Entrepreneurship in Pakistan
Entrepreneurship is viewed by economists to be a combination of innovation and risk taking. When such activity thrives, high growth rates are achieved as well as opportunities offered to all segments of society, including the poor. The latter benefit form growth and employment as well as through opportunities for entrepreneurship. In Pakistan innovation and risk taking is severely inhibited by the intrusive role of government in the marketplace. From the early days of planning when protection and subsidy polic ies determined winners in the market place, entrepreneurship has been diverted to seeking government favours. Government economic policy also seeks to promote growth through a basically ‘mercantilist’ approach where domestic commerce through seriously neglect is heavily regulated. This sector either employs most of the poor or offers them entrepreneurial opportunities. Hence deregulating this sector could be a priority in and anti-poor strategy. The paper also argues that land distribution and city zoning and management have also evolved to further reinforce the prevalent rent seeking path to success. The result is that cities are by design not allowed to become clusters of commerce that will be entrepreneur friendly. These clusters of dense urban commerce are magnets of employment and opportunity for the poor. To develop an entrepreneurship culture in the country, the system of incentives (laws and policies) that promote rent seeking will have to be dismantled. This paper presents an analysis of the state of entrepreneurship/rent seeking prevailing in Pakistan. This analysis allows us to obtain and understanding of the kinds of reforms (including legislative changes) that are required to develop entrepreneurship.
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