Drawing room politics and the impact of apathy on business

There are many beautiful things about Pakistan including the fact that we are the largest group of conspiracy theorists or, so lost for direction, that the national past time is an ongoing debate as to what will happen next.

Tragically, when most should be worried about internal politics and its correlation to industrial, commercial and financial growth, we are busy debating if Trump will be good or bad for Pakistan.

Yes so typical lets find some one else and blame all our problems on them or as a consequence of their actions, but the finger pointing should start at home; look outside, the filth in the average middle class neighborhood, look to the skies, the poles carrying power/telephone and or other misc un-licensed cables. The web of their complexity displays the chaos and indifference in our social fiber.

We haven’t been able to streamline how to run wires between poles in 50 years, we haven’t figured out if where we live also doubles as garbage dump, 2 degrees north of our main gates. Look at the guy(s) coming in the opposing direction to the drivers right of way, look to the line up in a bank. You know what; look even closer at the line or the lack their off, at break time at any canteen at any school.

The elite are spending $ & £ to send their kids to private schools, yet none have taken out the time to see where our civic sensibilities are, especially in those formative years. We are too busy discussing all the shit we shouldn’t and none of what we should. Same parents would end up at coffee mornings debating how badly the system is broken, yet contribute nothing to its regeneration.

Our commercial reality is that to this date we do not produce indigenously, be it automobile engines, be it PCBs, we do not produce any thing at scale, we have no national computer or semiconductor production company, we have not a single 1$Bn tech company, let alone companies that are legitimately in the $B club, barring a few exceptions. We can debate how dada jis tax free money result in the creating of that empire to begin with.

We have no large institutional players doing any ecosystem building for industry, tech, education i.e growth hacking. We have empires built around 1st/2nd generation saiths, their children typically neither have the inclination or the ability to sustain this pipe dream beyond their own generation.

We would rather debate nightly and daily will our COAS have his term extended, is he about to become a Field Marshal, who is in or out of prison, what will happen to the accountability of a sitting prime mister viz a vi his family’s alleged involvement in only the biggest scam exposed ever.Where’s Musharraf, more importantly what is Zardari thinking, what will happen to MQM. Day in and Day out, the national debate cant rise beyond this garbage.

In a country boasting youth to be at 60% as a subset of the total population we cant find a Governor under 70 for the largest economic and tax contributing province. How can some one govern a populace where the representatives chosen to lead them have nothing in common.

A place where the reps of the judiciary come out and say the point man has no social profiles and does not use any social media, because some one was using a fake profile under their name. Clearly we have bigger issues at hand than making public statements about this stuff. “Az Khud Notice” is the proverbial cluster f** of this generation. If some one were to analyze how many of these were initiated and their outcome, they’d need a full time staffer to analyze what I can tell them now, ZERO.

The stack, breed, pedigree of politicians we have, make Trump not from a lesser child but the son of a saint. Surely we didn’t not elect these morons, I for one have not, they do not represent me, I did not ask for a guy who opens or used to open briefings by saying “skoority(security)” I did not ask for men and women fighting out the agendas of their shitty political establishments on air. I am sick of the pundits and spin doctors who nightly predict this or that, a cursory glance says that all the pundits predict both sides of the coin and then side with which ever holds true. We as a nation clearly deserve this, due to the lack of calling a spade a spade, due to the lack of us giving a damn and due to our combined apathy.

Minus China not much is going on, we are in the circle of life that says

  • Find a bad guy party- give the population some thing to be busy about(this is called eating the mind share)
  • Make incumbents shaky so there is noise all over
  • Appoint ministers who my best guess says wouldn’t last 2 rounds of the popular TV show “are you a smarter than a 5th grader”
  • Rinse , repeat every day, till you die

China Is coming, China is coming, that may not be a bad thing, but what have we done to make sure our national interests are safeguarded, our jobs and money are not exported, what have we done to make sure there is transfer of knowledge and we up skill our workforce, where is the public discourse on routes, investments, growth plans, land acquisition disclosures and foreign policy changes to ensure mutual growth. Just yesterday we saw profiteering on the back of knowing where the routes will be and people having acquired wholesale land in those areas prior to the announcement.

We are growing in spite of all of this, not because of any of this, we are growing because in chaos there is opportunity. But we are being victimized by brain dain, people giving up- are victimizing us, we are victimized by the average persons in-ability to:

  • get credit
  • get respect in line at a bank or any public service
  • get fair compensation for our work
  • get professional counseling and direction to grow professionally
  • get social security
  • get free health care
  • get free education
  • get skills or training for basic sustenance

There are little to no Unicorns coming from the tech sector who will lift the fate of the country. I say this, not because I do not believe in our ability to innovate, I say this because of what we are using the technical revolution for

  • forwarding memes on whatsapp as a national past time
  • political and religious discourse on various groups on social media and then hating the other point of view
  • the consumption of content on youtube, based on the now trending button (cant even mention what it is, go look)*per capita we consume more video than India.

When was the last time you got a forwarded message from the MIT open courseware session, when was the last time some one shared any thing worthy of a share that was not in the political satire space or a joke.

We are a reflection of what gets shared. Religious intolerance, the gross categorization of the conspiracy of the E number in all processed foods being haram. I could go on, what we don’t see is people organizing focus groups to discuss pressing business issues, what we don’t see are youth organizing to discuss community action plans.

What we do see is the mental spacing out of kids, meeting virtually whilst ignoring reality and living in their bubble, I call these kids the helmet babies, they are so encapsulated within their helmets they cant bear being without them.

Lo and behold the Panoptican, a Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow all (pan-) inmates of an institution to be observed (-opticon) by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched at all times, effectively controlling their own behavior constantly.

Modern day version of this for our youth is the Cell phone, whilst it can also be used to build the Unicorns like Uber and AirBnB our take is slightly different we are busy waiting for likes on our mindless shares and being the first guy to find a shitty viral video in our social circle.

Long term impact of this on business will be a completely disconnected middle class; and when they grow up, under skilled, mis-guided, of no genuine service to them selves and to our great nation, but perpetually in waiting for the Army, US, Politicians , everybody besides them selves to do some thing so that our passport doesn’t need a visa to get global access.



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