Institutional Impediments to Human Development in Pakistan

  • Christopher Candland

Abstract

Within two decades of its independence, American economic advisors declared Pakistan’s economic development a resounding success.2 Since its creation in August 1947, Pakistan had achieved and maintained high rates of growth of gross national product (GNP), averaging more than 6 percent per annum. According to dominant economic thought when Pakistan was in its formative years, the key to development — defined as growth of GNP per capita — was the concentration of capital. Thus, Pakistan’s economic planners aimed to achieve high growth rates by concentrating capital, and diverting a minimum of resources to social welfare. Inequality was an explicit component of Pakistan’s strategy of economic growth through ‘functional inequality’.3 Given the emphasis placed at that time on the ‘social utility of greed’, it seems a little strange that many now regard Pakistan’s combination of high gross domestic product growth rates and low levels of human development as ‘enigmatic’ or ‘paradoxical’.4 In view of the low priority given to human development in the past, it is not surprising that Pakistan currently suffers some of the lowest rates of literacy, life expectancy, infant and maternal survival in the world.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Mahbubul Haq, Human Development in South Asia 1997 (Oxford: Human Development Centre, 1997), 37.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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  3. 3.
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  4. 4.
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    Afzal Iqbal, Islamisation of Pakistan (Lahore: Vanguard, 1986), 108. Zakat collections have increased steeply since their inception in 1980, from a rate of 5.2 percent in the 1980s to 17.4 percent in the 1990s in real terms. In 1993–94, the Government of Pakistan collected Rs 1.75 billion in zakat. Asad Sayeed and A. F. Aisha Ghaus, ‘Has Poverty Returned to Pakistan?’ Social Policy and Development Centre, July 1996, 11, citing the Pakistan Economic Survey and the Annual Reports of the State Bank of Pakistan.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Amita Shastri and A. Jeyaratnam Wilson 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Candland

There are no affiliations available

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