Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Everything you wanted to know...........

 ...............but were afraid to ask about Pakistan.

Pakistan was originally imagined as a utopian project alongside other 20th century nationalisms created from the wreckage of European empires, in this case, the British Raj. In its early years, the country did benefit from an esprit de corps that allowed it to consolidate a relatively capable state from a fractious population consisting of refugees andeven managing to outperform India economically for many years. This relative economic success, or at least ability to keep pace, helped feed a brash and confident Pakistani nationalism that defined the country’s identity for decades and was symbolized byiconic institutions like its once-proud national airline and armed forces. . . .

At the root of Pakistan’s many crises is the issue of elite capture of the state and economy. A study in 2021 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) highlighted the level to which Pakistan’s economic system has been turned into a machine for extracting subsidies and other perks for the country’s elite at the expense of the vast majority of its citizens. Unlike many other developing countries, Pakistan is a consumption-based society that spends lavishly on elite consumer goods and pricey defense systems rather than investing its capital in productive industries necessary for future growth. Among the beneficiaries of Pakistan’s kleptocratic economic system are a small handful of corporate and political power brokers, the country’s class of large feudal landowners, and its sprawling military establishment – the latter which serves as the guarantor of Pakistan’s national security while also doubling as its largest corporate conglomerate and real estate developer.

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