chapter  12
17 Pages

Institutional Impediments to Human Development in Pakistan

Mahbubul Haq 1 Within two decades of its independence, American economic advisors declared Pakistan's economic development a resounding success.2 Since its creation in August 1947, Pakistan had achieved and maintained high rates of growth of gross national product (GNP), averaging more than 6 percent per annum. According to dominant economic thought when Pakistan was in its formative years, the key to development - defined as growth of GNP per capita - was the concentration of capital. Thus, Pakistan's economic planners aimed to achieve high growth rates by concentrating capital, and diverting a minimum of resources to social welfare. Inequality was an explicit component of Pakistan's strategy of economic growth through 'functional inequality'. 3 Given the emphasis placed at that time on the 'social utility of greed', it seems a little strange that many now regard Pakistan's combination of high gross domestic product growth rates and low levels of human development as 'enigmatic' or 'paradoxical'.4 In view of the low priority given to human development in the past, it is not surprising that Pakistan currently suffers some of the lowest rates of literacy, life expectancy, infant and maternal survival in the world.