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Showing posts from June, 2016

The Urban Sprawl

With Waqas Younas Cities are often a reflection of their zoning codes. Unfortunately, in Pakistan citizens never have any say in how their cities and towns are designed. The width of our streets, height of our homes, size of building lots, amount of space reserved for pedestrians, even the reason we cannot operate a donut store in our garage are all dictated by zoning regulations. Bad zoning codes result in sprawl – and sprawl make societies worse off. According to urbanist Charles Montgomery, sprawls result in bad health, little trust and low social capital. Moreover, people living in sprawls are less likely to volunteer, vote and even join political parties. Therefore bad zoning codes result in miserable communities and they are affecting our cities too. But how do our zoning codes and misuse of land result in sprawl? First of all, our zoning codes discourage mixed-use and high-rise development. There are no apartment buildings with shops and offices near even within such buildings.…

Why does Pakistan economy not grow at a rate required by our demographics?

Pakistan economy grows in spurts. Pakistan has a young population is that needs employment. 
"Given the youth bulge that Paksitan is going through till 2050, the economy needs to at a sustained rate of 8% per annum for the next 30 years" Framework of Economic Growth of the Planning Commission 2011.
Questions discussed are:
What can we learn from the growth experience of the world? The importance of the software of growth--institutions and what institutions are? what is the the geography of growth The preoccupation fo our rulers with "hardware"--projects and aid.
Anjum and Nadeem Discuss many aspects of growth policy and literature while also discussing why Paksitan does not attained the required sustained growth. 
An important subject to which we will return again and again. 

Why Pakistan economy is not growing at potential

This episode is dedicated to the architects of Planning commission and the early growth model in Paksitan: Zahid Husain and Said Hasan

 We return to the subject of growth with Atif Mian, one of Paksitan's brightest economists. He now holds that Theodore Wells Professorship at Princeton.

Like we argued in our earlier episode (number 4) growth underlies everything and is an important subject that we must understand better. We will keep returning to this subject with Paksitan's key economists to share with you as many informed opinions as we can.

Today it is a pleasure to welcome one of Pakistan's brightest young economists Atif Mian who has achieved a chaired professorship in Princeton and written an excellent book entitled "House of Debt." Everyone must listen to Atif on this important subject. We certainly hope that even policymakers will listen and learn.

Questions addressed are:
How has Paksitan grown in comparison to its peers?
What has kept Pakistan back?
I…

Analyzing economic research in Pakistan

Anjum and Nadeem discuss economic research in Paksitan. Questions examined are:
What is driving research?  How relevant has it been to the larger problems facing Paksitan? Is research affecting policy? Where is the demand for research?  Where is research funding?  Does the funding drive research issues and agenda?
Should the government define a role for itself in research?  Should the government fund more research?

What is corruption?

We discuss with Farooq Suleria a Scholar teaching at SOAS his research on corruption. The discussion focusses on how to define and study corruption. 
Should we really be worried about mere bribe-taking or should the use of money to win government favors and shape government policy also be included?  Is the business of ranking and measuring corruption biased to making poor countries appear more corrupt than they are? Is it mere lack of institutions and poor governance that is being measured as corruption?  Legalized corruption si seldom discussed. Is that why the west appears less corrupt since rentsseking has been legislated? 
Various types of corruption are discussed. This is a topic that affects Pakistan deeply. We urge researchers to listen to this discussion and develop further research in this area. 

Democracy needs checks and balances

Since 1977 the struggle between democracy and martial law has stunted our national political debate to a binary: democracy or martial law. Proponents of democracy talk of not criticizing democracy for fear of another martial law. Those who support military intervention think of the military coming in to clean out the system which, is seen to be taking care of past corruption and then restarting the system with a fresh election to allow the same people in again.
The incumbent government too tames the opposition within the parliament and outside by scaring them with the possibility of return to military rule. Their cry is “leave our misrule alone or the army may take over and return you to dictatorship.”
Proponents further argue that if the system is allowed to run for a long time repeated elections will act as a filter to produce good governance. They have a hard time explaining the 6 election since Zia which have brought back PPP and PMLN despite their many failures. The system see…