The fairness principle

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I am frequently asked by the people I come in contact with, as to what a person can do so far as government policies are concerned. My answer to them is always the same: Please do not confuse yourself with the rest of the population but try and do it well yourself. It is a person s responsibility to do well by the country and its people, for he cannot be subsumed into the larger picture and thus absolve himself of the responsibility that the state places on him.

It is like the physician who is tending to an epidemic - one person at a time. It was while in former East Pakistan that one learnt the judiciousness of the fairness principle. What is good for one, is good for the other also and one cannot discriminate amongst citizens and citizens. It is possible to do so in all elements of governance.

In former Allende government in Chile (overthrown in 1973-4) by the Americans there was one person who though not a Chilean (for he was Brazilian) was taken to Boston and Harvard University and given a Chair. In Chile, he was the Director of Public Education and he was in charge of the mass literacy program. His view was not about literacy but the ability of the individual To Be . His conscientization program was ingrained in his book The Pedagogy of the Poor . A poor priest from north-east Brazil, he was exiled by the Brazilian army for he was a pain in the neck.

When the government of the day in any country assumes power these are of two kinds - vicious and virtuous. The orders of the day are more on viciousness and less on virtuosity. The vicious motive is manipulated by power-lust. Governance these days is less about reason and being reasonable but about power structure; the doings in Karachi, the misapplications of force in Balochistan, the death of innocence in and for the ordinary citizens. Virtuosity seldom comes into play. It means that polices have to be such that they encompass the best that comes forth and for the maximum number of people. Are the elites responsible for what is happening in Pakistan? Shall we keep on playing the blame-game?

As I looked at some of the recent articles coming from people who were responsible for economic policies I could not help but wonder at the unreasonableness of these writers for they were airing their opinions, while responsible for whatever is happening these days. Virtuosity has been thrown out of the window. The governing establishment is to be made the weapon of decency and for this the private individuals have to play their part and there can be enough in this country to do so. It is incumbent on the public to ensure that the government plays its part. By itself the government and in fact no government will ever play its part well. The lust for power is such. Take tyrannical powers as follows. There is no need for any one to be flexible and a pragmatist to follow the dictates of the power structure and to switch their loyalties and their actions to suit their conveniences but to enjoy the fact that independence is dependent on the possibilities of independence as such. Dissent by itself is not essential to independent thinking and doing.

Under these given conditions, try and resolve the vicious and the virtuous. Can the West-led economic policies ever be virtuous and will these policies be articulated by policymakers that are properly selfish not improperly unselfish? Is uniformity and conformity essential? Try seeking and analysing the macro policies of the SBP and see if they fit into the general state of affairs of the state not the government. How many generals do you need in the army? Who determines their assets and their way of life before and after retirement? Can policymakers do the same for the rural population? Is education necessary for the rural population to enhance the productivity and the well-being of the ruralites? Is the kind of education being imparted to them of any use? How can the Pakistani personality not be a rogue personality? What kind of education and what kind of upbringing are necessary to ensure a selfless personality and one that is in the service of the nation and not to someone s benefit? As one ponders one is concerned with the implications of policy. The implementation of the 18th Amendment and the devolution of functions to the provinces are going to create further issues for the interested mafia is not interested in the implementation but in the safeguarding of their own positions. The ineptness is going to create difficulties and what was done by Senator Raza Rabbani will end up on some kind of heap.

What about the highly questionable role of SBP? The doings or otherwise of the state institutions are also reflected in the working of the accountability efforts that the government makes out. How much has been lost by following a policy of attrition and functionally inappropriate actions by the accountability sections of the government. Started in 1997 some of the results are coming out in 2011 - some of them are? These are acquittals? Skeptics have opinionated that the current NAB is inefficient? How so did these people examine the evidence? If so, then the substantive aspects must be stated rather than the generalised statements that are coming forth. In any case the buck does not stop here? Naive as we are, we assume that our opinions are more relevant than the stated law and facts.

The implication for the economy is horrendous? Not everything can be quantified but the indications are that life has been unnecessarily distorted that economic gains are going to the few and that the job market has been perverted by a few individuals. How can a handful of rogues of whatever category be allowed to do as they please? The mafia scandals have really not been touched and the impact of these mafia activities on society has to be worked out. Take it from me there is no need for the IMF and the WB if we put our own house in order? Where were they in the mid-last century? Life still moved on and happily? The Planning aspect, the line ministries, etc, are all mafia-ridden and seldom can a decent person survive there. Rogue behaviour has won out too often. Consider any aspect? Utilities and is it not a fact that the leakage is done by a certain coterie of lower subordinates of the institutions. By what stretch of imagination was Rs 40 million given to one of the educational institutions that was already rich, that worked for the rich and that was always geared for the creation of mafia that can go and work elsewhere? No need. Desist. This world of ours does not need Socratic thought just even-handed decent policies. Remember Paulo Farieire s To be is to live. Try to be.




Courtesy: Business Recorder


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