5 things you can do to help your country’s economy

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Governments, businesses and banks all contribute to the growth (or contraction) of a country’s economy. But have you ever asked yourself what YOUR contribution is? Well, I tried this exercise, and I came up with five recommendations I believe we can all follow:

  1. Pay your taxes: An efficient tax collection and management system is essential for a country’s economy. Along with exports, taxation is a major source of revenue, and without it, the government could not invest in infrastructure, social programs or compensate government officials. Sales taxes, income taxes, payroll taxes and wealth taxes are all contributions we make into the economy to improve the collective standard of living. This includes benefiting from better roads, schools, hospitals and a welfare system.
  2. Live within your means: By saving money and keeping your debt level lower than your disposable income, you will be less vulnerable to economic downturns. For example, if the sum of the outstanding balances on your credit cards, mortgage, auto loan and student loan is greater than your savings, investments and property combined, then you have a problem. It means you may have a hard time meeting your financial obligations in case of a sudden drop in house prices or an unexpected fluctuation in interest rates. Governments and financial institutions may encourage people to borrow, sometimes more than they earn, because it boosts consumption and thus production. However such policies may put the economy more at risk.
  3. Get valuable education: The education level is highly correlated to economic growth. In other words, the more skilled a population is (composed for example of engineers, physicists, agricultural biologists, construction workers, etc), the more productive, competitive and autonomous a country can be. For example, with the right expertise, food security can be ensured by boosting agricultural production; a plethora of goods can be manufactured and exported; and natural resources can be safely exploited and transformed locally. On the other hand, with not enough savoir-faire in a country, companies will tend to outsource most of their services to foreign contractors and the government will import many products at expensive prices. So by getting an education in a profession that is in demand, you will not only increase your chances of landing a highly paid job, but you may also help your country gain productivity and a strategic advantage.
  4. Consume goods and services produced locally: By choosing to buy a five-dollar t-shirt made in your country instead of the exact same t-shirt selling for one dollar but made abroad, you just made a major positive impact: the money stayed in the local economy, domestic jobs were compensated and small businesses stayed open.
  5. Elect government officials in favor of economic growth: All the advice above cannot be effective without leaders who fight corruption, foster fair trade and business agreements, promote financial transparency, support protectionist labor laws, avoid excessive public and consumer debt, engage in prudent monetary and fiscal policy making, boost job creation, ease access to education and healthcare, subsidize vital industries and help small businesses….well, you get the picture.

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