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26 November, 2018 11:17:47 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 26 November, 2018 11:18:09 AM

Youth unemployment, a ticking timebomb in the developing world

The perspective of youth and general unemployment in a riverine deltaic country like Bangladesh has its own characteristics and peculiarities
Prof. Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled
Youth unemployment, a ticking timebomb in the developing world

Youth unemployment is ever increasing in the developing countries. The problem of such unemployment has reached such a terrible stage in these countries that it has become as alarming as a bomb on which we are sitting on. But they are not concerned much regarding the management of such a dreadfully dangerous situation. Though some advanced countries like the United States and Japan have improved the unemployment situation to some extent by overcoming the shock of worldwide recession, but the situation of youth unemployment has not shown any satisfactory positive improvement. Such problems are existing even in the west European and Scandinavian countries. About 600 million youths will enter the world job market in the coming decade. But only 200 million youth job opportunities will be created in the entire private-public sectors by this time, meaning the passing of miserable unemployed life for 400 million youths. It does not require much talent to realize how dangerous this world will become with full of hopeless, aggrieved and perturbed youth community devoid of job opportunities.
The most surprising of all is that even though the international big donor agencies are pouring in much financial assistance in various manners and fashions to the developing countries, they are either less concerned or never concerned or attentive at all regarding augmenting the employment situations in such countries. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) about 61 million people in the world have lost job by this time since the beginning of the world recession in 2008. This trend will continue in the coming years. The ILO has also made it aware that 212 million people will loose job by the year 2019. The current world unemployed people number is 201 million. It goes without saying that the principal losers of this outbreak of unemployment will be the youth community. The condition of the huge number of youth girls engaged in wage-less works in the family domain will be more miserable. Even if such a perilous picture is clear, the birth rate is very high in different parts of the world. Under these circumstances, it has appeared as a question as to why the donors have in some places reduced procreation health expenditures.

It is to be remembered that the industry based civilization is now passing such a critical phase when the worldwide wealth distributional aspect is becoming more and more manifest day by day. It should not appear difficult to understand that if the severity of unemployment increases with the problem of adverse wealth distribution in the developing countries the intensity of social unrests will accelerate. It will reach beyond the easy capability of the governments of such countries by any means to check or control tens of millions of aggrieved unemployed young boys and girls. Truly it is neither possible now nor it will be possible in the days to come.

Moreover, to bring a nicely and properly determined wage rate to a level of justice to satisfy the workers, the following three conditions will have to be fulfilled: Firstly, the whole time wage needs to be of that amount which is capable of meeting the basic needs of the worker. In other words, so that each and every worker can meet the general needs of himself and his family by the wage he receives. Secondly, after fulfilling the basic necessities, the employee or the worker should enjoy the opportunity of earning more according to the nature, craftsmanship or technicalities of the work, efficiency, the quality of his produce and according to the differences in proportions he makes to the profit made by the employer. That is, the efficient, skilled and workers engaged in risky economic activities needs to get more  Thirdly, the wage will be determined under the above two conditions on the basis of free will and voluntary mutual understanding of the employer and the employee. These may bring about a desirable and acceptable distribution of wealth in a society for peace.

Otherwise, the bad practices of frequent changing of governments will become a habit with the people whichever the country is. Social criminal habits will grow tall and crime increase and it will become easier to engage the youths in political terrorists activities. It is, however, a good sign that the developing world is concerned about youth unemployment and trying to solve the wealth distributional problem. But what matters most is that each of the countries that are at such risks should try to solve the problem in their own way. That would be befitting and better.

It is to be remembered that in a discussion of the creation of job opportunities in an economy with abundant youth or labour supply many variables such as capital formation, technical progress, share of savings in national income, the real cost of capital created by inflation, inflation for the purpose of getting hold of resources, behaviours of the commodity market, capital formation vis-à-vis the growth of population, capital created by profits and credits, external and internal mass immigration, movement of output per head in the economy, behaviour of domestic and foreign prices and wages, export and import of capital, standard of living, government taxation, efficiency of agricultural and non-agricultural production, the Law of Comparative Costs between the related countries, foreign trades etcetera, are more or less interrelated and are to be taken into considerations. But the limited objective of showing adequate attention by the international big donors alone to the process of creation of sufficient youth job opportunities in developing countries is not enough and over simplification of the problem.

It requires to be kept in mind that through the creation of income generating activities in a youth labour/employee surplus economy the provision of giving the workers/employees a just and uniform wage rate and keeping prices at a desired level is required and urgent.  And thus bringing about parity in the standard of living of both the workers and the employers are necessary to appease the workers. What have to be given emphasis upon are the piety, responsibility and accountability in the relevant economic dealings of both the employers and the employees between themselves. To examine the influence of these variables in employment creation requires further investigations and researches. On this count, the model that needs to be developed for job creation for the youths may be different in different countries depending upon the individual characteristics of the economy concerned without giving in to the overall western approach to the problem in general. It is desirable that some inquisitive researchers will endeavor to make extended research covering the relevant variables mentioned above to solve the world youth unemployment problem.

The perspective of youth and general unemployment in a riverine deltaic country like Bangladesh has its own characteristics and peculiarities. A great number of Bangladeshis are homeless, landless and evacuee. By being destitute and homeless because of natural calamities like cyclones, river bank erosions or manmade catastrophes like frequent political turmoil these people crowd the urban areas. These results in unbearably heavy unemployed population pressure on the urban areas. But this happening has not attracted due attention of any government though it is not impossible to solve the problem by taking appropriate scientific measures. This problem has to be solved because of the urgent need of converting the population of the country into a resourceful productive force. We have failed so far to do this, rather by marginalizing these people we have thrown them in a situation of leading a subhuman standard of life in the urban shanties. Thereby we have pushed and identified the Bangladesh population to become a burden for the nation rather than an asset. Moreover, with the gradual increase and accumulation of such youth unemployment, new kinds of socio-political urban problems like different kinds of sabotages, hijackings, stealing and murders are gradually cropping up. It seems that the youth unemployment bomb has already burst in Bangladesh.             

The writer is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General Education Cadre 




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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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