Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

What Challenges the Free Market Faces in Afghanistan?


What Challenges the Free Market Faces  in Afghanistan?

According to article 10 of constitution of Afghanistan, the economic system of the country defined as free market system. Though there is no absolute concept in social science, including economy, it has caused an absolute interpretation from free market system so far as every destructive economic behavior is justified on the basis of free market system reflected in the law. When we talk to some of the officials why the prices of basic goods are suddenly doubled in winter seasons, they justify their silence based on article 10 of the national law as if the injustice and economic oppression is allowed by law in Afghanistan. Undoubtedly, the law also does not allow injustice and economic oppression which is going on under name of free market. Even if we look in the origin countries of free market system, no one believe in absolute interpretation of free market system or else it can be used as a weapon against social and political security of any countries, especially under developed countries such as Afghanistan.
In the other word, the wrong interpretation from free market system has changed to a destructive tool which justifies any disorders including: hoarding, monopoly, inflation, injustice and even the collapse of domestic factories in the country. For example, two months ago the price of one kg liquid gas was around 40Afs in Kabul market but now it is around 80 Afs, a 100% increase. The price of 7 kg onion was about 100 Afs but now it is about 180Afs, nearly 100% increase. The price of 7 Kg potato was about 100Afs but now it is around 190Afs, nearly 100% increase. The price of one kg tomato was about 10Afs but now it is about 40 or 50 AFs, more than 300% increase. Thus, there are hundreds of such examples which extremely pressurize people in this freezing winter.  In addition, thousands of domestic factories have collapsed in recent years either due to damping policies or unequal competitions.
The real philosophy of free market system is to strengthen economic growth, economic activism and global peace and prosperity through fair and balanced goods exchange.  Unfortunately, it has produced a reverse outcome in Afghanistan due to a wrong fallacy from free the market system in economic context of Afghanistan. As result of this fallacy, the social crimes, poverty level and class distances have been steadily increased in the country. Thousands of local factories collapsed and overall we did not exploit from the positive advantages of free market system in the country. For example, it is said that nearly 2500 shoes making factories have been collapsed in recent years.
According to experts, there is no absolute free market system in the world. The modern world economic systems are combined of socialism, communism, mercantilism, defense-mercantilism and also liberalism. The historic experiences show that a solitary system is neither successful and nor practicable in today’s politicized the world.  Today, the most liberal countries of the world like European countries provide a minimum social welfare to all. Though their formal system is largely based on liberalism and free market system but they are carefully watchful so as to prevent any abuses may caused by free market system or any optimistic views.
Moreover, all governments are responsible to ensure social justice and social security in their countries. So, any threats either in form terrorist attacks or in form of free market monopolies, damping or hoarding are seriously controlled by governments. No unfair economic behavior in form of hoarding, economic monopolies which cause inflation, widespread injustice and class distances, are allowed. In fact, this kind of economic behavior is considered more dangerous than most of terrorist attacks. Terrorist attack may target a single place or group but economic injustice can affect the whole country. Today, the social unrest in France is a good example of free market when it is not softened with government interference. 
Undoubtedly, everything has a positive and negative uses including free market. For example, freedom, social freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of information are of important modern values, but when we leave it absolute they will be changed to threats. Similarly, free market is an excellent system for economic, dynamics creativities and global prosperity but it must be regulated based on social and economic status of each country. Afghanistan is neither able to compete with world countries and nor afford to tolerate the domestic misuses. The government should neither allow anyone to use economy as a weapon against weak people and not let the local factories to collapse because of damping policies imposed by neighboring countries. According to realistic views, economy is the origin of power it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes. So, the general spirit of law and general interests of the country requires interfering in the market when it is misused against people.
Given the current state of the world economy even the most advanced countries, such as the United States, have come to the conclusion to support the domestic industries versus foreign goods. It has been imposing heavy tariffs on foreign production in recent years.  In fact, western countries are very sensitive against negative impact of economic interactions and goods exchanges. In national level, whenever their governments feel that there are some signs of oppressive behavior in the market such as illegal monopolies, illegal trades, hoarding which cause inflation and class distances they immediately interfere in the market. But In Afghanistan, free market system became a sacred phenomenon even though if it imposes unfair consequences on lower class of society.  As a consequence, every day the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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