Selected work of Dr. Mahbub ul Haq for Human Resource Development

Selected work of Dr. Mahbub ul Haq

Dr. Mahbub ul Haq Selected Work

The Strategy of Economic Planning (1963)

The book tried to communicate
themes of poverty and economic development in Pakistan, with a focus on
potential roadblocks such as the profoundly unequal pattern of landholding,
widespread illiteracy, and “warped development” that favored a
privileged minority.

The Poverty Curtain: Choices for the Third World (1976)

Mahbub ul Haq wrote The
Poverty Curtain: Choices for the Third World (1976), based on his experience
with the Bank, highlighted the neglect of human resources in development
planning. It was a seminal study that served as a precursor to the Bank’s later
development of basic needs and human development approaches in the 1980s (Ul
Haq and Burki 1980; HDC 1998). The ‘seven sins’ of the ‘priesthood of
development planners’ are highlighted in the book.

Playing ‘numbers of games,’
erecting excessive economic restrictions, being preoccupied with ‘investment
illusions,’ the addiction to ‘development fads,’ the separation of planning and
implementation, and the growing ‘memorization’ of planners with high GNP growth
rates were among them.

The Myth of the Friendly Markets (1992)

Dr. Mahbub ul Haq once said as
a keynote speaker, “Before I get to the markets and what I term “the
myth of the friendly markets,” let me back up a little and explain why
many developing countries overcommitted to the public sector.” Were we so
ill-informed that we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into? I believe
that as we grew up in our formative years, we were all confronted with the
challenge of immense poverty in our society. We realized that there was a wide
gap between different income levels and that, in order to lift our society out
of poverty, we needed to pursue a variety of social goals, not only faster
economic growth. Many developing countries have lost their course in their
pursuit of social goals. There was a harmless flirtation with socialism, but
there was a misalignment of objectives and means. The means adopted were a
significant role for the public sector, and instead of pursuing genuine social
goals, it frequently devolved into bureaucratic capitalism. Civil servants, who
were frequently undertrained and underpaid, were given the economy on a silver
platter. Controls and restrictions were frequently exploited to enrich
individuals rather than the economy. But, having said all of that, I must
confess to you today that I am quite concerned about the new market ideology
that is gaining traction around the world.

Markets are neither free,
efficient, nor egalitarian in many of these countries. Many of these countries
may face significant upheavals unless the government plays a strong regulatory
role and free markets are mixed with social compassion. Let me now concentrate
on one significant point. Markets, whether domestically or internationally, are
not friendly to the poor, the weak, or the vulnerable. We frequently act as if
markets are unrestricted. No, they aren’t. That is something I have witnessed
in my own nation. Markets are frequently the handmaidens of powerful interest
groups, and they are heavily influenced by the current income distribution.

Reflections on Human Development (1996) 

is any human society’s ultimate goal? This question has elicited a variety of
responses. However, economist Mahbub ul Haq’s Reflections on Human Development
persuaded readers that the objective should be stated simply as the necessity
that each society enhances the lives of its members by presenting a succession
of exceptionally well-structured arguments. If this is the agreed-upon goal,
then economic development should be tailored to assist human development,
according to Haq. His well-structured thinking assisted development economists
in recalibrating much of what had previously been taken for granted, such as
the notion that economic production was the most important indicator of social
well-being. The work had a significant impact, and Haq’s ideas contributed to a
new understanding of what “progress” meant. Haq meticulously sketched
out reasons and counterarguments to persuade readers that development meant
more than just an increase in output; it also meant an improvement in human
development – people’s ability to live the lives they desire. Haq reevaluated
neoliberal theory that claimed economic expansion benefited everyone by
bringing the abstract back to the physical. And, thanks to his logical prowess,
Haq demonstrated how economic progress did not guarantee that wealthy people
would spend money on improving the poor’s health, education, or other human
development outcomes.

The U.N. and the Bretton Woods Institutions: New
Challenges For The Twenty-First Century

The founders of the United Nations,
the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had a vision that
contrasted strongly with the often weak and constrained functioning of the
institutions they formed fifty years ago. The 15 papers in this volume critically
evaluate this record in order to propose ways to improve and restructure
institutions in order to address the new challenges of the twenty-first
century. The proposed adjustments prioritize human security over military
security, poverty alleviation, gender fairness, and new international
instruments to counteract rising global inequality.

The Vision and the Reality (1995)

For the Bretton Woods
institutions, the Keynesian vision has failed. First, the vision was
substantially weakened in its practical implementation, since the IMF, World
Bank, and GAIT were formed through a series of concessions with the realities
of the period. Second, the Bretton Woods institutions’ original mission has
shifted dramatically during the last five decades of their existence. The
contrast between the image and reality is enlightening. First and foremost,
Keynes’ goal was full employment in a global context. He believed in the
government’s responsibility in regulating market excesses. Unfortunately, particularly
in the 1980s, the employment goal lost a lot of its policy importance, and a
new market theology, rather than a social purpose, driving economic systems,
took over – with terrible results, as we can see now. Full employment has only
lately risen to the top of national and international policy agendas as
industrial countries grapple with the ‘joys’ of jobless growth: while total
output has doubled since 1975, total employment has fallen. The nation state’s
regulatory as well as humane role (as well as that of global institutions) is
likewise experiencing a hesitant resurgence.

The Third World and the international economic order (1976)

He cites the key areas where the
disparity is most visible: international structure; global monetary system, which
creates imbalances in credit distribution; commodity trading, where developing
countries are not given a fair price for their products; and free trade, where
free movement of labor is restricted. He calls on developing countries to band
together to demand that international institutions be restructured in order for
the Third World to achieve economic and intellectual liberty and independence.
‘A poverty curtain has descended right across the face of the world, dividing
it materially and philosophically into two different worlds, two separate
planets, two unequal humanities – one embarrassingly rich and the other
desperately poor,’ says Mahbub ul Haq, who claims that the Third World is not
only united by its legacy of poverty and its ‘heritage of common suffering.’
He also says that overcoming
the poverty barrier and unequal relationships is “the most formidable challenge of our time,” because Third World countries argue that under the
current international order, all benefits, credits, services, and decision
making are stacked in favor of a privileged minority and that this
international imbalance cannot be changed. ‘The search for a new economic system is a natural stage in the liberation [fight] of emerging countries,’ Dr.
Haq concludes correctly.

A New Framework for Development Cooperation (1995)

The work of Mahbub ul Haq to
coordinate, implement and propagate the Human Growth Approach exemplifies
successful leadership in achieving more ethical socio-economic development.
Project to look at Haq’s contributions in terms of four aspects of leadership:
articulating and applying values that are both deep and broad in appeal;
providing a fruitful and vivid way of seeing, or a “vision,” that
reflects the values; encapsulating the values and vision in workable practical
proposals; and supporting and communicating the previous aspects through broad
and relevant networks. If the human development approach wants to retain the
leadership role it gained owing to Haq, it may need to modernize its principles
and vision, notably through better incorporation of human security thinking.

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