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The winds of change.

The bitter experience of the World War-II left mankind to believe that a future war would be the one where there could be no winners. Yet the world witnessed an unfortunate polarisation between the Communist and non-Communist Camps. This polarisation led to the evolution of more and more sophisticated nuclear weapon systems. This resulted in a heavy defense expenditure aimed at preserving the respective ideologies and spheres of influence. Even a small fraction of this Super-powers' huge defense expenditure, if properly diverted could have exercised immense positive impact in helping the economies of many less developed nations of the world. The post-war West Germany and Japan could emerge as the two most economically strong nations in the world simply because they refrained from investing in defense and armaments.

The changes presently sweeping across the Warsaw Pact nations are indeed profound. They simply do not indicate a rejection of socialism and its replacement by free forces, but the overthrow of tyrannical and autocratic dispensations by those who are expected to be the representative of the will of the nation. In a way, it shows a kind of shift in the entropy of nations. It is welcome transformation aimed at securing a more just order for the less privileged in the society. It signifies an urge for the efficient use of resources to make more and more goods and services available to the common man. As a matter of fact the fall of the Berlin Wall can be said to be symbolic of the release of the productive energies of a long suppressed people rather than the death of socialism. There are now clear signs that human society in almost every corner of the world is liberating itself from the intolerable accumulation of wealth in the hands of few as also from the hands of tyrannical leaders who perpetrated their rule in the garb of socialism while the majority remained impoverished and backward. The winds of greater socio-economic change have just begun to blow and a lot more remains to unfold. But there will be many hurdles on the way created by the individuals and the groups who have been the beneficiaries of the previous antediluvian order.

But people's will must ultimately triumph over tyranny and selfishness. The only way to achieving a more egalitarian world order is by freeing mankind's productive energies and generation of surpluses.

If we want to achieve a rapid, meaningful and sustainable growth, both in the industry as well as agriculture without sacrificing the upliftment of the common man, it would be necessary to free our economy from the shackles of ruthless controls and mindless restrains. Surpluses have to be generated so as to be distributed in a socially sustainable manner.

The newly liberated nations of Eastern Europe have one big lesson to teach. The lesson is that the development and well being require national sacrifice on an unimaginable scale. Economies that are depleted by severe undermanagement of resources owing to centralised control system and the people who are over dependent on the State and remain under-productive will have to pay a heavy price. The Soviet Union today appears to be ready to pay a price. It has perhaps realised that the cost of having spheres of influence does not make any sound economic sense. So the Soviet Union no longer looks eager to match America militarily. At the same time the United States must also feel relieved by the recent developments because it too has to cope with certain real economic issues at home.

Strong winds of sweeping changes are blowing across the world both in the capitalist free world as well as the socialist countries. These changes are questioning the ineffectiveness of the systems which a majority in the world have successfully grappled for more than fifty years. What does all this protend for us in Pakistan? At times, our problems have appeared to be insurmountable in the form of rapidly growing population, unemployment, regional disparities and abject poverty. Our struggle with the population growth and our shared concern with the rest of the world for the ecological heritage that we leave behind is intense as well as mind-boggling. Answers to the issues that confound us are supposed to be held by the promising role of women, education, health care, nutrition and socially conscious ecological initiatives. With the ushering in of a democratic dispensation in our country we are back on the road to socio-economic progress and prosperity. We have now to direct our urges and energies in a manner which subserve our national goals more efficiently and effectively. Whatever we have to to achieve is to be achieved through our own initiative and drive rather than with the help and assistance of the international institutions or better endowed nations. Let us make a firm commitment and then live upto it.
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Title Annotation:social change
Author:Farooqui, Shakeel
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Apr 1, 1990
Previous Article:A look at 1990-91.
Next Article:Budget for 1990-91 - hopes and fears.

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