The return of inflation


It seems the next few months are not going to be too pleasant for the average Pakistani, especially that big bulk of the population that struggles to make ends meet every day of the week. On top of all the news that really puts people from this particular section off quite badly, like the opposition gearing up to unseat the government and the government using all its resources to crack down on the opposition, etc, now they must also contend with the prospect of higher inflation all over again. And since the fact that they are poor implies that they cannot easily afford most necessities of life, it shouldn’t really take too much imagination to figure out just how they feel about governments that are unable to keep a lid on prices, especially when it comes to items of everyday use. They would have been impressed by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s promise that the government would now use all its resources to make sure all mafias are dealt with and food prices are controlled if they weren’t used to hearing it over and over again. They endured a very tough time during much of the first two years of this government but, ironically, would have breathed a sigh of relief when inflation emerged much subdued from the pandemic and the lockdown. They would have thought, although for no fault of their own, that the government had finally put its foot down and done something about all the hoarders and thieves. Alas, it was not so and now not only is inflation making a rather discomforting comeback but it is doing so at a time when growth is barely above zero percent. That, of course, means that we are quite literally flirting with stagflation, when low growth and high unemployment coincide with high prices and make everybody’s lives miserable.
And going by how this particular phenomenon has ravaged economies in the past, one like Pakistan’s can easily take a pretty steep fall and take about a decade just to get back to previous growth levels.
Hopefully the prime minister means what he says this time and all those interest groups who have been defying the writ of the government and robbing the average Pakistani of his basic rights will be dealt with firmly in complete accordance with the law. Anything less would be devastating for the whole country.