Essay No. 341:
Importance Of Austerity In National Life: At the very outset the importance of austerity should be properly understood. It means simple living without any trait of exhibition. It implies simple mode of living within the limits of one’s resources and avoid ostentation style. It is considered to be a great virtue, which helps nations develop their hidden survival to face odds of life.
History bears testimony to the fact that some nations resorted to extreme measures of austerity to come out of severest crisis, and bore terrible hardships. Former Soviet Russia at the time of the occurrence of October Revolution, was cut off from the rest of the world to consolidate the gains of the revolution. All foreign imports were banned and the people ad to suffer tremendously.
All classes shed tears and bore the brunt of the time. The end result was that the Soviet Russia emerged as a great force to reckon with. The history tells us that the nations which adopted austerity as a national cult developed resilience to withstand even the severest crisis. Pakistan should accept austerity as a way of life.
Pakistan is a poor country whose saving potential is very low. It needs to raise the volume of savings for purpose of national investment. The objective can be achieved by avoiding ostentation’s behaviours and the tendency of self-exhibitionism. The nation expects much from the well-to-do classes to avoid ostentation’s mode of living moneyed classes can contribute to practice austerity provided they are willing to do away with pomp and show living style.
The idea is to give up unnecessary consumption of things with a view to yielding real volume of savings for purpose of financing development programme in the country. The rich elite classes can decide to celebrated marriage ceremonies in a simple manner instead of elegant style. Only one or two dishes can be served to guests. Unnecessary waste of money should be avoided.
The rulers should give up luxuriant living style of affect needs to be cut down to the minimum level to practice austerity. The secretaries and public servants should prefer to live in small houses and travel in small cars instead of big limousines. Every should be made to reduce recurring expenditure in order bring down the ever yawing fiscal defect now to be in the neighborhood of 6 to 7 percent of GDP.
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The fiscal deficit should be reduced to the minimum level to create economic stability. The roaming inflation and heavy bank borrowing by the government indicated a dangerous trend. Revenues of the state must increase to narrow down the gap between income and expenditure. The government, if it has rationalistic outlook. Should show its willingness to restore equilibrium in finances by adopting austerity as a measure at all levels.
When delegations go aboard, their size should be very small. The members may stay in small apartments instead of prestigious hotels in order to affect saving of foreign currency. Austerity as a cult needs to be patronized by the government and the moneyed classes. They can give a lead to the other segments of society.
Dr. A.H. Khayal, a leading academic and a column writer opines about austerity as under:
“Pakistan is one the poorest countries of the world. Most of the people live far below the poverty line. They are half fed, half-naked and live in caves. Imagine exhorting half-fed, half-naked cave-dwelling miserable masses that they should discard ostentation. What is ostentation’s about starvation? What is ostentation’s about nudity? What is ostentation’s about living in caves?
Perhaps austerity means that the masses should replace their half-starvation with full starvation, their held nakedness with full nudity and their cave dwelling with living in the LDA sewers.” (Pieces of a mind p.20). He has sarcastically discussed the implications of austerity as applied to the poor segment of society.
The initiative must thus come from the affluent classes, which are largely in the control of national resources, to adopt austerity as a national cult. The poor people already are shedding tears of hard choices. That is the call of the time to practice austerity to get out of the wood of economic difficulties. It calls for making sacrifice on their part to pull Pakistan out of economic difficulties.