Treaty for the Czech Republic: The right direction for our economy should be strongly influenced by the citizens themselves

Treaty for the Czech Republic: The right direction for our economy should be strongly influenced by the citizens themselves
Treaty for the Czech Republic: The right direction for our economy should be strongly influenced by the citizens themselves

In the Czech Republic, a new non-governmental internet project, Contract for the Czech Republic, was created under the guarantee and banner of the largest media house Czech News Center. Its goal is to create a concept of the economy that makes sense and is understandable for all citizens. The best way to do this is to involve the public in a debate that directs the economy to specific priorities affecting people’s living standards.

One of the most academically successful European economists, Filip Matějka, and popular economic and political commentator Lenka Zlámalová are behind the Treaty for the Czech Republic project. “The media still has enormous power to set the agenda. Raise topics. But they don’t do that much. That’s why we thought we’d give it a try. That we will use the large impact of CNC media. And we will try to involve people to tell the politicians themselves how they imagine their future. Put together a new social contract between people and politicians. Hence the name Contract for the Czech Republic,” states Lenka Zlámalová and adds: “A similar project of the most influential German newspaper Bild, Contract for Germany, became the inspiration. It came at a time when Gerhard Schröder became chancellor during the crisis with the idea of ​​stirring up the debate on how to return the economy to prosperity again. In the following years, Schröder’s government made some of the biggest reforms in Germany in decades. If something similar could be done here, it would be great.”

The aim of the Contract for the Czech Republic project is to get as many people’s opinions as possible and then confront economists, sociologists and politicians with them in debates. “We live in a time when political decisions are often influenced by public opinion polls. We therefore want to show politicians through them what people expect, especially in the areas of pensions, healthcare and education,” states Lenka Zlámalová.

The discussion on key topics such as pensions, salaries, social benefits, prices is currently fragmented into an incomprehensible chaos of lots of conflicting ideas and details. “We would like everyone to focus on what is really important and not get lost in the little things that ultimately complicate political decision-making and worsen the outcome for the economy,” says Filip Matějka, pointing to the ongoing debate about how much debt we have due to pensioners and whether the retirement age should be raised. “But we never talk about the simple and most important thing: what for what. For example, about the fact that retiring one year earlier means that employees will have approximately CZK 1,200 less in net salary each month due to higher taxes. We should talk about this and then people will make a better decision about what to choose,” adds Filip Matějka.

The Treaty for the Czech Republic project encourages citizens to actively participate in shaping the future of the country and use their voice to promote solutions that will lead to a higher standard of living. The first topic is pensions, because we live in a time when the government debate on the reform of the pension system is expected. “We want to let people use the calculators published at and in the media to play with their ideas of what kind of pension they would like,” explains Lenka Zlámalová. I will also collaborate on the research with the Ipsos agency, which deals with work with data that serves as relevant basis for informed decisions.

Filip Matejka is a Czech economist, professor at CERGE-EI, which is a joint institution of Charles University and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. In his scientific career, he focuses on macroeconomics, political and behavioral economics.

He received his doctorate at Princeton University in the USA, and then lectured at, for example, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge. He received numerous international awards and his works are published in leading economic journals. In addition to academic work, Filip Matějka also engages in public discourse, where he focuses on the application of economic theories to explain the behavior of individuals and the state, and lectures on the complexity and impact of various political and economic measures.

Lenka Zlámalová is a Czech columnist, economist and sociologist known for her critical journalism in the field of economics and politics, especially through commentaries and analyzes of current social issues.

She has worked professionally in many leading Czech media, including MF Dnes, Respekt, Hospodářské noviny and Lidové noviny and the news server Echo24. She is currently the main commentator of the media house Czech News Center. Lenka Zlámalová also participated in the publication of economic books and is active as a commentator for Czech Radio and Czech Television.

The article is in Czech


Tags: Treaty Czech Republic direction economy strongly influenced citizens


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