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Archive for February, 2007

Largesse At Public Expense

Public sector performance is often associated with indolence, inefficiency corruption, wastage etc, but the public sector still has a major role in the developing economies. Even the first world cannot do without it, in developed economies their public face is disguised better. If every utility or service was left to the mercy of market conditions, a vast mass of the population could not afford it. Because the public sector cannot be entirely eliminated, the pragmatic solution has been to staff entities with successful executives from the private sector, and/or recruit them directly from Business Schools. At times private entrepreneurs also take up management slots in the public sector in trying to turn the corporate entity into economic viability. This is true not only in Pakistan but is the same all over the world, the major examples being in UK and Europe.


Bangladesh And The Army

As Bangladesh lurched from crisis to anarchy during the final days of 2006, one held one’s breath. With the two major political parties locked in a no-holds barred “winner-take-all” confrontation, the population was wary of the Army’s moving into the vacuum, its involvement in governance being always a catch-22 solution. A tiger (given that the East Bengal Regiment are known as “Tigers” that is no pun) does not become a man-eater unless it has tasted human blood. As everyone and his uncle knows, it is always very difficult for the Army to disengage once it gets involved in running the affairs of the country. Even with the sincerest of intentions, the trappings of power is a heady aphrosydiac, personal ambition can find any number of reasons for remaining in power!


Justice and Democracy

Democracy and Justice may not be Siamese Twins, in a manner of speaking they are inseparable. A democracy institutionalises accountability by the people, vitally necessary for enforcing the laws of the land. The basic responsibility of governance is integrity and impartiality, requiring a concerted effort by whoever is the ruler, whether a dictator or in the case of democracy legislators and the judiciary, to ensure implementation of the rule of law. Even a dictator with the sincerest of intentions can have his will subverted by minions with personal agendas of their own, in the purest of democracies this can be waylaid by vested interest. An independent media monitors and force-multiplies the process of transparent enforcing of the rule of law by keeping it in the public eye. The ultimate onus for ensuring implementation falls on the superior judiciary. Unless really independent, and with the courage to take decisions on merit as well as a penchant for suo moto challenges of issues of governance, justice will remain denied and an abstract fantasy for the masses that it is today.


That Davos Spell!

Even the terminally illiterate get under the spell of “the Magic Mountain” towering over Davos. As billed, DAVOS 2007 lived up to its expectations. Maybe a few less Heads of State and Government than is usual, but akin to “combat fatigue” there is “conference overkill.” The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Annual Event may have been depleted in numbers in the “leadership” category, the deficiency being made up and more by the number of top private entrepreneurs, academics, senior corporate executives, media personalities, NGO’s representatives, etc gracing the ski resort this year.