Political and Economic Prospects for the Third World Research Paper

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Political and Economic Prospects for Pakistan and Syria

Main Elements of political prospects of Pakistan and Syria

General comparison: Syria and Pakistan

Level of political stability

Level of economic prosperity

Role played by history

Other intervening factors

Commonalities and differences between Syria and Pakistan

Political and Economic Prospects for Pakistan and Syria

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The political and economic prospects for third world countries like Pakistan and Syria are neither encouraging nor can be called dysfunctional. As in case of majority of the third world countries, both Syria and Pakistan are two of the most troublesome states not only for their neighboring countries but for the regional and international stability as well. While extended authoritarian rule of Hafez al-Assad crippled the free economy of Syria, so did the extended military rule in Pakistan. Nonetheless, recent developments in Pakistan indicate towards increased stability of institutions and state but Syria to date goes through an extended civil war. With such backdrop to this paper, the researcher will explore different factors that have impacted the progress of third world countries like Syria and Pakistan. Section II of this paper will describe different elements having a direct or indirect impact on stability of these countries. These factors include level of political stability in both the countries. Factors such as degree of prosperity, influence of political culture and the role played by the historical perspective of both these countries will be discussed in section II. Intervening factors such as military rule, insurgency, colonial and neo-colonial influence, and the impact of transnational bodies such as the UN and IMF on politics and economy of each of these countries will also be made part of this section. Section III of this paper will highlight the commonalities and differences between Syria and Pakistan. Style of leaderships in both the countries will be followed by a description of role of political parties in nation building. The paper will be concluded in section IV by restating the main points of this paper.

Research Paper on Political and Economic Prospects for the Third World Assignment

II- Main Elements of political prospects of Pakistan and Syria

General comparison: Syria and Pakistan

Both Syria and Pakistan have little common in context of area covered, population size, and the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of each country. Pakistan is a much large country with respect to all the aforementioned factors. Having an area approximately 796, 095 Km2, Pakistan's estimated population as of year 2012 was 183 million (The Economist 2012). The country got its independence from British rule in 1947 and could not make it's finally agreed upon constitution until 1973. Syria on the other hand is comprised of an area equaling 186, 400 Km2 and a population size of 22 million approximately. The country got independence from Ottoman Empire in 1918 whereas independence from France was achieved in 1946. Syria has an estimated $107 billion of GDP in 2012 whereas Pakistan's GDP for the same year was $230 billion approximately. The legislature of Pakistan consists of upper and lower house, President as the head of State whereas Prime-Minister is the head of government. Being a bicameral parliamentary democracy, Pakistan has been unfortunate in being subjected to repeated military takeovers in recent and distant past. Syria on other hand is unicameral state having Peoples Council of Syria composed of 250 members elected for four years term. President is name-appointed by the parliament. Despite having stark differences in the aforementioned fields, both the countries are Islamic and have been administered in similar styles during the past.

Level of political stability

Pakistan: Political stability in Pakistan has been somewhat existent during the last one decade. Although Pakistan went through a military takeover in 1999 that lasted for three years before general elections were held in 2002 under the military ruler, the successive elections in 2008 and 2013 have granted significant political stability to Pakistan. There is least threat of a civil-war like situation as experienced by Syria although the number of insurgency and terrorism related killing are equally high in Pakistan as well as Syria. Despite repeated elections to choose political ruling elite, Pakistan can hardly be called 'consolidated' democracy as considerable inequality within social classes of the country exists. The country has a transitional democracy, identical to democratic transitions in Turkey and Thailand (Stephen, 1995), where military is now stepping back into its mandated role of protecting borders and security only. The most significant source of political stability has been the influence of foreign powers like the U.S. And coalition forces that may not allow deterioration of political stability as it may harm their operations in neighboring Afghanistan. Syria: Syria has remained at the center of Islamic Empire and has gone through repeated invasions, occupations, and foreign rule by Mongols and Turks. The country has had repeated tenures of political instability and is currently going through one of these extended years of instability whereby President Basher al-Assad clings on to power through coercive measures. The power within the political apparatus has been long held by Alawite elite faction of Syrian population. Since the Arab Spring events in adjoining countries such as Libya and Egypt, a continuous civil-war like situation prevails in Syria. By and large, Syria is now highly unstable both politically and economically as the entrenched president Assad refuses to seize fire against rebels. As observed by Ben Judah, an international security correspondent of Zurich-based ISN that "Despite the Iraq war having strengthened dictators across the Middle East, al-Assad's regime is like any economically feeble and undemocratic state -- a fundamentally fragile creature" (Judah, 2008).

Level of economic prosperity

Pakistan: If compared with the initial economic development conditions of Pakistan, the country has made significant improvement in developing infrastructure and network to aid the economic prosperity. The country has faced many impediments in the prosperity to reach its downtrodden in form of military takeovers, corruption of civil governments, and unwillingness of political leaders to take charge of political and economic development of the country. Although the country did not get successful in turning its huge potential of economic progress based in its diverse land and sea composition and human as well as natural resources, it still has maintained a visible presence in the international markets. The state of Pakistan has thus far proved to be inefficient but the population in general has proved to be resilient. Agriculture is the main source of income for majority of the population and the country has made significant development in defense technologies, nuclear weapons, heavy manufacturing, and textile industries. Syria: Syria has largely remained dependent on oil exports and this has caused much inherent inefficiency in the management of economy by the ruling elite. The level of economic prosperity in Syria has significantly dropped during the last two years of civil war that has cost more than 70000 lives. The Syrian economy has contracted by 7.8% during 2012 and is estimated to go down further by approximately 3.4% (Rosenlund, 2013). There is an economic collapse nearing Syria due to war-ridden years. The banks have reported having 40-95% of decreased profits during the last year. The national currency of Syria is also getting devalued vs. The U.S. dollar. The main impediment in any significant economic prosperity have been the sanctions enforced by the U.S. And UN that has resulted in significantly lowering the oil-income of Syria by around 50%. With frequent power outages and blockage of internet, the country has not seen any significant project of infrastructure development or economic progress. The much of intellectual capital of country in form of business people, lawyers, doctors, and industrialists have fled to adjoining countries in recent past. It is not the war that has totally gripped the economic progress but the economic structure of Syria as well. The state-dominated economy is hardly allowed to run freely and competition is not encouraged amongst private investors. Having poor property rights and a stifling international competition in manufacturing and service sector, the economic prosperity of Syria has been put on hold due to the war. The level of wealth and well-being of Syria is 113th out of 146 countries and Syrian economy is highly 'un-free' in nature (Rosenlund, 2013).

Role played by history

Pakistan: The role of history in current economic and political prospects of Pakistan is significant. The country never had a smooth democratic government running the affairs of the state. After coming into existence in 1947 as an independent Muslim state, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the first military rule was enforced in 1958 that lasted around 10 years. Thus, the political leadership that surfaced during the tenure was nurtured by the military rulers. The country enforced two constitutions before abandoning them for a more agreed upon and politically drafted constitution of 1971. In 1977, the military ruler again usurped the civilian powers and assumed the government. Political leaders such as Z.A Bhutto were hanged and human rights being curbed. The third martial law of country was enforced in 1999 and the military ruler remained in power for 10 years despite having handpicked the bicameral legislature in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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