Thursday, September 23, 2010

The word Debt aptly defined

Today I came across the definition of the word “Debt.” Ambrose Bierce describes debt as a noun, meaning “An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave-driver.” And it stopped me in my tracks as I have never read a more elaborate and meaningful description of the word debt we come across so frequently with regard to poor and under developed countries.

The IMF, the WB and all such monetary institutions around the world are on the lookout for countries marred with poverty, corruption and political instability. It is here they find their future victims which could be whipped, exploited and bullied to succumb to their stringent conditions, thus putting to chains the entire nation for years and years after. What to talk of return of the loans so provided, the victim countries even find it hard to repay the mark up that piles up every year that goes by till it brings a country to bankruptcy. And that is the time when the real power players behind these agencies show their true face for fulfilling their heinous agenda of dominance, exploitation and even dismemberment of a victim to suit their overall game plan.

Successive governments in Pakistan have succumbed to the demands of the IMF and WB at the behest of some of the world powers, so that Pakistan becomes a level playing field for them. As per a news report, Pakistan’s total external debt is likely to grow alarmingly by more than 43 per cent over the next five years, to about $73 billion in 2015-16 from about $50.76 billion early this year. This would mean that in the medium term, such increase would lead to a higher debt-servicing cost and restrict the government’s ability to improve the condition of the people, which is already hitting a deplorable level of poverty.

It would be interesting to note that when a natural calamity hit Haiti, the monetary institutions came to its rescue by writing off most of its debts so as to help the country revive its economy and stand on its feet once again. But in case of Pakistan, there has been no indication of any such consideration. At this time, Pakistan is braving the devastations of the worst floods of its history or even in the flood history of the world. The flood has rendered more than 20 million homeless, and causing a material damage to more than two million houses, thousands of kilometers of roads and bridges beside countless government and non government buildings, hospitals and schools.

The fragile economy of Pakistan, already under a heavy debt of the monetary agencies, would find it hard to recover from the large scale damages caused by the recent floods. What to talk of rebuilding damaged infrastructure, even the rehabilitation of the displaced people will be an uphill task, rather seemingly impossible.

At this time, the haunting debt stands true for Pakistan as defined by Ambrose Bierce – effectively chained and ready to be whipped.