Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump Inauguration; WEF17 & Inequality in India; Killing of LeJ Chief

What tone did President Donald J. Trump set in his inauguration speech on Jan 20, 2017? Can Trump simultaneously take on the US establishment, friends and foes all at the same time? How will he browbeat US businesses to stop offshoring of manufacturing and jobs? How will he "eradicate radical Islamic terrorism" without the help of allies whose armies he says will not be "subsidized" by the United States? How's Trump's rise seen in Pakistan? Will he start trade wars with China and other countries running trade surpluses with the United States? Will he change Washington or will Washington change him?

Why is the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos so concerned about growing economic inequality? Is globalization alone responsible for it? Why is India so unequal with 58.4% of the wealth owned by the top 1% of Indians? Why have the Brexit vote and Trump victory sent shockwaves through the ranks of the owners/investors of global businesses and industries? How will they respond to the powerful backlash against globalization? How is automation affecting the jobs situation? Is it equally responsible for loss of jobs?

Why was the new Laskar e Jhangvi chief Asif Chhotu, like his predecessor Malik Ishaq, killed in a police encounter in Punjab? Was this just another fake encounter? Will it help reduce sectarian carnage in Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with leading Pakistani journalist Zahid Husain and regular panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Trump Phenomenon

America and the Rise of ISIS

London Mayor Sadiq Khan's Election

Trump Policies

Economic Inequality in India, Pakistan

Economy and Security Situation in Pakistan


Mayraj said...

Outsourcing last effort by manufacturers for more profitable buinesses. First rustbelt in NE caused by manufacturers moving to Midwest, then from there to South.

How come no complaints about that?

How come state and federal government didn't address the downside of that for those "left behind?"

"The region’s early industrial cities lost out first to the fast-industrializing Midwest and then to the cheaper, nonunionized South. At the time, such losses were not treated as a national problem. Today, however, urban shrinkage is drawing the attention of planners, policymakers, and the general public, and is beginning to be addressed.

Riaz Haq said...

The (World Bank) report ( The State of Social Safety Nets 2015) – which identifies India as a “lower middle income group” country – finds that all other BRICS countries, except China, spend a higher proportion of funds on social safety net. Thus, Brazil spends 2.42 per cent, Russia 3.30 per cent, China 0.70 per cent, South Africa 3.51 per cent, and South Africa 3.51 per cent of GDP.
Interestingly, even the two of India’s neighbours – Pakistan and Bangladesh – spend a higher proportion on social safety net, 1.89 per cent and 1.09 per cent.
The report says, “Despite having fewer resources for social safety nets, some lower-income countries allocate considerably more funds than the 1.6 percent average for developing countries”.

Riaz Haq said...

#India has been a post-truth society for years. #Modi #Trump #alternativefacts … via @_TCGlobal

India: home of post-truth politics

That was the global context of post-truth politics and its advent in the West. But as the US and UK wake up to this new era, it’s worth noting that the world’s largest democracy has been living in a post-truth world for years.

From education to health care and the economy, particularly its slavish obsession with GDP, India can be considered a world leader in post-truth politics.

India’s post-truth era cannot be traced to a single year – its complexities go back generations. But the election of Narendra Modi in 2014 can be marked as a significant inflection point. Ever since, the country has existed under majoritarian rule with widely reported discrimination against minorities.

India’s version of post-truth is different to its Western counterparts due to the country’s socioeconomic status; its per capita nominal income is less than 3% of that of the US (or 4% of that of the UK). Still, post-truth is everywhere in India.

It can be seen in our booming Wall Street but failing main streets, our teacher-less schools and our infrastructure-less villages. We have the ability to influence the world without enjoying good governance or a basic living conditions for so many at home.

Modi’s government has shown how key decisions can be completely divorced from the everyday lives of Indian citizens, but spun to seem like they have been made for their benefit. Nowhere is this more evident than with India’s latest demonetisation drive, which plunged the country into crisis, against the advice of its central bank, and hit poorest people the hardest.

Despite the levels of extreme poverty in India, when it comes to social development, the cult of growth dominates over the development agenda, a trend that Modi has exacerbated, but that started with past governments.

The dichotomy of India’s current post-truth experience was nicely summed up by Arun Shourie, an influential former minister from Modi’s own party. He disagrees with the prime minister, just as many Republicans share sharp differences of opinion with President Trump.

Shourie said the policies of the current administration were equal to his predecessors’ policies, plus a cow.

...there is an argument to be made that the US and the UK have been living in denial of facts and evidence for years. In 2003, after all, both the countries went to war in Iraq over the false notion that Saddam Hussein was harbouring weapons of mass destruction.
Major social change does not happen within the space of a year. Yet, to a large number of observers around the world, the “post-truth” phenomenon seemed to emerge from nowhere in 2016.

Two key events of 2016 shaped our understanding of the post-truth world: one was in June, when Britain voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The other was in November, when political maverick Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States of America. Trump’s administration spent the third day of his presidency speaking of “alternative facts”, and making false claims about the size of the crowds that had attended his inauguration.

For the rest of the world, the importance of both Trump and Brexit can best be gauged by understanding that they happened in the USA and in the UK. The UK was the key driving force of the world from the 19th century until the second world war, the US has been ever since. The US and the UK often have shared a similar point of view on many global geopolitical developments, as strategic allies or by virtue of their “special relationship”.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #PPP #Zardari's Million($) ‘invitation’ to #Trump’s inaugural.

“eight premier access tickets to a black-tie inaugural ball attended by President Trump, Vice President Pence and their wives” to Zardari and his delegation. My guess, unless proven wrong, is that Zardari became a ‘donor’ and coughed up the one million dollars to Trump. Make no mistake, Zardari too knows the art of the deal. He was confident the gambit would pay in two ways. First, to show off to everyone that he alone was “invited” by President Trump, so listen up people, including the Establishment, not to mess with him. Second, to make Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif eat his heart out that Trump had ignored him, despite President-Elect Trump calling Nawaz Sharif “terrific,” and his countrymen “fantastic.” So impressed was Trump with Pakistan and its prime minister, that he offered to be “ready and willing to play any role that you [Nawaz Sharif] wants me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.”

Fast forward to January 2017. Accompanied by Sherry Rehman once again, the PPP leader was present at Donald Trump’s black-tie, candle-lit pre-inaugural dinner in Washington, DC. Did Sherry, as Zardari’s alpha-spokesperson, compliment the ‘dashing’ Donald about his hair puff or orange tan or his charming smile in a bid to open channels for her leader? Did Zardari in his usual gratuitously gushing way, as he did with Sarah Palin, stick out his hand and say “Hello Handsome?”

In America, where I live, the new kid around the White House block is called ‘Alternative Facts.’ The inventor of this phrase is the unflappable Kellyanne Conway, a mistress of spin who tricked most rural Americans into voting for Trump. Elevated to Counsellor Conway, she coined this instant catchphrase last Sunday when she called her president’s claims about a ‘massive’ inaugural crowd size “alternative facts.” In a flash, she rubbished the traditional media that reported a smaller crowd size compared to President Obama’s 2009 inauguration. With her coronation of ‘Alternative Facts,’ today, they sit on the throne in the lap of King Donald whose 140 character Tweets are now the Proclamation of Truth. Period.

A frenzied America is rushing to buy George Orwell’s bestseller 1984 first published in 1949. It is a classic tale of dystopian society where truth is compromised with false facts in a fog of ‘newspeak.’ The book reportedly has topped the best-seller list of Amazon.

Let me then offer an ‘alternate fact’ to the “invitation” story trumpeted by the PPP. Asif Zardari, during his swashbuckling days, chose to live in ‘self-exile’ at the swanky Trump Tower in Manhattan. His wife Benazir Bhutto and their young children lived in Dubai. Perhaps, Donald Trump and Zardari hit it off during that time, who knows? Perhaps, they became fast friends, who knows? Perhaps, their eternal friendship was the result of Zardari receiving a special invitation to his inauguration and the accompanying hoopla, who knows? But one thing everyone knows for sure is that The Donald will never give anything for free — selling is his blood sport.

Riaz Haq said...

US State Dept: "#US exports to Pakistan sustain 9,200 well-paying #American jobs" Example: 55 GE locomotives in 2016

The data shows that the United States exported $1.8 billion in goods to Pakistan in 2015, creating or supporting over 9,200 US jobs. As one example, General Electric won a contract this year to provide 55 locomotives to Pakistan Railways, all of which will be manufactured at Erie in Pennsylvania.

The data reveals that foreign direct investment from Pakistan to the United States in 2015 supported up to 1,000 additional US jobs.

Riaz Haq said...

#US State Dept's John Kirby Disappoints #Indian Reporter on #Balochistan. #India #Pakistan via @YouTube

Riaz Haq said...

India's Richest 1% Cornered 73% Of Wealth Generated Last Year: Oxfam Survey
Besides, 67 crore Indians comprising the population's poorest half saw their wealth rise by just 1 per cent, as per the survey released by the international rights group Oxfam.

Besides, 67 crore Indians comprising the population's poorest half saw their wealth rise by just 1 per cent, as per the survey released by the international rights group Oxfam hours before the start of the annual congregation of the rich and powerful from across the world in this resort town.

The situation appears even grimmer globally, where 82 per cent of the wealth generated last year worldwide went to the 1 per cent, while 3.7 billion people that account for the poorest half of population saw no increase in their wealth.

The annual Oxfam survey is keenly watched and is discussed in detail at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting where rising income and gender inequality is among the key talking points for the world leaders.

Last year's survey had showed that India's richest 1 per cent held a huge 58 per cent of the country's total wealth higher than the global figure of about 50 per cent.

This year's survey also showed that the wealth of India's richest 1 per cent increased by over Rs. 20.9 lakh crore during 2017 -- an amount equivalent to total budget of the central government in 2017-18, Oxfam India said.

The report titled 'Reward Work, Not Wealth', Oxfam said, reveals how the global economy enables wealthy elite to accumulate vast wealth even as hundreds of millions of people struggle to survive on poverty pay.
"2017 saw an unprecedented increase in the number of billionaires, at a rate of one every two days. Billionaire wealth has risen by an average of 13 per cent a year since 2010 -- six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2 per cent," it said.

In India, it will take 941 years for a minimum wage worker in rural India to earn what the top paid executive at a leading Indian garment firm earns in a year, the study found.

In the US, it takes slightly over one working day for a CEO to earn what an ordinary worker makes in a year, it added.

Citing results of the global survey of 120,000 people surveyed in 10 countries, Oxfam said it demonstrates a groundswell of support for action on inequality and nearly two-thirds of all respondents think the gap between the rich and the poor needs to be urgently addressed.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the WEF meeting in Davos, Oxfam India urged the Indian government to ensure that the country's economy works for everyone and not just the fortunate few.

It asked the government to promote inclusive growth by encouraging labour-intensive sectors that will create more jobs; investing in agriculture; and effectively implementing the social protection schemes that exist.

Oxfam also sought sealing of the "leaking wealth bucket" by taking stringent measures against tax evasion and avoidance, imposing higher tax on super-rich and removing corporate tax breaks.

The survey respondents in countries like the US, UK and India also favoured 60 per cent pay cut for CEOs.

The key factors driving up rewards for shareholders and corporate bosses at the expense of workers' pay and conditions, Oxfam said, include erosion of workers' rights; excessive influence of big business over government policymaking; and the relentless corporate drive to minimise costs in order to maximise returns to shareholders.

About India, it said the country added 17 new billionaires last year, taking the total number to 101. The Indian billionaires' wealth increased to over Rs. 20.7 lakh crore -- increasing during last year by Rs. 4.89 lakh crore, an amount sufficient to finance 85 per cent of the all states' budget on health and education.

Riaz Haq said...

India Ranks Below China, Pakistan On This World Economic Forum Index
Norway remains the world's most inclusive advanced economy, while Lithuania again tops the list of emerging economies, the World Economic Forum said.

Davos: India was today ranked at the 62nd place among emerging economies on an Inclusive Development Index, much below China's 26th position and Pakistan's 47th.

Norway remains the world's most inclusive advanced economy, while Lithuania again tops the list of emerging economies, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said while releasing the yearly index here before the start of its annual meeting, to be attended by several world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.

The index takes into account the "living standards, environmental sustainability and protection of future generations from further indebtedness", the WEF said. It urged the leaders to urgently move to a new model of inclusive growth and development, saying reliance on GDP as a measure of economic achievement is fuelling short-termism and inequality.

India was ranked 60th among 79 developing economies last year, as against China's 15th and Pakistan's 52nd position.

The 2018 index, which measures progress of 103 economies on three individual pillars -- growth and development; inclusion; and inter-generational equity -- has been divided into two parts. The first part covers 29 advanced economies and the second 74 emerging economies.

The index has also classified the countries into five sub-categories in terms of the five-year trend of their overall Inclusive Development Growth score -- receding, slowly receding, stable, slowly advancing and advancing.

Despite its low overall score, India is among the ten emerging economies with 'advancing' trend. Only two advanced economies have shown 'advancing' trend.

Among advanced economies, Norway is followed by Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Denmark in the top five.

Small European economies dominate the top of the index, with Australia (9) the only non-European economy in the top 10. Of the G7 economies, Germany (12) ranks the highest. It is followed by Canada (17), France (18), the UK (21), the US (23), Japan (24) and Italy (27).

The top-five most inclusive emerging economies are Lithuania, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Latvia and Poland.

Performance is mixed among BRICS economies, with the Russian Federation ranking 19th, followed by China (26), Brazil (37), India (62) and South Africa (69).

Of the three pillars that make up the index, India ranks 72nd for inclusion, 66th for growth and development and 44th for inter-generational equity.

The neighbouring countries ranked above India include Sri Lanka (40), Bangladesh (34) and Nepal (22). The countries ranked better than India also include Mali, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ghana, Ukraine, Serbia, Philippines, Indonesia, Iran, Macedonia, Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia.

Although China ranks first among emerging economies in GDP per capita growth (6.8 per cent) and labour productivity growth (6.7 per cent) since 2012, its overall score is brought down by lacklustre performance on inclusion, the WEF said. It found that decades of prioritising economic growth over social equity has led to historically high levels of wealth and income inequality and caused governments to miss out on a virtuous circle in which growth is strengthened by being shared more widely and generated without unduly straining the environment or burdening future generations.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan has the highest intergenerational income #mobility and the lowest #inequality among emerging economies. #WEF2018 #Davos …