About Lebanese Economy
“The countries which do not have natural resources to draw from their soil, it is necessary to give them economic freedom for wealth. Otherwise, how would they live?
What misery would theirs be without all the resources of intelligence?
This is the case in Lebanon, in the most striking way; and that’s what makes it necessary to defend freedom here as others defend their gold mines, their oil fields, their rubber plantations, or their cotton fields.
A Lebanese government must always tell itself that the Lebanese must not be made men who, fearing to possess visible wealth because they fear tax persecution, only want the movable and secret form of wealth, its moving and wandering form.
Lebanon is, in its kind and in its small size, a unique country in the world. It calls for a particular understanding because its destiny is precisely an “out of series” destiny.
The scientific arsenal of the economists of the universe may seem illusory and vain for a country like ours; we are sufficiently economists and financiers ourselves to be able to bear witness to this forcefully.
The last fault to be committed here is to want to model, for taxation and finance, on countries where the exceptional case of Lebanon is unknown; or should we start using the foreign “technician” with a course in geography and history?
The first capital of the Lebanese, in matters of economy and finance, is not money, it is intelligence; it is intelligence and it is the speed of movement. One does not track down without madness, one does not impose without extreme moderation a capital like that. It is not a Lebanese financier (especially in charge of public finances) to ignore that, out of ten Lebanese, nine (and a fraction) live beyond their material means by counting on their intellectual means.
Many Lebanese earn only because they spend. The first valid laws for the Lebanese are those of psychology, before those of arithmetic. You have to be very careful about that”.
Michel Chiha, 1944.