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18 Feb, 2014
Privatisation: The Right Way

By Agha Waqar

July 29, 2013 

For countries like Pakistan, the privatisation argument is mostlybased on two elements. First, the fiscal argument that governments improve their financial positions by selling public business enterprises. Second, that allocation of capital between alternative investments would improve if governments were not involved in the process. While these are true, privatisation should primarily have an economic reform focus.


18 Feb, 2014
Market-Friendly Or Business-Friendly?

By Ishrat Hussain

December 31, 2013

Governments in developing countries are increasingly being accused of policies and practices that favour cronies and party loyalists in allocation of scarce resources. They do this blatantly in the name of market-friendly policies thereby creating mistrust, suspicion and doubts in the minds of the ordinary citizens about the ‘market’.


25 May, 2011
Egypt: You Can't Eat Democracy

May 26, 2011

By Alan Fraser & Ben Crossland

But the most pressing problem for the interim government remains the economy, as in most of the Arab Spring countries: “We are very much concerned by the rise in expectations... Sometimes the demands are justified and sometimes they are unrealistic," Finance Minister Samir Radwan said this week.

02 Mar, 2011
Legislating Middlemans Ouster

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

March 2, 2011

The middleman tends to be eliminated . . . He can only be safely eliminated by natural processes. Sometimes he is of real use and helps production; sometimes he is not; but this cannot be decided by a blind strike, but only by allowing the forces of competition to act upon him.
[Hon. Auberon Herbert]

21 Feb, 2011
Economic Backbone: Its None Of Your Business

By Nyda Mukhtar 

February 21, 2011
They are capable of resuscitating a dying economy and of making third world countries first world powers. They can develop cities and rural areas, put an end to wars, and make societies and communities stronger.

31 Jan, 2011
The Cruelest Tax Of All

By Sarel Oberholster 

January 31, 2011
The zero-interest-rate policy deserves closer scrutiny. Would a saver willingly agree to an economic environment of zero interest rates? Certainly not. Would a debtor prefer a zero interest rate? Absolutely. The saver and the debtor would, under normal, willing-economic-participant conditions, negotiate a "price" for the use of money saved. That price for the use of funds is interest.
The central bank enters the negotiation between saver and borrower, and by counterfeiting money it destroys the negotiating base of the saver. Counterfeiting money through policies of unlimited liquidity provision is a "price control" over interest rates, instituted to force interest rates down and eventually spiral them downwards out of control to zero. The interest income of the saver is eventually taxed to extinction at zero interest rates.
22 Jan, 2011
Monetary Policy: The Right Increase

By Ali Salman 

January 22, 2011
The State Bank’s decision to increase the discount rate seems justified to counter the rising inflation, a negative real interest rate and increased government borrowing.
When real interest rates are negative, there is no incentive for lending and saving. In such an inflationary environment, every individual would rationally spend her money today rather than save for tomorrow. This would further deepen the inflationary spiral. 

11 Jan, 2011
Trade Deficits And Fiat Currencies

January 11, 2011 

There is a definite connection between fiat currencies and trade deficits. Critics of the Federal Reserve are right to blame it for distorting trade flows and setting the US economy up for an inflationary crash. However, a trade deficit per se is not a sign of a bad economy. Indeed the trade deficit might blossom if the US ever returned to the gold standard, though it would be due to a productive net inflow of producer goods.

25 Dec, 2010
This Bread Is Mine

December 25, 2010

What Smith, Ricardo, and Marx have done, and what the followers of the latter two continue to do, is to confuse the meanings of two important words: cost and value. While it may be true in the above instance that it might cost five dollars to produce the lumber from a given tree, the value of the lumber from that tree has no immediate relationship to cost.

20 Dec, 2010
Rewarding Market For Disclosure

December 17, 2010 

Adapting existing social contracts for business transactions hold the answer towards documentation; not levy of more taxes.

20 Dec, 2010
Raising Taxes Is Not Reducing Government Spending

December 20, 2010 

The fundamental question is, who is the owner of the funds paid in taxes? Is it the citizens, who have earned the funds and who turn them over to the government under the threat of being fined or imprisoned, or even killed if they physically resist the government, or is it the government?
07 Oct, 2010
Pakistan: A Flood Of Restrictions

October 07, 2010 

The government is also considering a flood tax aiming to raise Rs.138 billion (US$1.6 billion). In the current economic meltdown, such a claim looks very implausible. Moreover, taxes always discourage private and philanthropic giving. If I were taxed in the name of flood relief, I would obey but would then refuse to give to all charitable organizations. Thus a flood surcharge would only increase the flow of cash to government coffers instead of going to the many fairly effective humanitarian charities.

16 Sep, 2010
How To Make It Through The Floods?

September 16, 2010 

At present, Pakistan remains hidebound by restrictions on economic activity. Inefficient and expensive law courts make it difficult to enforce contracts. Restrictions on property make ownership insecure and undermine investment. Employment regulations and corruption make it difficult to operate a formal business, driving economic activity underground, where it cannot be taxed. These factors put Pakistan near the bottom of every ranking of economic freedom and are the main reasons for its weak economy and slow growth.

15 Sep, 2010
Jobs without growth?

September 15, 2010

International lending agencies want Pakistan to launch public works programmes to contain rising unemployment and poverty, instead of focusing only on growth. This is a mirage hidden in a trap.

12 Mar, 2010
Micro-Finance: Taking A Step Back

March 11, 2010 

It is evident that microfinance has helped the poor in managing their cash flows and in sustaining their income levels; however, it has not necessarily helped them to come out of poverty by increasing their income levels. We can’t turn people into entrepreneurs by just providing them with capital – if this were so, we would not have seen countless examples of “rags to riches” throughout the world without the aid of any formal credit!

28 Jan, 2010
Market-Based Economic Model Is The Most Effective Tool For Putting The Economy Back On Rails

January 28, 2010

A market-based economic model is the most effective tool for putting the economy back on rails and a mechanism in this regard needs to be evolved in collaboration with the private sector for progress and prosperity of the country.

18 Jan, 2010
The Virtue Of Hoarding
January 19, 2010
Most people would admit to hoarding money only with a tinge of guilt, because to be a hoarder carries with it the suggestion of being a miser — a Scrooge. And yet, every participant in an economy based on indirect exchange holds some amount of money and can be said to be hoarding it, that is, declining to spend it. Hoarding is a strategy for achieving personal goals or for dealing with economic uncertainty.

23 Nov, 2009
A Tale Of Two Shortages

November 23, 2009

There was a time not too long ago when America's healthcare was considered the best in the world and it was affordable to all. "Instead," as Gabriel E. Vidal wrote recently on, "health costs reflect the distortions that government regulators have introduced through reimbursement mechanisms created by command-and-control bureaucracies at federal and state levels."

20 Nov, 2009
When Stimulus Does Not Stimulate

November 20, 2009

From an economic perspective, Obama's stimulus plan is equivalent to a giant welfare scheme. Instead of the money going to lower income Americans, however, it is meant to go to municipal bureaucrats of various stripes. Instead of productive American citizens determining what to do with their own scarce resources, the state is stepping in and dictating how they will be used.

25 Jul, 2009
Apocalypse, When?
July 25, 2009
For many groups like the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), World Population Day [today / this Saturday / July 11] is another chance to bemoan “the relentless growth in human population,” while the United Nations Population Fund says “stabilizing population would help sustain the planet.” The problem, however, is not population but poverty.

25 May, 2009
Media Release: "The Bases Of Economic Freedom: A Course For The Beginners" Launched

Lahore May 25, 2009: Alternate Solutions Institute, first free market think tank of Pakistan, has launched and successfully completed the first session of its ambitious project, The Bases of Economic Freedom: A course for the beginners. The course aims at teaching and promoting the virtues of fundamental individual rights and economic freedom. The first ever batch consisting of 21 participants was selected from students, teachers, activists and young professionals who were brought to Ayubia for 5 days’ activities.

04 Mar, 2009
Poor Show

Over a period of five years between 1999-2004, the government of Pakistan spent Rs.1 trillion on poverty reduction. According to the Finance Ministry, Poverty Reduction Special Programme included budgetary and non-budgetary expenditures both by the federal and provincial governments.

04 Mar, 2009
How to Privatize Successfully - Part II

If privatisation needs to be done, it has to be done because it is the decisive step in transforming the economic system. Regarding foreign help Dr Klaus is very blunt: I think that the typical foreign help was sending would-be advisors and consultants. It became one of the most profitable businesses in the 1990s - to become a consultant and advisor in the transforming societies.

04 Mar, 2009
How to Privatize Successfully - Part I

Changing the economic system is not an easy task. And, of course, it is more complex when carried out half-heartedly. As privatisation is only a part of this process, it may not succeed if done in an isolated manner. It needs certain other changes and a competitive environment to bear fruit.

04 Mar, 2009
Economic Progress, Stability are Key to Pakistan's Future

President General Musharraf and former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif all claim they should be given another chance. The question is whether any of our discredited potential leaders can see that the economic tools such as property rights (including intellectual property), lowering trade barriers and cutting corruption and bureaucracy, are their only hope of saving the country and staying in power.

04 Mar, 2009
Pakistan: A Hope on its Deathbed

This article argues that present circumstances require that the Supreme Court of Pakistan must fulfill its legal and constitutional duty to protect not only the provisions but the spirit of the Constitution also. If it does not do so and does not pave the way for the rule of the right, we will be going to have another 60 or 160 years' rule of the might in Pakistan.

04 Mar, 2009
Myth of Economic Imperialism

The article argues that the notion of economic imperialism is but a myth. Indeed, it is our own being that we need to analyze and evaluate first. For any sane person, it is quite difficult to understand how the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) force us to be exploited! How the United States or the European Union or the G-7 or the World Trade Organization (WTO) compels us to become its stooges? How can they exploit us, unless some of us are not prepared to be their partners in such endeavors? If such exploitation is taking place, we have only ourselves to blame for it -- we should take the responsibility on our own shoulders rather than blaming others.

04 Mar, 2009
Responsible Choices

This article discusses continuous price hikes of essential items in Pakistan and suggests a non-governmental way out highlighting responsible consumer behavior. The main cause of price-hikes is government itself. So how ridiculous it would be to plead before it or urge it to reduce or control prices. That is why the prescriptions suggested in this article are directly meant for us consumers.

04 Mar, 2009
The Benefits of Free Trade

Had history followed this course, no economic and social progress would have been possible. For instance, if to save the jobs of the typists or say calligraphists or in like cases government had imposed duties on the new products and restrictions on their use were we able to go ahead with computers and information technology? Akbar, the great moghul emperor, was shown an early printing press by a foreigner. He rejected its use on the same pretext that our calligraphers would be rendered jobless.

04 Mar, 2009
Economic Freedom Report 2007: Pakistan Climbs the Ladder of Economic Freedom

Pakistan climbs the ladder of Economic Freedom scoring 6 points ranking 101 out of 141 countries; leaps big in Legal Structure and Security of Property Rights area by improving from 2.5 to 4.4; loses big in Access in Sound Money by sliding down from 6.4 to 6.0.

04 Mar, 2009
Economic Freedom of the World 2005 Annual Report: Special Pakistan Edition

Economic Freedom of the World is the most comprehensive index of economic freedom in the world and the only that uses reproducible measures for peer-reviewed research. The 2005 Annual Report explores the evolution of economic freedom over the last quarter century and the impact of economic freedom on people's lives.

04 Mar, 2009
Economic Freedom of the World 2004 Annual Report: Special Pakistan Edition

Economic Freedom of the World is the most comprehensive index of economic freedom in the world and the only that uses reproducible measures for peer-reviewed research. The 2004 Annual Report explores the evolution of economic freedom over the last quarter century and the impact of economic freedom on people's lives.

04 Mar, 2009
The Last Temptation of Asif Ali Zardari

Self-interest runs supreme. It is natural and logical. However, it is market that discovers and maintains a beautiful balance between clashing self-interests. Voluntary exchanges in the market where all the parties involved seek their own interest ultimately benefit all the parties. Otherwise, if any one fears to incur harm or loss, the exchange does not take place. This is how self-interest of one individual takes care of other individuals’ interest. It is in this perspective that the science of economics has been defined as the study of how and how not we fulfill our mutual needs.

04 Mar, 2009
Free Water!

Every year, World Water Week gathers experts and UN officials in their thousands, uttering vitriolic statements, holding meetings and forming alliances - but ignoring the real problem that prevents a billion people getting decent water: bad management.

04 Mar, 2009
Research: Let the Poor Have Water, not Ideology

This year's World Water Week will see activists gather in Stockholm to discuss ways of getting clean water to the 1 billion people around the world who are currently without it. The new research by Alex Nash argues that if water activists remain blinkered by ideology and continue to oppose private water provision, this goal will not be met.

04 Mar, 2009
Mr. Zardari, Manu Bheels do not need Food, Clothing, and Shelter

The article argues that it was in 1968 that Pakistan Peoples Party snatched the slogan of Roti (Food), Kapra (Clothing) and Makaan (Shelter) from the Left. Even today it is harping the same tune, while the Left parties both in India and Pakistan are shifting from Poverty to Justice as the core demand.

09 Jan, 2009
Economic Freedom and Devopment - Applying the Lessons

When a citizen of South Asia looks eastward, to East and Southeast Asia, he will see the benefits of fast economic growth over the past half century. Many places, such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Shanghai, have followed Japan and left the third for the first world.

30 Dec, 2008
Bailouts Destroy Prudence

So you notice that your income has shrunk, you may even have lost your job. So you decide to trade in your gas guzzler for a small vehicle and even reduce your monthly car payments, if you have such. And in other realms of your life, too, you may be making adjustments to cope with the general economic downturn. You cook at home instead of eating at your favorite restaurant; you do not purchase that pair of shoes you would have otherwise, etc., etc. 

17 Dec, 2008
Make the Poor Pay

There is a growing notion that rich countries should slash imports from poor countries whose antiquated factories are heavy carbon emitters: this eco-protectionism is in fact good old-fashioned protectionism and would hit the poor hardest.

10 Dec, 2008
Economic Freedom Report 2008: Pakistan ranks 104 out of 141 countries

The 2008 edition of the Economic Freedom of the World report includes new research, examining the role of economic freedom in eliminating poverty with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Numerous studies have shown that countries with more economic freedom grow more rapidly and achieve higher per-capita income levels than those that are less free; therefore, it would seem that this growth should also help reduce poverty.

02 Dec, 2008
Government, My Foot!

The article, "Government, my foot!" argues that governments’ delivery of goods and services throughout the world has suffered a steep decline. This is more so in countries which have transformed into elitist states and where production and distribution of goods and services is heavily controlled by governments. Pakistan is one such country where government’s control has disabled both its economy and society. It presents a classic case of how a government fails its people and makes their life miserable.

01 Dec, 2008
Blame Bad Rules, not Capitalism

With turmoil in the world’s markets, politicians and commentators have been demanding more regulation and control of the financial sector. Their reaction is entirely predictable – but entirely wrong.

01 Dec, 2008
The WHOs Sick Manifesto for Global Recession

The World Health Organization claimed this week that “social injustice is killing people on a grand scale.” Its major report on the “Social Determinants of Health” concludes that social and economic inequality is a major global cause of disease and that only massive government intervention and redistribution of wealth can improve the health of the poor.  But, as with many prescriptions, the side effects would be worse than the disease.

26 Nov, 2008
The Consumer - Victim of Statism

During the 20th century, 200,000,000 people became the victim of state violence and lost their precious lives. But even more people became victims of another type of state tyranny and that is tyranny against consumers by denying them the many benefits from free trade.

26 Nov, 2008
Market economy: Option for Pakistan

The system of market economy works best to fulfill the people's quest for happiness by providing them free choice to meet their needs.

26 Nov, 2008
Buying a Car in Pakistan
In 2004, the Pakistani government placed an order for a luxurious Mercedes Cardiac ambulance at a cost of more than 13 million rupees (about $225,000). The vehicle, first of its kind, will be used exclusively by a select group of VIP patients in the capital, Islamabad. No doubt the privileged few will include civil and military bureaucrats and so-called representatives of the people.

26 Nov, 2008
Let Market Forces Decide the Pace of Growth
If you do not create a free market, a black market will emerge. This is the motto of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute. In this article, I shall try to show that the system of market economy works best to fulfil the people's quest for happiness by providing them free choice to meet their needs.


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