them, but of society’s institutions and the individual as well.

This is crucial to affirm, because in the absence of this realisation the latter neglect and abandon their active role and sit waiting for the officials and the politicians to bring about advancement, much as Pozzo and Lucky wait for Godot to bring them salvation.

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