Capitalism In Action

Just over a year after the liberation of Afghanistan by US and Northern Alliance troops the quality of life in Kabul is beginning to markedly increase. Small businesses, the core of a dynamic economy, are sprouting up all through the Afghan capital, as well as influxes of foreign corporations looking to invest capital into the newly freed country.

But whatever the risks, the Kabul of today is almost unrecognizable as the austere city ruled not long ago by the Taliban — or as the place where warring Islamic militias demolished neighborhood after neighborhood, or where Soviets presided over a rebellious socialist state.

While the current business mini-boom involves mostly small-scale projects, some see it as a harbinger of bigger investments from abroad.

"Large foreign investors look to local entrepreneurs — the people on the ground — for signals on the business environment in a place like this," said William B. Taylor Jr., the special representative for donor assistance at the U.S. Embassy. "And the signal now is pretty positive."

Granted, the people of Afghanistan have a long way to go, but as the economy picks up, expect the level of Afghani political participation and civil society to pick up as well. The best way to get someone interested in politics is to ensure that they have a significant stake in the outcome of political processes — and owning property does exactly that. Capitalism can help build civil society in that way, and civil society can provide the foundation for a truly long-lasting democracy.

One thought on “Capitalism In Action

  1. Now let’s take care of those WARLORDS, before we have a pack of their Iraqi counterparts to deal with… and before one assassinates Karzai and smashes Kabul…

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