Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Skill Formation Strategies for Sustaining ‘The Drive to Maturity’ in Pakistan

Skill formation is a multi-faceted process. Skills are necessarily (by definition) instrumental—i.e. means for the achievement of a metaphysically defined objective. In Modernity,1 this metaphysical presupposed ‘rational’ purpose of existence (both individual and societal) is freedom [Kant (2001)]. In the history of Modernity, the primary source of the growth of freedom has been capital accumulation.2 A nation committed to Modernity (‘Enlightened Moderation’) is necessarily committed to articulating a skill formation strategy which can transform ‘human being’ into ‘human capital’. This transformation requires three distinct types of skills: individual, communitarian and political. This is because capitalism is not just a ‘lifeworld’ in the Habermasian sense but a system [Foucault (1976)]. Capitalist individuality requires a prioritisation of the preference for preference itself (‘choice’) over all preferences. This is necessary for the internalisation of capitalist norms (the commitment to profit/utility maximisation and competition to achieve this end). Capitalist individuality must also posses the skills which allow it to rationally identify and pursue its interest in the market and in the firm. It must also have the selfdiscipline to function as a diligent and co-operative participant in the capitalist work process.

Javed Akbar Ansari, Muhammad Zahid Siddique