In the 21st century, one wonders how the theories of Karl Marx can still remain relevant.
A handful of eminent researchers and scholars got together at the NED University of Engineering and Technology to mark 200 years of Karl Marx’s birth in a special seminar, ‘Revisiting the Karl Marx Socialist Doctrine in 21st Century: Political and Economic Prospective for Pakistan’. It was organised at the varsity’s Karachi campus by its department of economics and management sciences.
The aim was to introduce the new generation to the Marxist socialist ideology of classless society and discontent of capitalism.
Pakistan Insititute of labour, Education and Research Executive Director Karamat Ali, SZABIST Social Sciences Dean Dr Riaz Sheikh, Professor Dr Sara Ansari from the University of London and Dr Fahad Ali from Habib University spoke at the event.
Dr Karamat said the working class in Pakistan has lost trust in policymakers as its wealth share is declining with every passing day. “If labour and student unions are not restored and industrial relations and labour laws not redefined immediately, our country might face a serious revolt,” he said.
Dr Sheikh focused on the significance of the role of women in nation building and sustainable economic growth. “Human rights and labour exploitation cannot go hand in hands in the modern world,” he said, adding that the flow of information and technology has extended towards the common man.
Speaking on the relevance of Marx’ theory on the means of production in today’s day and age, Dr Fahad said that exploitation of labour class is mounting every year due to ineffective taxation and labour policy in Pakistan.
Dr Ansari shared her views on the ideology of Karl Marx. “Without empowerment of women, the true sense of Karl Marx’s revolutionary ideas cannot be promoted in Pakistan,” she said.
The chairperson of the department of economics and management sciences, Dr Raza Ali Khan, called for academic institution to play their due role in policy formation, especially after CPEC. Otherwise he feared that marginalisation of the working class may lead to a major economic crisis.
Immediate action, he said, should be taken to restore the confidence of the working class by altering ownership laws and private property rights.