By Pervez Hoodbhoy
Some readers, whose intelligence I respect, took my last op-ed to be dismissive of corruption as a cause of Pakistan’s social decay. I apologise for having failed to express myself adequately: I certainly do not dispute that Pakistan is reaping the terrible consequences of wholesale corruption. Corruption, by definition, expropriates that which rightfully belongs to others. By doing so, it hurts the poor more than the rich, lowers productivity, creates mistrust of authority, breaks down the social contract and leads towards ungovernability. We all know that the average Pakistani is frustrated and that he encounters corruption while reporting a crime, seeking justice in a traffic accident, getting an electricity or gas connection, securing admission to school for children, or getting a business contract signed. We have kunda mafias, tanker mafias, and mafias of all shapes and forms that raise the collective blood pressure.
So, instead of emphasising corruption, why did I choose to identify the principal problems of Pakistan as a) unbridled population growth; b) terrorism; and c) slowness of cultural modernisation? (Please wait until I define modernity; it doesn’t mean consumerism or rock music!).
My plea: corruption is a symptom of some social disease, but there are very many different kinds of such diseases. To borrow a medical analogy: high fever could come from typhoid, pneumonia, measles, flu and a hundred other diseases. They can all make you hot and sick, but no genuine doctor specifically targets ‘fever’. Buying the wares of roadside hakeems who advertise anti-fever brews is worse than useless. It is equally useless to target corruption without understanding its origins.
Continue reading Culture, Corruption and the Hereafter →
For more than 2000 years, the Chinese political system has been built around a highly sophisticated centralized bureaucracy, which has run what has always been a vast society through top-down methods. What China never developed was a rule of law, that is, an independent legal institution that would limit the discretion of the government, or democratic accountability. What the Chinese substituted for formal checks on power was a bureaucracy bound by rules and customs which made its behavior reasonably predictable, and a Confucian moral system that educated leaders to look to public interests rather than their own aggrandizement. This system is, in essence, the same one that is operating today, with the Chinese Communist Party taking the role of Emperor.
Continue reading China’s ‘Bad Emperor’ Problem – Francis Fukuyama →
By Francis Fukuyama
….Once humans considered surrendering their nomadic way of life to create states will solve their problems…they lost many rights for the sake of state…but the formation of states without a political order gave birth to tyrant ruling classes…now it has been proved that political order without the concepts of accountability and the rule of law has no meaning.
Francis Fukuyama in his new book ‘THE ORIGINS OF POLITICAL ORDER’ (Dawn B&A) says “every society needs a balance between ‘power grabbing centralising forces’ and ‘rights disseminating decentralising forces’ to establish political order otherwise anarchy and chaos prevails…
this is very well relevant to today’s Pakistan situation…there’s need to strike a balance between the power-hungry military which has ruled this country for more than 30 years and indirectly controls foreign and security policies even today and the weak political class…this country can come on the right track only by establishing a judicious political order which should be democratic and egalitarian in nature…
Source – adapted from facebook wall