Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pakistanis Rank High on Happy Planet Index

Pakistan ranks 16th among 151 countries of the world on the Happy Planet Index (HPI) 2012, slightly behind Bangladesh in 11th place but well ahead of India in 32nd spot.

 Earlier, Gallup 2012 Wellbeing survey reported that 20% of Pakistanis say they are "thriving", down from 32% last year. However, the report also  showed that more of them are still better off than their neighbors in Bangladesh (16% thriving) and India (11% thriving). The number of those "thriving" increased in Bangladesh by 3% and declined in India by 6%.
Here are some of the possible reasons:

1. Pakistan has continued to offer much greater upward economic and social mobility to its citizens than neighboring India over the last two decades. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present And Future.

 2. Rising consumption of durables (cars, motorcycles, tractors, Appliances) and non-durables (FMCGs or fast-moving consumer goods) as well as increasing cement sales are indicative of the underlying strength of the economy.

3. Pakistan's undocumented economy is continuing to thrive as seen in packed shopping malls and restaurants.

4. There are double digit increases in cash remittances flowing in to Pakistan from the world's seventh largest diaspora, rising 21.45 percent to $9.73 billion in the first nine months of the 2011/12 fiscal year.

5. Karachi stock index is booming, hitting new 4-year highs. Share prices are driven by healthy profits and foreign buying, making KSE-100 the third fastest growing index in the world.  

6. Even the preliminary official estimates are indicating that Pakistan's nominal per capita income has increased by 9% to $1,372 in 2011-12 from $1,258 in 2010-11.

7. Preliminary estimates are showing that poverty rate in Pakistan has declined from 17.2 per cent in 2008 to slightly over 12 per cent in 2011.

The Gallup survey confirms that only 28% of Pakistanis have confidence in their national government. In my view, it stems from the obvious failure of the state in delivering basic services such as rule-of-law, security and electricity to the people .  The best way to improve the wellbeing of the people is to improve governance, reduce corruption and persuade people to pay taxes to give the state more resources.

Coming back to HPI 2012, the Happy Planet Index website says that "the new HPI results show the extent to which 151 countries across the globe produce long, happy and sustainable lives for the people that live in them." "The overall index scores rank countries based on their efficiency, how many long and happy lives each produces per unit of environmental output", it adds.

 There are three components of HPI – life expectancy, experienced well-being and Ecological Footprint - that each country is measured on. The scores for each component are color-coded green (good), yellow (middling) and red (poor). An additional color-code deep red is used for countries with poor score in one of the three components of overall HPI score.

Among South Asian nations, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are rated as "middling", while Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myamar are rated poor.

The top-ranked countries are mainly from Latin America with Costa Rica occupying the top spot. The bottom of the list includes sub-Sharan African nations with Botswana at the bottom.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Pakistanis Rank Above Neighbors on Gallup Well-being Index 2012

Economic Survey of Pakistan 2011-12

US Technical Analyst Bullish on Pakistan

Pakistan on Goldman Sachs' Growth Map

Pakistan's 64 Years of Independence

Goldman Sachs & Franklin-Templeton Bullish on Pakistan

Emerging Market Expert Investing in Pakistan

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

Genomics & Biotech Advances in Pakistan

The Growth Map by Jim O'Neill

Pakistan Rolls Out 50Mbps Broadband Service

More Pakistan Students Studying Abroad

Inquiry Based Learning in Pakistan

Mobile Internet in South Asia

Online Courses at Top International Universities


Hopewins said...

Dr. Haq,

Look outside your window in your Saratoga residence.

See the people working away on the lawns & hedges?

They risked a HORRIBLE DEATH during their perilous journey to come to America illegally.

Even the possibility of a HORRIBLE DEATH was not enough to stop them from fleeing their countries of birth.

They come from: El Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala & Honduras.

And look! These countries are all rated as "HAPPIEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD" by the Happy, Happy, Happy, Ganja-smoking Planet Survey.

Perhaps the Happy Planet People would like to leave American and move to those "Happy" countries?

Well, as a consolation I suppose, at least Pakistanis are not risking death to flee Pakistan.......or are they?

Ali said...

Salaam Riaz bhai,
please read the article on NPR

Riaz Haq said...

Ali: "Salaam Riaz bhai,
please read the article on NPR"

The first paragraph of the NPR story you sent me the link to says as follows:

"If you want to gain a good insight into Pakistan's economic situation, just look at a few of the country's newspaper headlines on any given day. The language says it all: prices soar, stocks plunge, budget deficit swells, foreign investment evaporates — and the list goes on."

Let's analyze each part of it.

1. Inflation: Inflation is down to 33-month low, so the claim of "prices soar" part is wrong.

Oct 2 News story excerpt: “The market rallied after inflation fell to 33-month low of 8.79 percent for September amid increased hopes for the rate cut in the upcoming monetary policy to be announced on Friday,” said Samar Iqbal, an equity dealer at Topline Securities, adding that the rate cut speculation invited across-the-board renewed buying.

2. Stocks: Pakistanis stocks have hit 4 year high this year, so "stocks plunge" is incorrect.

Today's News excerpt: The Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-index hit an all-time high of 15,712 points after 54 months on Wednesday on strong anticipation of a further interest rate cut in the monetary policy to be announced on Friday, said dealers.

3. Budget Deficit: At 5-6% of GDP, Pak budget deficit is not much worse than India's and many other countries', including US.

4. Foreign investment: Yes FDI is down but FII is up.

To understand Pakistan's "one-dimensional" media coverage, I suggest you read the impressions of NPR's Medhulika Sikka who said as follows after a visit to Pakistan:

But one thing I do want to talk about in the, you know, what is our vision of Pakistan, which often is one dimensional because of the way the news coverage drives it.

But, you know, we went to visit a park in the capital, Islamabad, which is just on the outskirts, up in the hills, and we blogged about it, and there are photos on our website. You could have been in suburban Virginia.

There were families, picnics, picnic tables, you know, kids playing, stores selling stuff, music playing. It was actually very revealing, I think for us and for people who saw that posting, because there's a lot that's similar that wouldn't surprise you, let's put it that way."

Safwan said...

Sorry folks. I couldnt resist. So ...

I have been to Karachi about 5 times this year.

I drive, roam around, meet people, eat, eat, eat ... There have been bomb blasts few hundred yards from my house, a targeted killing 30 yards from my house, which missed my head by 5 minutes and many other less exciting things like power failure, friends who survived kidnappings, gunfire, friends that got shot in the head for being Shia, etc. ...The really crazy one a few days ago was where the peaceful Bohri community was targeted. I was there ... I suppose the Aga Khanis would be wondering if they are next. Shias have certainly been scared to actual death. I think the folks there dont yet know what an Atheist is. Good for some of us. No such luck for the Ahmadiyya community.

There is violence, insane violence all around. People have messed up relationships with god, ethnicity, sect and politics. Reality is what everyone makes it to be. This is probably the key to their survival. My reality when I am there is that this is the hand i have and i must make the best of it - iPhone on EDGE helps. Works for me and then I take a flight out of Jinnah airport and email friends to inquire how they are doing. I do try to avoid being an expert on Pakistan.

The economy looks great from the data shown. People are driving fancy cars, i saw them too. Major brands are selling products. Religion is in your face and on your face at a moments notice. Check the hijabs and beards in any picture. Mosques are blaring. People are running massage parlors where thrilling and titillating services are provided. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is helping people breathe deeper and better. A few TV plays are actually quite spectacular. Wine is hard to get but Vodka, Gin and Whisky is easily available.

Pakistan is great to love from a distance these days. To live there you may want to be rich and powerful. I enjoy Karachi like a reality show where we ask ourselves, Is this for real? Are there really people, places and lives like this?

If someone asks me, "Are people happy?" I would say, "I think they are." No? If there had been profound unhappiness then people would have come out on the streets and revolted. No? The only massive protest i have seen was around youtube. Clearly, other problems are not big enough.

Pakistan is just fine. I do think it can get better. Lot better.

If there is one thing that must change in Pakistan ... the educated Pakistanis must stop living in denial and do something. I suggest, travel to Pakistan on your next vacation and move around, meet people, influence. Avoid hiding behind the claim that this is not our Pakistan and the folks doing bad things are not us. That one doesn't work. The Germans had to take responsibility of the atrocities they committed while in the Hitler spell. We should also wake up, find ourselves and help find our lost country.

Riaz Haq said...

Safwan: "I drive, roam around, meet people, eat, eat, eat ... There have been bomb blasts few hundred yards from my house, a targeted killing 30 yards from my house..."

Karachi is not Pakistan, just like US is not Detroit.

Karachi has all of the problems of world's megacities...organized crime, petty crime, violence, murders. And yet, it's not even close to the top on any of these stats. In spite of all of massive gang warfare last year, it was still ranked #9...well behind Ciudad Juarez in Mexico at #1 and Detroit, MI at #7.

But I do agree that there is a rising tide of intolerance against minorities which is extremely dangerous for the future of Pakistan....we all must speak out against it.

I recently wrote on it. Here it is:

Safwan said...

You would have failed the GMAT with that comparison. Just kidding.

Karachi is integral to Pakistan. The same is true for Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Quetta.

Be not an ostrich. It gives both a headache and butt ache - anonymous

Riaz Haq said...

Safwan: "Be not an ostrich. It gives both a headache and butt ache - anonymous"

Ignoring your cute one-liners, let me get to the substance of your argument.

I agree that Karachi is an integral part of Pakistan as are Lahore, Islamabad etc.
But it's only Karachi that shows up at #9 among world's most dangerous cities. None of others show up even in top 100.

And Karachi is a huge city with many of its neighborhoods bigger than countries. When one part of it is racked by extreme violence, the other parts are relatively untouched most of the time as Karachiites go about their business and pack shopping malls and restaurants more and more of which are popping up. I haven't seen bigger and more lavish late-night parties there than anywhere else.

Seeing Pakistan's glass half full rather than empty is not being a ostrich.

Nisar said...

I could not agree more that violence and intolerance is on the rise
in Karachi. I have been to Karachi a couple a times in last one year.
And every year before that.

But it is also a fact that level of violence was not anywhere near this high
as it is now since the last political changes. Karachi saw biggest infra-structure
improvement, roads, bridges similar, during the previous era. Anyone
who has been going to Karachi can not deny it. I do not see any reduction in
expenditure on household merchandise, expansive cars, luxury items. All marriage
halls, restaurants, new/excellent malls are full of customers. Yes there is lull for few
days after a major street violence, but then everything comes back to life again. I
guess people are just getting used to it. Which is I know not a good thing. They say
life must go on.

Karachi always had street crimes, like any major city. There is no denying that all
these target killings are political in nature. We also know that all these stupid youtube
videos are on the rise; and senseless violence in the name of it. I call it senseless because
if they just follow the teachings of who they were defending we would not see ANY violence.
Everyone seems to want to play all their games in the streets of karachi.

What is failing, is our government and powers to be. Safety and security is the single
most primary responsibility of any government. They are all playing power games. Anyone
in power trying to loot and plunder and gain political mileage. Innocent civilians are
caught in crossfire.

Love for karachi is in my genes, and I will always say that all is not lost. There is very
small but corrupt/violent population which takes advantage of situations. If our leaders,
all of them, had any genuine love for karachi/pakistan we would be in much better shape.
We have all the potential and talent.

"zara num ho to yeh mitti bari zerkhaize ha saqi"

Hopewins said...

IMF Press Release Oct 4,2012:

"Pakistan faces a challenging economic outlook. GDP growth in 2012/13 is projected to be in the 3-3½ percent range, which needs to accelerate in order to absorb the growing labor force. Inflation has fallen temporarily but is expected to be back in double digits by the middle of next year if corrective measures are not taken to reverse monetary financing of the fiscal deficit. Pakistan’s external position is weakening. While the current account deficit is not large by international standards, financial flows have weakened and central bank reserves have fallen"


Let us analyze your assertions one by one:

1. Inflation: Inflation is down to 33-month low, so the claim of "prices soar" part is wrong.

IMF: "Inflation has fallen temporarily, but is expected to be back in double digits by the middle of next year if corrective measures are not taken to reverse monetary financing of the fiscal deficit.

2. Stocks: Pakistanis stocks have hit 4 year high this year, so "stocks plunge" is incorrect.

I think the "stocks plunge" refers to the critical, large, state-controlled core-sector companies, such as PIA, Sui Gas etcetera, which are all piling up massive losses due to cronyism, corruption, political interference and general incompetent management. I don't think they were talking about Nestle Pakistan.

3. Budget Deficit: At 5-6% of GDP, Pak budget deficit is not much worse than India's and many other countries', including US.

The Budget deficit has now been "de-fudged" to reach an alarming 8.5% of GDP.

BUT the key problem is the total lack of savings, which means that Islamabad has no choice but to "monetize" the deficit. This is precisely why the IMF said: "...reverse monetary financing of the fiscal deficit".

4. Foreign investment: Yes FDI is down but FII is up.

Unlike in India, FII has always been miniscule compared to FDI in Pakistan. Our FDI levels have always been an order of magnitude larger than our FII levels. We do not have the Giant Global Companies that can handle large FII flows. We are essentially an FDI-only country.

Fall in FDI cannot be made up by increase in FII in our country, as our capital markets do not have the depth to absorb such flows.

Anonymous said...

On the Express Tribune website, someone quipped: "There are long lines of Indian and American visa seekers on gates of Pakistan embassies."

It would indeed be great if Indians and Americans toured Pakistan and discovered how generous and hospitable the people there are.

I've never been to Pakistan but have read numerous articles by journalists, academics and other about how well they were treated.

A people capable of such warmth deserve to be happy. I wish the people of Pakistan HAPPINESS.


Shams said...

The "thriving" number proportion coincides with the number of persons on drugs in the three countries, and the recent decline from last year coincides with the increase in the cost of opium, charas, and cocaine. Most of these drugs are being snapped up by US forces returning from Afghanistan. Drug prices in the US have gone down.

Hopewins said...

Dr. Haq,

Your favorite author-journalist Pankaj Mishra has once again put these over-hyped code-coolies in their place.

Must read:

Please blog about this new expose by Pankaj Mishra....

Suhail said...

Shams:"The "thriving" number proportion coincides with the number of persons on drugs in the three countries.."

You've pointed to two issues as follows:

1- US connection with Afghan drugs is much more than returning US soldiers. It is a highly organized big business providing most of finances to CIA operations (in addition to the arms trade). It is obvious that US treasury, senate etc do not authorize government funds on covert activities. See below.

2- Happiness is a state of mind and thus closely related to escapist agents like drugs as you've mentioned. In Pakistan's case, in addition to the physical drugs, the index has probably considered the drug-like effects of religion also. If so, then no wonder Pakistan ranks high.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Arms Control Wonk Michael Krepon on visiting Pakistan:

There’s no shortage of bad news about Pakistan. Lots of trend lines are worrisome. That said, allow me to fuzz up your mental image of Pakistan with these thoughts, while they are still fresh from a trip in mid-September.

Pakistan has lots of bright, able, independent-minded, young talent.

Pakistan has a middle class. This cohort can grow and prosper if a nation of traders is free to trade freely and directly to the subcontinent, as well as to Central Asia.

Pakistan has vigorous political parties. It has an election coming up whose outcome cannot be confidently predicted. Religious parties are minority parties. How many Islamic states fit this description?

Pakistan’s armed forces are beset by many problems. These problems will only be compounded by seizing power. Pakistan’s politicians have running room to succeed – or to make the same old mistakes.

Everyone in the country understands that the economy has to improve. Without economic growth, national security is a mirage.

The Line of Control dividing Kashmir has been mostly quiet for almost a decade now.

On August 14th, Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, gave a speech at the Pakistan Military Academy on the occasion of Pakistan’s 65th Independence Day. What he said has gotten little play outside of Pakistan.

Here’s a sampler:

It becomes blatant extremism when one not only insists upon finality of personal opinion, but tries imposing it on others. More so, if one tries to enforce his opinion through use of gun, it becomes terrorism. That is why Islam does not allow anyone to claim to be a know all, and flirt with divinity.

If this is the correct definition of extremism and terrorism, then the war against it is our own war, and a just war, too. Any misgivings in this regards can divide us internally, leading to a civil war situation. It is therefore, vital that our minds must be clear of cobwebs on this crucial issue.

The war against extremism and terrorism is not only the Army’s war, but that of the whole nation. We as a nation must stand united against this threat. Army’s success is dependent on the will and support of the people… It is also crucial that appropriate laws are passed to deal with terrorism. Since 2001, many countries in the world have formulated special anti-terrorism laws. Unfortunately, our progress towards such legislation remained very slow…

We are fully aware that it is the most difficult task for any Army to fight its own people. This is always done as a last resort. Our ultimate aim is to bring peace to these areas so that the people can live a normal life. But for that to happen, it is critical that people abide by the constitution and law of the land. No state can afford a parallel system of governance and militias.

Please compare these remarks with those Gen. Kayani gave at the same venue shortly before the Osama bin Laden raid. It is standard practice to blame Pakistan’s ills on unwise choices by its military leaders. I’ve been there and done that, and will probably do so again. And yet, no other Pakistani politician has come close to framing the issues that Pakistan faces in this way.

Is this hokum, or is there a shift underway? Is the trade initiative a tactical maneuver or a possible strategic opening? We’ll see. There are too many complicating factors to enumerate, but here’s one: India, like Pakistan, has a national election coming up.

Anonymous said...

either remove the option to post anonymously or stop blocking my comments please!

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: ""

There's nothing unique this columnist's views. Such nostalgia about "good old days" can be heard in almost all of world's major cities that have become megacities with all of the problems of growth, prosperity, migration, overcrowding, crime, gangs, etc etc

Anonymous said...

Actually we Indians are the happiest. The whole world goes only upto VIP level in the social sphere, but we have VVIPs! Beat that!

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has a score of 54.1 and ranks 16 while India has a score of 50.9 and ranks 37 among 151 countries on Happy Planet Index 2014.

Among South Asians, Bangladesh is the happpiest ranking at 11 and scores 56.3. `

Riaz Haq said...

There are six love styles: Be, Do, Encourage, Give, Talk and Touch

The five main ways people can give/receive affection are:
Quality Time – where you give each other 'undivided attention’ to talk, listen, eat together or enjoy a shared activity. With a young family you may have to grab small amounts of time together while you can, or you may prefer to schedule uninterrupted time when the kids are asleep.
Words of Affirmation – these are kind, affectionate, appreciative statements that recognize what your loved one means to you. Phrases that respect and encourage each other are also important. As is actively listening to what your partner has to say. You could do this verbally, and/or via email, text, letter, Facebook, or through sharing music, poems or phrases that reflect your feelings. Meg Barker expands on this in her blog post about different ways we can communicate.
Acts of Service – this sounds very formal but simply means doing kind things for each other. Like taking on tasks a partner may not want to do or sharing household chores. It also involves showing you care - for example through preparing meals, paying the bills, and doing the laundry. This category is often the easiest one to miss as it is already part of our daily routine. Highlighting it is as a means of showing affection – and having that recognized and appreciated by a partner can make a big difference to you both feeling cared for.
Gifts – this might be an expensive present or something you have made. The idea here is to show someone you were thinking of them, you recognise what they do for you and you’ve paid attention to their likes and chosen something appropriate for them.
Physical Touch – could be shown in the form of hugs and cuddles; sitting close on the sofa or lying together in bed. Other touch people enjoy includes hair brushing, holding hands, massage (a hand, foot or head massage can work if you’re time-poor). This may or may not be sexual. You might find that time for pleasure has disappeared and finding opportunities to kiss, touch and reconnect physically may lead to you feeling more like sexual intimacy, or just enjoy nurturing touch without it leading to sex.
It may feel strange to sit back and deliberately choose how you want to have affection shared with you and to ask this of your partner. Talking about this might reveal things you didn’t know about each other and highlight opportunities to create consistent positive connections you’ll both enjoy.