Two weeks ago we had a guest speaker Dr. Akber Zaidi a renowned economist who came to TIP to speak about development. As good as the talk may have been, for many of us it was like someone had flipped open the top of one’s head and filled it with rushes of factual data.
A report on world development report published by the World Bank in 1991 stated:
“The challenge of development is to improve the quality of life. Especially in the world’s poor countries, a better quality of life generally calls for higher income s- but it involves much more. It encompasses as ends in themselves better education, higher standards of health and nutrition, less poverty, a cleaner environment, more equality of opportunity, greater individual freedom, and a richer cultural life.”
In another report by M.P. Todaro on world economic development in 1995:
“Development must represent the whole gamut of change by which an entire social system, tuned to the diverse basic needs and desires of individuals and social groups within that system, moves away from a condition of life widely perceived as unsatisfactory towards a situation or condition of life regarded as materially and spiritually better.”
Unless if you read the above very carfully, you will be confused. Very confused, as am I. This was what Dr. Akber wanted us to get out of his talk.
Well lets not get more confused and come down to talking about it in our own words.. Who doesn’t want the military rule to end? Most of us here do, but I simply don’t because, frankly, is there another option? Ok lets not even go there (democracy is our choice, robbing us is theirs…).
The data sheet provided to us was at least 5 years old if I’m not mistaken. And in 5 years a whole political system changes and were blaming Mr. Musharraf? Only 7 years ago Mr. Musharraf had just come into power and the effect of the military coup was still fresh.
While we were partying our very own president was behind bars hopefully singing “Invisible Sun” by The Police (quoted at the beginning of this column) – the point is that while we are far behind our very neighbor for basic reasons such as India is at least 7 times larger and isn’t developed, but its also that their government is much more stronger than ours.
Where our speaker said that we are spending a little too much on defense and that is what we have for the past god-knows-how-many years it is cause of our sub-continental pride we somehow have and have been at war with them since eternity and as they say China and India are the next super powers hopefully by 2025, hmn I’m feeling a lil’ bit vulnerable (aren’t you?). I’m seeing us as the next South America by 2030.
I agree it is a bit too much and wrong to spend our parents’ money on arms and ammunitions (sounds scary remember the government campaign “say no to guns”?) if it would have been given to us we could have at least bought a pair of designer jeans or 2 decent meals for a whole semester man I hate taxes the opportunity cost to it is so high.
Enough digression. What Mr. Musharraf has to foster is coming to peace with India in someway to reduce conflicts regarding Kashmir issue and others so that he may divert public spending to other sectors. Time is what it needs my friend everything cannot just happen over night after all Rome wasn’t built in a day and it will take Pakistan some time to get there. So don’t loose hope its us who will and can make a change so don’t think of packing your bags up and being on the next flight to foreign lands seeking a better life cause then you’ll be no different than our politicians.
I must say the report was very confusing as it showed percentage spending on health, education and defense, just think 10% of Pakistan’s budget spending on defense and 10% of India’s budget how different would the amounts be? We are a developing nation and so is India the only difference is that India is developing faster and Bangladesh is too and it has been at peace with India since for a long time.
My aim was just to facilitate your knowledge on what was presented in front of us, as good as it was it shouldn’t rob us of our ability to think and assess (and that was what I think Dr. Akber want us to do). Indeed development has a very individualistic approach and economists themselves have been on very shaky grounds with each other where each individual has a different opinion. Dr. Akber’s being more of an unpromising future well that is how most of ours is. So if you think they’re only going to change this place by killing everybody in the human race and they would kill me for a cigarette well I don’t want to die just yet. Until next time Auf Wiedersehen.
I don’t want to spend the rest of my life
Looking at the barrel of an armalite
I don’t want to spend the rest of my days
Keeping out of trouble like the soldiers say
I don’t want to spend my time in hell
Looking at the walls of a prison cell
I don’t ever want to play the part
Of a statistic on a government chart
Invisible Sun, The Police