Pakistan Institute of Development Economics


The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan: Markets, Bureaucracy, and Incentive Structures

Date : Friday, November 05, 2021 at 02:00 PM PST
Moderator: Dr. Nadeem Ul Haque, Vice Chancellor, PIDE
Panelists :

Dr. Khalil Ahmad, Philosopher and Political Economist, Founder of Alternate Solutions Institute

Outline/ Agenda:

  • Just rules and laws – what is the nature of the ideal political system?
  • Institution of the State – what ought to be its primary roles and responsibilities?
  • Differences between premodern and modern aristocracy?
    • What are the mechanisms through which aristocratic practice persists in Pakistan?
  • Two Pakistans: capture of state and its resources
    • Basic amenities – two cities, one for aristocracy and another for ordinary people
  • Constitutional amendments to break this cycle of state capture
  • Who is to blame for the prevalence of state aristocracy in Pakistan, and what are the incentive structures that make it possible?
  • What is the role of activism and grassroots politics in uprooting the system of state aristocracy, if any?
  • How can steps be taken in challenging power structures through policy? What does effective ‘reform’ look like?
  • What is the efficacy of think tanks and non-government organizations? Do they have a role to play, and if so – what should it look like?
  • If ‘ideologies’ have become outdated, why do they persist among so many groupings in Pakistan and around the world? If something truly is redundant, it fizzles away with time – however Socialism, for instance, seems to be experiencing a revival: why? Also, is Liberalism – which you are a strong proponent of – not an ideology too?