Unfortunately this gets worse, for the impact of greater regulation and the imposition of higher-than-market-wages on that regulated and formal sector can — indeed will — make it more difficult for people to leave the informal economy and enter the formal one. In this sense, it’s actually better that regulation of terms, conditions, and wages be weak, not strong.

No, not because it’s morally objectionable that people get a fair day’s pay nor that work is safe, but because too strict a set of standards means the vast majority of them are excluded from even the most basic and minimal protections.

Sadly, this is something that near no one in the rich countries understands, including most to all of those who sign petitions and drive the NGOs in their insistences. Which is why they keep insisting upon such damagingly expensive policies for those in the formal employment sector.

Again, this isn’t to say that people don’t deserve good wages and good working conditions. Instead, it’s just to insist that such things come with a cost. And in a poor — which Bangladesh still is, sorry — and improving — which Bangladesh most certainly is and for that, huzzah! — country, the people who suffer are those locked out in the informal sector.

4 thoughts on “Elsewhere”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    I know it is churlish, and it is great to be published, anywhere, but I can’t help thinking that publishing it in Dhaka is not really the ideal audience.

    Sort of preaching veganism to sheep.

  2. Seems very true to me Tim.

    Here in spain we have 4 levels of ’employment’:
    The full-time indefinte contracted workers under historic protection conditions (but gradually getting worse but nowhere near enough)

    Part and full-time temporary worker under worse protection but still good and getting beter for them (but in my opinon worse for the economy and society).

    False free-lancers who do that but for a single employer. Many are legally able to become employees of the first category but would lose their job with a payoff immediately. These people have no unemployment and minimal sick pay protection.

    The ‘informal’ economy and I don’t mean the lawyer who takes part of his bill in cash but those who have no protection (other than the social which depending where can be quite good and combines with black work and leaves some well off 🙂 )

    My good leftie friends think that raising the minimum wage, increasing compensation for layoffs etc somehow helps this last group. Amazing but true!

    PD. I discount the genuine freelancer who is an entrepreneur (although often only for him or herself).

  3. There are reasons. £80 a month goes from the newspaper to feed street children in Dhaka, which is nice. More importantly for me it keeps open a pipeline to a couple of people in Dhaka that I hope to use in an offshoot of Contins. It’s my rent I pay to keep the pipeline open if you like.

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