Overcoming crony capitalism

Published: September 26, 2018 21:56:40 | Updated: September 28, 2018 21:46:57

Economists and financial experts have rightly detected the ills the country's economy is suffering from. They are categorical that a growing nexus between a 'certain political class and business class' has been responsible for what they call 'crony capitalism'. The experts expressed their concern over the impact of this expedient politics-business collaboration on the economy in the long run. Already the impact has proved quite telling and if the trend continues, this land-scarce highly populous country will have to pay a heavy price for not doing enough to arrest it before further fall-outs. Crony capitalism is an aberration of the capitalist system where powerful quarters form a pact to serve each other's interests -means notwithstanding. In a situation like this, those responsible for putting the record straight by standing guard against national interests compromise on matters for undue rewards.

So far as wealth creation is concerned, this nation cannot be said to be failing in its mission. On many counts, the country has been doing better than many of its neighbours. It has defied many of the odds in achieving enviable success. That it has carried a baggage of unconstitutional rule for long is still casting a long shadow on its journey on the road to progress. There was need for reviewing the legacy of the privileges enjoyed under the system of 'some are more equal than others' right at the beginning of the fresh journey on the road to democracy. Successive governments have failed to take a decisive stand on stalling or reversing the process. Today, the country has the dubious distinction of becoming the land of producing the super rich at a rate surpassing every other nation on this planet. This means that in the matter of concentration of wealth in a few hands Bangladesh has beaten the world at large over the past five years under scrutiny. Called ultra-wealthy, they have no less than $ 30 million (roughly Tk2,400 millions) investable wealth apart from primary residence, collectibles, consumer durables.

This speaks volumes for the economic distribution in society here. Had the wealth been distributed more rationally, Bangladesh would have gained spectacular economic progress by this time. True, the majority of the village population are now better off than before but then there is a silent process of extreme poverty taking its toll. At the bottom of society, people are becoming ultra-poor losing cultivable lands and homesteads. Either they reside on government lands or migrate to towns or cities to live in slums. A recent study has highlighted the miserable plight of such slum-dwellers. Thank God, the vulnerable groups have been brought under the government's safety net programmes to ensure their mere survivability.

However, this is no way of making a nation strong, vibrant and productive. In slums, malnutrition, lack of hygiene and stunted growth of children mark the living standard of people staying there. People depending on vulnerable group feeding programmes cannot hope to give their children a better chance in life for moving up the social ladder. All these are ill effects of crony capitalism. It must be reined in for ensuring economic justice for all in society.

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