Economy in doldrums | Pakistan Today

Stripping away complex terminology and the views of experts, it’s clear that Pakistan’s economy is struggling due to a significant gap between high consumption and low production rates. The vast disparity between the upper class’s excessive lifestyle and the lower class’s lack of productivity worsens the situation, leading to a steady drop in economic performance and stability.

With its roots in capitalism, Pakistan carries the burdens of a developing agricultural nation since its independence. The main challenges for a failing economy typically include economic downturns, unexpected crises such as climatic events, geopolitical conflicts, and health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as surging inflation and decreasing purchasing power among citizens. Government missteps further exacerbate the impact of these factors due to shortsighted economic strategies that benefit a wealthy few while disenfranchising the needy majority.

Narratives of economic success stories, such as Singapore’s remarkable transformation under Lee Kuan Yew’s leadership or South Korea’s impressive rise as demonstrated in the “Miracle on the Han River,” contrast sharply with examples like North Korea’s suppressive regime. In some countries, corrupt practices see the rich profiting illegally, such as in Zimbabwe where former President Mugabe won a national lottery organized by a state-affiliated bank. This goes to show that priorities and leadership play pivotal roles in the direction an economy takes.

Reflecting on the insights from Dr. Ishrat Hussain in his work, “Governing the Ungovernable,” Pakistan was once on par with nations on the brink of developed status. According to Dr. Hussain, Pakistan’s governance is straightforward due to the modest needs of its people who are often unaware of their constitutional rights to basic services. While the wealthy enjoy ever-greening privileges, the general public remains ignorant of its rights.

The stagnation in Pakistan’s economy is attributed to several factors. The common people are neither empowered nor engaged, economic control is held by the elite class, regulatory policies are short-sighted and lack penalties for illegal market activities, and there’s been a failure to shift from an agricultural to a more efficient and productive industrial economy.

A thriving economy depends on a skilled labor force, a competitive free market environment, and the full participation of all individuals, including women. The scars of past recessions linger, yet other economies have recovered from similar setbacks, while Pakistan continues to seek IMF bailouts, raising questions about its economic policy effectiveness.

With a modest GDP and a limited growth rate, Pakistan’s economy is further strained by its rapidly growing population, budget deficits, dwindling foreign reserves, and a lack of foreign investments. Frequent changes in finance ministers, along with the predominant ‘Daronomics’, suggest that the country’s financial roadmaps are not leading to prosperity. Political instability hampers necessary economic transformation and growth.

Amusingly, even if economist Adam Smith were to manage Pakistan’s finances, he would likely struggle due to the outdated and inefficient economic policies that don’t align with the modern global landscape.

How can Pakistan forge a path to a more stable economic future? Learning from the reference to Adam Smith, without the establishment of practical, long-term, and comprehensive economic strategies, and without fostering financial empowerment and a commitment to home-grown development, Pakistan’s economic issues will persist. Change requires education for all, empowering the agricultural sector, and evolving from a job-dependent to an entrepreneurial mindset.

To unlock the potential of Pakistan’s economy, the public must be galvanized, women must be integrated, and interference from the elites and military must be minimized. Frequent government intervention can often obstruct crucial progress. Embracing technology and innovative approaches like biotechnology, vertical farming, and other modern practices may help Pakistan achieve its goals for growth, development, and prosperity. Ultimately, robust economic policies and visionary leadership are essential for propelling the nation towards success.

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