"I don't measure a man's success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits the bottom." ~ General George Patton. Perhaps there cannot be a more appropriate phrase even when we discuss economies instead of soldiers. I recently had the opportunity to get involved in a private survey effort undertaken to gauge the impact of prevailing economic conditions and of the dismal political outlook on the industrial workers in the province of Punjab, pertaining to the period January-December 2008. This local effort actually is to be part of a more widespread survey meant for a research paper being written on "Industrial Working Condition & Preferences in Developing Economies in General and South Asia in Particular." Though the paper focuses on the larger picture and primarily deals with positives in South Asia (mainly India) during recession periods of an economic cycle (economists by now firmly believe that most productive innovations either take place in extreme boom conditions or in dire recessions - both types are crucial but different and equally necessary), the data collected locally also has the potential for quite a few different but fascinating interpretations. For example, the following survey responses struck me as being quite glaring and these puncture some widely held myths on political priorities amongst the industrial workers in Punjab: Economy takes precedence over politics, as they (industrial workers) tend to be more aware of and possess higher economic activism than political. Their political preferences are largely driven by perceived economic betterment rather than any system preference or political romanticism. That means, even democracy is expendable if the right economic fundamentals are not in place. With scepticism within the public growing about the ability of our political leadership to successfully handle the present economic hardships, the government on the other hand is claiming some encouraging progress in the following four key areas: (1) According to their figures the current account deficit or trade deficit is coming down or in fact now turning into a surplus. (2) Stock markets are once again beginning to perform well and headed in the right decision. (3) IMF is happy. & (4)Interest rates are finally declining as inflation (surely excluding food items) drops to single digit. However, amidst all these positives lurks the inherent danger of the traditional misuse of statistical interpretation that is common to almost all governments What really must be seen here is that, (a) While it is all very well that the trade or the current account deficit is shrinking, but the same has to be viewed in light of economic activity in the country. Because, if the overall economic activity is shrinking, then instead this should actually be a real cause for 'worry'. Developing countries with large and rapidly rising population base simply cannot afford growing unemployment levels, which in turn can quickly lead to an increase in the number of people living below the poverty line and to general public resentment and social unrest. (b) Also, there is a need to ascertain how exactly the economy is performing in its core sectors of manufacturing. As the global recession mounts and unemployment pressures increase, two of the largest economies of the world, USA and UK, are now made to realize their mistake of ignoring their respective manufacturing sectors over the years. Whereas, on the other hand large economies like France and Germany, which retained their focus on industry are coming across as being much more resilient in these difficult times. And (c) Our sole purpose of policy making should not be to curry favour with IMF. It is important for the policy makers not to lose sight of their real objective and that they work for the betterment of the people of Pakistan and not of the IMF. At a recent members' meeting of BFA (Boao Forum for Asia) in China, I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the Chinese model to overcome the present economic crisis. China as we know is locked into the U.S. marketplace like no other country in the world and it believes that at least for now there is no alternative to ensuring a global recovery, but one that routes itself through the process of ensuring a US recovery, and for this they have a very simple two-pronged strategy: (i) They plan to help the USA by helping Chinese industry become leaner, more efficient and cost effective. And (ii) As Obama spends his way out of recession (proposed $4 trillion), the Chinese want to make sure that they get the largest slice of it. Well, great for China and perhaps for the US, but my concern for Pakistan remains that as most of the developed economies begin to unleash stimulus packages of their own, does Pakistan have a plan in place to gain any meaningful access to this emerging opportunity? The more we search for answers and performance records, the more we realize that unless democratic transitions can soon start establishing a direct correlation to economic betterment of people, the very underlying assumption of democracy being the best form of governance will seriously come under threat. "You have people who respond only when they have wealth and people who respond only in poverty, what we have here are people who will only respond to extreme tyranny." ~ Rousseau.