The scene of hundred something young men women locked in while fire and smoke start choking them. This is horror and sadness. When I hear factory mid management started locking the gates after fire alarm goes off — I get angry. Then when I hear the prime minister immediately puting the blame, without any investigation, on Jamaat-Shibir — I become speechless in disbelief.
A friend wrote to me thus after the fire at Tazreen garment that killed over a hundred workers on 25 November. It was followed by a lot of emotional facebook status updates, blog posts, newspaper op eds, and shouting heads in TV.
Well, it’s now official — it was ‘sabotage’. So that’s that, eh? Well, not quite. The official recommends taking legal actions against factory owner and nine mid-level managers for gross negligence that contributed to the tragedy. Is there anything more to be said? What about another facebook status update about ‘evil capitalism’?
Over the fold are some thoughts I haven’t seen/heard expressed. And I promise, there is no infantile, emotional outbursts about ‘greedy killers’.
In 2011-12 (FY12), Bangladesh’s per capita GDP — in FY12 prices — was 60,000 taka a year. This is exactly double the amount from 1995. That year’s 30,000 taka per capita GDP was just slightly higher than the 27,000 taka recorded in 1970. Now, this is in real terms, that is, after accounting for inflation. After accounting for inflation, the average Bangladeshi was little better of in the early 1990s compared with 1970. In fact, per capita GDP fell by nearly 20% as a result of the Liberation War, and the average Bangladeshi was poorer in the 1970s and 1980s compared with the pre-war period. And then, from around the beginning of the 1990s, the economy started growing faster.
This chart — of per capita GDP (in FY12 prices) over the past five decades — summarises the above story.
I was going to write this post in October, as part of the fifth anniversary of the blog. But ‘real life’ got in the way. This piece by Shubinoy Mustofi on fire in a garments factory killing over a hundred workers reminded me about the subject, so here we are.
Corruption is our biggest problem. If not for corruption (or corrupt politicians/bureaucrats/businessmen/army officers), we would be a rich country. – How often have you heard statements like this? I often here things like this from Bangladeshis living in rich countries of the west, which is quite ironic because of the history of corruption in these countries.
Let’s take America, for example, which, Martin Scorsese tells us, was born in the streets.