Sir, never mind the adverse economic conditions or the drought, we have once again surpassed our revenue targets Meaning, not only will we be able to remit the required amount to Her Majestys Treasury, but will also be left with adequate balance to comfortably sustain the lifestyle befitting representatives of The Empire. As for the Indians, they will survive and really they know no better. (A confidential message of a D.C. to his Governor in late 1930s, which on the face of it was not well received by the British Parliament, but ironically no action was taken - British India economic papers declassified). Takes you back to the colonial days, doesnt it? Well, if it doesnt, I am not surprised because not much has changed since? The IMF replaces the Empire and Pakistanis the pre-partition Indians, who continue to pay taxes that bear no correlation to their capacity to pay nor to the prevailing economic conditions and most of all neither to what they get in return from the State Given the severe current recession both at home and abroad, a complete collapse of our industrial production system, unprecedented high unemployment, rising cost of production in Pakistan, which is making Pakistani products globally uncompetitive and extraordinarily challenging security and perception issues confronting the country, the government in fact should have been rather ashamed and embarrassed in even making proclamations like: We have collected in excess of 20 percent more taxes over the previous year. Our policy from the healthy petroleum levy continues to pay handsome dividends to the national exchequer. But such statistics cum measures are hardly worthy of a boast. However, on the contrary such announcements have been made with a lot of fanfare and pride. They are primarily aimed at pleasing the Master (IMF) that please have confidence in us as we possess the resolve and loyalty to still 'do more by going a step further in now ringing like-minded changes in the FBR to ensure that the coming year for you will be even better. Sadly, all this at a time when unemployment is rising in a country that remains in the evil clutches of excessive population growth rate, a rapidly devaluing currency that is bound to once again accelerate the woes from a bloating inflation, a subservient economy that fails to generate opportunities and economic policies, which largely ignore growth due to the paranoia of failure. Inflation is a strange thing, the more you fear it the stronger it gets. ~ Schummpeter. Until now to curb inflation all we have seen is the use of monetary tools by the government. While such a strategy may be quite effective in mature economies and where unemployment ranges under 5 percent or at best under 7 percent, such measures when used in isolation in developing and high unemployment economies can tend to be disastrous. They not only destroy the production base of the country, but can also often cause social unrest and lend credence to nationalism negativities, e.g. Indonesia, Ecuador, etc. What in effect is required in a country such as ours is to not solely rely on monetary tools, but to supplement our inflation control endeavors with other strategies like breaking distribution cartels, fighting market monopolies, discouraging hoarding and cornering, facilitating farm to market access, reducing manufacturing to consumer lead times and last but not least, boosting the supply side in general. For implementing this, however, one needs the services of a visionary and competent economic team, something that has sadly been missing in our case thus far. Lastly, some leadership lessons from Abraham Lincoln - If Obama can take them then why not us? In January 2008, when CBS anchor Katie Couric asked candidate Barack Obama that what single book, apart from the Bible, he would bring with him to the White House, he cited, Team of Rivals, an account of Abraham Lincolns leadership during the civil war by Dorris Kearns Goodwin. And what exactly is the most pertinent lesson from this book of Lincolns administrative style: 'To form an executive committee of strong-willed, forthright individuals who wont insulate a leader from uncomfortable but important dissent. When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary. William Wrigley.