Is Imran Khan the savior? Consensus is that he’s not corrupt. He genuinely wants to help the country and the poor. He wants the government to step in and give money to the poor so that they can at least survive and live with some dignity. It appears Imran Khan might be the savior this country has been waiting for.
Despite all the wonderful qualities he has, his humane poor-friendly recommendations are going to leave this country worse off. That’s what happens when the intentions are noble, yet a lack of understanding of basic economics can lead to the results that are an opposite of what was initially desired.
Speaking at a ceremony here on Tuesday to launch the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s initiative to give a subsidy of Rs600 each per month to a poor family on wheat flour and ghee, Mr Khan said the programme would cost Rs7 billion in one year and benefit more than 350,000 families.
When subsidies are provided, the government has to get the funds from somewhere or someone. These funds don’t grow on trees and are procured in three ways:Taxation, deficit spending, or money printing. All three lead to a systemic reduction in private spending and a downward but persistent pressure on productivity. This thinking that the poor can be helped by the decree of the government is fraught with disaster. It eventually leads to disillusionment and dependence of people on the state. Germany went through this system and produced hyper-inflation, increasing their debt, and by printing money, leading to a massive devaluation of their currency. Eventually people got fed up and asked for a strong leader who could stamp out all this rot. As we know it was Hitler who came to the rescue.
There is total monarchy in the country in the garb of democracy. We are coming out on Aug 14 with full force to send ‘Badshahat’ packing and replace it with true democracy.
Keep in mind that Hitler was democratically elected. Democracy in other words isn’t as perfect a system as some believe it to be. It’s just one way of gathering opinion and using 51% to tell the other 49% what they cannot do. Those in minority usually end up getting the short end of the stick in a democracy.
Allowing subsidies causes an increase in the demand of the provided subsidies. Who doesn’t want to receive extra money? The government then becomes underfunded, forcing it to expand its powers even more, and starts penetrating into private citizen’s lives. This generally can lead to what Hayek called a totalitarian government that treats its citizens as serfs in his seminal book: The Road to Serfdom.
There is a case to be made for those who want to help the poor. For them using the power of voluntary organization such using NGO’s like the Edhi Foundation has done is more appropriate as a way to help. Letting the government take funds at will from one group and redistribute to another isn’t the best way forward. It leads to the innovative leaving the country and the needy asking for more instead of becoming self sufficient. Imran Khan would do well to do realize that his so called humane welfare policies are a recipe for disaster. They are like bugs using the roots of the tree they live in as food. This only leads to weakness of the tree and a reason for its eventual demise.
Looking at the policies alone, Imran Khan is not the savior Pakistan has been waiting for. Although he is very anti-corruption his welfare policies can only end up increasing the size of Pakistan government and reducing the freedoms of the people. Freedoms that fast becoming non existent.