Following passage of the Kerry-Lugar bill, the PML-N immediately reacted by calling the $7.5 billion 'peanuts, and actually suggested that this investment will help no one. This dismissive talking point caught on quickly across the internet forums where opposition supporters have repeated it ad nauseam with out, it would seem, taking the time to read the bill. Aside from not being constructive, this view shows a lack of understanding of the fundamental economics of it all. A common refrain from Kerry-Lugar opponents goes like this: How can $1.5 billion help 0.18 billion people? This is only $85 per person. If messrs Kerry & Lugar had proposed to post $85 cheques to each and every citizen of Pakistan, then this program would have been a farce, indeed. But that is not how investments work. Despite being relatively little per capita, $1.5 billion in annual non-military aid is a large cash injection that would have a transformational effect on Pakistan, improving lives of the poorer Pakistanis who are suffering from preventable problems like lack of drinking water and sanitation facilities, poor access to education, and limited energy capacity. Investment in dollars are multiplied in return because, rather than being handed out individually, they are pooled to improve infrastructure that benefits us all. This is much like citizens can improve their collective lot by pooling their money through taxes to build roads and electrical plants, or businesses can improve their production and efficiency by pooling investments in improved technology and infrastructure. The billions being provided by the Kerry-Lugar Bill will be invested in ways that provide collective and far-reaching benefits to all Pakistanis. As an example of the multiplier effect of aid like that being offered to us through Kerry-Lugar, the World Health Organization estimates that return on 1 USD investment in water sanitation is between 5 USD to 28 USD. This means that $1.5 billion in US aid to Pakistan could have an impact of as much as $48 billion. That is $10 billion more than Pakistans budgetary expenditures in 2008. Hardly 'peanuts. -SEHRISH SHAMS, LUMS, Lahore, October 10.