Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Pakistan’s Development — The Role of Government and Private Enterprise

In the 1960’s Pakistan’s economy started generating rates of growth of over 5 per cent per year—higher than those observed in many other underdeveloped countries including its neighbours. Industry is growing rapidly. Exports are increasing by over 7 per cent per year. Perhaps more significant, many believe, an agricultural revolution is underway. Some observers consider this to be remarkable and a model of development in the non-socialist world. However, the brief growth experience of the 1960’s, after the long stagnation during the 1950’s, can hardly be a basis for definitive conclusions about long-run development. Observation of a longer period and evidence of certain basic conditions are necessary for such extrapolation. The dependence on foreign aid continues to be large and the domestic saving rate is relatively low. It is too early to talk of self-sustaining growth. How and why Pakistan could achieve this development and what it signifies for the country’s future growth is surely of interest. Yet apart from some spotty reviews of progress, mainly from official sources, no systematic and comprehensive study of Pakistan’s development process explaining its mechanism had been available. Dr. Papanek’s book on Pakistan’s development [13] is an important contribution in this field. The author analyses the factors that led to development in the past, and drawing upon that experience, suggests policies that would accelerate future development. He tries to explain how the saving rate was raised in a poor country of traditional agriculture, where industrial investors came from, how agricultural output could be increased at a high rate, and what role government and private initiative played in this development. Any analysis of the role of government and private enterprise has ideological overtones, and the reader of Dr. Papanek’s book is definitely aware of his in¬dividual predilections. This does not, however, reduce the worth of the book.

Swadesh R. Bose

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