Industries and Freedom

In the opening of the Kabul International Exhibition, which is still held during the so-called “Industry Week” like in the time of the republic, last Thursday, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar spoke in support of industrialists and the need for growth in domestic production.

He, who sits in the remaining structures designed for modern governance, claims that the exclusionary, anti-woman, and anti-freedom Emirate, which openly advertises economic welfare as a secondary issue and people’s primary duty as unquestioning obedience to the “Emir” and readiness for life after death, will soon produce the electricity needed by industrialists domestically and will boost domestic production to eliminate economic dependency. However, history proves that the growth of industries and the services they need is impossible without education, expertise, and freedom.

The main difference between manufacturing industries and trade and mining is their relationship with human development and civil freedoms. By selling resources and giving away roads and transit to foreign countries and companies, you can earn income and even somewhat stimulate the economy, or at least have enough income to provide for the army and the despotic administrative apparatus; but industries cannot develop without education and civil freedoms. Of course, political freedom and elections are not necessary for the growth of industries, and we have examples of single-party and non-elected governments that have been able to greatly stimulate industrial production; however, economic prosperity and industrial growth eventually bring political freedoms with them.

The main point is that civil liberties, belief in science, valuing expertise, research and development are prerequisites for industrial growth. In countries that have advanced industries but non-elected governments, education is supported, civil liberties, work and research are ensured, and women’s education and participation in society and the market are encouraged.

In fact, industry is the product of freedom of work, education, and research. The industrial revolution occurred after the chains of the medieval period were broken from the hands and feet of the people and research and education were promoted, and since then industries have grown in line with civil liberties and belief in science all over the world.

The more open the society, the more fluid the human resources, the more educational and research opportunities available, and the more developed industries have become.

Saudi Arabia is a clear example of the necessity of freedom for the growth of manufacturing industries and services. The oil money in that country has funded decades of political despotism and now that the age of oil and gas is nearing its end and policymakers have realized the need to move away from an economy dependent on the sale of natural resources, they are unleashing the chains from the hands and feet of the people, encouraging women’s participation in society and the market, and facilitating the emergence of services that are necessary for educating competent human resources and attracting the necessary capital.

The Taliban, however, have just begun to argue about the permissibility and necessity of education, are competing to surgically remove signs of contemporary knowledge from the curriculum, and whoever stands firmer against schools and universities and can justify turning them into religious schools gets closer to the “Emir’s” court. How can such a regressive force, against education and freedom, stimulate industry and provide the capital, services, and skilled human resources necessary for the development of manufacturing industries?”