Crucial aspects about economic development


Dr Zafar Altaf

Economists might feel a bit slighted if I say that economic development is not about economics alone and economists must learn to understand the elements that are there in economic development. That understanding will take a long time. In the developing world the economists are generally brained in the western theories and they lack the depth of local knowledge. Conceited, as they are and with degrees from elsewhere they romp around as if they are the cat’s whiskers, hopping around the world with another country’s agenda that is not in consonance with one’s own. Petty amounts of money have laid the developing countries bare. With the current financial crises why are the seven developed countries getting to have meetings of twenty countries the thirteen that they have called are for the financial resources that they can provide otherwise Saudi Arabia was very much on the firing line after the 9/11 episode. Why cannot USA go to the IMF for support, as they do need financial resources for the misrepresentation that they have been doing to the world and themselves. So why bail out there banking system. Let the IMF deal with it just as they did with the financial crises of the Far East.

Economists have failed to recognize equality considerations and have failed to address issues of poverty and these days they are not the solution but the problem. How will any country given its massive poverty underwrite its own solution? It cannot unless it takes on a different kind of intervention [s]. Shaukat Aziz used to gloat on his macro economic data, data that was fudged and was purposely manipulated. The forex reserves were so many billions and the growth rate was up and up only with cheat figures. The nature of growth did not create any jobs rather it held out hope when hope was already lost. Where is that stabilization that he used to gloat about? Slaves that they were they took us to the pits of the world. Stabilization requires an in depth knowledge of the underlying complex factors that caused that destabilization in the first place. Anything that requires selling of family silver has to be carefully orchestrated. Pakistan has been made to sell short in its privatization process. The result has been that precious resources created during the previous five decades or so were sold to the highest bidder in theory yet in practice that did not happen. There was lack of transparency in the privatization process. To consolidate millions of people of a population it must try and consolidate its new input as well as output prices. Domestic price stabilization factors have not been identified and as we are the lackeys of the received directions of the west we will never bring in policies that will be to the benefit of the people of Pakistan. Make no mistake for that is what we will be yelling from the rooftop. This dichotomy between the statements and the implementation process is mostly due to the economists that we have had. Somehow some one passed the knowledge that economists would be able to solve the problems of the country and that that is what started the rot.

The build up of a bureaucracy that was handmaiden to the power and vested interests of the powerful ruling autocratic system that was put in place committed the mistake of obeying all orders whether these were correct or incorrect orders. The economists had even less ability than the dishonest bureaucracy that was looking to survive the onslaught that was carried out by the military junta. Some how the feeling grew that the way to the top was to be servile to the powerful one man show and to do this it was necessary to show it by word and deed.

No one understood that the criteria imposed on the country in terms of macro economic indicators and the various tools were and continue to have minimum and limited impact. The international agencies were used to providing a straight unimagined package for implementation that had no connection with the cultural heritage or the country specific variations. No local aspect was kept in mind while providing the conditionalities to the country as if these were the only interventions that could save the country from ruin. The intentions were otherwise. The intrinsic structural issues created by the previous IMF directed polices were ignored and more of the same were applied.

There was one difference. If Pakistan played its cards according to the dictates of the western country then the nature and kind of government could be forgiven and aid could flow. This kind of governments were a poodle to the western regimes that wanted to use the country for other nefarious activities, like the fight against Russia in Afghanistan during the Zia regime or the war on terror during Musharaff’s time during which the soul of Pakistan was sold to the devil. All concepts of democracy were forgotten and the General’s one-man shows were accepted. The hypocrisy of the policy makers of the international agencies was not to be questioned. Human rights went for a six.

Successful change requires not only that the knowledge part be suitably modified but also that the science be merged wit the intuitive ability of an artist. Lacking in one or the other will not allow decent policy issues to be implemented. A combination of technocratic ability had to be tempered by and with bold leadership and an even broader social participation. Participation was there during the last nine years but that was for the powerful army personal that took away the lands from the poor and gave it to themselves. Not a word from the powerful international agencies for all of a sudden the indications given the people of the country was that these illegal occupiers of governance were actually great friends of the local people. That these were the only patriots that were available and capable of sacrifices for the country. The governance of the country was passed on to the economic hit men that were developed over the years and brain washed in the western ways. These were people like the former PM, the SBP Governor [ess] and a host of such people. The influence over top positions was called for if these western countries were to exercise influence and their own way of thinking on to Pakistan. As a result of the shift in ownership of landed assets an already skewed agrarian system was further given a twist. Massive inequalities were created and massive regional discords were sown. The short term and myopic policies led to further schisms in the system. Pakistani’s continue to be taken up the garden path and a measure of the massive creation of uncertainty is carried no to the economic issues but new one are raised as if to say ‘how dare you stand up, a lesson would be taught you and your country’.

Maps are touted around when al these discrepancies were and are due to the blind following the blind. Does the economy need financial resources from abroad? What good would that do unless the structural issues as understood by the local wisdom were not addressed. Is there a basis for self-reliance here? Yes there is. The sooner the wisdom of one’s own action is understood the sooner we would be a proud nation in the complex world of the developing countries.

Should Pakistan demand what is due to it? Is there anything due as of right to Pakistan? If such a demand were made then the illusion of independence would be furthered. Are we lackeys of some outdated thinking in the west? Look around you especially those that have prostituted this country, those whose assts are not commensurate with their abilities and see what kind of benefits they have been taking. It would then be possible to see what kind of criminals have been in policy making. Take care and if you are unable to comprehend what has been stated take a journey to the poorer areas of Pakistan. Perceive for yourself. If you are limited to your life by your conveniences and the lies that the various governments have been passing on to you and if you have forgotten the ability to question and find the answers then your life is wasted in the service of this country. The illusion of development that we have been made to understand by the likes of the previous regimes has led to the current impasse.

Do you ant more of the East Pakistan recipe? If not then play your part in the governance of this country in which no personal benefits are sought but the welfare of the poor of this country.

Source: Pakistan Observer, 30/11/2008

 

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