Pakistan Monitor

October 20, 2006

Artificial States

Filed under: Uncategorized — pakistanmonitor @ 7:01 am

Recently a study by Harvard and NYU Economists (A. Alesina, W. Easterly, and Janina Matuszeski) has characterised Pakistan and some other states as Artificial States. According to them:

Artificial states are those in which political borders do not coincide with a division of nationalities desired by the people on the ground. We propose and compute for all countries in the world two new measures of the degree to which states are artificial. One is based on measuring how borders split ethnic groups into two separate adjacent countries. The other measures how straight land borders are, under the assumption the straight land borders are more likely to be artificial. We then show that these two measures seem to be highly correlated with several measures of political and economic success.” 

The study acknowledges that according to their methodology US and Canada are also Artificial states. However some artificial states are failed while others are not. Don’t ask me in what situation Pakistan is–read for yourself. I think the most important thing for Pakistanis to learn is, from the example of US and Canada, how did they manange to servive artificially or graduated to a legitimate state; remeber the North-South war in US and handling of Quebec situation in Canada. In case of Pakistan, the story is somewhat different but the problem is similar—survival of an artificial state.

I must say that I have bought in the term coined by these authors because looking back in history, as an introspective Pakistani, I feel that lack of democracy and inability of successive governments-civilian and military both-to deliver social services, to protect freedom, to honor social justice, to promote opportunity of equality has forced Pakistan to stay in the line of fire and has prevented it from graduating to a genuine naturalised state.

However, I do feel that all is not lost and one must learn from the mistakes of past. The most important thing is dismentling of extrimism, elemination of corruption, protection of freedom and promotion of civil justice (I will write more-stay tuned, but it can take several weeks due to limited internet access) .

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October 19, 2006

Poverty Reduction – In the Line of Fire

Filed under: Blogroll — pakistanmonitor @ 6:48 am

I am not sure how much intellectual contribution “In the Line of fire” will ever make, however it does help to reduce poverty in Pakistan. I was waiting in line to buy the book till it starts selling on footpath, however just discovered that many photocopy shops in universities and colleges are already selling photocopied versions for Rs. 140 to 200 (US $2.5 to $3.5). Poor photocpoy chaps have got a huge demand for this item specifically these days and they are selling copies on a very small premium. This has indirectly created an additional income earning opportunity that can alleviate poverty of photo copy stall owners in colleges and universities. I guess President’s poverty reduction ambition is served well (pun intended).

If someone sells atleast one copy per day and make Pak Rs60=US$1 in profit that would eventually meet the world poverty threshold level (People below poverty line are those who earn less than $1 a day. By the way I am not taking into account purchasing power parity-ppp into account in my analysis-rest of the math should be yours); I guess poor chaps are selling more than one copy per day.

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