Tolerance, lawfulness and the ICT industry
According to research, you need three T’s for innovation and economic development: Talent, tolerance and technology. It is a concept coined by Richard Florida and I totally agree with it. I base my Turkey analyses on this law. Each time, I see if Turkey has the three T’s and I see we are lacking technology and doing very, very poorly in being tolerant. The latest outburst by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, calling on women not to laugh in public, is the latest example of how intolerant we have become at the highest levels in our society. If the authorities cannot stand women laughing in public and imply women who laugh in public are not virtuous, then they should not be surprised when there are less female expats and Turkish women living in the country because they choose to live in a free society where the mindsets of people such as the deputy prime minister are nowhere to be seen.
President of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce Erdal Bahçıvan said we have reached the limits of economic growth with respect to the methods pursued by the government, which were solely based on speculative real estate market growth. He suggests we should shift our focus from the real estate market to the industrial sector.
In the coming months we will see how correct Bahçıvan is. I believe the so called “crazy” construction projects, such as the second Bosporus, are invented because the government knows what Bahçıvan is suggesting. We have to change everything about how our economy grows, but this means accepting new values, like tolerance, and this is very difficult to do. Instead, the government is trying to keep doing what it did best. However, sooner or later they will also understand that investing in real estate projects is not the best way to bet in this century. So I hope that when the government realizes this, it won’t be too late. Because there is another element to innovation and economic growth that Richard Florida did not imply. I don’t think that he did not forget it, I believe he thought that it is a given in any society. That element is law.
In the last three years, the Turkish Legal system has received some really bad blows. The latest research conducted by MetroPoll shows only 29 percent of the Turkish population believe that decisions made by the courts are not affected by the government. In other words, this means that only 29 percent of the Turkish people have faith in the judiciary system, while the rest of the population think decisions are manipulated.
If law is not above everything, then it becomes very difficult to do business. Unfortunately we see this every day in our newspapers where the conditions of business tenders can be changed after the winner has been announced or cancelled based on the prime minister’s comments. It is important to remember, however, that the ICT industry is based on rules and regulations.
When there is little tolerance in society and when the judiciary is unjust, the ICT industry cannot flourish and create economic growth for the country. If we do not change these two fundamental shortcomings, then we will be left with the real estate industry and the “crazy” construction projects.