Escaping the “accountant’s vision” trap

Moja kolumna v Europe’s World:

Slovenia, last released a strategic development document back in 2005. Entry into the EU and eurozone appears to have exhausted the country’s boldest political visionaries, leaving the post-2008 period completely void of long-term strategies for development or growth. The government has limited its efforts to mitigating the mess left behind after the financial and housing bubbles burst.

This has led to a development paralysis in which projects are not assessed according to a long-term cost-to-benefit analysis, but only with regard to the coming year’s fiscal targets. I call this visionless economic policy the “accountant’s vision”.

Escaping the “accountant’s vision” trap will not be easy. Though this obedience to short-term fiscal targets seems a technical principle in recent economic policy, it is an utterly ideological concept. The soaring of public debt has been used as an ideal excuse to pursue the traditional conservative agenda by imposing tight fiscal targets to spur public investment. Never mind the historically low interests rates, sluggish recovery and persistently-high unemployment in Europe, ideology is hard to beat.

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