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Showing posts from February, 2015

Beyond begging and Taxing!!

I for one am ashamed of our constant begging. How do you feel when you see the PM sitting in front of Gulf Sheikhs (with countries the size of Gulberg) begging supposedly on your behalf?.
Meanwhile our analysts have only one refrain “tax more”. They can’t seem to think independently of donors who employ them as consultants on trifling contracts. I have in other writings that donor claims on taxation are misguided economics.
They point to our deficits arising from the government’s incompetence and self-aggrandizement a reason to tax the people of Pakistan more. As a further reason for taxing us more they point to the abysmal level of public service here. They fail to see that the government has no motivation to provide us public service as it is preoccupied with self-aggrandizement and useless mega projects for ‘unknown’ reasons.
We do have a national employment emergency. The youth of our nation constitute over 50% of our labor force need jobs and the economy is not growing fast enough…

Bikes, Density and Cars

Lord Keynes in a famous statement said that “Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back” It is not surprising to know that nowhere is this statement more true than in Pakistan. We are really a sucker for this so called “best practice” never even questioning the possibility that new thinking may have overtaken such “best practice”.
Now we are into designing the most expensive public transport system of metro-buses stretching 20+ miles across the city without thinking of options and without even a discussion on a proper feasibility. In a rush to build these we have generously committed public funds in a plethora of contracts that represent future guarantees and commitments of the exchequer.
Could there have been other approaches? This was never considered.

Before metrob…

Building Social Capital!

The Framework for Economic Growth (FEG) that was approved by the National Economic Council in 2011-12 was never seriously pursued by the bureaucracy and has since fallen into disuse (never discarded through due process) was a program of reform for unleashing the productive potential latent in the economy. FEG importantly noted the development of the much neglected area of “social capital” as an important cornerstone of the reform program.
“Social Capital” is the potential for collective action among groups and individuals in society. It implies a high degree of trust, networking ability and capacity for teamwork and collaboration. For example it was the collaboration capacity among the US research and university system that gave birth to the internet. The industrial revolution and the success of Europe in attaining economic advance and conquering the world has been attributed to the development of network of merchant towns and collaborative science across Western Europe.
In Pakistan rel…