propecia pregnancy

Archive for November, 1987

The taxman come

(This is a weekly article analysing the current state of the world economy and its effects on domestic trade and commerce).

he President of the World Bank came a-visiting very recently. Stoically he went through the routine rituals which all foreign dignitaries must submit to, including the customary visit to an Afghan Refugee Camp. He eulogised Pakistan’s excellent utilisation of World Bank Aid and denied any extraordinary conditions in the grant of further assistance. However, Mr. Barber C Conable is basically a political animal and no pushover. As behoves a guest in the presence of his host, he gently exhorted them to broader the tax base to generate more internal resources for development. In effect, he said, better start milking your sacred cow, the agriculture sector and cut down on subsidising your user-utilities.


November Handicap

During the month of October, the US dollar has come under considerable pressure in the world currency markets, mainly because of the continuing large US trade and budget deficits. A combination of bad economic management and bad news, underscored by a rise in West German interest rates led to a flight of capital which was further complicated by a panic selling sequence (compounded by computer programming) on Wall Street oddly reminiscent of a similar nosedive on Oct 29, 1929. That fatal day 58 years ago which paupered millions heralded in a world-wide recession followed by a depression in the 1930s. It indirectly contributed to the Second World War. The main reason for the financial collapse in wake of the plunge was the failure of banks. This time around the US banks were covered by federal insurance and the world as we know it survived, but just. The world’s economy is so hinged on the paper market of stocks and shares that any “correction”, as President Reagan calls it, effects thousands of businesses and thereby proportionally many more millions of people. Since the shares were artificially inflated out of investors greed in a “bull” market, the corrections downwards wiped out many across the length and breadth of USA. One of the poor guys who survived, the owner of Wal-Mart, reputedly one of the richest men in the world, lost more than a cool billion US dollars. Stockbrokers became quite unpopular symbolized by the gentleman who came armed to the Merrill Lynch office in Miami, Florida, and shot dead/injured a couple of people before killing himself. The 1929 syndrome of taking a running jump from a skyscraper was generally avoided though one did expect, as one wag commented, that computers would be falling out of windows. US$500 billion in assets was wiped out from the US economy in one single day and greedy investors aside, the shortage of liquid cash has created a severe downward spiral in sales even as Christmas-time approaches, effecting manufacturing, reducing jobs at a critical time, with the advent of winter looming, normally a bad season for employment by itself. A vicious cycle has been let loose and desperate efforts are being made to break out of the tail-spin. These “corrections” will definitely be felt eventually in greater magnitude in the Third World, including Pakistan.


It’s the Economy

Two hundred days plus into the military regime the prime problem remains the revitalisation of the economy. Miracle men with magic wands and smooth rhetoric notwithstanding, the economy remains sluggish. Granted that the financial haemorrhaging that was the hallmark of the past political governments has been contained, client-patron relationships that have bedevilled Pakistan for over 50 years continues to flourish, one set of patrons have simply been replaced by another, the clients keep ever increasing, to their credit much slower in this regime. Except for one or two dishonourable exceptions, the khakis have remained squeaky clean. Economic initiatives taken have been enough for the manufacturing sector to show some life but nature has played a cruel hand to the agricultural sector, the backbone of the economy. There is a shortage of water in our rivers and severe drought in many parts of Balochistan and Sindh, is a potential disaster staring us in the face. We expected a bumper wheat crop, in the face of fickle nature, if at the least we do not get a reasonable one, we face a very bleak immediate future. To add to additional outlays for oil, add to that for wheat.


The Merchants of Disinformation

Aspate of advertisements from both the major political groupings, the PPP and the PML (N) have started to appear in the newspapers. A list of promises are contained in the messages being beamed at the citizens, the constant refrain of the pledges made are that they will be fulfilled. Nawaz Sharif delivers, Ms Benazir also delivers! Negative advertising has still to make its appearance but what is appearing in the media is more eloquent, a titanic struggle at spreading disinformation about each other. Notwithstanding the electoral battle, the stakes are enormous for those engaged in the business of it, if their principal candidates win they will be in line to roam the corridors of powers as Senators, Federal Ministers, Special Assistants, Advisors etc.