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1 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Causes, Consequences of Poverty

By Shishir Reza
Causes, Consequences of Poverty

Abul Barkat, a noted economist and professor, has published a book on causes, consequences and transformation possibilities of poverty, disparity and inequality in Bangladesh. It analyses socio-economic formation, mode and means of production, monopoly profit, price syndicate, political economy of rent-seeking, corruption, causes of disparity and inequality, poverty structures, poverty reduction strategies, good governance and globalisation.

The book in Bangla, titled ‘Bangladeshey daridro, boisommyo, osomotar karon, porinam o uttoron somvabona: Akivuto rajnoitik aurthonitik totther onusondhaney’ (March, 2016), is published from Muktobuddhi Prokasana.

Here, the author methodically estimates that people who earn less than Tk 67 taka per day or consume less than 2122 calories per day can be considered as poor. In 1985-86, the poverty rate was 55.7 percent, which reduced to 31.5 percent in 2010. Now, 22 percent Bangladeshis live under the poverty line, according to 2015-16 official figures. But Barkat argues that food consumption and income are not real indicators to measure poverty. It’s a ‘livestock method of measuring poverty’, he comments.    

The economist highlights extreme and hardcore poverty, their structure and dimensions. He refers to income poverty, food poverty, jobless poverty, housing poverty, education poverty, health poverty, ecological poverty, regional poverty, child poverty, female poverty, elderly poverty, etc

The professor informs us people cannot be equal members of society for lack of three resources: material _employment, food, education, health, land rights; spiritual _ life thoughts, mutual respect, aspiration, fulfillment; and emotional _ love, belief, justice, inclusion. He explains that the situation of poverty makes people powerless, isolated and hopeless.

Barkat points out criminalisation of economics and politics has formed a capacity to control the market, elections, muscle power, terrorist groups, justice and media. It is a development game rule of an exploitative mode of production dominated by rent-seekers, who never create wealth but take away wealth created by others, he adds.

Mentioning the term ‘of the one percent, for the one percent, by the one percent’ coined by Joshep Stigliz, the writer says development would not touch the masses if we do not adopt the strategy of ‘inclusion of the excluded’. He emphasises on economic opportunities, social facilities, transparency, political freedom and protective security, “otherwise, the total process would be FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt).”

He recommends employing homegrown development philosophies – provide moral and material incentive to marginal people, exclude black money economy, stop politics of religion, don’t accept foreign aid with unfavorable conditions, ensure proper distribution system, empower women, ensure knowledge and skill-based education, improve public healthcare system, ensure social safety nets and freedom of mass media.    

Barkat also explains the utilisation strategies of fundamental resources _ land, water bodies, forest and human resources _ for collective welfare. It is totally a politico-economic decision to lessen poverty, inequality, deprivation and discrimination for the benefit of the people, he argues. n

The writer is an associate member of Bangladesh Economic Association.

Photos: Internet.

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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.

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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