If analyses and common sense are to be believed, the world is facing a financial mess because people spent more wealth than they created. Then they thought that if they put off payments for some time, they would just vanish into thin air. The tragedy is that none of the debts vanished into thin air and all those deferred payments finally caught up with us.
While there are some who have tightened their belts and cancelled those dreaded shiny plastic cards that promised the earth, the moon and more, there are others who continue to spend as lavishly as they previously did, with no regards to an economy in the toilet. They not only want to keep up with Joneses, they want to leave them far, far behind.
Going to the numerous lawn – the summery cotton fabric preferred by ladies in Pakistan – exhibitions in the city, you could have thought that the financial crunch is nothing but a figment of someone’s imagination. The number of exhibitions has gone up, the number of designers coming up with their wares has gone up, and the volume of cloth being sold has definitely gone up. I encountered women who flew in to Karachi from Larkana and Quetta to buy the desired cloth at one of the exhibitions.
Just step out of your house and you will see cars that are bigger, shinier and faster than anything you have seen before. There are times when all you see are Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) on the roads. Plying those huge monstrosities on the congested Karachi roads borders on cruelty, yet people keep on doing it to show off that they can afford a huge, fuel-guzzling vehicle – the economic, social and environmental fall outs be damned. Granted that most of them are bought with public funds as is painfully obvious by their green government number plates, but one must admit that to justify such excesses in times like this would take some earth-shattering logic and creative accounting on part of the government officials. To spend our tax money to buy vehicles to transport the ample selves of numerous begum sahibas and secretary sahibs must call for some extraordinary skills.
As if SUVs in general and Hummers in particular were not bad enough, a family in Germany has bought a six-tonne armoured tank to use for shopping and day trips. The tank is armed with a disabled 30mm gun and has three-inch thick armour plating. The owner Joachim Schoeneich has even fitted a baby seat to the British-built Fox tank for his toddler son Paul and is only concerned about finding the right parking space for his abnormal mode of transportation
Have the executives at the military industry gone completely bonkers? They are selling a battle tank for £24,000! That’s cheaper than a Lamborghini. They have been selling Hummers for quite some time, and now comes the tank – guess what will follow this? Will they start selling mini versions of rockets that children can hop on, like a witch’s broom, to get to school? Are we looking into a future where the rich and environmentally unaware would take thrill trips in F-16 fighter jets to impress ladies? One must feel sorry for Schoeneich’s two year old son, Paul. If daddy has bought a tank for shopping and day trips, the poor kid will probably have to buy a space ship to go work.
Originally published at Dawn.com