The Prime Minister last week announced that owing to some smart economic management by his government, Pakistans economy is now doing better and the country is finally on its road to economic recovery. The rationale behind this assessment of course was the traditional indicators governments around the world invariably use, albeit selectively to suit their version, for measuring economic performance - reserves, trends in the national stock markets, fiscal prudence, inflation index, balance of trade and last but not least global confidence vis-a-vis the countrys economy. His economic team of course rightly feeding him that: a) Our reserves are once again back to the $15 billion mark and holding steady; b) Stock market index now at +9000 points with potential to go up even further if the recent foreign interest and investment in our markets can be sustained; c) Despite an increase in external borrowing the liquidity itself has not been squandered and remains in the governmental kitty by reflecting well in reserves; d) Inflation finally tamed to the single digit level; e) Current account deficit down to a heartening level with a distinct possibility of achieving the unthinkable - a surplus; and f) The international financial institutions, donors and the developed economies, which not too long ago had left Pakistan to economic isolation, successfully wooed back and all of a sudden eager to meaningfully engage like never before. No mean achievements by any stretch of imagination and that also in less than 18 months, in possibly the worst imaginable economic environment, during a period when the world suffers from a recession that is arguably more serious than the one in the 30s and in a country that is literally at war - any prime minister would be proud However, talk to an average guy in the street and his simplistic response to all this economic figurative mumbo jumbo typically turns out to be, But wait a minute Mr Prime Minister, what about me? I am a graduate but there are no jobs in the market; I am a worker but I have been rendered unemployed on account of governments mismanagement over energy and power; I am employed but in absence of any tangible state support, am in turn unable to decently support and raise my family; I am an entrepreneur but instead of innovating am looking to exit, because rather than being facilitated am hounded and coerced by the state machinery; I am an investor but unprecedented increase in the cost of doing business due to successive government policy adventures has led me to the point of bankruptcy; I am a housewife but spend most of my quality time on streets collecting food essentials; I am a student but my institution is closed; Last but not the least, I worry not because I am poor but because I am fast losing hope in my future - To sum it up, unhappiness in our beloved country is growing Whereas, the well targeted and carefully crunched numbers of the foreign donor driven economic agenda for Pakistan may well be falling in to place, this is coming at the cost of the common man as it enhances his burden and more dangerously at the risk of stirring social unrest in a country already brimming with volatility. Ironically, such developments are taking place during the tenure and under the nose of a government that takes pride in being peoples government. What we really need to figure out Mr Prime Minister is, that side by side with balancing our budget, how do we promote growth in a country that is increasing its population at one of the fastest rates in the world, how do we make this growth both responsible and equitable, how do we reform taxation by correlating payouts to paybacks instead of naked pursuit of meaningless and often misleading ratios such as the 'Tax to GDP, and more importantly, how do we provide basic support of education and healthcare to the common man? Just last month in a developed economy like Germany Chancellor Ms Merkel had, under sheer public pressure, to yield the demand that Ministers who would govern their destiny for the next four years needed to be approved by public councils of the coalition partners to ensure that the people selected are competent and as one CDU (Christian Democratic Union) worker remarked, A minister who at the end of his term can statistically prove to us that his presence has at least yielded more than what the state spent on him during his four years. Are we asking ay such questions of our ministers? Little wonder, that the new German cabinet in its first meeting resolved to cut governmental expenditure and instead allocate a larger portion of state funds to education, reform of healthcare, tax cuts and food subsidies aimed at reducing the lower tier household kitchen expenditures. Moreover, the new regime comes in with the resolve to further strengthen German institutions that serve as the delivery mechanism between the government and the German public. Amongst a variety of initiatives taken, just to quote a few: Rainer Bruderle known as Mr. Mittelstand for his friendliness to small and medium sized businesses (SME) has been brought in to head the SME Sector, A Vietnamese born doctor, Philipp Rosler, known for his passion for caring for the poor has been handed with the responsibility of healthcare reforms and Wolfgang Schauble the astute economist who religiously caters to the concept of 'necessity of reciprocity in tax structures, has been given the Finance Ministry with direct control of the Tax Reforms Committee - And all this in one of the most developed and richest place on earth, so what about us? Finally, while the developed West and even our neighbours, the emerging economies of China and India, have been busy handing out fiscal stimulus packages, providing tax relief, extending food subsidies, controlling cost of doing business in their country and protecting home industry/manufacturing, we on the other hand are shamelessly busy following the IMF, World Bank, etc. agenda depriving our people and industry of any real help and support, especially when they need it the most. The challenge of good governance is not simply to cut losses by stagnating economic activity but to grow, grow and grow and then to be able to successfully control and direct it towards growth in peoples lifestyles. ~ Joseph Schumpeter.