Home / Economy / Mismeasuring Local Economic Well-Being? | By Dr Zafar Altaf
Mismeasuring Local Economic Well-Being? | By Dr Zafar Altaf

Mismeasuring Local Economic Well-Being? | By Dr Zafar Altaf

The survival of the ordinary citizen in Pakistan has been in jeopardy for some time now. The crime rate increase is an indication but the government of Pakistan irrespective of evidence and visibility is bent upon calling itself a successful government. The RD being imposed on the Government by the IMF is an indication of how silly and idiotic our spending performance was and will be in the future. The budget deficit that we could not keep up was because of the spending stupidities of the government. Why could the Finance department not tell the PM that your wish horses are against the economic gain that has been built up by the economic wisdom of the international institutions? The arrest of the doctor’s dacoit in Karachi is proof of what I am saying. The man took a bhatta of only one lakh of rupees to please his fiancée. I say only one lakh but it will get less by the time dimension because the soft targets will increase and the rich targets will increase their own security thus tightening any spare resources they may have for investment. The seriousness of the issue that this poses is not very well known to analysts who dwell in a singleton domain. The PM is also in a singleton or half a singleton domain. There are serious issues in our statistical measurements. One is that we lag behind the world in reordering our requirements but the other is that our measures are not properly carried out. Even if we take the average income as measure even then there are some suppositions that need to be examined. The rupee’s purchasing power is dependent on the fairness of the market and in most peripheral areas this is almost impossible to determine. So far as integration of markets is concerned the situation is totally different. The only market that was integrated was the wheat market and that too has lost out in present times. Other goods and services are dependent on the powerful segments in the markets. There are areas where the productive capacity has been denied in favour of trading activities. This is so far as the farmer’s income generation capacity is concerned. The patterns of choice in commercial activity are so different that one sees the rural people seeking goods and services from the nearest town. Can Pakistan hold these conditions for a very successful rural or poverty related intervention? Where is the thinking in this country? I think one of the reforms that has to be done is to create a new institutional framework where the eminent people of this country are requested to frame a policy on whatever; eminent people with no conflict(s) of interest. The failures are linked to the idiotic behaviour of the ministry and related agriculture organisations. The tragedy is that once this comes through, the institutional demands will be filled with relatives and goons of the powerful persons of this country. The Planning Commission was to have fulfilled this role but they have always been a hotbed of intrigue. The current minister had promised reforms. Instead he went to the foreigners to enquire as to what we should do. The report is with the Planning Commission and secretly held in the vault. Honey and milk was supposed to flow because of that effort. What milk and what honey? Where is the milk and where is the honey? At least in India the poor boy who was sent out of McDonalds became the conscience of the civil society. The real world is different from the imaginative world of the politicians. When failure is writ large on their faces then they take on an attitude that they were intrigued against.

Any kind of poverty is very diverse and fallows from the peculiarities of the area and its resources. If the mental mindset is poor as it is of our politicians then they will throw financial resources at the options, which more often than not are not compatible with the requirements. What are the local wages and what are the local services like in these areas? That the majority do not enjoy any benefits and the tragedy is that this will not happen in the short run. The requirement for policymakers is not to show off but to do something worthwhile for the poor. The projects that were ready for the poverty-stricken areas were done away by the government. They oiled their own heels. Pakistan’s food security is dependent on Balochistan, Thar, and Cholistan. Madness starts with the extreme position that has to be taken to solve difficult positions. Thus personally one took on the salt range for sugarcane, cotton and maize production. Go there and see for yourself how successfully the locals are growing these crops, which were otherwise considered banjar qadeem. Life can move on if risks are taken. The export sector is linked to agriculture directly or indirectly as Pakistan has no engineering comparative advantage.

There are non-marketed services that sooner or later are distinct advantages to the rural people. These non-commercial activities have been usurped by the powerful urbanites. There are also these political people have gone for their insane performers. Lal Sohara Park comes to mind. Go and meet the people there and see how and what they think of the politician.

Source: http://www.brecorder.com/articles-a-letters/187:articles/1151137:mismeasuring-local-economic-well-being/?date=2015-02-14

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