Shaukat M Zafar
THE system of capitalism is based exclusively on earning highest profit controlled by private owners instead of common man’s need. Capitalism without any oversight has become an evil, brutish, uncivilised and destructive system which has created the extreme rich and the extreme working poor classes – completely eating up white collar middle class. It has pushed country to an unsustainable path.
Disparity, unemployment and poverty has grown and deepened at an alarming pace after adoption of unchecked open market system in Pakistan. Most of our national assets have been siphoned off by the ruling people in the name of ‘liberalisation and privatisation’. A mountain of debt has been raised for the poor people of Pakistan to pay in decades and decades to come whereas the system has produced mountains of wealth for the rich to hide in Swiss Banks and behind offshore companies. Now in the name of ‘avoiding default’ the people of Pakistan will have to face new rounds of extremely harsh brutal policies time and again. The budgets in coming years will hardly be able to meet the expenditure on debt servicing. The multi-billionaire looters and plunderers themselves are worried about indigestible inequality that is getting harder and harder to stomach by the poor due to their unprecedented wealth grab on a grotesque scale. In spite of all fears in their mind, the worried elite are not prepared to end their corruption and to pay a bit more tax.
Inequality in income and wealth has ballooned to an unacceptable extent. Capitalism is collapsing everywhere in the world. The recent crisis in the European countries like Greece, Italy and Portugal etc. and occupy wall street movement in US provides the ample evidence that the Capitalist system has utterly failed and needs to be discarded and overthrown. While the foundations of Capitalism are trembling worldwide, our leaders are trying their utmost to keep it alive, at any cost, to safeguard their own interests. There is ample evidence that the capitalism has created structural incentives for graft and malfeasance for the ruling people. Bribes have simply become the currency of everyday transactions.
Unfortunately majority of Pakistanis are unaware of the extreme disparities caused by this unregulated profit incentive of capitalism. Pakistan is currently in a very bad state. After years of this forced austerity system imposed by the successive greedy ruling people, our economy continues to sink at a very rapid pace and people are bleeding to death. Most of the people are without basics like healthy food, clean water, quality low cost education and healthcare, power and electricity, affordable housing, transportation, a clean and healthy environment, and good public employment opportunities etc; what to say about their access to other luxurious items the rich are enjoying.
Blind greed has taken over the economy of the country. A few are prospering at the expense of all others through corruption, fraud, deception, intimidation, domination, or oppression. The private entities have such a lock upon our successive governments and its other institutions that they are now absolutely free to plunder us and our resources at will and hide their un-taxed profits abroad in shape of offshore bank accounts or real estate. The capitalism has now become a curse upon us. Unregulated capitalists are now our masters. The current regimes are inherently absolutely undemocratic. No government has realized that a business exists only to earn profits for its owners but the basic function of the government is to keep alive the level playing field amongst the citizens so that no individual or business could take unfair advantage of others. Unfortunately the current monetary system prevailing in the country, beneficial only to its owners, is rapidly bankrupting our nation. We are, without any iota of doubt, victims of terrible national leadership. Democracy in the country is dead.
The word ‘democracy’ has lost its meaning in Pakistan. Under this so called open market system, nobody has the right to exist in the country except the wealthy, and all rights are reserved for the rich. We need to hold our governments accountable for the decision we know are not in our best interest. We should struggle collectively to end crony government corruption in the guise of liberalization of economy and privatisation — the collusion of big businessmen, front men and special interest groups. We need to save our exceptional country at any cost.
— The writer is q former banker based in Islamabad.