Economic growth doesn’t mean welfare.

The GDP growth for 2022 turned out to be higher than expected. According to the figures, Turkey reached its targeted GDP thanks to excessive consumption by the households in the last quarter. On the other hand, the net contribution of exports has dropped to negative territory in the same period, with the unmissable negative growth in stock exchange. As I have mentioned in my previous reports, the economic improvement that has been achieved in January this year will unfortunately be lost due to the Mw 7.8 earthquake in southern and central Turkey.


The per capita income in Turkey was calculated around 10,600 dollars, taking into account the impacts of the earthquake. The last year, it was slightly under $ 10,000. For years now, Turkey’s gross national product per capita remains constant at $ 13,000. The country cannot manage to get out of this middle-income trap and fails to transition to a high-income economy, with a GDP per capita of at least $ 15,000. In order for this to happen, national income must grow rapidly, and simultaneously, the USD-TRY exchange rate must go down or remain stable at the worst.


However, Turkey may still not be able to have complete welfare and prosperity even if all of the abovementioned conditions are met. Because there is always the possibility that Turkey may fall from a higher income level back to the territory whence it came, just like it happened 10 years ago. So as to avoid such failure, we have no choice but to ensure good governance, democratic standards, rule of law and high-quality education.


Citizens in democratic countries do not tend to support inequality and discrimination, albeit doing so might serve their interests. Because these citizens know that all are equal before the law, and because they are afraid that one day, a new interest or pressure group might come and twist the laws as they wish. Therefore, those who want to be elected to power run their campaigns accordingly, knowing that citizens will make realistic choices. Candidates also know that electors will not vote for plans and projects that had failed in the past, since the people and the institutions have a strong memory. In truly democratic countries, it is not possible to win any election by exciting the emotions of ordinary people through demagogic propaganda rather than presenting morally right and value-creating ideas.

In less educated societies, those who want to be elected to power continually repeat the same rhetoric to make sure that it remains imprinted on people’s minds. There is no diversity in their discourse. There is only black and white, “us and others”.


In these societies, the masses are an effective tool. When the masses come together, they often tend to lose reasonable thinking and moral values. Therefore, it is easier to control the masses than convincing the individuals or small groups one by one. By their nature, educated people do not support aggressive discourses because their commitment to ethical behaviour and moral values in everyday life make them kind and compassionate. But the masses have always been used by those in power to do the exact opposite. This has always been the case for most of the underdeveloped and developing nations. Although some Arab countries or some countries in Southeast Asia are high-income countries, their people suffer from unequal income distribution for the same reasons I cited above. Human welfare and prosperity prevail only in countries where justice and equality rise side by side.


In democracies that are built on popular sovereignty and the rule of law, leaders do not aim to win the majority vote by appealing to the emotions of the masses. On the contrary, they listen to the demands and needs of the citizens and promise that they will meet their demands and needs within a reasonable amount of time, as long as they are not potentially harmful to national interests. And when the time comes to cast votes, citizens will make their decision based on the fact whether those promises have been fulfilled or not.


As the education level increases, citizens start carefully considering their actions before they decide to engage or not engage in a certain behaviour, as to whether the things they do could potentially hurt or harm others and the world they live in. As citizens become more morally aware and conscious of ethical decision-making, they know that the same bad thing might happen to them when they usurp someone else’s right. Thus, ethical values and respect for human rights and life are preserved. Forests and parks do not turn into concrete jungles, rivers and lakes do not get polluted, humans quit making technology and urbanism their weapon to dominate nature.


I have one thing to say to those who reproach me for allegedly not saying anything about the wrongs and the rights of our country: a word to the wise is sufficient.