It is a well-established fact that most issues in the Iranian society are politicized in one way or another. That is, it is virtually impossible to get involved with most issues in practice without having to either directly work through government offices or, relatively indirectly, deal with government officials. This has made virtually all talk and business, from matters of economy to sports to religion and daily personal affairs, political issues. It has also made the political venue the major and most often the only venue for doing things in the country. What has caused this state of affair is a tedious subject for historians and sociologists, but what consequences this has for the well-being of the Iranian society is of utmost importance to the lives of even those who wish to lead a most ordinary life.
Politics is an institution whose major purpose is to allocate social powers. This it does according to some framework, which would shape its character to be anything from dictatorial or totalitarian to democratic. But the most important feratures of this institution versus other instiutions of the society, such as economy and business, when it comes to doing things on the scale of a society are not its framework or its character. The most important common features of all political institutions of various frameworks and chatacters are:
(1) They are categorical; that is, things are done not through incremental processes, which for instance underlie a marketplace, but through categorical rulings of one kind or another. This is as true of a democracy as it is true of a dicatorship.
(2) They constitute almost always a zero-sum game; that is, political powers are acquired by some at the expense of others who lose those powers. Again this is true in a democracy as well as in a dictatorship. The difference between the two frameworks is just in how much anyone loses or gains. This is also in sharp contrast to the economical processes, in which it is possible for everyone to lose or gain overall. In other words, the political powers of the members of a society are always relative to each other, while their economic powers can be given an absolute sense with regards to, say, the conditions and the environment they live in.
These two features make the political institution the worst possible venue for doing many things in any society with any framework of politics, especially if those things are economic in nature or the private business of the members of the society.
Unfortunately the Iranian society not only has fallen in the trap of an all-dominating politics, but also it has done little to enable itslef to get out of this trap. To do so, any society will need enough people with reasonable training in social sciences, and most importantly economics, business, and law to show the way out. It is another well-established fact that the Iranian society severly lacks such trained economists, businessmen, and lawyers. A look at the list of authors of this weblog, for example, shows that most of them are pursuing their studies in, or have studied, hard sciences even though their presence here is testament to an inherent interest in issues commonly discussed in humanites and social sciences. Another look at the category archives of this weblog shows the huge imbalance towards political subjects.
To make matters worse the general education that the most brilliant minds of the Iranian society receive has almost nothing in way of economic training or legal and social systems. Most such minds are led by public and family opinions and the miserably low quality of concentrations and majors in humanities in high schools and universities towards math and natural sciences and engineering. They look down on courses on humanities (and for good reason, since they contain almost no useful and real information) and shun their peers who choose such concentrations and majors.
I do not know how we can invert this trend, but I do know that it will never get us to a better future. The Iranian society is in urgent need of developing a mass of people educated in social sciences and, in my opinion, most importantly economists, businessmen, and lawyers. When a critical mass of such people is developed, it will have a chance at a better future when the first venue that comes to mind for doing something and achieveing a goal is not through the categorical and lose-win venues of an all-too-often disastrous politics.