Bangladesh Weathers the Storms

Globalization produces winners and losers. And an economy may be winning but if it does not adjust and restructure as necessary, it could find itself losing when the environment changes. The global economic crisis is just such a game-changing development. Which economies were better prepared? Which countries took the right steps to weather the storms?

In this YaleGlobal article, journalist Zafar Sobhan looks at how Bangladesh has fared through the turmoil. “Not only have China, India and other major developing countries survived and prospered, even poorer countries like Bangladesh have come out virtually unscathed,” Zafar writes. “How did this happen? A combination of prudent economic management and resilience of the low-end export sector in hard times seems to have helped the country to survive the global challenge.” He concludes:

“Perhaps the ultimate lesson to be learned is that in the rough and tumble of the new global economic order we shouldn’t be too quick to jump to conclusions as to who will weather a global downturn better. Globally, as employers and consumers look for a bargain, it is countries that service the bargain basement such as Bangladesh that can benefit if they offer value for money and play their cards right.”

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3 Responses to “Bangladesh Weathers the Storms”


  1. 1 Wong Kam Yiu Alwin 21/10/2009 at 12:40 am

    I am happy and surprised to know that some lesser developed countries had the ability to weather the financial storms. However, despite the positives signs on paper, I am worried about the real situation beyond the ever increasing GDP in developing countries. No doubt, their country as a whole is becoming more wealthy, but how is that wealth distributed? You take China for example and you see that a large part of our economy is actually built on exploiting cheap labour. Therefore, my view is that we should consider the wealth gap of a country together with its GDP to determine whether the people are really benefiting from the economic growth.

  2. 2 Wong Shuk Ting 21/10/2009 at 7:53 pm

    Referring to Alwin’s point of taking consideration of wealth gap when talking about economic development of a country, I’d like to share a new that i read yesterday from Business Week.

    Believe it or not. HK has got a new World No.1 record. HKUDP has just released a report about income inequality worldwide. Listing the world’s most advanced economies based on its Gini index, it’s found that HK topped the list, followed by Singapore and the U.S.

    While half of the population is living in government-supported or subsidized housing estates, on the other hand, Henderon Land Ltd. has just sold a deplux apartment for $88,000 per square foot on Conduit Road. As the government has stopped building public estates, it is more common for people to look for houses in private market. It is worried that mass-market housing prices would get pulled up by the momentum in the luxury market.

    Instead of changing the government’s land-sales system, Donald Tsang suggested people to move to suburban land where prices are more affordable.

    HK is definitedly a good place to study income inequality. I would not say half of our population are enjoying their lives and living with dignity while the living standard is very high, and with no minimum wage.

  3. 3 Wong Kam Yiu Alwin 22/10/2009 at 11:01 pm

    Indeed I would like to further the discussion on “a just distribution of wealth within a country”

    John Rawls has famously proposed the “Difference principle” in distributing wealth and I cite from the Stanford Encyclopedia the following paragraph

    “Rawls proposes the following two principles of justice:
    1. Each person has an equal claim to a fully adequate scheme of equal basic rights and liberties, which scheme is compatible with the same scheme for all; and in this scheme the equal political liberties, and only those liberties, are to be guaranteed their fair value.

    2. Social and economic inequalities are to satisfy two conditions: (a) They are to be attached to positions and offices open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity; and (b), they are to be to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged members of society.” ( For more explaination plz visit http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justice-distributive/#Difference) ”

    Although the above distribution principle sounds attractive and I think a large number, if not all , people would agree with the principle. However I am skeptical of whether the principle is really i) feasible and ii) just in a global scale.

    i) Looking at the industrialization and development of countries from the past few decades, it seems to show that economic growth is very often coupled with increase wealth gap within the country itself. Moreover, if we take the example of Hong Kong, it is continuously rising and we see that although in absolute terms, the lower class people have more money, but they seem to be struggling harder for survival amid the high land price and lack of social welfare net ( the govt adopts the policy of using the family as a primary source of social safety net). And this begs the question, why is the government unwilling to re-distribute wealth to the poor while the countries has gotten richer and richer ??? One possible answer may be that a redistribution of wealth within a country may have adverse effects towards the competitiveness of the country depending on its economy structure. In Hong Kong, our economy relies on finance and it may be argued that a higher taxing system would render HK a less suitable place for investment and thus the Govt has to refrain from doing so. While you look at social welfare countries like Sweden, whom have abundant natural resource and is already well developed has the capacity to redistribute wealth without worrying about losing investments. What I am saying is , although John Rawl’s arguments are very appealing, it seems that not every country can operate that way, some must sacrifice the poor in order for their country to grow strong.

    ii) A very common critic to John Rawls’ argument is that he has not been able to justify why his “difference principle” only applies within a nation but not globally. However, I will not discuss this further here as it may be off-tracked a little bit, but I encourage you to search about it if you are interested.


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