Sep 18, 2010

Liberalization for Progress

(Published in Republica of 18th September 2010)

Read this article published in Republica . I whole-heartedly agree to the author's views that liberalization is the only way forward if we really want progress. Nepali Congress being the party responsible for limited liberalization during the 1990s could spearhead the process of liberalization in other sectors of the economy as well. Unfortunately, the opposite is happening. It’s ominous to see that instead of capitalizing on the benefits brought on by the liberalization, NC’s cadres and leaders are clamoring for socialism. All around the world, economic liberalization is lifting millions of people out of dire poverty. Post 1990’s India and China after 1980 are prime examples of how economic liberalization benefits the nation as a whole.  Even Cuba is reforming its policies to allow more private sector involvement in economy.

The limited economic liberalization of early 1990s has brought many positive changes in our country. Our thriving media sector, banking and finance, educational institutions and the recent surge in telecommunications sector stand as an outcome of liberalization. Contrary to what our left oriented politicians and intellectuals like to think, poverty and inequality aren’t outcomes of liberalization but of lack of liberalization.

Had the government privatized Nepal Airlines we wouldn’t be facing so much corruption and plunder of resources. Had electricity sector been liberalized we wouldn’t be facing world’s worst power crisis. Had the education sector not been opened up, we would still be getting pathetic, if any education from state run colleges and universities where the only thing that a student gets to learn is politics.

Critics of liberalization tend to look at the thriving sectors of the economy and conclude that it causes inequality but they forget the fact that it’s the lack of liberalization that’s causing the inequality. I can’t understand how left-oriented individuals could criticize liberalization when right before their face they can see the failure of state run enterprises such as Nepal Oil Corporation, Nepal electricity authority and even Janakpur cigarette factory.

Poor governance and corruption, the major causes of Nepali Congress’s fall from grace could have been lessened if it had extended the economic liberalization to remaining sectors of the economy and focused more on better administration of rule of law and justice. NC should realize this before it’s too late. A country where almost all political parties are left oriented, it could provide the country with a pragmatic party that learns from examples of other countries and promotes sound economic policies rather than ideology driven defunct policies.