The release of the publication was commemorated at an event entitled “Slovenian economic policy and social wellbeing”, organized by the Delo media company at the Faculty of Economy, University of Ljubljana. The keynote speaker, Thomas Wieser, the former President of the EU Economical and Financial Committee. He emphasised the importance of being aware how interdependent EU member states and EU institutions are in creating the economic policy and, at the same time, social wellbeing in Europe. According to Wieser, “the future will see a community joined under the common European roof of well-functioning and closely cooperating institutions and member states. But bringing such a vision to fruition is not only up to Brussels-based bureaucrats, but rather all of us, each institution and every member state.”
Social wellbeing will depend on how we address demographic challenges
Dušan Mramor, the president of Observatory ZM and one of the contributing authors of the publication, highlighted the significance of an enlightened and conscious type of management, which must aid in solving broader social issues. He called attention to the highly topical problem of population ageing in Slovenia. Social wellbeing also depends on how we tackle demographic challenges. Among the possible solutions, he also lists “increasing labour productivity, increasing the share of the labour-active population and, if that does not suffice, amending the pension system as the current one is unsustainable when combined with real economic forecasts.”
Also making a reference to enlightened management was Ali Žerdin, the Editor of Sobotna priloga Dela, who has made it his mission to cooperate on assembling a creative and innovative coalition. In this progress-oriented alliance, the economy should start cooperating with science, education and culture, something which was also evidenced by historical examples of economic crisis resolutions. At first sight, these have harmed economic interests by implementing higher taxes, but they have also brought about long-term social wellbeing. “Imitating this concept can place Slovenia on the launching pad and send it to the moon, helping us achieve a developmental breakthrough,” finishes Žerdin.
If the rule of law operates well, this is also the case with the economy
Verica Trstenjak from the Faculty of Law, University of Maribor, was critical of the negative attitude of the public towards successful individuals in the society: “Social wellbeing cannot be achieved if those who have succeeded and own something feel like they have to defend their hard work, savings and success. It can only be the case once successful property owners are motivated – precisely due to the values of the society – to help those who are less privileged. Both by paying higher taxes as well as with solidarity.” She called attention to the importance of the rule of law, “In Slovenia, we have an issue with the judicial system. If the judicial system is inefficient, the economy cannot be efficient either. We have the highest judges-to-population ratio, so we must demand a higher efficiency and responsibility from them.”
Economic forecasts for 2019 were presented by Velimir Bole from the Institute of Economy. Following its cyclical peak at the end of 2017, the economy has begun cooling: “Economic contraction in the eurozone is becoming increasingly pronounced, preceding the one experienced in Slovenia for a quarter of a year. It is fuelled primarily by the decline in export, but the shortage of labour force is also on the rise. The recovery, which is slowly waning, failed to enable the realisation of all production potentials of the economy, neither in Slovenia nor in the broader euro area.”