The metamorphosis the world is going through is posing a serious question: are we seeking any dignified place in the transformed world or would happily remain in obscurity? The nations that have ruled the world economy during the past several decades are beginning to crumble under their own weight, and their glory will soon be a tale from the past. The ever-mounting burden of their own over-grown economic, political, and in some cases, the military spreads have found them reeling.
Today, it doesn’t require one to be a Harvard economist or in possession of Platonic wisdom to see that the old realities are fast losing ground and the world is settling into a different groove. However, one does need to be a great visionary to navigate through this greatest of the transformations of our times and to make sense of the tumultuous events that are terribly fast and furious. While some of the nations around us are positioned strongly and safely to make their way through this tide and spearhead the new world order, we are adamantly clinging to the status quo and appear all set to miss yet another opportunity.
A recent research titled ‘Trade Transformed: The Emerging New Corridors of Trade Power’ reported that the world trade is expected to rise to $122 trillion by the year 2030. The report further forecasts that China will overtake USA by 2015 to capture the top slot and will keep on widening the gap to command about 17.4% of the total world trade as opposed to that of US at 8.2% in the year 2030.
The biggest two trade powers in 2050 would be in the East rather than the West and those will be China at the top (trade estimated at $52.2 trillion) with India trailing at number two with almost half the size of China (trade estimated at $25.7 trillion). The US, the crumbling giant, will, at the best, hold only one-third of as much trade power in the world in 2050 as that of China. The year 2030 will see the West having lost its ground to the East, and several other Asian nations will rise to the pinnacles of glory. Prominent among them are expected to be China, India, Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. In other words Asia will occupy six out of the ten top slots and by 2050 even Indonesia may join this elite club with a big bang, elbowing its way up to the 6th place on the list of top 10.
By 2050, the only western nations, still expected to have their place on the list of 10, will be US at no. 3, Germany at 4 and UK at 10. This is going to be the biggest of the paradigm shifts since the WWII and will define the world for our next generations.
Pakistan would be a country having more than one-fourth of all the world trade taking place just across its borders on the East and North. The big question, however, is: what this change holds for us in its folds? The answers, if there are any, aren’t encouraging at all.
We, as a nation, have yet to set the sail ‘what to talk of taking up the cudgels, facing the challenges head-on and assuming a respectable position in the new world order. The governance is nowhere visible, the so-called powerful elite creates a lot more problems than it solved, and an unholy alliance of nobility, mullahs and privileged commoners, like the one seen in Christian Europe of the Middle Ages, is looting and plundering the nation.
In order to demystify the whole dilemma, the nation can be divided into three segments:
One is the ruling elite comprising political, military and bureaucracy leadership joined by ranks in judiciary, intelligentsia and clergy. They are often found to work together, hand-in-hand, and even though, at times, they give impression of locking horns with each other on matters of public interest, most often it turns out to be a clever stratagem carefully orchestrated for grabbing bigger share in the pie. They are never interested, in real terms, in bringing sanity and order to governance or establishing the much desired rule of law as it won’t serve their purpose.
Second, the downtrodden masses are, by design, kept illiterate, poor, without any worthwhile skills, knowledge or resources. They, just under one half of the population, have actually started to believe that they have to live in the circumstances they inherit regardless of how the rest of the world changes. They, usually, live their lives on day-to-day basis, so, if today, they get enough to eat they will immediately forget the hunger of yesterday.
Third is the middle class, the educated lot that has sustainable livelihoods in terms of employment or business. This is the only segment of the society that thinks of the change and aspires to see the state as: where justice is easily and quickly available; where there is peace and rule of law; everyone has equitable access to education and health; and so on.
They often bemoan bad governance, curse the rulers and criticize the system, and desire that the ruling elite must mend its ways, failing to realize that it would be self-destructive for the elite. We, actually, need to toil long and hard and be willing to pay the price it takes, and most importantly, it is the educated middle class, who needs to come out of the cosy comforts of their TV lounges or else another big opportunity will be lost.