According to forecasts of economies surveyed for the year 2015, Ukraine will finish as the biggest loser in global growth. With 47 economies polled in April through June, it seems as if this conflict-battered eastern European nation will see its gross domestic product. This ill fortune will be shared by neighboring Russia, where GDP will shrink amid international sanctions and depressed oil revenue. Parts of Latin America also will be struggling on the eve of 2016, while Brazil and Argentina, each suffering from soaring inflation and unemployment will see year-over-year contractions. With these large economies faltering and new economic policy being constructed in Greece against the grain of orthodox economic theory, planners in Pakistan also need find alternative routes to growth. Vietnam joined the emerging economies India and China for the three fastest-growing economies by year-end.

Looking at the international frenzy regarding these countries, ones that have either become pioneers of success or have had the worst experience in their development, what we can clearly see is how problematic international organizations have been, especially the IMF. The developing countries do not stand a chance of ever succeeding until the IMF is around. Rich countries dominate decision-making in the IMF because voting power is determined by the amount of money that each country pays into its quota system. Their programmes ensure debt repayment by requiring countries to cut spending on education and health; eliminate basic food and transportation subsidies; devalue national currencies to make exports cheaper; privatize national assets; and freeze wages. Such belt-tightening measures increase poverty, reduce countries’ ability to develop strong domestic economies and allow multinational corporations to exploit workers and the environment and are economically counter intuitive. Countries, especially Pakistan, should slowly move away from foreign help, before we crumble like the rest under pressure of debt, devaluation and worse.

Pakistan is not such a unique case. A number of countries have encountered broadly similar economic challenges, implemented appropriate policies, and have restored self-sustaining rapid growth with internal and external stability over a period of time – without the help of the IMF. There is no reason why, if appropriate policies are implemented and the Finance Ministry actually does its job well, that we cannot get out of the current economic malaise. We have become so rigidly focused on credit-financed consumption demand and imports to promote growth, where this will only create more debt, and more reasons for others to take advantage of it.