Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Employment in Syria

The current debacle that is wikileaks and the cables quoted regarding Syria, reminded me of the sad state of affairs that is the job market in Syria.  Syria is, nominally, a socialist state.  The government has nationalised any successful sector of the economy, resulting in the usual consequences of such actions: inefficiencies, shoddy work, high unemployment among males.  All successful business people take their money out of the country, returning for the minimal amount of time to maintain residency so that they can use cheap labour and make more money to send out of the country.  They avoid paying taxes at all costs.  The only guaranteed employment is in the military, service in which is compulsory.  Bright young men avoid military service as long as possible by earning certificates in as many occupations as they can (foreign languages, etc).  Syrians are highly entrepreneurial and open small shops in the souks, small businesses such as car repair, charcoal making, sheepskin tanning, farming, tourist support,  taxi driving, bureaucrats, as well as highly skilled artisans, etc.  Below are some photos of people working very hard to earn a living in a country where doing it is very difficult.

Making charcoal near Serjilla
Tanning sheepskins
Taxis waiting for business at the bus depot
Small businesses at the border with Lebanon
Oud player in Aleppo
Deliveries to merchants in the souk, Aleppo

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