The Mantra of Privatization- Command Economy for Pakistan?

Read Parts one and two of this series here


Could there be a competition between the state concerns or government sector and private sector, the answer is no. If the performance of the state concern is excellent, there is no way that the private sector could compete it.

For instance if a worker from Mianwali wants to send a letter to his family in his home town from Karachi where works, will it be economical for him to send it via TCS or any other private courier after paying Rs70 or via Pakistan post office which might charge him just Rs5.

If a passenger wants to go to Lahore from Rawalpindi, will it be economically wise for him to spend Rs1100 on Daewoo or buy a ticket from Pakistan Railways for just Rs400 rupees and enjoy his trip with a comfortable berth.

So, one could see there cannot be any competition between the state concerns and the private sector, therefore the private sector would like to see state concerns to be either privatized or closed down so that people do not have any option but one rascal of market or other profit maker.

One neo liberal intellectual indoctrinate people with their free market philosophy, they do not bother to talk about those countries that did not follow this gospel of laissez faire.

This is a problem in Pakistan where country’s prime minister says it is not the job of the government to run business. There seems to be no counter narrative, everybody seems to be agreeing that neo liberalism, and free market economy is a panacea.

Our universities and big business schools also commit intellectual dishonesty by not mentioning those states that followed command economies and made rapid progress although not perfect.

Model of command economy: while talking about privatization issue, it may sound irrelevant to cite tremendous development of Soviet Union under the command economy but in reality, it is pertinent to highlight the achievement of an economic system that flourished under state control.

Whenever privatization is debated, a counter narrative is never presented. People are not told why Soviet Union achieved almost hundred percent literacy, a higher life expectancy, zero percent unemployment, decent housing and favorable working hours under a system run by the state.

From Harvard Business School to LUMS, no big institution bothers to investigate as to how Soviet Union turned into an industrial country from a semi feudal and semi agrarian society.

I think it is very important to highlight the achievements of command economy, albeit with flaws, in the Soviet Russia and other ex-socialist countries. Since socialist economic model, bad or good, was practiced in the Soviet Russia, eastern and central European states and a few other socialist countries, it is imperative that we discuss their successes.

Agha Abdul Sattar

Agha Abdul Sattar is a senior journalist and has worked for several national and international media centers.Agha did his masters in political science and have worked for The News, Daily Dawn, Dawn News English channel, Voice of Germany and National Public Radio of America.



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