Socio-economic derivatives of optimism
Dr. Abdul Saboor
This is not an auspicious moment for Pakistan when a good majority of public has lost the minimum threshold of optimism. There is a wave of disappointment among general public and the public men in almost all walks of life. Some of the politicians are not distributing hopes and dreams; so is the case with other dignitaries and state functionaries. Majority of the state pillars are spreading hopelessness among the people working around them. They are digging holes of pessimism to materialize their own vested interests. Even the side-office and drawing-room discussions are not free from the essence of hopelessness. This is being done either consciously or unconsciously. But, this is the story of almost all state organs.
Youth is particularly frustrated as reflected from their actions, behavior and mood. Everyone around them is cooking bad news. They have become negative even about their own selves. If something good is happening, public is convinced through various social Medias that all is bad. The bright side of Pakistan is being concealed in the mud of pessimism. One hundred good initiatives are kept hidden while a few of the partially bad ones are openly made viral. It seems as if the business survival of many of the tycoons is in spreading pessimism. Hope is perhaps not bringing business for them. Popular opinion reveal that a huge chunk of funding has been chipped in for creating frustration and hopelessness among the young slot studying in schools, colleges and universities. Attention of top leadership delivering in any walk of life is modestly invited.
History is witness to the fact that optimism pays a lot in the very individual and collective senses. Being positive and hopeful has been one of the marvelous characters of mankind that keeps him in the very domain of peace and calm not only for his own being but for all other human beings as well. This is a magnanimous state of mind that indicates its unique beauty as well as its infinite ability to be progressive. One can find quite a balanced personality who follows optimism under all terms and conditions, and even in adverse situations. There are lifelong repercussions of being optimistic as it is truly cognizant to the Nature and its fundamental principles. Nature pushes us again and again to be sanguine till we find the truth and learn the lesson. When individuals are tuned in the very fabric of optimism in their economic, social, and political life, they constitute a magnificent Nation State System which can easily be functioned to the path of progress and prosperity.
It is a universal truth that hope keeps the passion and power of humans alive. Those who are optimistic in their psychic behavior desire nothing for themselves which they do not desire for the mankind. It is a reflection of the fact that man is taking care of both the physical and metaphysical states of his being. Sometimes optimism is wrongly perceived and thus treated quite erroneously. Fighting for the rights of the people and for a noble cause through intellectual struggle without dishonoring others’ opinion is the core idea. The primary goal should be to make your own idea more rational and more workable rather than wasting time in explaining the demerits of others’ ideas. No one can stop our political leaders and public servants to deliver effectively in their respective domains but if they come out of the fabricated walls of pessimism. Human history endorses the fact that delivery of something good for humanity from a pessimist person should not be expected.
Economic imperatives of optimism are several in numbers. For a market to be purely competitive, all the economic players need to be optimistic in their behavior. Optimality is to be maintained on the front of optimism. But pessimism may disturb consumers’ decisions for the purchase of goods and services. The economics of an optimistic class of consumers is quite different than that of pessimistic ones. As for instance, when consumers are not optimistic, there is great likelihood that the size of their basket of goods would either be enhanced or containing commodities selected on the basis of irrationality. Snobbish appeal dominates as against the true economic needs. Demonstration effect is running in the economic system. Similarly, the producers are ever ready to exploit the pessimistic slot of consumers. Their own hopelessness creates the issue of resource inefficiency and low productivity. Trust is lost among the key stakeholders of the market. In this way, lack of optimism leaves many odd footprints in the economy. Labour markets are not exceptions as the professional working in various public and private sectors remain unable to utilize their maximum potential as energy and time is wasted in negativity. There emerges the issue of capability and functionality as narrated by Amartya Sen.
Similarly, humans are social by nature. Social construction owes a great extent to the level of optimism people are enjoying in maintaining their associations. They always look for some soothing meanings in their relationship. The whole canvas of social fabric is fainted if the members of a society in their relationship with others are victims of pessimism. It is not understandable how the relationships like that of a student-teacher, children-parents, employer-employees, public-government and the like would sustain in the realm of missing optimism. A stuff of trust deficit in these kinds of relationships is a clear indication of cynicism backed by pessimism. When individuals are in a state of despair, the intellectual progress is stopped; so is the socio-economic development of the country. Nothing has ruined the individual in general and the nation in particular as much as the hopelessness on their parts. We might have missed the opportunity that our youth could watch a dream like that of Allama Muhammad Iqbal and King Martin Luther. Hope is still inviting us.
There are a variety of factors that may contribute in the creation of hope and positivity among the masses. The remote control is in the hands of top leadership who should take it as an intellectual challenge. A great chunk of responsibility also lies with the academicians, development analysts and social thinkers who need to be extra conscious in their sermons, speeches and statements. They are opinion leaders of the society whose voice plays a pivotal role in the construction of novel ideas and positive ways of thinking of the young generation. A country wide campaign needs to be launched in education institutes for creating awareness among young chaps for the lifelong benefits of optimism. All eyes are always on printed, social and electronic media which has strong power to turn the environment into positive thinking. The media tycoons must realize the fact that there is a big market available for selling positive products and services. If they follow this path, besides money, love and respect may also be earned.
The social and economic sufferings growing at the hands of pessimism both at individual and collective levels are abundant. The nature of the problem is unbelievable while thinking of Utopia kind of solution is unachievable. Gradual change of mind towards optimism is desired. Yes, the tendency towards optimism is the real need of the hour. How much struggle is required and at which level of socio-economic spectrum to convert a pessimistic state of mind into optimistic state of mind is an important policy question which demands high level of intellectualism and maturity. Rather than revolutionary measures, some evolutionary steps are to be taken both at the public and civil society levels.
A two pronged-policy action may be more fruitful in the long run. On one spectrum, the solution is required to address the existing hopelessness gradually from all shades of life. Secondly, we will have to tackle the factors one by one which are causing pessimism among masses. The former may be achieved by running a social movement in the country through activating Corporate Social Responsibility. The latter can be realized at micro level by sensitizing the individual public institutes and education institutions. Meta management may be pursued by the leaders at all levels through demonstration of hope rather than hate. Hate never brings sustainable solutions to the problem exactly as hope never goes wasted. Let us go for the optimistic choice.
Dr. Abdul Saboor is Professor of Economics and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, PMAS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi