“Sell when you can; you are not for all markets,” Shakespeare advises. During the primordial economic chaos, the unfortunate destiny of the Pakistani state from its inception, the ruling class has nothing but to sell further privatization as a panacea, a lethal solution to a terminally ill patient. To improve the health of the education system, the former finance minister is asking the government to privatize public-owned educational institutions. The step, for him, is likely to enhance the efficiency, and quality of education while halting the pilferage of funds. Who can doubt the sagacity of a financial wizard, there is a rub. Once the public institutions turn into private property to enhance the private profits, no one can stymie the owners’ temptation of demolishing the buildings and proceeding to the business of land speculation. Most of the deindustrialization in the Zia regime and later met the same tragic fate. Slightly twisting the quote of Juvenal, the Roman satirist, one can ask who will expropriate the expropriators. If left alone, we are told the market has the potential to adjust itself, but ironically, the market is not a living organism. It does not control social relations. On the contrary, social relations determine what kind of market, if necessary, will function. China is a case in point where the Communist Party determines and redefines the course of the market. An unfortunate fact is that Pakistan ranks the lowest in South Asia in terms of education spending. “The Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-22 has pointed out that only 1.77 per cent of GDP was spent on the education sector last year while the literacy rate was recorded at 63 per cent.” (Dawn, 2022). The highly sanctioned socialist Cuba–a tiny country some ninety miles away from the hegemonic power and her eternal class enemy–has excelled in the health system. If enrolment in Sindh, KP, and Balochistan is ebbing and has gone stagnant in Punjab, as the former minister alludes to, one needs to look at the problem holistically to find the causes within the social conditions responsible for the dismal performance and those are many. Ever-rising inflation, socio-political insecurity, shrinking wages, law-and-order situation, state preference to support not-so-benign madrassah syllabus over scientific education, and the absence of infrastructure for quality education are a few worth mentioning. It’s not the excessive involvement of the state in the field of education causing impediment in the flow of knowledge but the sheer lack of it. The highly sanctioned socialist Cuba–a tiny country some ninety miles away from the hegemonic power and her eternal class enemy–has excelled in the health system. Cuba has nearly six physicians for 1000 people with a 99% literacy rate while Pakistan has only 1.12 physicians for the same number of people, while its literacy rate is dismally low, a mere 63%. The figures are enough to highlight the difference between a command economy and the capitalist economy of a country marred by economic malaise and religious paranoia. Nicaragua, a small country in Central America, sanctioned by the US and later assaulted by Contras, the empire’s poodles for its left-leaning policies which automatically made her a grave ‘security threat’ to the US, has attained an 80% literacy rate. From 1980 onwards, it has won the UN award for literacy several times. There is nothing wrong with our stars, but we are underlings. We need introspection and should pose a few un-koshered questions to ourselves. How much money is spent on the defence budget and how much on curbing critical thinking by wasting large sums on madrassah-based education to prepare a jihadi mindset? The figures will be blatantly obvious to the Pakistani ruling elite. The time for the books printed in Nebraska to stimulate the jihadi spirit has long gone. But no one knows what to do with the birds of violence and ignorance that have come home to roost. The neoliberal Shylocks decry public spending through fiscal means unless a tempest of 2007-8 proportion rocks their boats and the state bails them out paying billions and later trillions of taxpayers’ dollars in the Obama era to their coffers. However, Maynard Keynes thought differently. He was an enthusiastic advocate of public spending, but then Keynes wasn’t an economist. “He was a man with a great many ideas”, Hayek said, “who knew very little about economics. Hence the Nixon-Kissinger nexus buried him with his economic model. The slogan of a free, unhinged society of today was the product of the Regan-Thatcher era. Despite the much-hyped market ‘freedom’ the state in the UK continues to provide an efficient public health and education system. Australia is another example where everyone, regardless of age and gender, has the right to free education. Even in the US, a country where privatization is religiously practised, education was always a human right. The initial movements for the privatization of education were started either by the clergy to Americanize children with Protestant values or by the racists. The latter succeeded in 1950-60 when the court endorsed the white segregationist policy through private schooling called segregation academies. It helped the white families wanting to keep their children away from the integrated schools, a mere extension of the apartheid policy prevalent in the US education system. The idea of privatization of education on a larger scale was methodically advanced in 1990 by the likes of Rockefeller. Thomas Friedman, a neoliberal guru, was instrumental in discrediting public institutions in favour of private ones. The process of disinvesting the latter and diverting the public funding to the private schools began in 1990 and was fully materialized in 2010. It’s interesting that akin to Australia and UK, the comparison between public and private educational institutions in the US has revealed no qualitative difference between the two. In the US, “repeated studies have failed to document any significant improvement in educational outcomes or student achievement, and many private schools resist attempts to measure educational progress” (SOS Arizona 2022). The idea of educating children through vouchers alluded to by the former finance minister backfired in the US where it was put to the voters more than twenty times but was rejected by them on each occasion. People are opposed to spending public money to feed private schools. The policy of defunding public institutions has deprived hundreds and thousands of students of the subaltern class of having access to university education forcing them to become cannon fodders for the US army invading the countries of the global south and dying for American domination. Thousands of soldiers, the survivors of the wars of domination end up having PTSD, and a significant number either succumb to drugs or commit suicide. The mounting student loan debt in the US has surpassed the figure of $1.5 trillion, curbing their political ambitions. “Debt-encumbered homeowners”, David Harvey says, “don’t go on strike”. The debt has groomed the culture of conformity and the students’ protests, once seen during the Vietnam war, have eclipsed the mist of the past. Being more loyal than the king, the Pakistani ruling elite is eager to privatize the health system, a key to immense wealth. Whereas it is interesting to note that, Donald Trump, the flag bearer of the free market chose the National Institution of Health (NIH), one of the world’s foremost medical research centres, a public institute for his treatment, when COVID infected him, or vice versa. Those who prescribe decapitation as a solution to a headache, such physicians need to heal themselves and not their patients. Lest we forget, all scientific discoveries are paid for by the taxpayers’ money before they are presented on a platter to private capital for exploitation, education will not be an exception. The writer is an Australian-based academic and has authored books on socialism and history. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.