Tuesday, December 25, 2007

2008 Gov Budget

I had a chance to watch the minister of finance deliver his budget proposal on the floor of the parliament and was not happy at all.

The new budget aims to help the poor and needy and provide a more equitable distribution of income. Sounds great, however, the government plan is flawed as it hopes to achieve this by linking civil servant's salaries with inflation. IMHO, a sure recipe for double digit inflation rates.

Here is how things would probably play out:

1) Government increases civil servant's salaries and minimum wage in correlation with inflation numbers from the previous year.
2) Private sector increase wages based on the new minimum wage and then some more to attract some of the people who might consider government jobs.
3) Commercial sector increases prices due to both increased labor costs and also to take advantage of the increase in the average Jordanian's income(due to the wage increase.)
4) At the beginning of the following year the inflation numbers on which the new wages are computed are higher because all wages(prices) went up and the cycle starts again at number 1

The other thing that I fear from linking wages to inflation rates is that we might lose our competitiveness, and this is already happening to some degree; a number of factories are being moved from the industrial area in Irbid to Egypt because of the significantly lower wages(more than 65% less in some cases.) We might also end up losing some touristic business as the cost for visiting jordan is a bit on the insane side(especially hotels)

In the long run the government can only slow this by not going ahead with its plans. In the long run we need to have industries that have a significant amount of technical knowledge that would not be available in countries that depend on low wages to increase the competitiveness of their goods like Syria and Egypt.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 24, 2007


Two weeks ago I found this article on salon.com:


The Journalist was complaining about a new report that found that 25% of Americans have not read a single book in the last 12 months.

After reading that article I did not know if I should roll on the floor from laughing or cry for hours; It is safe to say that at least 75% of people in Jordan never read a book after leaving college(or high school if that was their highest level of education.)

The author goes on to describe American reading habits as depressing.

I am not sure what would happen to her if she knew about the reading habits of Jordanians, she would probably be dead from fatal depression by now and after that would spend an eternity rolling in her grave.

Here is the full report she sited:


Just for the record, I read more than 22 books this year and I am stuck in the middle of another five.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The New Government

There are two things that I wanted to address in this blog post.

Let us start with the old news first and the new Jordanian Government. I actually wanted to write this a while ago but never got a chance. The speech delivered to the house of representatives by the new PM was great. If he can deliver on half of it, then Jordan might have a bright future. So, will he deliver this 50%? Being a realist, 25% looks more realistic and would still be much better than the previous government.

One reason why I am skeptical is lack of answer to the question: Where will the PM find competent people to carry out his plans, most of the competent Jordanians live abroad for various reasons and would not be interested at all in having middle level positions within the government. I did point out elsewhere in this blog the total incompetence in various ministries, including the ministry of health, tourism, and industry, just name a few. These ministries do not have the minimum level of knowledge to do their job correctly. Of course, I could go on ad nauseum.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea why the last PM last for whole two years; based on his performance he should have been moved to the upper house of the parliament 12 months ago.

The other matter that I wanted to blog about was this video:


Some of the interesting(scary) facts for us Jordanians:

*100% of Indian college graduates speak English, all 1.3 million of them.
*More than 50% of Americans under 21 have web content.
*More than 70% of US 4yrs olds use computer.
*More than 3000 books are published today in English.

I would like to note that to the best of my knowledge that Jordan has not taken advantage of one laptop per child OLPC(I think one possible reason is that it is not available in Arabic)

Considering the fast pace of changes outlined in the video, I have almost no doubt in my mind that the Ministry of education is ill-prepared to deal with the future shown in the video.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The first Stumble Upon review

Mo's blog got it's first mini review on stumble upon:

"Don't miss this blog, as you'll be quite surprised at how inspiring Mraei is. For there is a lot here to get you really thinking"

I am greatly honored by this review. It is a bit of a shame that the first stumble upon review should come from England as opposed to Jordan.

Anyway here is the link to review page:


Also the same person reviewed my Stumble upon page(check the link in the side bar), and here is what he had to say:

"Tman opines: "Jordanian blogger with an international mind." This man means business. I have not had time to read much on this visit - I must confess, but I'm very impressed with what I've seen so far. And by that, I should say, I've peeked at his alter-blog (a must see, as I've attested above!) where one may discover some most refreshing views on certain worldly topics which... I'll leave to you all to check out. I shall return later & update then! :-)"

Here is the full review page:

Blogarama - The Blog Directory iopBlogs.com, The World's Blog Aggregator
electronic health record system
electronic health record system