Limited capacity?


Times are tough. It doesnt take an economist to figure this out. Making ends meet has never been this difficult, especially for the salaried classes and the sustenance wage earners. The peculiarities of our polity are such that inflation has never become a focal point in anti-government movements, if not general strikes. Maybe the reason for this is that the political opposition feels it also would not be able to do a good enough job in stemming the tide of the great price hikes. Perhaps making inflation a one-point agenda for anti-government protests is the luxury afforded to those political players who know they can never come into power. Ditto, for those with other motives, like the MQMs walkout in the Senate and the National Assembly on rising petrol prices, which, one assumes, has little to do with the prices themselves and more to do with muscle-flexing.

If that is indeed the case, then this is a serious comment on the competence of our political class. And lest the last statement be construed wrongly, it is to be pointed out that the current spate of rampant inflation started in earnest on the previous military regimes watch. What is wrong, then, with the ruling class? For starters, lack of training in governance. At a time when the incumbents should have had a shadow cabinet for matters financial, they were negotiating for the return to democracy. The present day opposition, too, is more embroiled in politics than policy making for the future. Secondly, there is a global trend of inflation. The age of cheap energy is over. The age of cheap food is over as well. Too much population, too little regeneration. Textbook Malthus.

But this doesnt mean there should be no proactivity. After all, the implicit message that a political party gives the electorate when contesting an election is: Weve got a plan. If the but-times-are-tough argument doesnt hold water for Obama and his party, why should it for our political parties? Good enough isnt good enough anymore.