Friday, August 24, 2007
Equitable distribution of scarce resources is the key...
Land is limited and people unlimited. Land cannot increase, people go on multiplying. Arable land is still more difficult to find. That means an ever increasing demand on this scarce finite natural resource. And here we have a person or two owning thousands of acres of land. Is this fair?
The modern civilised answer is, no. More and more people should have access to these limited resources. A natural resource like land cannot be allowed to be in the hands of just a few who may and may not put it to optimum use. This may or may not contribute to national productivity. It definitely does not contribute to national revenue as they pay no taxes on agriculture.
Can land be allowed to be the fiefdom of a few? No. Why? When large tracts of land is in the hands of a few it is called hoarding. The world abhors hoarding so does Islam in no unclear terms. See the life of our prophet, what a simple life he lead. There are hundreds of Hadith that would testify to this. With one having every thing and the other nothing it creates tension in the society of haves and have not. Their results are manifest in every thing from utter lawlessness, corruption, dacoity to illiteracy, mismanagement to poor national productivity.
We cannot have a society of masters and slaves in this 21st century. It is also misnomered as the ruling class and the ruled class. In a democracy can you have masters and slaves and yet call it democracy? A ruling party and an opposition party is acceptable but not a ruling class. Give me a break.
All countries have done away with feudalism. Even the most backward of the people Egypt has also addressed this issue by abolishing land lords and the feudal system. After independence India did away with feudalism by introducing land ceiling. England did this by introducing huge death duty.
But has Pakistan taken any steps to address this anamoly? Yes there have been two attempts 1,000 acres of Ayub Khan and 300 acres by Z.A.Bhutto, the former being a little bit more successful than the later.
Now every ruling party must have in their manifesto to limit land to a maximum of 50 acres of and irrigated only say 18 acres so that more people can have land. The excess land must be taken over and distributed among the landless poor and then the Bangladesh micro-finance system introduced to help them make it a profitable business venture. Then see where the nation stands. Tall among the comity of nations.