By Danish Khan
We’ve had too many attacks of late: after a terrible March 22nd terrorist attack in Brussels which took away more than thirty lives, a bombing five days later in Lahore brought more misery and pain. This time the second largest city of Pakistan was struck by a devastating terrorist attack in which more than seventy people lost their lives, specifically targeted at Christian Pakistanis who were celebrating Easter in a public park, though the victims were both Christians and Muslims.
The brutality of the two attacks is similar, but both public outcry and modes of analysis have been wildly divergent. In the countries of the global North, and especially in the US, we did not see an outcry and outrage at the similar scale as we observed after a devastating attack in Brussels. We must sincerely ask, why? Is it simply because we in the US can better relate with Europeans (but not everyone has a European ancestry in the US)? Or is it because we don’t expect a rich European country like Belgium to be under attack? Or because terrorist attacks not something new for a third world Muslim majority country like Pakistan? Or is it just a coincidence and there is not a systemic rationale/prejudice behind it? We don’t know. But we want readers to think about it.
Similarly, in the mainstream media a lot has been said about the prevailing socio-economic and cultural aspects of Belgian society. But when it comes to country like Pakistan not much is said in terms of socio-economic and cultural aspects. This article is a modest attempt in this regard.
By Danish Khan
The recent speech by the new Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, was remarkable in multiple ways. First of all, Ms. Yellen acknowledged that working people are still suffering from the recent economic crisis and the recovery is at best incomplete. She also gave a precise number of the unemployment rate that can be sustained while maintaining a stable inflation rate, and in her estimates that number is around 5.2 percent to 5.6 percent. This number is simply too high, it should not be more than 4.0 percent. In simple terms, by accepting 5.2 percent to 5.6 percent, she is saying that if the number of unemployed people gets down to 8 million people out of the 155 million who are in the labor force, then the Federal Reserve will have achieved its ultimate target. I think the Madame Chair should be reminded that the primary task assigned to the Federal Reserve, as far back as the 1940’s, is to achieve full employment. Read more
By Danish Khan
Most economists would describe contemporary times as an epoch of austerity. Whether it is public education or healthcare, enormous pressure has been exerted by the right wing to cut government spending in order to reduce the budget deficit. But interestingly, advocates of austerity always pick those social programs for spending cuts which are directly related to the lives of working people in America, e.g. unemployment insurance, food stamps, subsidized student loans, etc.. The supporters of the austerity try to portray themselves as sincere in ensuring the reduction in government spending but the reality is they are only interested in waging class war against working people of America. Read more