The Machiavellian way

Jawad Anani
Jawad Anani (Photo: Jordan News)
The World Bank’s latest report on the Jordanian economy highlights the unsettling fact that unemployment among youth in Jordan has reached the red zone of 50 percent. In comparison, reliable news reports on the recent attacks on the Gaza Strip emphasized that unemployment in the Strip hovers around 52 percent. Since Gaza’s population is 69 percent youth and Jordan’s about 66 percent, then both economies suffer from high overall unemployment rate.اضافة اعلان

It goes without saying, that when the coronavirus disruption is over, Jordan’s youth will have more ample opportunities than their counterparts in Gaza. Once tourism, services, shops, hospitals, and other related sectors are restored to their habitual normalcy, many jobs will be created. Yet, most of these opportunities will arise in the private, and not in the public sector. Thus, the sources of discontent among youth of tribal and clannish descent will not enjoy such job openings in the public sector. Such a situation could infuriate societal feuds in the country.

The recent events have demonstrated that the schism between the tribes and clans on one side and the rest of the country will deepen and widen. The recent freezing of the membership of an outlandish MP has been utilized to incite rioting, blind prejudice, and anti-social aberrations. Social media went crazy on this development.The government behaves like a saber-swallowing magician who just discovered that the saber went to places which would pose a threat to his life. He can neither push it in nor can he take it out.

If we have ever learnt anything from history, we know that social differences overtime have their way of evolving into more amiable ones. In a situation like this one, the question arises as to what alternative the government should choose: to be feared or to be loved. Inaction renders both options untenable. If a choice must be made, Machiavelli reminds us, “it is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”

I think we need to break this Alexander’s knot through ingenious ideas. We need to build, say, 10 large-scale projects in the different towns of the poorer governorates of Jordan where unemployment, poverty, and dissent are rampant. Such projects should look like castles, or large temples, where entry into them is a privilege. Let them be half publicly owned to entice those who would prefer government jobs.

This idea is a part and parcel of the new economic reform drive which Jordan must undertake sooner than later. Yet when we talk about reform, we should always remember Machiavelli’s famous quote.

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, more uncertain in its success, than to take the load in the introduction of a new order of things.”

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