Pakistan’s Biggest Problem Is Not Corruption; Its Incompetence

MCB’ Chairman Mian Mohammad Mansha “Pakistan’s biggest problem is not corruption; its incompetence” has hit hard like a bomb in the ongoing economic crisis. This statement could be ignored as naivety of a rich man, except it is getting harder to dismiss these comments every passing day. Even in Urdu literature tradesmen and businessmen are portrayed for one purpose as in Mushtaq Yusufi’s “Zarguzasht” where traders and businessmen are featured for getting robbed and invariably sympathies still lie with their robbers. This antagonism towards elite class may have numerous deep roots that need to be explored and examined. “The Indus Saga” and “The Making of Pakistan” by Aitzaz Ahsan still makes bold effort to describe conspicuous consumption in the land of pure when it quotes this saying by Waris Shah:

“Khade peeta lahe da, Baki Ahmed Shahe Da” (Whatever you eat is yours, the rest belongs to Amed Shah)

 Countries that are more than once attacked understand how to manage their excesses. Put them to good use or they will quit being useful. Wolf it down or abandon it. The wealthy in this distrustful perspective are either hoarders, the careless, the degenerate or frequently all above three at the same time. It is hard not to doubt them. However, would it be advisable for it to be like that? Unquestionably not. In a legitimacy-based framework the people who are compensated ought to be praised, not reprimanded. Furthermore, their ideas ought to be greeted wholeheartedly. Not lets return to the issue of incompetence. There is something wrong in our work culture where we demand less, we offer less, we produce less and whenever we undertake a project, the first thing we do is look for safe exist and ready excuses (just in case). With due apologies to Balzac, behind every big failure is a quitter and a truckload of excuses and this is certainly to right and highly unhealthy.

The answer for the way out is in two parts. The first is the broken reward and punishment system. The human beings run all systems and are part of the same society, If these systems are run by incompetent persons, the first thing that the society does is demolish the system. The dominant class of incompetent persons doesn’t allow the rise of the competent because its own existence would be jeopardized otherwise. Thus, you come across paper pushing and only ritual work in private and public offices. Society fixates on belief system, not fate and nobody stresses over decorating a Pakistani dream.

The second part is the response of working class as not pushing the limits for acquiring goals and settling down for whatever we have because we have been brought up and tuned in such a way that we think getting degree, getting a job, finding a spouse, starting a family, supporting elders and acquiring some modest property and finally meeting the Maker is the sole purpose of our lives.

There is another way to approach the problem. Francis Fukuyama in his book “The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity” published in 1966, took us to the societal bonds by describing three kinds of families, extended family, nuclear family and single-parent family. The first type of extended family is an engine of inefficiency because in such bonds family is everything and society’s merit system is bound to collapse due to family loyalties while in nuclear family system you are loyal to yourself and your work and not bound to anyone else. This is the most efficient organizing system and we as society reject it by obsessing over our so-called family values. There is also a way to push your limits and that is self-analysis. In this globally connected modern era, no excuse is good enough and professionals worldwide are going out of the way to provide you with the content to help you get batter at things. If we can’t make efforts to improve ourselves than we are also part of the problem.