Immediately after the revolution, people started to imagine Libya as the new Dubai. Everyone was optimistic about this change. I was thinking the same. However, this dream of becoming a new Dubai in North Africa have vanished due to the current situation. There are to many issues in Libya right now. Political issues, corruption problems, and Civil war on the edge. It looks like we are going to stay a third world country.
Why Libya COULDN’T catch up with the other Developed world? We have all the required resources to become a first world country. This question is resonating in my mind everyday. Until one chapter in a book have answered everything for me.
It started while I was waiting my flight in Istanbul airport, going back to Benghazi after a short visit to Turkey. I have picked a book in the terminal. This book is The Under Cover Economist by TIM HARFORD.
Tim in his book talks about poor countries under the chapter is named Why Poor Countries Are Poor? Immediately I paid for this book, I wanted so badly. Trying to understand his point, which is almost close to my question on Libya.
During my visit to Turkey, I was fascinated by their development world. Turkey in the last five years their GDB have tripled. Turkey has paid off all their debts. Turkey is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Turkey in the near future will become the first growing economy in Europe. What’s the relationship between Turkey, Brazil, and Singapore? The common thing is they were so behind of the first world countries. They were poor countries. However, they caught up with other world. Their GDB has dupled. They have invested in man-made resources and human resources. In Turkey, I found places that are amazing even though I couldn’t find them in the US.
In Tim’s book, he describes this theory of catching up as “Dimensional Raising” which is almost the same the economic theory “Dimensional Return”
Dimensional Return is when you add more input, the output gets smaller. For example, If someone works in a company with one computer. This worker should produce a certain a mount of work. If the company gave him another computer, his productivity will increase by using more technology. However, If the company gave him a third computer, his productivity will not increase as the first computer. And with a fourth or fifth computer, his productivity will not increase at all. Therefore, poor countries, once they invest in infrastructure and education, they will gain too much compared to developed rich countries.
When I talk with my friends, I say that we ,as Libyans, can reach the other world easier than we think. Dubai is the best example. They didn’t have to invent the technology, they just have imported the technology. They have built the tallest building in the world. Do they really built it? In short period of time they could do many things that the developed world have taken centuries to do it. They became the Dubai of today and one of the most interested cities just in few years.
Tim has connected the dimensional return theory with the idea of doing things that get results very fast. When a poor country invests in new infrastructure the output will be magnificent compared to the developed countries. If a poor country invests in the education, they will improve the quality of their lives very fast compared to developed countries they will have just more number of unemployed people.
Libya has all the resources to do exactly what UAE did in 90s. Libya is the seventh largest oil reservation in the world, and the first in Africa. We Do have a really interesting location in the heart of the world. Libya has the ability to become a leading country in North Africa and Middle East.
Libya could invest in man-made resources such as infrastructure, and invests in human resources such as education. We don’t have to do anything, we can import everything from the other world. We could employe talent people who are really good at managing and administration. They could manage our life for certain time until we could take the control of our lives. This is simple, Dubai actually didn’t built the tallest building in the world. People form other countries built it for them.
So, after all, WHY Libya CAN’T CATCH UP WITH THE DEVELOPED COUNTRIES? Tim in his book describes that due to the wide spread corruption. Yes, Corruption is the reason of becoming countries poor. Usually, people who are in charge invest in small things just to steal more money and keep hope for ordinary people. If they didn’t invest, they would lose everything at once. Therefore, they manage to keep small investments going on to steal more.
This theory is just rightful in Libya. Libya is one of the most corruption countries in the world according to Transparency International rank. All the natural resources and money have been stoled by people who are in charge.
For 42 years Gaddafi have done this. Libya is transforming to a democratic country. We have elections now, and I hope the people who will take the charge soon are as good as people of Turkey.
Let me know your thoughts about this in the comment section below. Help me to think deeply about Libya. By thinking and planing, we could accomplish something.