Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Now and then...

Today, I read this brilliant post from Jawwad Farid and it immediately struck a chord with me.

From my early childhood memories, I remember that things around us were not in such abundance and people generally lived a much simpler life. I remember, we did not have a telephone at home. Having a phone was a privelege. Infact our whole apartment block had just two households with phone. All acquainances just called our neighbours, who would call us attend the call. Try telling it to today's kids in school. They would genuinely struggle with the idea of sharing their cell phones with their siblings. And it wasn't just technical items. All other things like cars, long distance travel, fast food, etc. were scarce and a luxury.

Most the people I know from my childhood have progressed in some form or another. People who came to Karachi from small village and towns in search of better lives have settled down, some have bought property in their ancestral lands. People with motorbikes now have cars - sometimes two. And all of this is from Pakistan, at times when the country have moved from one sort of crisis to another .

So, the question is where has all this money come from? No doubt, technical progress has contributed a lot. Things got cheaper and more accessible. Also, people worked hard and. But, for me one of the greatest reason is the world's definite tilt towards capitalism. In the last two decades, we have seen the world moving from nationalisation and a more state controlled "population focussed" model to a privatised and "profit centric" model. There has been many winners of this model but also the disparity of wealth between wealthy & poor has swelled tremendously. People have more wealth but at the same time they have become more indebted as well.

The current economic meltdown may just prove to be a turning point. We have already seen huge enterprises being bailed out and effectively getting "nationalised", so a lot of things that happened in the last two decardes in being undone. Let's see how far it goes and what the future unfold for all of us.

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