Without necessary reforms, an inclusive society remains elusive19 April 2023
Quoting the International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh (ICC, B), a recent newspaper report said that the country's very richest have become dramatically richer and corporate profits have hit record highs, driving an explosion of inequality. The report said the economy over the world is witnessing an intense inequality crisis for which about 14 per cent of the global population living in 46 countries has to face serious impediments, which directly hamper their ability to progress economically and graduate from the least developed country category.
Bangladesh is also no exception to have respite from the curse. The country has remained with substantial income inequality in all its manifestations even after 50 years of independence. A small section of society enjoys most of the country's wealth by depriving the larger group of people of their basic needs.
Curiously, the World Inequality Report 2022 published by the World Inequality Lab of Paris did not give any ranking to Bangladesh. Just one per cent of Bangladesh's population holds 16.3 per cent of the total national income in 2021 and the bottom half 17.1 per cent, according to the report -- making it a quintessence of a poor and unequal country.
Besides, the high GDP growth over the past few years has been unable to create sufficient jobs. In other words, the country is witnessing a phase of jobless growth as the poor people are not getting enough scope for productive income-generating employment activities. In fact, the economic growth in recent years has been far from inclusive.
However, the rent-seeking mindset of our power high-ups, unsolicited disbursement of bank loans and later on not paying these loans at all, manipulations and insider trading in stock markets, evasion of taxes, and corruption in public procurement and spending have helped massive income transfer to the top ten per cent of the population based on political patronage in different periods, especially in the last ten years.
Building mega projects without considering cost-effective benefits and grabbing public land are some other glaring examples of looting and laundering of public money that compelled us to live in a society not equal to all. When reform is elusive, change in power is not the all to form an inclusive society.