The real trouble facing the garments sector?

Posted in development, economics, labour, macro by jrahman on September 29, 2012

I’ve been following the Bangladeshi economy for over a decade now.  And in all that time, one constant theme has been the worries about the imminent collapse of the country’s garments sector.  Back in the early 2000s, it was China joining the World Trade Organisation and pushing out Bangladesh.  Then it was the end of Multi Fibre Arrangement in 2004 — how could the Bangladeshi industry survive without the preferential treatment?  By the end of the 2000s, the global recession emerged as the biggest risk (something I worried about too).  Meanwhile, wage hikes of 2006 and 2010 were also posed as threats to the industry.  Now we have the international coverage of periodic labour unrests in the industry as the latest worry.

Of course, the Deshi garments sector has thrived despite the challenges listed above.  I’ve argued earlier about not worrying about international boycott of the garments industry.  The thing is, there might be other reasons to worry about the sector.


Is the Bangladeshi garments sector facing collapse?

Posted in activism, economics, labour, trade by jrahman on September 19, 2012

Deyalpotrika has compiled recent New York Times articles on labour unrest in the Bangladeshi garments sector.  She provocatively asks whether ‘Made in Bangladesh’ will become a scarlett letter.  In the comments section, Naeem Mohaiemen claims:

If you don’t think this is the coming crisis that will destroy Bangladesh’s economy, you’re too busy with other tamasha …. Look at the NYT reader comments and you can see the contours of the coming Bangladeshi goods boycott.

Now, I enjoy a tamasha as the next person.  But I enjoy thinking about economics even more, and definitely lot more than the next person.  So I’ve thought about the issue.  Are we really likely to see a boycott of Bangladeshi goods?  No, I doubt we will.