If you’re reading this, you probably have a frame of reference when it comes to social issues. You bask in the glory of your culture, Pakistani or not. You can name the prime minister of your country, list some of the problems its government faces and you might even be passionate about using a justice-oriented platform to change its future.
What might make you squirm, however, is the discussion of fiscal policy and its relevance in the arena of politics. Economics can be difficult to grasp, and it often seems that monetary policy is placed on the backburner when activists facilitate conversations about their community’s development.
Pakistan is a nation that faces as many, if not more, economic problems as other countries of its scale. Its government struggles to handle issues in sustainability, unemployment and several other critical areas.
In 2013, the Pakistani economy was near shambles—a recession plagued the markets, and the rupee was losing stability. The government, under the watch of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was under pressure to introduce a comprehensive reform program that could nudge the country back on its feet.
The amends outlined in this program included a push to make the State Bank of Pakistan more independent, introduce drastic tax reforms and reshape energy policy to lessen shortages and improve productivity.
As of today, this reform program has aided the Pakistani economy and prevented its serious collapse. The monetary landscape of the nation, while still in dire need of more reformation, has seen a slight turnaround—the economy is on the pathway of steady growth and is regaining control over inflation.
This sounds like good news—and it certainly is—but activists attempting to combat corruption must do a better job in elevating these economic issues to the forefront of the conversation in order to make Pakistan a more stable country.
It’s easier to discuss more emotionally invested, socially charged issues, such as poverty, domestic abuse and child safety for a variety of reasons. We can put a face to these problems to make them more eye-catching, and being able to empathize often does not require a nuanced understanding of the political jargon and complex economic models that are present in fiscal policy.
What we need to realize, however, is that social and fiscal issues directly affect one another. You cannot analyze the government’s financial decisions without considering the societal implications that come with them, and vice versa.
How do people end up in poverty, and why does the vicious cycle keep them entrenched in a system of oppression? Why are women held to a lower standard in almost every respect in Pakistan? None of these questions can be properly answered without talking about the reforms enforced by the State Bank of Pakistan, or how tax policies have shaped the markets in recent years.
Dissecting these issues, and realizing that these intersections are critical to seeing the bigger picture, can be intimidating, and understandably so. Just keep in mind that we do not necessarily have to change what we talk about, but rather the angles from which we bring them up.
The world is a complicated place, but if we force ourselves to be aware on all fields, we can help Pakistan achieve greater things.
Photo Attribute: Wiki Commons