Stories about economy

‘Metronomics’ in Lahore: We may be heading for an ‘F’

What brings economic progress to a country? Social scientists have argued for good institutions, trade-suited geographical placement, favourable climatic conditions, cultural homogeneity among a country’s peoples, and – lo and behold – even their superior genetic makeup. Yet, no sociologist has suggested relegating the laws of economics to history’s waste bin. Endowments of nature (such as those listed above) are important indeed, but their apt utilisation (good economics) is much more important. Fiscally speaking, any new project a public official decides to pursue needs a thorough pre-evaluation by experts. Economists have tools to compare a given project’s usefulness to other potential ones. ...

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What if there was a blanket ban on advertisements in Pakistan?

Everywhere we turn, all we see is advertising; on the television, the radio, newspapers, magazines and social media. What with all the hoardings everywhere, buildings are no longer recognisable. Motorists are continuously bombarded with blown up images of different products and photoshopped models, trying to get them to pay attention to what they’re selling instead of what is on the road in front of them. And just when we began to think that the giant, teetering, 3D monstrosities on our billboards were the limit, advertisements started to grow, like mushrooms, on green belts, dividers and roundabouts, and hang like bats from ...

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Why Obama’s America needs Modi’s India

India’s image has altered considerably over the past few years in the eyes of the Western world due to the increasing influence with regards to global economic growth, steady consolidation with the international market economy, orientation of nuclear weapons, delivery capability of national defence strategies and effective introduction of new technologies of communication. In order to pursue its interest of maintaining its status as a super power, America needs to sustain long lasting and strong relationships with India. By calling India a ‘very important strategic partner’, the US hopes the new Indian government will help in the sustenance of their ‘enduring partnership’. The support and cooperation of India’s new Prime ...

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Dear finance minister, your new budget is killing us

Dear Finance Minister, I belong to the class of ‘common men’; some people also call us ‘mango men’ or ‘aam admi’. Ours is a species that is found in abundance everywhere in Pakistan. If you ever look out of your bullet proof BMW, you will notice one of my fellow beings selling something or the other on a footpath. We are also found polishing shoes, unloading trucks, offering window covers during a traffic signal, pouring hot tea in a cup at a tea stall, pushing a fruit or vegetable cart or driving a donkey cart loaded with a number of things. There ...

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Will Modi be able to make peace with Pakistan?

This is the first time since 1994 that a Pakistani head of state, during his trip to India, did not meet any separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir. During his two-day-long stay in New Delhi last week, prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, confined himself to conversations only with the Indian leadership. Is this a change in Pakistan’s policy towards Kashmir? We all know the answer. For Islamabad, Kashmir is very much an inalienable part of its foreign policy and domestic agenda. However, Nawaz understands that raking up controversial issues only accentuates the differences between the two nations. It leads to the wastage of ...

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Definition of a ‘traitor’ in Pakistan: An honest army general

Pervez Musharraf’s indictment in the high treason case has opened up a Pandora ’s Box; with this, our corrupt politicians will no longer fear an army clamp down on their evil doings, only because now they know that the judiciary already provides complete shelter to their corrupt practices. The army will obviously stay away regardless of how much the public may plead. But this is what Pakistan wants, right? This indictment will also ensure that the title of ‘traitor’ is exclusively reserved for an honest army general who sent a group of corrupt politicians packing, gave strength to a failing state by giving ...

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The memory of partition must become invalid now

During our Aman Chaupal initiative, where we invite a representative from Pakistan to interact with students in India, this time I got the opportunity to meet Mr Aamir Nawaz. Nawaz is the president and artistic director of the MAAS Foundation, a leading theatre group of Pakistan which showcases plays on several social themes. One of their prominent themes is Indo-Pak issues. As a part of the Aman Chaupal, we showed the video of one of MAAS’s plays to students of the South Asian University (SAU), which was followed by a discussion on the theme of the play. The play, named Permasher Singh, was based on ...

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Banish the CII

In a more civilised society where progress is equated with innovation, technological advancement and competitiveness, the recent ‘suggestions’ put forth by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and its band of brothers would certainly have been political suicide. This ‘advisory’ body – which has remained dormant until its ineptness surfaced – has proved itself to only serve as a control mechanism as to how people should live and conduct their lives, as is the case with all religiously sanctioned forums. The clerics, who constitute the CII, and many of their kind elsewhere, have served one and one purpose only: societal control for self-fulfilment. Because ...

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Should we be concerned about the almighty dollar game?

As someone who works in the finance industry, I am frequently asked, at social events, about where I think the dollar is headed. Although I’m not sure if people are genuinely showing interest in our economy or just trying to count their dollars their loved ones sent them from abroad. Regardless of their reasons, I value their intrigue nonetheless. The greenback affects our lives whether we like it or not. Pakistan looks to the US for just about everything – aid, trade, political arm twisting, you name it. So it’s important to understand how our economy reacts to the dollar game. But whether ...

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Pakistani housewives and the economy: Converting rupees to dollars… for handbags

A couple of days ago I was confronted by an alarming fact. I was sitting with a group of housewives and was told that every month, 30% of those present, converted their pin money into US dollars every month. I was so surprised that I blurted, “But why do you do that?” One of the housewives replied very innocently, “Well, every year when we go on holiday, I buy myself a handbag. Recently, I realised that the value of the dollar is going up and I end up paying more PKR for a handbag each year. So now I just convert my savings into US dollars each month.” What ...

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