According to this plan, the government is obliged to provide the basic necessary commodities using a coupon or an electronic card.
«People» in this plan means «low-income Iranians» and «basic goods» include items such as rice, meat, eggs, oil, sugar and some of the most-needed medicines.
ohammad Khoshchehreh, professor of Faculty of Economics, University of Tehran, says: «I do not agree with the whole plan and I consider the urgency of the plan as a second or third-degree discussion. In my opinion, the plan approval show that the parliament has not recognized the priorities of economic issues, «Calling the method of distributing goods a coupon or something else is not an effective cure.»
«Iran’s economy has suffered from serious damages and the macroeconomic variables of our economy such as prices level, exchange rate of U.S. dollar, economic growth rate and unemployment are simultaneously fluctuating. Although such high-urgency plans may act as temporary painkillers, but we need a set of healing remedies. Finding a proper solution to prevent the weakening process of our national currency value and overcoming obstacles facing by labor-productive industries are issues that need to be addressed. It is a passive, temporary and illogical action to deal with only a few items of goods as “basic goods”. No matter how effective this action is, I do not consider such measures as useful.»
According to him, if hundreds of actions are categorized in one policy package that finally results in ten or fifteen really effective actions for Iran’s economic improvement, this plan of the parliament have no prominent place in this package. Regarding different deciles in Iranian society, about which a number of parliament members have talked, is a very low-level issue due to inflationary pressures and the weakness of the decision-making, policy-making and planning system and it does not mean that it requires a long time and considerable efforts. Thus, when the parliament prioritizes its plans in such a way, it shows that parliament lacks a deep and comprehensive understanding of society.
On the other hand, Kamal Athari, a development economics researcher, defends Iran’s 11th parliament plan: «In the last few decades, hastily implementation of adjustment policies in Iran led to market-based sourcing of the society. In Europe, we see the market-based sourcing of the economy but not market-based sourcing of the society, and now it is said in social policy debates that the welfare state has been revived in Europe.
hat is why Europe has begun its economic recovery with € ۷۵۰ billion, but the United States has so far spent $ 3 trillion on the economy damage caused by corona-virus outbreak. It means that, a stable social policy system in Europe has also minimized the social harms of European countries. This has happened in Iran, but since the necessary requirements have not been set for market-based sourcing of the economy, a rent-seeking economy with high inflation and very severe crises has emerged to rehabilitate the economy. Although a comprehensive welfare system must be established in these circumstances, which seems to be impossible in the current government though, the people will have difficulty in meeting their daily needs until then. Given the recent sanctions and unprecedented U.S. pressures on Iran, this issue will be even more severe. «Therefore, it is inevitable that the government will deal independently with the supply of basic goods.»
According to this expert’s point of view one question pops up in our mind and that is what should be done in this situation for under-pressure low income families in Iran? Either the government should print money and give it to them, which will worsen the inflation situation, or it should give the currency it allocates to basic goods directly to the people. Such an action would result in less corruption, given the current systemic corruption. Of course, if this plan continues to be in effect, it will have unintended consequences, but in the long run, according to John Maynard Keynes, “everyone will die”, so you have to think of a solution NOW.
he middle class is now under severe economic pressures and is joining to low-income groups. In the current situation, the range of the lower deciles is expanding. This process is harmful for the middle class since most of the layers of the middle class are falling to the lower classes, and some layers of this class also take advantage of the opportunities created in the existing circumstances and join the upper classes. In general, the middle class is getting smaller and the range of low-income classes is expanding. As a result, major decisions are to be made to solve the mentioned problems.
t seems that importing basic goods with governmental exchange rate and providing them to socially vulnerable groups is not a fundamental solution either, because in the absence of strong monitoring systems, this means leaving it to renters and paving the way for creating coupon kings and then sue them in the court and convict them. But the trial of the sultans does not cure the pain of the people. In these circumstances, it is better to have a direct supply and it seems that couponism is not a way to cure our sick economy.
he return of coupons to improve the status quo has little room for consideration, and the revolutionary slogans of the parliament are not necessarily effective; The improvement of the economic situation must be for the benefit of all classes, including the declining middle classes. Furthermore the return of the coupon cannot stop the decline speed of this class, and it will certainly bring back a couponism lifestyle.