“Law and Economics” and Pakistan (English)

January 28, 2017



The importance of institutions to economic development and growth. What is needed now is far more research and debate on what sort of institutional reform is required to achieve Pakistan's desired growth acceleration and development.

This is an initial podcast in the subject of law and economics and the implications of this subject on the required institutional development.

Hopefully this will spark a new area of research.


Aid and Public Policy (English)

November 14, 2016

A conversation with Raza Rumi on a course on 'Public Policy and Aid' that he is teaching at Cornell Institutie of Public Adminsitraiton.  

Raza is well known Pakistani scholar that we have met in an earlier podcast. 

Those interested in Public Policy will find very useful ideas for thought and research here. 


Debt, Austerity and Taxes (English)

November 12, 2016

Every few days we have a conference on debt, taxes or stabilization.  Pakistan seems to be obsessed with stabilization and collecting more taxes even if it means killing growth.  And we have killed our growth and productivity potential through this discourse.

Sadly, this analysis has been inspired by donor funding which has diverted all of Pakistan intellect to thinking only revenues and poor quality fiscal adjustment a clear path to low growth and productivity. This is what is called austerity in the West. 

Research and debate in Pakistan is funded in this direction.  Very little research is done on growth and reform. Nor are there any conferences on that subject.  Pakistani intellect is incapable of challenging the austerity narrative of donors.

Here I argue for growth and against austerity and hope more of you will review this topic and discuss it.

Pakistan needs to change its strategy from giving excessive weight to stabilization through excessive taxation and poor choices in fiscal correction. Giving priority to growth will lead to wiser choices.

It is time that we started looking at avenues for enhancing our growth through reform. That is the only way of achieving a sustainable and quality stabilization. 



Pakistan’s Economic Narrative and Policy (ENGLISH)

November 6, 2016
“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back” John Maynard Keynes.


Let us look at the prevailing economic narrative and see if we are following some 'academic scribbler of the past?"


What is the prevailing economic narrative of Pakistan?
Is it consistent with our needs?
Is it based on solid foundations of modern thought?
Why don't we have an honest debate on it?
Is this economic narrative leading to bad policy choices?
Is this the reason why progress eludes us?

Understanding Policy (ENGLISH)

November 6, 2016
I find that the term policy is loosely used in Pakistan. Economists and policy analysts need to understand what policy is?


How it is distinguished from programs and projects?
How it is made?
How implemented?


Here I take an initial stab at it. Hope to keep revisit this topic in the future.


Your thoughts comments and questions will be very helpful 

What Kind of Planning do we need or should we do away with it? (ENGLISH)

October 20, 2016
Kahlid Ikram who worked in the Pakistan Planning Commission in its glory days and then went on to important assignments in the world Bank is one of Pakistan's finest economists. He talks to us about Planning and economic policy in Pakistan?


We discuss


Is there a need for a Planning commission? Should countries plan anymore?
What role can policy play in growth?
Does good policy require a cerebral and thinking government?
The current 'hardware only' policy vis a vis the 'priority to software' approach of the FEG?
How the PC lost its important role as well as all its human capital in the 70s?


This should be of great interest to people thinking of economic policy in Pakistan. 
Enjoy! Keep the debate going. Send us your comments and thoughts

Understanding Chinese Growth and drawing lessons (ENGLISH)

August 26, 2016

Khalid Malik has written a book on Chinese growth: "why has China grown so fast for so long?". As UNDP  Director he has lived in China for a long time and knows China well. 

In this fascinating discussion we learn the answer to the question.


Khalid argues:


The key to development is structural transformation that Mao and then Deng achieved. 
They created a learning and competent state capable of leading development
Chinese society has been transformed to be a learning society
Reform is a continuous and ongoing process in China not a check list given by a donor and implemented once. 
Reform process incentivized innovation and allowed for learning from mistakes. 
They maintained an undervalued exchange rate and pushed for exports in an open economy context. 


We also draw some lessons from China. 


You will enjoy this podcast.


Do look into Khalid's recommendation of a movie that you could see and discuss.  



Candles in the dark (ENGLISH)

August 22, 2016

Economics has been called the 'dismal science". 

Too often people especially in Pakistan accuse us of being pessimistic. 

To counter that we have an optimistic story today. Mahmood Ayub a leading economist from eh World Bank and Turab Husain the Chair of the Economics Department of LUNS have combined to write a book called "Candles in the Dark'--a book about "success stories" in Pakistan. They review 9 key organizations that they call successes in Pakitan to draw lessons on what it is that makes a success.  


Are these organizations truly a success or a flash in the pan?
Are these candles lily to be scaled up to daylight everywhere? 
Could they be political accidents in an otherwise society where the norm is institutional collapse?  
Will these candles flicker out leave us in darkness? 
Will they affect society at large or only small segments in big cities?

The study is commendable and reaches conclusions that are in keeping with much research into organizational institutional development. And the authors have done fine work to establish that the key to good governance is DECENTRALIZE, PROFESSIONALIZE, AUTONOMIZE AND MONETIZE INCENTIVES (NO PERKS, NO PLOTS).

Very interesting discussion.

And of course good book recommendations.  

Disagreements: Difference between growth and development (URDU)

August 21, 2016

Anjum and Nadeem disagree on differences between growth and development. This is in response to our assessment where we felt hat basic concepts needed to be discussed. We hope this helps

We discuss what is economic growth and development. 
Do the two differ or are they interrelated? 
Can we have growth without development? Is it sustainable? 

Please post your comments on 



Disagreements: An assessment of Soch Bichar (URDU)

August 18, 2016

Anjum and Nadeem disagree on strategy and impact of Soch Bichar. 

I am not going to tell u what we discussed here. 

Please listen and comment on


You should all join this group and discuss ideas or else there is no point in learning.