Mirza Shahnawaz Agha
THE demerits of borrowing are simply known to every borrower – it does not feel good! Well that would be an incomplete article because the case in question is how does it impact a nation-state. Of all the silly things we have done from 1947 to date can be consigned to the history books of trial and error but further borrowing has to cease. It does not only feel bad it stabs the sovereignty of a nation-state to death. With death comes seizure of not only the name and game it is the people that die with their identities, values, moral and material worth. We become aliens on our own land and really worthless in our own esteem. There cannot be a more tragic demise for the human race. Let us view the factors that inflict the plight of a nation-state as a borrower: First it is ‘sociological disparity’ and the other is ‘legal inequality’. Both factors impact the economic opportunity for individuals and places corruption above merit. A confirmed idiot will often be found governing the intelligentsia in a political jurisdiction that has been inflicted with this disease. Decision-making will be based on whims and fancies of individuals and ‘researched decision making’ will be considered the assassination of egos! These are clear indicators of a society that has gone to hell or one that has not evolved in levels of civilization to wake up to these times of existence.
The workhorses and the intelligentsia both when inflicted by this typical environment slip into a state of depression get laid back and cut edges in perfecting their skills. They know that the true compensation of labor is not going to be theirs so why labor honestly, truthfully and worse skillfully. They all become what we refer to as ‘corrupt’! Being corrupt is therefore not an intrinsic trait in the human race it is an external social virus that turns a well meaning, laborious, honest and law abiding individual into a thief. So do we still need to advertise ‘say no to corruption’? There is another dimension to this social dilemma. It produces a breeding ground for personality worshipers as individually people begin to think that aligning themselves to a personality their security and livelihood needs will be fulfilled as a loyalist. You can see political workers, club members and sectarian divided hoards hanging on to personalities justifying every moral and ethical misdeed of their imam (leader). What instead ought to be is a merit based society which gets a fair compensation of labor based on merit and not the ethnic, religious or social affiliation. That is my case against classes and in consonance with our ideology. I have suggested over time therefore that our domestic administrative model ought to be based on total de-centralization of the population into urban cites operating as municipal companies and quoted on the stock exchange. They need the front end of known technology to be developed and operated. ‘Small is beautiful’! I have been suggesting a population of not more than sixty to a hundred thousand people per city and with full fiscal autarky. This will change the face of Pakistan and will become the basis for investment by the people into their cities and a sense of ownership and micro management of money and development. These cities can be placed under small administrative provinces and these can be regulators of standards, the best known to material technology.
Our home Pakistan needs to be served by governments where the internal economic model is hyper productive and the productivity ought to be based on compensation of labor by international standards. The population needs housing, clothing, education, medical care and nourishing food. This can come with industrialization and corporate agriculture and both need land as the launching pad. The question seems to surface from the availability of money to make this dream a reality. I have heard all politicians and the bureaucrats cough a single slogan: Borrow and or tax more! The fiscal generation or resource mobilization is always from within and not externally. Please walk with me on the one single factor of production called land in Pakistan and calculate just Rupees 0.03 per square foot of land in use as the bench mark for taxation, and or, a multi dimensional tax structure for land revenue from residential, commercial, industrial and agriculture lands. The calculation will yield seven times the revenue being collected by the FBR. Let all other basics like power, water gas, communication and imports be freed from all taxes and be governed by a regime of a free market economy. The result will be appalling. Feudalism will go across the board even from the public sector institutions; direct foreign investment will pour in for the duty free environment; employment will hit the optimum mark and capped by realistic social security compensation in place the buying power of the two hundred million will get established.
There is more to this but these are some basic milestones to get conquered. Towards external debt the ‘reversion to our ideology’ restricts us to treat the medium of exchange as a commodity and therefore we will need to import in our currency and export in the currency of the importer internationally. One to one! This will give birth to to a Islamic commonwealth and will cease the debt syndrome. Then another factor of our ideology warrants extending the nuclear umbrella to all Muslim dominated populations so that the economic commonwealth created will present a captive market for the industrial base that gets established in the country. This may seem like a dream being narrated to a doped listener but it had to be blurted out so that the current economic crunch we are facing gets defaced and we see a new dawn for us the people. Think dear incumbents to the public office you are hankering to get voted into. Do not borrow make alliances and do not tax us any further as there will be none to pay you. Some six hundred years ago Ibn e Khaldoon wrote in his famous Muqaddama that over taxation kills the incentive to labour!
— The writer is an entrepreneur and author based in Karachi.
Mirza Shahnawaz Agha