Sunday, 8 September 2013
Why the IMF & the UK Shouldn’t Loan Money to Pakistan
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just approved another loan to Pakistan. This is a $6.7bn (£4.3bn) loan on top of the nearly $5bn Pakistan already owes the IMF from earlier loans. This tacit acceptance of nonpayment is, of course, is a common practice of the IMF.
One of the biggest problems in Pakistan is the almost non-existent tax-collection situation which exists in that country. Strangely enough, it can be argued that that’s partly because of Islam. More precisely, it’s because of the sharia law of zakat. Muslims already have a ‘tax policy’ which is completely separate from the government/state in which all adult Muslim males must pay 2.5% of their wealth to the poor or needy (i.e., alms). The problem is that zakat is a charitable gesture and has nothing at all to do with either the state or even with domestic/ private economies. (It is collected in a ‘decentralised’ manner.) In addition, it is not an income tax and is only collected once a year. That means that if a rich or poor Pakistani has spent up by that time, he pays nothing. Nonetheless is it a form of (Islamic) taxation which often works against the non-Muslim belief that the state too has the right or duty to collect taxes.
The IMF is saying that without proper tax collection there will never be economic growth. Then again, without economic growth – of which there is very little in Pakistan - there won’t be much tax collection either.
In any case, it was only six years ago that the IMF last bailed out Pakistan. What happened after being bailed out? Yes, you guessed it. The Pakistan government failed to go through with the economic reforms the IMF required or demanded (depending on how you view the IMF). What if that’s because in most cases the state can’t push through any serious or radical economic reforms? And the fact that it can’t do so is primarily because Pakistan is an Islamic society.
The main problem is that the Pakistan economy has only been growing an average of just 3% a year since that last IMF bailout. The population, on the other hand, is outstripping that meager economic growth. The other problem is that the Pakistan population is likely – or perhaps destined – to rise still higher in the future. That’s no such a bad thing if the economy is booming or even if it’s just mediocre. (Look at Monaco – the most densely populated place in the world.)
Pakistan’s tax rate is one of the lowest in the world – just 10% of GDP. Now a low tax rate may be a good thing in a thriving and thrusting free market economy (it may even help create such an economy); but Pakistan’s economy is neither thriving nor thrusting. As I hinted at earlier, the Islamic law against usury (riba) and the reliance on zakat work directly against both tax collection and economic investment.
Under the new IMF plans for Pakistan the budget deficit must fall from around 9% of the GDP last year to 3.5% in three years. Now that’s not going to happen! Not because I’m an economic futurologist; but because I know about Islam’s stranglehold on Pakistan. More relevantly, I know about Islam’s economic stranglehold on Pakistan.
In respect to that IMF demand that the Pakistani budget deficit be reduced, Western Leftists and Left-Liberals will respond with their usual mantra: when the IMF invests in a poor country there are always strings attached. Of course there are ‘strings attached’! Why else would the IMF invest you numbskulls?
Pakistan has received masses of money from the infidel over the years. Literally hundreds of billions of dollars and pounds over its entire existence. Yet, when it has received that money, the Pakistani elite has squandered it on cigars, cars, villas and sending its children to English public schools and Oxbridge. But, most of all, it has spent it on the military and the proliferation of its ‘nuclear capacity’.
So why do the IMF and the British and American governments do this? The equation is simple:
They do so to stop the ‘Islamic extremists’ from seizing power and creating yet more instability and chaos in Pakistan.
In a prima facie way, that makes some sense. I mean that even though the various military dictatorships - which have run Pakistan for most of its life - have been bad, brutal and unelected, they might still have been better than the various options on offer. That idée fixe behind UK and American attitudes to funding Pakistan is: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know. Or, to use another well-known quotation: Pakistan may be a son of a bitch, but at least it’s our son of a bitch. But of course it’s not ‘ours’ at all; it just likes our money and repays us with soundbites about ‘defeating terrorism’.
Western Islamists and Leftists make much of this support and the fact that we ‘sustain unelected despotisms’ which are no more than ‘puppets of the West’. That has some truth to it. Nonetheless, I’d say better a military autocracy that’s a ‘puppet to the West’ than an Islamist totalitarian theocracy which would be an enemy of the West. You see, Western Islamists, Muslims and Leftists don’t tell you that when they speak out against these autocracies and ‘puppets’. They don’t tell you – the Islamists at least - that they want something far worse to replace them: Islamic totalitarianism as ideologically backed up by the Koran, hadiths and by various Islamist texts and diktats. Basically, what they are against, and this includes Western Leftists, is not the lack of democracy: it is the fact, as they see it, that these ‘puppets’ are pro-West and that they are also - to some degree at least – capitalist in nature.
So when these Western Islamists, or just plain Muslims, talk about the lack of free speech and democracy in these ‘Western-friendly dictatorships’, they are only talking about their free speech and the democratic procedures which they require in order to give them a voice and then ultimately power. Once they have been given a voice and gained that power, the Islamists will of course no longer care about free speech and democracy (as is also the case with many Western Leftists). Free speech and democracy are what are required today in order to bring about an Islamic totalitarian theocracy in the future. (Think here of Hitler in 1933, Hamas in 2006 and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in 2012.)