The Real Challenge is Economy in Afghanistan

After the fall of the Taliban regime, once again Afghanistan is moving towards a global market economy. Which has its own unique characteristics. Afghanistan always remained a scapegoat among the powerful empires and political systems due to its ancient transit trade silk route. The tragedy of this sorrow land is much bigger than what actually has been said in the modern political history of Afghanistan. This is the only land where we can find immensely the essence and form of diverse culture. Music and dance are the inevitable part of the Afghan life, which naturally gifted to this beautiful resilient nation. Progressive democratic resistance against all forms of exploitation is another hopeful story of this nation. To enrich and develop further this highly dynamic superstructure of the Afghan society needs a powerful local economy.

But the question is, will the neo-liberal economic model allow smoothly and equal development of this already severely unequal society. The Neo-liberal economic model gives more space to the private sector, where state’s welfare role slows and gradually withers. If we look in today’s Afghanistan economic situation is worse than what we called fragile and bleak. The thesis of President Ashraf Ghani is nothing but the way to tell how to collect the taxes, and it is also not producing fruitful results. This thesis which is based on more slogans than an economic model is itself belongs from modern developed capitalistic structure.  Place and time are the touch-stone to determine the ubiquitous results of the scientific postulation. Afghanistan where its own formal economic growth has fallen less than zero, and remained highly dependent on foreign aid, of course, such kind of economic slogans will never give positive results. On the other hand, the black economic empire is on the boom. Unfortunately in this huge black evil some serious state organs are also deeply imbedded.

The former warlords are on the vanguard in this venture. Some of them have also invested hugely on the higher education sector. In Kabul city, we can find in each corner of the city the higher education institutions. Actually, these education institutions are business franchises of warlords where they white their illicit capital and also preach their reactionary conservative ideas. Media is another sector where these warlords have also a huge share; even they have their own TV stations. Sometimes, they also blackmail the President Palace in order to find more space in the power center.

Economist also reported this rotten state affairs, “A combination of security and economic woes have led many Afghans to give up hope after 15 years of chaos, with many of the country’s brightest and best fleeing to Europe or elsewhere.’’

Economist further added, “Four years the World Bank estimated the Afghan government would need $7 billion a year in aid to pay for its expenditure.” This standstill position in the economy is also emanating the political crisis of the Afghan state. Some of the vulgar understanding of this rotten state is the premise to attribute the present woes directly to the corruption of the ex-administration. Corruption is not the cause of this apathy but itself the symptom of this syndrome. To make rid of the symptom, one should look towards syndrome which is the real cause of our all woes. War, famine, fundamentalism, fascism and poverty are the symptoms of this syndrome, and that’s the sign of the neo-liberal model of the global market economy. One of the leading American intellectual Noam Chomsky also viewed the situation in a very scientific way, “The Neo-liberal democracy in a nutshell: the trivial debate over minor issues by parties that basically pursue the some pro-business policies regardless of formal differences and campaign debate. The neo-liberal system has an important and necessary byproduct-a depoliticized citizenry marked by apathy and cynicism.”

Unfortunately, Afghanistan with primitive social conditions, getting access to a Liberal-Social Democratic practice in a time when these social democratic value itself losing the ground in an advance Europe and the USA. Another western, the distinguished professor of Anthropology and Geography David Harvey entangled the neo-liberal practices, “It emphasized that the role of the government was to create a good business climate rather than look to the needs and well-being of the population at large.” During 14 years, America and NATO poured the billions of dollars to the Afghan state, but unfortunately still building of local economy is not taken a proper shape. Since after taking the charge of newly Afghan elected national unity government the economic situation is further deteriorated.

The recent decrease of 26% in foreign investment is another blow for our already vulnerable economy. Another cause of the problem is the foreign NGOs which used capital through their own channels, where no check and balance system of the state exists. This huge structure of foreign NGOs itself part of the neo-liberal story. The leading Indian radical writers Arundhati Roy also exposed the role of NGOs, active in under-developed countries. She says, “NGOs have a complicated space in neoliberal practices. They are supposed to mop up the anger. Even when they are doing good work, they are supposed to maintain the status quo. They are the missionaries of the corporate.” In Afghanistan also the NGOs play the similar role.  Today the economic challenge is a real threat for Afghanistan. Only a fundamental change in the social order can provide a solution.

Sher Jan Takal is an Associate Editor at the Strategic Center for International Relations.

The Afghan Tribune | Sher Jan Takal | Published: November 03, 2015 02:14 PM


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