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Ain’t this a bleedin’ change?

The country is moving ahead to become a strong economy in the next decade, with its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reaching the $465-billion mark in 2022.

Bangladesh was the second largest economy in South Asia after India and ranked 35th among the largest economies of the world,

6.4% growth last year.

5 years ago I wrote the following:

In a piece of his talking about how sweatshops ain’t great but they’re better than what poor places have to offer as an alternative Krugman says something like “even Bangladesh”. On the basis that 120 million people on the flood plains of the Himalayan rivers, with little other than the people and the flood plains, has always been one of those places where the development specialists and planners go “Well, what the fuck do we do here?”

Which rather speaks to this comment on the blog here:

I’ve become more optimistic since taking the time to read Tim’s Register and Forbes articles. I like that the world is getting richer. I didn’t realise how much and how quickly.

They’re having an industrial revolution, something that’s not pretty nor nice up close but it is happening. And like most other places that have had one they’re starting in textiles. Here it’s making up the garments, not the weaving or spinning. But that industry employs 4 million and produces 82% of exports.

It’s the old thing. The options are staring at the south end of a north moving water buffalo or the factory. And the water buffalo option produces an income (including domestic production of rice etc) of perhaps 2,000, maybe 3,000 takka a month. 20 to 30 quid. Rickshaw drivers get about the same. One thing I noted was that they’re direct drive, no gears on them. Asked around and gears are considered too expensive…..that’s a certain level of poverty, no? A short rickshaw ride is 10 takka. Got to do a lot of 10 p rides to make a living….

Minimum wage in the factories is 5,000 takka. Time and a half for overtime etc (not included in that number and min wage goes to the new entrants, no training etc). As ever in these sorts of industries the “names” pay better, offer free school for the kiddies, health care etc. The penumbra of subcontractors don’t. A typical career path is off the paddy into the subcontractor factory, a year or two later, with some experience and training under the belt, into one of the main contractors.

Yes, these are shitty wages and neither you nor I would want to try to live like that (note they’re at market exchange rates, not PPP, they understate the standard of living quite a bit, at UK prices think more like £150 a month). But the change wanted, the change desired, is happening.

The world’s getting better for hundreds of millions of people, great gobs and chunks at a time.

As David Tufte says:

If you care about people, the economic growth over the last generation is one of the most important stories in all 5,000 years of human civilization.


But bugger me, it is working. Ain’t that fucking grand?

13 thoughts on “Ain’t this a bleedin’ change?”

  1. Fair play Sir. I had to look up the GDP numbers and couldn’t help noticing that Bangla GDP is reported as higher than Pak and Iran. Also higher than Philippines and Vietnam (htf does Vietnam have a population of 100mn, does a skim with napalm turn you into a sex machine).

    Also interesting when I perused how the UK is becoming a mid-rank population density place, heck Java with 2/3rds UK land area has twice the population. Japan has twice UK almost, on 1.5* the land area.

    The world is changing, 6% a year.

  2. The greatest happiness of the greatest number. Jeremy Bentham would be proud. I’m glad that some poor people in hot countries are getting richer without the aid of Oxfam rapists. As a bonus, when they get richer they will become more able to resist the seductions of Salafist Islamism from Saudi Arabia too. So win win.
    I really should go out and buy a cheap T shirt but I’ve got enough already.

  3. So why not legalize suicide?

    If you’re expecting suicides to rise with GDP isn’t it just cost-effective to liberalize suicide markets?

    And b4 faggots start responding “suicide isn’t illegal” why was Kevorkian jailed?

  4. Similar to Hong Kong a couple of generations ago. My ex-wife’s father put the family in a paddle boat, abandoned the farm, and sneaked into HK, paddling over 20 miles of open sea. Got a job operating a stamping machine that made fake rubber soles for flip-flops. Saved up, moved into machining, saved up, moved into retail, saved up, bought a small grocery shop, saved up, put the kids through school and a couple through university.

    Ex-wife’s now a retired UK social worker, number 1 nephew is an airline pilot, number 2 nephew is a international commodoties broker. One of the nieces makes a moderate living playing international poker. Another is a TV news anchor.

  5. Yes Tim. I always thought, ‘How the hell would I solve Bangladesh’s problems?’ I didn’t have a clue.

    Luckily they didn’t wait for me to sort things out but went ahead and did it for themselves.

    It’s certainly pleasant to see them getting richer. Now they can do the sort of stupid things we do (didn’t dearieme suggest invading Burma?) instead of the stupid things poor people do. Though thinking of Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun and Greta Thunberg maybe there isn’t much difference.

  6. Fake rubber soles till you make it, eh?

    Is crapitalism about efficiency, or just lying and ripping off suckers?

    What if you were taught that honesty is the best policy? Can we get an exit from crapitalism or do you demand compliance by shutting off commons?

    How much did the airline pilot contribute to inflation with government salary subsidies, when free market efficiency would have just fired his fat ass?

  7. honesty is the best policy

    Even amongst crims this is a good idea.
    Not throwing straight dice eventually catches up with one and there are plenty of examples in the corporate and criminal world of spectacular falls from grace.

    Otherwise your post makes no sense. Please omly contribute when sober.

  8. I too have met that Minister. He’s now of garment trade and jute, which is an advance. And yes, they are phasing out – a bit -. Not enough, it’s still a big politically important industry, but they are trying at least to allow it to wither.

  9. Also interesting when I perused how the UK is becoming a mid-rank population density place, heck Java with 2/3rds UK land area has twice the population. Japan has twice UK almost, on 1.5* the land area.

    UK population density is 261*/km², but that’s hugely distorted by Scotland, which is almost empty north of Glasgow and has an overall population density similar to that of Norway. Looking at England alone takes you to 427/km², which is near the top of European population density, but even then there are large areas of the far north, west and east that are relatively empty. If you consider just Central England (roughly a quadrilateral with corners at Liverpool, York, Dover and Bristol – where 80% of the English live in 50% of the territory), you find over 44 million in an area of 63,000 km², for a density of 698/km².

    That’s definitely not mid-rank. The only place you’ll find more first world people living in an equivalent area is Greater Tokyo. Java has 940/km², but that’s the most densely populated major island in the world.

    * all UK figures based on 2011 census, so need to be increased by ~1.5%

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