Tag Archives: Economics

The Costs of Capitalism’s Crisis: Who Will Pay?

Economics Professor Richard Wolff details the problems of capitalism and urges our recognizing its obsolescence and replacing it with institutions that truly serve the people.

Talk at Church of All Souls in New York City, January 24, 2012. Camera, audio: Joe Friendly.

Read more » YouTube

Pakistan’s rush for more bombs – why?

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Excerpts;

….. In the military’s mind, the Americans are now a threat, equal to or larger than India. They are also considered more of an adversary than even the TTP jihadists who have killed thousands of Pakistani troops and civilians. While the Salala incident was allowed to inflame public opinion, the gory video-taped executions of Pakistani soldiers by the TTP were played down. A further indication is that the LeT/JuD is back in favor (with a mammoth anti-US and anti-India rally scheduled in Karachi next month). Pakistani animosity rises as it sees America tightly embracing India, and standing in the way of a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. Once again “strategic defiance” is gaining ground, albeit not through the regional compact suggested by General Mirza Aslam Beg in the early 1990s.

This attitudinal shift has created two strong non-India reasons that favour ramping up bomb production.

First, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are seen to be threatened by America. This perception has been reinforced by the large amount of attention given to the issue in the US mainstream press, and by war-gaming exercises in US military institutes. Thus, redundancy is considered desirable — an American attempt to seize or destroy all warheads would have smaller chances of success if Pakistan had more.

But such an attack is improbable. It is difficult to imagine any circumstances — except possibly the most extreme — in which the US would risk going to war against another nuclear state. Even if Pakistan had just a handful of weapons, no outside power could accurately know the coordinates of the mobile units on which they are located. It is said that an extensive network of underground tunnels exists within which they can be freely moved. Additionally, overground ones are moved from place to place periodically in unmarked trucks. Mobile dummies and decoys can hugely compound difficulties. Moreover, even if a nuclear location was exactly known, it would surely be heavily guarded. This implies many casualties when intruding troops are engaged, thus making a secret bin-Laden type operation impossible.

The second – and perhaps more important — reason for the accelerated nuclear development is left unstated: nukes act as insurance against things going too far wrong. Like North Korea, Pakistan knows that, no matter what, international financial donors will feel compelled to keep pumping in funds. Else a collapsing system may be unable to prevent some of its hundred-plus Hiroshima-sized nukes from disappearing into the darkness.

This insurance could become increasingly important as Pakistan moves deeper into political isolation and economic difficulties mount. Even today, load-shedding and fuel shortages routinely shut down industries and transport for long stretches, imports far exceed exports, inflation is at the double-digit level, foreign direct investment is negligible because of concerns over physical security, tax collection remains minimal, and corruption remains unchecked. An African country like Somalia or Congo would have sunk under this weight long ago.

To conclude: throwing a spanner in the works at the CD (Geneva) may well be popular as an act of defiance. Indeed, many in Pakistan — like Hamid Gul and Imran Khan — derive delicious satisfaction from spiting the world in such ways. But this is not wise for a state that perpetually hovers at the edge of bankruptcy, and which derives most of its worker remittances and export earnings from the very countries it delights in mocking.

To read complete article »  The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/328922/pakistans-rush-for-more-bombs–why/

The Muslims in al-Qaeda are our brethren, says the top Jamaat-i-Islami ideologue Prof. Khurshid Ahmad

By Shakil Chaudhary and Mohammad Shehzad

Islamabad, December 15: Prof. Khurshid Ahmad is the top ideologue and vice-president of Jamaat-i-Islami. He is the chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad and the founder of the Islamic Foundation, Liester, England. He was born on March 23, 1932, in Delhi. He holds a bachelor’s in law and jurisprudence, master’s in economics and Islamic studies, and an honorary doctorate in Islamic economics conferred by the International Islamic University, Malaysia.

In an exclusive with Shakil Chaudhary and Mohammad Shehzad for http://www.pol-dev.com, Prof. Ahmad answered a number of questions concerning the JI’s politics and its credentials as a moderate Islamist party. For example, after the 9/11, the former JI Amir Qazi Hussain Ahmad stated that al-Qaeda was a figment of the Americans’ imagination. On the contrary, the then JI Secretary General Syed Munawar Hassan, the current chief of the party, said that al-Qaeda leaders were our brethren (Nawa-i-Waqt, October 13, 2002).

Commenting on these statements, Prof. Ahmad said: ‘There is no contradiction between the two. The Muslims in al-Qaeda are our brethren. ….

Read more » The Politics & Development Magazine

The season of revolts – By:Arif Ansar

Excerpt;

But the winter of discontent is still far off

The Arab Spring is now well underway and appears to have spread to other continents as well. Early signs of a European Spring are visible in UK and Greece, and there is an American version in the form of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Meanwhile, Anna Hazare provided a glimpse of how an Indian Spring may look like. The underpinnings of these protests may be different but at a broader level they signify the widening gulf between governments and their citizenry. In other words, hidden in these protests is a modern crisis of the nation-state system.

What triggered these public uprisings is hotly debated. However, in the context of the Arab world and Pakistan, the WikiLeaks disclosures may have played a major role. These secrets revealed how governments are playing a duplicitous role, especially about their dealings with the US. ….

…. Like many other outcomes of the linked and globalised world, these public revolts are also transnational in nature. There appears to be two contradictory forces at work: on the one hand the technological advancements and social media are making the borders increasingly irrelevant, and on the other, worsening economics is causing nationalism to resurge. The future of nation-sate structure is dependent on how it reconciles the pulls and tugs that emanate from within, with those that act upon it from outside.

To read complete article » Pakistan Today

Clinton: U.S. must put economics at center of foreign policy

By CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty

(CNN) — The United States must position itself to lead in a world “where security is shaped in boardrooms and on trading floors — as well as on battlefields,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will say Friday in a major economics and foreign policy speech in New York.

Economic forces, Clinton will say, are transforming foreign policy realities around the globe.

“We have seen governments toppled by economic crisis,” a text of the Secretary’s remarks released by the State Department on the eve of the speech reads. “Revolutions born in a Tunisian marketplace have swept across an entire region. Europe faces its strongest test in a generation, thanks to recession and debt. And everywhere I travel, I see countries gaining influence not because of the size of their armies, but because of the growth of their economies.”

Clinton will say she is updating U.S. foreign policy priorities to include economics “every step of the way,” suggesting the United States should take a cue from the leaders of emerging powers like India and Brazil who put economics at the center of their foreign policies.

“When their leaders approach a foreign policy challenge — just as when they approach a domestic challenge — one of the first questions they ask is, ‘how will this affect our economic growth?'” the text of the speech says. “We need to be asking the same question — not because the answer will dictate our foreign policy choices, but because it must be a significant part of the equation.”

In the address before the Economic Club of New York, the fourth in a series of speeches Secretary Clinton is giving on economics and foreign policy, she will say the world’s “strategic and economic center of gravity is shifting east” and the United States is focusing more on the Asia-Pacific region.

“One of America’s great successes of the past century was to build a strong network of relationships and institutions across the Atlantic,” she says. “One of our great projects in this century will be to do the same across the Pacific.”

The United States should help other countries find economic solutions to strategic challenges, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, she says. “We need a sophisticated effort to integrate the region’s economies, promote investment and assist in economic modernization. The Arab political Awakening must also be an economic awakening.”

Clinton takes aim at Americans who would turn inward, arguing “you can’t call ‘time out’ in the global economy. Our competitors aren’t taking a time out, and neither can we.”

Increasingly, the United States is focusing on “tracking and thwarting” the financiers of terrorism, using sanctions and other economic tools to cut repressive regimes off from insurance, banking and shipping, Clinton says.

Finally, Clinton says, the United States is “modernizing (its) agenda on trade, investment and commercial diplomacy to deliver jobs and growth for the American people.”

But the United States cannot compete, she says, if it is frozen in domestic political fights.

“Washington has to end the culture of political brinksmanship — which, I can tell you, is raising questions around the world about our leadership.”

Courtesy: CNN

Freedom from darkness by Nadeem F. Paracha

Dear Pakistani Muslim brethren (and sisterren who became breteren), our armed forces have been fighting a war on two fronts. One is against corrupt civilian politicians, who want us to submit our sovereignty to Christian/Jew/McDonalds America and Hindu India, and one against uncircumcised Hindu/Christian/Atheist /Jain men posing to be Muslim warriors.

In this day and age of utter chaos and confusion in our Islamic republic, it is the duty of patriotic Pakistanis to continue informing their young compatriots as to why this country was formed.

There is so much these days out there in the electronic media and the cyber world about Pakistan, but unfortunately a lot of it is squarely aimed at confusing our young generations and making them rebel against their land’s ideology.

Dear compatriots, I must remind you that Pakistan came into being, first and foremost, to challenge the hegemony of the West, especially the United States.

To quote our great leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah: ‘You are free to go to your mosques or some else’s mosques but only to a mosque in this Islamic republic. Religion is the business of the state and the business is gooood!’

Continue reading Freedom from darkness by Nadeem F. Paracha

The Downfall of Political Islam

by Samir Yousif

Finally I would point out that political Islam has failed to provide a political model that can compete with other contemporary political models, such as the Chinese model, Western democracies, or even developing democracies such as India and the other Asian countries. That comes with no surprise, as religion, any religion, keeps itself centuries behind.

The theme of my argument is the following statement: Islam, as a religion, has nothing to offer to economic or political theory. This simple idea has serious consequences. Political Islam, when it runs the country, will ultimately fail. It has no appropriate agenda that provides solutions to real political or economic challenges such as underdevelopment, unemployment, inflation, recession, poverty, just to mention a few.

(I will not touch upon the most significant political-socioeconomic issue which is income inequalities, because Islam accepts a society composed of very rich classes living side by side with very poor classes- examples can be found from history or from today’s Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, and Iran). While some Islamists continue to claim the existence of “Islamic economics,” they have failed in producing anything close to a simple theory of economics.

I believe that the main reason for the downfall of Muslim civilisation was the inherent social crisis: a society composed of few rich surrounded by the poor masses kept going by a strong religion. Social and political revolutions took place several times during the heyday of Muslim civilisation, as happened during the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, in Muslim Spain, and the famous Zanj Rebellion during the year 869 in Basra. But historians have ignored such revolutions. Muslim economies have failed throughout history to solve the very basic problem: the wage equation. Unskilled and skilled workers were downgraded to the lowest classes in Muslim societies, and were paid the minimum. History has showed that under Islam the wealth of the country went mainly to the Calipha, feeding his palace, army, the royal family, and to the vested interest that the Calipha has chosen himself. The tax system was mainly imposed on the agricultural sector, what was known as the produce tax (Kharaj).

“Islamic economics” is a term used today to justify the significant income inequalities in such societies and to find religiously- accepted investment opportunities for the rich. …

Read more : http://www.document.no/2011/01/the-downfall-of-political-islam/

Pakistan is Sinking – Everyone should read following analysis

Pakistan is Sinking: Time For Tough Love? Walter Russell Mead

The news from Pakistan remains dire. The flood waters now sweeping toward the Arabian Gulf have been far more devastating and the destruction more widespread than anyone predicted. They have cruelly exposed many of Pakistan’s glaring weaknesses: its corrupt feudal elite, its corrupt and ineffective bureaucracy, its lack of infrastructure, its weak civil society, and the presence (unsurprising given the decades long failures of the country’s public and private institutions to do their job) of radical religious extremism and terrorism emerging from the rage and despair of a people betrayed by its leaders.

The long term outlook is not good. Pakistan has failed yet again to educate a rising generation of children and the population is rising faster than the country can find jobs. While the IPCC may have overstated the problem of glacier melt, long term trends point to a decline in the flow of the rivers on which Pakistan depends. The growing power gap between Pakistan and India (the world’s two most hostile nuclear powers) is likely to destabilize the geopolitical environment for some time to come. The slow but inexorable decay of the Pakistani state, the rise of separatism in some parts of the country, and a depressingly long list of other problems greatly complicate the task of those in Pakistan and abroad who would like to help.

Beset by so many problems from so many different sources, Pakistanis struggle to make sense of their country and the world. Conspiracy theories are rife; the raucous and rambunctious media (especially the Urdu media) is better at expressing anger than analysis. A strong civil society is struggling to emerge, but the enormous internal disparities in wealth and education make it hard for strong and effective groups to emerge. Like idealistic 19th century Russian aristocrats and students, the educated idealists who direct many Pakistani social movements are so distant from the world of the poor that their efforts, commendable and well intentioned as they may be, are often irrelevant to the problems of the masses. …

Read more >> The American Interest

Economic Models Explained by Cow

SOCIALISM

You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbor.

COMMUNISM

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

FASCISM

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

NAZISM

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

BUREAUCRATISM

You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away…

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM

You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

AN AMERICAN CAPITALISM

You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM

You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.

The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.

THE ANDERSEN MODEL CAPITALISM

You have two cows. You shred them.

A FRENCH CAPITALISM

You have two cows. You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

JAPANESE CAPITALISM

You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.

A GERMAN CAPITALISM

You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

AN ITALIAN CAPITALISM

You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have Lunch.

A RUSSIAN CAPITALISM

You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

A SWISS CAPITALISM

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

CHINESE CAPITALISM

You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

AN INDIAN SYSTEM

You have two cows. You worship them.

A BRITISH SYSTEM

You have two cows. Both are mad.

AN IRAQI CAPITALISM

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the shit out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy… .

A NEW ZEALAND CAPITALISM

You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive.

AN AUSTRALIAN CAPITALISM

You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

A PAKISTANI SYSTEM

Continue reading Economic Models Explained by Cow

Inability of so called Sindhi MPAs, MNAs, Ministers & Officers!

Thatta Coastal community project at stake

Courtesy: Daily Dawn, 11-8-09

THATTA, Aug 10: The Sindh Coastal Community Development project was at stake due to unnecessary delay in recruitment of staff, Dawn learnt through reliable sources here on Monday. The Asian Development Bank-assisted project of $40 billion was launched in November 2008.

It meant for the uplift and improvement of socio-economic conditions of coastal population of Thatta and Badin districts, incorporating mangroves planting over 3,000 hectares by the government, 200 fish pond development schemes, rehabilitation of three hatcheries, small and medium scale community and government-managed interventions.

The project was to be implemented over a period of six years from 2006 -07 to December 2012. However, unnecessary delay in the recruitment on 109 posts from grade 1 to grade 19 caused to stop the project.

Sources said that at a meeting held on July 10, 2009, the ADB country director made it clear that the project would be cancelled if recruitment was not completed soon. Minister for Economic Division and Finance Hina Rabbani Khar wrote a letter to the Sindh government in the last week of July to take on staff within one month, otherwise the project would be withdrawn and no project would be given to Sindh in future. Reports said the Sindh CM had issued directive to constitute a committee to start recruitment and advertise vacancies in the newspapers, but the bureaucrats were deliberately not complying with the directives.

Ministers, MNAs and MPAs of the two districts were silently watching the tussle between bureaucrats and top politicians of the province.

Continue reading Inability of so called Sindhi MPAs, MNAs, Ministers & Officers!

How Sindh will survive economically, politically, and culturally in the next 100 years

By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA

The article of New York Times pertains to extremely important development that could impact how Sindh survives economically, politically and culturally in next 100 years. Any thoughtless support or irrational opposition to the upcoming actions of the federal or provincial governments could be harmful to the interests of Sindh. In the immediate future, educated Sindhis should get prepared to collect data, analyze data, and take well thought-out and rational actions to safeguard long-term interests of Sindh. The news about the sale of substantial interests in the Qadirpur Gas field in Sindh and other assets of Sindh (the second largest Gas field Pakistan) has been in industry publications for couple of weeks. The following provides links and brief extracts from those news items:

Continue reading How Sindh will survive economically, politically, and culturally in the next 100 years