Pakistan Rejuvenating the Planning Commission


Planning Commission of Pakistan

Pakistan’s new planning commission is uncharacteristically younger, but does having young blood really add any value?

This is a big change from the past where members of the Commission were mostly retirees, hanging on to the public sector, which instead needed fresh ideas and young minds.

Some would agree it’s not the age that matters much, but rather the  correct ideas and principles. Better ideas and principles can lead to better outcomes irrespective of the age. Most economists are of Keynesian or of Monetarist bent and very few are pro free market. The reason is that free market economists have to tell the government to get out of the business of running a business and that doesn’t lend them favor with their employer who wants more power.

What the government needs to do is to hand off the tasks of running a business to the private owners who can do a much better job. This fact holds even if the government hires the same expert who was running the private enterprise successfully. The problem isn’t only of knowledge in case of the government, but rather of incentives and calculation. The private firm has to survive by offering the best product at the lowest price otherwise in free market the consumer can switch to the competitor. It’s not the case with a public company, sheltered heavily from competition. The industries that are private but colluding with the large government create cartels, and again raising price and lowering the quality of product.

It’s this intervention over the past decades that has lead the economies down the path of utter destruction with ballooning debts, growing governments, and shrinking liberties. If Pakistan continues in this path it’s future will become even more uncertain than it currently is.

They cannot be any worse than those experienced ones who reigned over the Planning Commission in the past.

The argument the author is making is about infusing new blood in the planning commission in hopes that the new recruits might dare to do things differently. The battle is not about the right people but in essence about of the right philosophy, and the right principles. Of those employed, whether old or young, really believe in free markets or are of socialist inclination.

As the author Simon Sinek in the book Start with WHY explained: the HOW and the WHAT follow from the WHY. WHAT needs to be done and HOW it is going to be done are secondary to the WHY some action needs to be taken in the first place.

I hope the fresh blood in the Planning Commission has seen enough of the free market and know WHY it is unbelievably better than a controlled or heavily regulated market. I also hope these new inductees also know WHY it would be better for Pakistan to take this new path. But what I hope the most is that Pakistan will simply abolish this planning commission altogether to turn Pakistan into a bastion of freedom, peace, and prosperity.

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