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Thread: The Economic Crisis of Lebanon & Standard of Living

  1. #1

    The Economic Crisis of Lebanon & Standard of Living

    I think you know that I am from Lebanon. We the Lebanese are suffering from :
    -Poor quality internet.
    -Electric blackouts with an inflamed bill.
    -The most expensive telecom services in the world yet horrible quality.
    -A garbage crisis since 2015 worse pollution and we have become more vulnerable to climate change
    -Unemployment rate is very high.
    -Things are getting more expensive due to inflation and government recently increased taxes by 1% .

    -The minimum wage is 2.1$/hour

    Internet & Electricity are run by government institutions.
    ∑ Electricity: In Beirut the capital and largest we get power cuts daily on average 3 hours, and during hot summers & cold winters it gets up to 12 hours a day, and we are either sweating and overheating like pigs or freezing our asses off. The reason why our electricity services are horrible is because the government provides the electricity and have monopolized it , There is a mafia which provides back up generators in response to the blackout issue, they charge us the people a lot the government gives them subsidies, in Zahle a large rural area in Lebanon an electric engineer got fed up with the electric crisis and being forced to pay two electric bills, decided to form his own electric company in Zahle he did and solved the electric crisis, the mafia got angry and fired at the the transistors, but eventually the gave up. An acquaintance of mine found a way to generate electricity from wheel that spins in water, he used his own water well and it powered everything in his own house including the air conditioner and heater, unfortunately the cops raided his house took him to the police station and got interrogated, the accusation was that he was using a water well without a licence , he was warned from doing it again or else the consequences will be much more severe.
    ∑ Internet: Is horrible too, time and again it is upgraded but still very poor quality, we have private ISPs, but they are all provided for and by a government company called Ogero which also provides directly for customers too, Lebanese internet is very slow the fastest is 1MB/s I barely get 500KB/s speed, and it there is data cap for Ogero you have to pay extra but for private ISPs they cut off your internet if you go over the data cap, the minimum data cap is 40 gigs a month, there are more but most people can't afford the bigger caps and don't get me started on the unlimmited data caps they are more expensive and very slow maximum speed is hardly 200KB/s. Before 2011, the minimum speed used to be 10KB/s with a 1GB download cap best package was 200KB/s with a 8GB cap if you exceeded the cap on any package you had to pay 10$/gig becuase of this Lebanese internet was considered the worst quality service in the world, then they improved the services slightly lowest package was 100KB/s with 4GB cap the highest was 800KB/s with 30GB if exceeded you pay 4$ per gig for all packages they also added free download from 12am to 7am, in 2014 they upgraded the service with minimum package plan 200KB/s with 40GB and best package was 1MB/s with 100GB they removed the 12 to 7 plan and if exceeded 1.33$/GB. Recently they slightly improved the service returned the the 12 to 7 plan, we still lag behind most of the world even Venzuela has better internet than us. Not to forget that our infrastructure is crippled as $#@! because of both wars the 1975 to 1990 civil war, and the 2006 Lebanon-Israel war which heavily damaged it.
    The Garbage Crisis & Telecomunications are due to government giving special privileges.

    ∑ The Garbage Crisis: On July 17 2015 the main landfill was closed which resulted in garbage overflowing the streets everywhere , all the streets smelled like a rotting corpse, the politicians new that the landfill will close and will cause heavy pollution. Cases of Pneumonia, Chickenpox, coxsackie, measles , bronchitis, lung cancer, fungal infections, food poisoning have skyrocketed. Another issue is that the sanitation company known as Sukleen which collects garbage charges 160$ per ton the government pays Sukleen out of our tax dollars. The government gives subsidies and bailouts to Sukleen, their contract was supposed to end in 2012. The issue wasn't just Sukleen, the problem was disposal, What do you with the mega tons of rotting garbage? The government cleaned the streets but they created dumpsites (not landfills) in poor neighborhoods, mass demonstrations took place in response to the garbage crisis with many calling for finding out a solution to the crisis and shutting down Sukleen. I have joined the movement and helped organise demonstrations I used to be liberal back then but I was pro competition for the market, I befriended the activists, the main movement called You_Stink shares many beliefs with the green party, they believed in regulating the market, other major factions of the movement was socialist and even communist I befriended them too, I became a communist because I got brainwashed, I wanted to fit in, and mostly I didn't understand economics. Our climate is imbalanced we sometimes get hot days in the middle of the winter. Winter storms are becoming more severe, September used to get brisk but now it has become burning hot.
    ∑ Telecommunication: We have to oligopolies which are MTC & Alfa, they charge the most in the world and are owned by the politicians which makes them very monopolistic ripping everyone off, and we have no 4G yet, they tell us we have but it's all bull$#@! we are charged 36 cents per minute on a call and 9 cents for SMS, and 3G internet is 10$ per month with 1GB cap. On 27 December 2016, a campaign was launched to boycott both corporations and almost every Lebanese citizen engaged flight mode on their phones on 8 January 2017, both corporations lost millions of dollars I proposed to the head of the campaign to do this every Sunday, he did not reply and did nothing.
    Unemployment & The Minimum wage:

    ∑ Unemployment: I think it has to do with regulations and and taxing business owners, which makes them reluctant to hire someone.
    ∑ Minimum wage: The wage is simply not enough to cover a basic standard of living, cheapest rent is 300$/month , food would also cost atleast 300$/month, and let's not forget electric bills.:
    Inflation & high prices on goods and services:
    ∑ Expensive good and services: Around a month ago the parliament and government council decided to raise taxes by 1% by using an excuse to raise the salaries of the government workers especially public school educators who have been striking since 2013. You_Stink movement staged more demonstrations against this decision, as well as the communists ironically. Economists and finance experts estimate that prices of all goods and services may double or even triple. And if someone wants to buy something abroad they have to pay extra custom fees, making the product cost twice as much itís original price. And politicians screw us the taxpayer by spending our hard earned money on themselves. The minister of communications was exposed by You_Stink that he paid out of our tax dollars which is 25 grand contributing to a dinner party hosted by a another political party that is part of the government. see here
    ∑ Inflation: I wonít blame the Lebanese government on this issue but the US government should be blamed thx to the Fed.

    Many of the activists from the You_Stink movement want these problems to be solved and I definitely agree with them and they should be pissed off, but I disagree with their demands for more regulations, and I think that the free market would allocate resources and services the most efficiently, and a laissez-faire system is the an important solution to the Lebanese economic crisis, but there are other problems which also include holding politicians accountable, less sectarian warfare, disarming Hezbollah & other militias, and keeping foreign hands out of Lebanon.

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  3. #2
    Thanks, always interesting to hear a first-hand account.

    As for the minimum wage, that is either contributing to unemployment or (if it's so low than no one would actually work for less) irrelevant.

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