| Norman Macrae Foundation www.NMfound.net www.worldclassbrands.tv 5801 Nicholson Lane Suite 404
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Tel 301 881 1655 email firstname.lastname@example.org consider bangladesh was last of a consider series of projects i helped dad research for his analyses at The Economist (starting
with consider japan in 1962) and other publications including his first 1984 maps of net generation's millennium goals and 3 billion new job apps - Norman's family
enjoys all entrepreneurial revolution feedback. Welcome
November 30, 2012
This morning the Daily Star, Bangladesh's largest English language newspaper printed an op-ed (pasted
below at nearly 1,200 words) by Gus Speth, former head of UNDP and currently a professor at Vermont Law School. It was originally
published in Bangladesh's largest Bangla-language newspaper in a shortened version. Professor Yunus asked if it could be reprinted
in newspapers around the world. Here is what he wrote: "It is an excellent piece. I am glad Daily Star printed the entire
piece. Thanks to Gus for writing it and thanks to you for making it happen. The article appeared at a time when we needed
it the most. Would you like to place it in other papers in other countries? Yunus." For most newspapers it would have
to be edited first. I have attached an 804 word version. Please feel free to circulate the longer version below to
your networks or pitch the longer or shorter version to newspapers.
Here's the full length op-ed. Sam D-H
Planted in the soil of Bangladesh and
transplanted around the world
James Gustave Speth
As I prepared to take the helm of the United Nations Development
Program (UNDP) in 1993, one of the many things I focused on was an examination of innovative ways to address poverty. I already
knew about Grameen Bank and its work to give microcredit to poor women in Bangladesh but as I studied Grameen more closely,
it became clear that Muhammad Yunus and his colleagues had discovered a series of strategies that were absolute breakthroughs
in addressing poverty. Years before visitors had begun arriving from around the world to study Grameen Bank and to take the
seeds that had blossomed in the soil of Bangladesh and transplant them in their own countries.
of the early visitors was Rockefeller Foundation President Peter Goldmark who would later become publisher of the International
Herald Tribune. Here is how Goldmark described the breakthroughs he saw during his visit more than two decades ago:
On the day I was there, the women were sitting, reporting to a loan officer, jumping to their feet, reciting
their 16 decisions or pledges.
As I watched, I could see something else. I could see
the smashing of ancient rules, the shattering of a traditional canon. I could see subversion. Here's what was being subverted:
"The belief that poor people are helpless people
belief that women are the most helpless of all
The belief that poor landless people
are terrible credit risks
The belief that poor people cannot cooperate, cannot plan
ahead, cannot decide for themselves, cannot manage or service a loan
The belief that
a lot of credit is always better than a little credit
The belief that the best form
of economic development is aid for massive centralised projects undertaken by the state
belief that you can build the economy by destroying the earth
If the old beliefs were
made of pottery, the floor of the Grameen Bank would be littered with broken shards….
the only bank in the world with its own birth control policy. Its members make this pledge: 'We shall plan to keep our families
It's the only bank in the world with its own marriage policy. Its members make
this pledge: 'We shall keep the center free from the curse of dowry. We shall not practice child marriage'
It's the only bank in the world with its own sanitation policy. Its members make this pledge:'We shall
build and use pit latrines'
Do you begin to see how much can be accomplished if we
choose to look at the world in a different way?"
One of the ancient rules
that Goldmark saw broken at the individual level, "the belief that poor people cannot cooperate, cannot plan ahead, cannot
decide for themselves," was expanded by Grameen Bank to the institutional and governance level. Not only were the members
making decisions about their own lives and the lives of their communities but they were also electing nine of the Bank's 12
board members who were charged with governing the entire institution. If only the commercial banks of the world could have
learned this lesson from Grameen Bank and had their boards filled with clients who were invested in the success of their banks,
then perhaps the financial crisis of 2008 could have been avoided.
Of course, this
is what is so profoundly tragic about the government's decision to strip the selection of the managing director from the borrower-dominated
board and place it in the hands of the government-selected chair. The nine women board members have been duly elected by the
8.4 million mostly women members, members who own 97% of the shares in Grameen Bank with the government owning the remaining
three percent. Globally, the last several decades have seen the slow dismantling of the rampant subjugation of women, with
Grameen Bank among those leading the way. And now, in 2012, this power is taken away from the women board members? Grameen
Bank, for decades a global model for the empowerment of women, now, at the hands of the Bangladesh government, becomes a model
for the disempowerment of women. How can that be?
Of course, empowering women goes
hand-in-hand with ending poverty. Grameen Bank was born at about the time that then-US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
called the newly independent Bangladesh "a bottomless basket case." Thankfully, time has shown how very wrong Secretary
Kissinger turned out to be. Now, when the United Nations lists the countries that are most likely to achieve the Millennium
Development Goals by 2015, Bangladesh shares a spot at the top of the list. Any serious researcher or development expert will
tell you that that progress is grounded in the work of Grameen Bank and the other actors in Bangladesh's vibrant civil society.
Why would any government put that vibrancy in jeopardy when it has made such a difference and been such a vital lifeline to
It is critical to note that Muhammad Yunus' innovations don't just stop
with banking. Before my tenure at UNDP, I co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute.
When I left UNDP I became Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and now I teach at the Vermont Law
School, a school with one of the leading programmes in environmental law. So care of our environment has been a central part
of my life's work. When I look at the achievements of Grameen Shakti, it takes my breath way. Grameen Shakti installed more
than 24,000 solar home systems in August 2012 and nearly 1 million since its inception. Grameen Shakti sold nearly 14,000
improved cooking stoves in August 2012 and more than half a million since its inception. With some 7 million beneficiaries
and nearly 12,000 employees I must add that if only the energy companies in the rest of the world could have emulated the
achievements of Grameen Shakti then we would have been farther along in averting the climate crisis we now face.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee saw the brilliance of Grameen Bank six years ago when it jointly awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize to Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus. Soon the US Congress will present the Congressional Gold Medal to
Professor Yunus who is only the seventh person in history to receive the Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal and the
Presidential Medal of Freedom. And what does Grameen Bank receive from its own government? It receives a heartbreaking attack
on its autonomy and what could be a fatal blow to the hope it has provided to tens of millions of its members and their families.
When the government seized control of the selection of the Bank's managing director from the nine women
borrower/owners Muhammad Yunus said: "This day will go down in history as a black day for our nation. Our government
has taken over a globally admired and Nobel Prize winning institution from its rightful owners-rural poor women-and has brought
the bank under their management control. In so doing, the unique feature of Grameen Bank has been fundamentally compromised.
It is very difficult for me to absorb this sad news."
I agree. It is very difficult
for us all.
The writer was Administrator of the United National Development Program
and Chair of the United Nations Development Group. Currently he is a Professor at the Vermont Law School.
Courtesy Prothom Alo. (This article was specially written for the Prothom Alo anniversary
| || |
Latest Bangladesh Discussions of stakeholders of The Economist
- and I read The Economist article as crediting all the peoples/womens/youth's grassroots networking and collaboration entrepreneurship
- sometimes empowered by different combinations of the 4 actors you mention. Being someone who loves to search The Economist
archives for bottom-up collaboration frameworks, I can't help but think that 2 of the greatest tragedies to greet the birth
of a new nation - the local cyclone that wiped up half a million people but became the birth of BRAC brand as work's number 1 grassroots disaster relief NGO, and the million person famine that got Yunus and Youth out of the macroeconomic classroom - have accidentally stimulated inter-generational investment maps in how to go beyond
top-down aid because such trickle down processes seldom generate economic impacts and even less seldom multiply transparent
relationship flows. http://considerbangladesh.com
The Economist was also Entrepreneurial Revolutionary at its 1843 founding. Being an end-hunger social action/mediation
devised by Scot James Wilson to purge The Empire's parliament of the majority of his fellow MPs sponsored by vested interests
of the 0.1% not the sustainability of the 99.9%. As Keynes general theory advised all young people to constantly question-
who's economics and politics are you being ruled by??? Because the first joyful idea that all 21st C societies of the first
net generation need to share about innovation is that the maths of compound system impacts that makes the 0.1% bigger can
never be resolved with what entreprenurially sustains the lifetime productivities of the 99.9%
Its really a lovely story and its nice to see Bangladesh getting some positive
One thing does intrigue me though: in microfinance we have so much difficulty proving impact of anything. Yet the Economist is so simply able to discern that the credit should
go to BRAC and NGOs and not to Grameen nor to the government.
I wonder how they do it.
| || || || Latest
DC Debates of economics of womens entrepreneur networking ||Could I suggest a meeting at USAID? |
My family and I are very passionate but the kinds of transformation in analysis mindset that both value chain approach and womens entrepreneur lens have built from continuity of 2 obama administrations. These connect with arguments
on network transformation to economics my father first debated in The Economist in early 1970s which he coined Entrepreneurial Revolution and from which both Drayton Social Entrepreneur and Gifford Pinchot Intrapreneur credit their choice of terminology
My father's last project sent me to Bangladesh 8 times to study Grameen and BRAC as well as to host a 2000 book club
around Yunus social business. There are 2 particular ideas I would like to iterate with you
Agenda 1 of 2 1) As per my public question on Tuesday,
if Steve Radlett would include a 4th factor : on specific opportunity of village women entrepreneurs. Their social networks
can compound different communal impacts. This opens up 2 consciously different analysis views. A) How mobiles
change village dynamics round women. For example now that Bangladesh has been studying this for 16 years, the chance to train
up girls to build 21st century nursing networks (communities most urgent action and life critical information
connectors) is seen by both Grameen and BRAC as a gamechanger. Apps such as mobile ultrasound (and other Grameen-Intel innovations) now linkin such girls to hunt out the 10% of mothers at risk to child birth ahead of time
and link them into experts. If you play through the impact of mobilising the end of nurseless villages this will exponentially
bring down the costs of infant and maternal healthcare by a factor of two or three as well as be a huge
job creator for young women. Another huge app is the total design of cashless banking (and India's 600 million
person personal identity for aid being led by Infosys Nilekani) blended with what national regulations are chosen ahead of
operations. In effect this becomes a last chance to change banking systems (and aid) back to value multiplying purpose of
crediting entrepreneurial productivity as an opposite system to profiting from trapping people in debt. |
B) The womens social network views also leads to discussing how the poorest gain from maximising
non-monetary exchanges in the community. Such hi trust behaviors as neighbours looking after each others children (in effect
as community goodwill flows not separated monetary transactions) are how Grameen and BRAC changed the way end poverty was
hubbed. Moreover goodwill exchanges lead to multi-win modeling that compound rising exponentials impacts that zero-sum mindsets
cant imagine innovating
Recommended Agenda 2 of 2.
The approach of asking USAID partners to show a transparent value chain map as part of
all future work is exciting because every major impact Grameen or BRAC ever had involved a value chain transformation. When
this is understood arguments that microcredits only work for women comfy with risk become less salient because it is the duty
of the microcredit to reduce the cost/risk of the sales channel. Moreover arguments that microcredit has a design bias to
extremely small businesses are misemphasised. Take for example the very latest intervention of JICTA and Grameen. It starts
with a cooperative of 8000 farmers -aimed at doubling each year. Even though each is individually microfinanced, they cooperatively
shares Japan's crop science of murgh beans and are guaranteed them a pooled export market to Japan as well as
the food security of a new crop for local consumption at world class efficiency of cultivation.
note for Wholeplanet.tv investors in 2010s as wprldwide youth's most productive decade
Back in 1984 my father's and my first book on net generation economics both proposed inviting
youth to co-produce the most exciting goals (including ending poverty) wand recommended mediating future market purposes to
value the collaboration tech of the web by starting up maps of youth's next 3 billion jobs that can only come from above zero-sum
models. Girl empowering designs that transform value chain maps are a hot spot for investing in all pro-youth economic models.
One of the reasons why dr Yunus is now dedicating his life to student entrepreneur social business competitions (4 statewide
ones in USA this academic year and a 12000 live competition in Tokyo January 2013) is that by taking a pro-youth economic
lens to which student projects to celebrate as winners, we can map back the future in which the net generation compounds sustainable
investments in the most productive time worldwide youth have ever enjoyed.
You can also see how The Economist
has brought a different kens to analysing lessons form Bangladesh in Nov 3 issue. Since my father's death three reviews of
the interconnection between his and Yunus pro-youth economic mindset have been held : at The Economist boardroom; with the
Japanese and Bangladeshi civic society leaders in Japan's Embassy in Dhaka; and with South Africa's implementation leader
of Mandela-Branson partnership investment in free universities of youth entrepreneurs.
Can we meet
to pool what all our pro-youth and pro-womens economic analysis tools may have innovated over last 5 years?
blog notes are being made in our research of where will youth's 10000 greatest job creators linkin from at http://youth10000.blogspot.com http://yunus10000.com and http://jobscompetitions.ning.com || |
Pro-Youth Economics FEATURES ON BANGLADESH AT THE ECONOMIST - 3-9 November 2012 :
Bangladesh and Worldwide Youth at Crossroads - for discussions with The Economist post here 1 1a - for discussions with worldwide youth join
in the collaboration blog family project of Norman Macrae Foundation - eg DCyouth10000 - for current associated blogs - see yunuscity - for deeper maps of networks of millennium
goal projects most inspired by bangladesh see leadersandyunusand bracnet - for other top100 pro-youth leadership
profiles vote for who we haven't yet logged up at www.wholeplanet.tv -queries email@example.com washington dc hotline 1 301 881 1655
Bangladesh - unfinished ER projects 1 2 3
|.....||Keynes mentored The Economist's Unacknowledged Giant (aka dad Norman Macrae) that an economist's prime responsibility was productivity of all (missing) generations
of youth. It was typical that Norman would see Bangladesh as his last project - not just celebrating the potential of Bangladeshi youth to be leading players in mobile web technology but open network transformers of worldwide youth future productivity anywhere that politicians were destroying their next generation's productivity. For some Norman will be the champion of development
of asia pacific region, as (1962) he was the first westerner to celebrate Japan's world trade economics as designing futures models that borderless
world youth could win-win with... But after seeing 500 youth sharing knowhow around a digital network in 1972 , Norman actively
designed The Economist's genre of Entrepreneurual Revolution to discredit politicians/academics anywhere who got the wrong end of the stick on economics of debt.
When in 2010s you have the greatest ever time to invest in youth, a nation's only problem with joyfully linking in to 10 times
more health and wealth than ever before is if other nations dont trust you to invest in youth's future productivity.
It is extremely bad timing that Euro-Austerity, WallStreetitis are the sickest diseases macroeconomists have ever caught.
Help urgent search of 100 antidote leaders at www.wholeplanet.tv || |
SPECIAL Pro-Youth Economics FEATURES
ON BANGLADESH AT THE ECONOMIST - 3-9 November 2012 :
USA, Bangladesh and Worldwide Youth at Crossroads - for discussions with The Economist post here 1 1a - for discussions with worldwide youth
join in the collaboration blog family project of Norman Macrae Foundation - eg DCyouth10000 - for current associated blogs - see yunuscity - for deeper maps of networks of millennium
goal projects most inspired by bangladesh see leadersandyunusand bracnet - for other top100 pro-youth leadership
profiles vote for who we haven't yet logged up at www.wholeplanet.tv -queries firstname.lastname@example.org washington dc hotline 1 301 881 1655
- unfinished ER projects 1 2 3
Out of the basket
Lessons from the achievements—yes, really, achievements—of Bangladesh
Nov 3rd 2012 | from the print edition of The Economist P 13/14
IN 1976, five years after independence,
a book appeared called “Bangladesh: The Test Case of Development”. It was a test, the authors claimed, because
the country was such a disaster that if development could be made to work there, it could surely work anywhere. At the time,
many people feared Bangladesh would not survive as an independent state. One famine, three military coups and four catastrophic
floods later, the country that Henry Kissinger once dismissed as “a basket case” is still a test. But no longer
in the sense of being the bare minimum that others should seek to surpass. Now, Bangladesh has become a standard for
others to live up to.
As our briefing points out (see article), in the past 20 years Bangladesh has made extraordinary improvements in almost every indicator of human welfare.
The average Bangladeshi can now expect to live four years longer than the average Indian, though Indians are twice as rich.
Girls’ education has soared, and the country has hugely reduced the numbers of early deaths of infants, children and
mothers. Some of these changes are among the fastest social improvements ever seen. Remarkably, the country has achieved all
this even though economic growth, until recently, has been sluggish and income has risen only modestly.
might seem like a special case. Because of its poverty, it has long been a recipient of vast amounts of aid. With around 150m
people crammed into a silted delta frequently swept by cyclones and devastating floods, it is the most densely populated country
on Earth outside city states. Hardly any part is isolated by distance, tradition or ethnicity, making it easier for anti-poverty
programmes to reach everyone. Unusually, it has a culture that is distinct from its religion: although most Bangladeshis are
Muslims, their culture and language are shared with the non-Muslim Indian state of West Bengal. Religious opposition to social
change has been mild. Not many nationalities have so unusual a collection of traits.
That said, the most important of the
country’s achievements can serve as a model for others. Bangladesh shows what happens if you take women seriously as
agents of development. When the country became independent, population-control policies were all the rage (this was the period
of China’s one-child policy and India’s forced sterilisations). Happily lacking the ability to impose such savage
restrictions, the government embarked instead upon a programme of voluntary family planning. It was stunningly successful.
It not only halved the rate of fertility within a generation, but also increased women’s influence within their own
households. For the first time, wives controlled the size of families.
Later, the textile industry
took off—and four-fifths of its workers are female. Bangladesh was also the home of microcredit, tiny loans for the
poorest. By design, these go to women. Thus, over the past two decades women have earned greater influence in the home and
more financial autonomy. And, as experience from round the world shows, women spend their money differently from men: typically,
on their children’s food, health and education. Child welfare has been underpinned by a quiet revolution in the role
That is not all there was to it. Thanks to remittances from abroad and to the Green
Revolution, Bangladesh has done better than most at reducing persistent rural poverty. It has maintained a broad consensus
in favour of basic social spending despite military coups and a toxic politics dominated by the bitter infighting of the “battling
begums” (the widow and daughter of former presidents, who lead the two main parties). Bangladesh has also benefited
by letting non-governmental organisations (NGOs) get on with what the state itself has been too weak or corrupt to do: experiment
with different programmes and scale up those that work. Much of its success is attributable to local NGOs like Grameen and
Bangladesh has shown that countries can transform the lives of the poorest without having
to wait for economic growth. But it does not show that growth is irrelevant. The country would surely have done better still
if its economy had expanded faster, as it could have done. As people’s education and expectations rise further, it will
be all the more important to provide new jobs and opportunities for advancement.
Moreover, Bangladesh’s achievements remain vulnerable to political interference.
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, is vindictively meddling with Grameen Bank, removing its boss and trying to impose her
own choice upon the institution’s shareholders—all to punish its founder, Muhammad Yunus, for daring to think
of setting up a political party. She is sending a chilling effect through the country. Bangladesh has become a model of what
can be done, despite her government’s corrupt, poisonous politics. It would be a tragedy if it once again became an
example of what not to do.
THIS week’s Economist
examines one of the most intriguing puzzles in development: Bangladesh.
By most standards, Bangladesh looks like a
disaster. It was the original “basket case” (Henry Kissinger’s dismissive term) and remains a poor country;
it has only half India’s income per head. Until recently, its economic growth was paltry. City states apart, it is the
world’s most densely populated country, with around 150m people crammed onto the delta of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra,
an area regularly swept by devastating floods. Its private sector is weak and its government widely perceived as corrupt and
And yet Bangladesh has done better than most countries at improving the basic standard
of living of its people. Bangladeshis can expect to live four years longer than Indians even though they are much poorer.
The country has achieved some of the largest reductions in early deaths of infants, children and women in childbirth ever
So that is the puzzle: Bangladesh combines economic
disappointment with social progress. The Economist suggests four factors to explain why.
First, Bangladesh has done more than most countries to improve the status of women. This was partly deliberate policy
(the country invented microcredit and these tiny loans were targeted at women). And it was partly an unintended consequence
of other things. Because the country was so crowded and poor, its founders decided after independence to embark on a big family-planning
programme. This reduced fertility but also raised the status of women within the household since it was they who now controlled
the size of the family. The textile industry later took off in Bangladesh, and 80% of the workers are women. So women’s
status and income both improved. Women are much more likely than men to spend money on their family’s health, education
and meals, so child welfare rose.
Second, Bangladesh has been
unusually good at boosting incomes in the country—and since the deepest poverty in developing countries tends to be
rural, this has helped the very poorest. The mechanisms here were the Green Revolution, which meant the country could grow
two crops a year, and remittances (around 6m Bangladeshis work abroad, mostly in the Gulf).
the government deserves credit for maintaining basic social spending. Indeed, it has kept up a consensus in favour of this
despite several military coups and bitter political infighting between the two main parties.
But public spending would probably have been wasted and frittered away (as it has happened so often elsewhere) were
it not for the fourth factor, which The Economist calls the magic ingredient in the mix: large non-government organisations
which have managed to scale up their programmes to work nationwide without losing the idealism of their early days, when they
were small and beautiful.
The briefing goes into a lot more details on each of these. The accompanying editorial tackles a question naturally raised by the story: if Bangladesh’s social achievements have been greater
than its economic ones, does that mean economic growth is pointless?
The editorial says no. True, Bangladesh shows
you do not need to wait for lots of growth. But it might have done even better had its economy grown faster. Growth either
made only a modest contribution to the factors that mattered most (such as the internal workings of NGOs or the family-planning
programme, which people wanted anyway). Or it would have helped them along more (for example, the adoption of Green Revolution
seeds or microloans). There were no strong trade-offs.
BRIEFING BANGLADESH & DEVELOPMENT - The Economist P23-26
Bangladesh and development
through the fields
has dysfunctional politics and a stunted private sector. Yet it has been surprisingly good at improving the lives of its poor
Nov 3rd 2012 | DHAKA AND SHIBALOY, MANIKGANJ DISTRICT | from the print edition
Villagers are doing it for themselves
ON THE outskirts
of the village of Shibaloy, just past the brick factory, the car slows to let a cow lumber out of its way. It is a good sign.
Twenty years ago there was no brick factory, or any other industry, in this village 60 kilometres west of Dhaka; there were
few cows, and no cars. The road was a raised path too narrow for anything except bicycles.
Now, Shibaloy has just opened its first primary school; it is installing piped water and the
young men of the village gather to show off their motorcycles at the tea house. “I have been a microcredit customer
for 17 years,” says Romeja, the matriarch of an extended family. “When I started, my house was broken; I slept
on the streets. Now I have three cows, an acre of land, solar panels on the roof and 75,000 taka ($920) in fixed-rate deposits.”
Bangladesh was the original development “basket
case”, the demeaning term used in Henry Kissinger’s state department for countries that would always depend on
aid. Its people are crammed onto a flood plain swept by cyclones and without big mineral and other natural resources. It suffered
famines in 1943 and 1974 and military coups in 1975, 1982 and 2007. When it split from Pakistan in 1971 many observers doubted
that it could survive as an independent state.
ways, those who doubted Bangladesh’s potential were right. Economic growth since the 1970s has been poor; the country’s
politics have been unremittingly wretched. Yet over the past 20 years, Bangladesh has made some of the biggest gains in the
basic condition of people’s lives ever seen anywhere. Between 1990 and 2010 life expectancy rose by 10 years, from 59
to 69 (see chart 1). Bangladeshis now have a life expectancy four years longer than Indians, despite the Indians being, on
average, twice as rich. Even more remarkably, the improvement in life expectancy has been as great among the poor as the rich.
has also made huge gains in education and health. More than 90% of girls enrolled in primary school in 2005, slightly more
than boys. That was twice the female enrolment rate in 2000. Infant mortality has more than halved, from 97 deaths per thousand
live births in 1990 to 37 per thousand in 2010 (see table). Over the same period child mortality fell by two-thirds and maternal
mortality fell by three-quarters. It now stands at 194 deaths per 100,000 births. In 1990 women could expect to live a year
less than men; now they can expect to live two years more.
dramatic period of improvement in human health in history is often taken to be that of late-19th-century Japan, during the
remarkable modernisation of the Meiji transition. Bangladesh’s record on child and maternal mortality has been comparable
These improvements are not a simple result of increases in people’s
income. Bangladesh remains a poor country, with a GDP per head of $1,900 at purchasing-power parity.
For the first decades of its independent history Bangladesh’s economy grew by a paltry
2% a year. Since 1990 its GDP has been rising at a more respectable 5% a year, in real terms. That has helped reduce the percentage
of people below the poverty line from 49% in 2000 to 32% in 2010. Still, Bangladeshi growth has been slower than India’s,
which for most of the past 20 years grew at around 8% a year. Nevertheless the gains in its development have been greater.
The belief that growth brings development with it—the “Washington consensus”—is often criticised on
the basis that some countries have had good growth but little poverty reduction. Bangladesh embodies the inverse of that:
it has had disproportionate poverty reduction for its amount of growth.
How has it done it?
factors explain this surprising success. First, family planning has empowered women. If you leave aside city states, Bangladesh
is the world’s most densely populated country. At independence, its leaders decided that they had to restrain further
population growth (China’s one-child policy and India’s forced sterilisation both date from roughly the same time).
Fortunately, Bangladesh’s new government lacked the power to be coercive. Instead, birth control was made free and government
workers and volunteers fanned out across the country to distribute pills and advice. In 1975, 8% of women of child-bearing
age were using contraception (or had partners who were); in 2010 the number was over 60% (see chart 2).
In 1975 the total fertility rate (the average number of children a woman can expect to have during
her lifetime) was 6.3. In 1993 it was 3.4. After stalling, it resumed its fall in 2000. After one of the steepest declines
in history the fertility rate is now just 2.3, slightly above the “replacement level” at which the population
stabilises in the long term. When Bangladesh and Pakistan split in 1971, they each had a population of 65m or so. Bangladesh’s
is now around 150m; Pakistan’s is almost 180m.
of this Bangladesh is about to reap a “demographic dividend”; the number of people entering adulthood will handsomely
exceed the number of children being born, increasing the share of the total population that works.
In giving women better health and more autonomy, family planning was one of a number of factors
that improved their lot, and by so doing did much to reduce poverty. The spread of primary education was one of the others
(the government has been better than many at helping women this way); the proportion of girls who get schooled has increased
much more than the proportion of boys. And both the boom in the textile industry and the arrival of microcredit have, over
the past 20 years, put money into women’s pockets—from which it is more likely to be spent on health, education
and better food.
Second, Bangladesh managed to restrain the fall
in rural household incomes that usually increases extreme poverty in developing countries. Between 1971 and 2010 the rice
harvest more than trebled, though the area under cultivation increased by less than 10%. This year the country once supposedly
doomed to dependence on food aid could be a small exporter of rice. One-sixth of the population remains undernourished, which
is a blight; but it is an improvement on 20 years ago, when more than a third of the population was underweight or stunted.
Yield alone is not the whole story. The new crops of the Green Revolution
allowed rice growers to move to two harvests a year. The rice of the Ganges delta used to be monsoon, or
aman, rice; it was planted before the annual rains and harvested after. Nowboro
rice, planted and harvested in winter, is the main crop. For people just above the poverty line, the sort of event
most likely to plunge them into extreme poverty is a sudden external shock, such as an illness or a harvest failure. By expanding
the winter crop, boro rice
reduces the risk of a harvest failing in a way that shocks a household into abject poverty. Between 2007 and 2012 Bangladesh
went through three global food-price spikes and two cyclones. Almost everyone expected a spike in poverty to follow. It did
The villages have also found resources from beyond agriculture—and,
indeed, beyond Bangladesh. Around 6m Bangladeshis work abroad, mostly in the Middle East, and they remit a larger share of
the national income than any other big country gets from migrants. In the year ending in June 2012 they sent back $13 billion,
about 14% of annual income—more than all the government’s social-protection programmes put together. The majority
of migrant workers send their remittances back to family members in the village they came from. Because emigrants are more
likely to come from better off families, those families benefit most. But knock-on effects on rural wages benefit landless
labourers. The World Bank calculates that between 2000 and 2010, real agricultural wages rose 59%, compared with 42% for all
sectors. Most countries have seen a reduction in rural living standards, and a resultant increase in extreme poverty. Bangladesh
Remittances and family planning have not attacked extreme poverty
directly. That is where the government comes in.
120th (out of 183) on the “corruption perceptions index” kept by Transparency International, a think-tank in Berlin.
It has had episodes of military rule interrupting periods of democracy in which the “battling begums” (daughter
and widow of two early presidents) engaged in a sort of Judy and Judy show of vicious political infighting.
Yet despite the political circus, the country’s elite has maintained a consensus in favour
of social programmes. Bangladesh spends a little more than most low-income countries on helping the poor. About 12% of public
spending (1.8% of GDP) goes on social safety-nets to protect the poorest: food for work, cash transfers and direct feeding
programmes, which most poor countries do not have. As well as spending more on the poor, the state also focuses more than
many on the role of women.
That said, the amounts that go on education
(2.2% of GDP) and health (3.5%) in Bangladesh are below the average for low-income countries. And even that spending might
well have been wasted but for one further influence: the extraordinary role played by non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
in the country. Without the state’s schools, clinics and cash-transfer schemes, says Rehman Sobhan, the head of the
Centre for Policy Dialogue, a think-tank, other interventions would not work. It is the things which NGOs do, though, that
make Bangladesh’s way of fighting poverty unique.
originally stood for Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee, but now is the only name the organisation needs) invented
the idea of microcredit, that is, tiny loans to the destitute. Then another NGO, Grameen Bank, made them work by targeting
them on women and holding weekly meetings of borrowers who would identify and support anyone who was falling behind on repayments.
Their growth since has been explosive. Grameen has 8.4m borrowers and outstanding loans of over $1 billion; BRAC has 5m borrowers
and loans of $725m. The poor account for roughly a fifth of the total loan portfolio of the country, an unusually high proportion.
Since their establishment, microcredits have spread around the world. Their
benefits have been both exaggerated and attacked. The backlash has shown that microcredits have not, as some claimed, led
to a surge of entrepreneurial activity. In some cases they have left borrowers worse off than before. Their impact in the
land of their birth, though, has been mostly positive. Mohammad Razzaque of Dhaka University looked at two groups of people
with similar incomes and household assets, one of which contained regular borrowers from a variety of microfinance institutions
and the other of which did not, to see whether microcredit helped. Among the first group the poverty rate fell ten percentage
points, from 78% in 1998 to 68% in 2004. Among the second, poverty still fell, but only half as much, from 75% to 70%.
The magic ingredient
The real magic of Bangladesh, though, was not microfinance but BRAC—and NGOs more generally. The
government of Bangladesh has been unusually friendly to NGOs, perhaps because, to begin with, it realised it needed all the
help it could get.
BRAC began life distributing emergency aid
in a corner of eastern Bangladesh after the war of independence. It is now the largest NGO in the world by the number of employees
and the number of people it has helped (three-quarters of all Bangladeshis have benefited in one way or another). Unlike Grameen,
which is mainly a microfinance and savings operation, BRAC does practically everything. In the 1980s it sent out volunteers
to every household in the country showing mothers how to mix salt, sugar and water in the right proportions to rehydrate a
child suffering from diarrhoea. This probably did more to lower child mortality in the country than anything else. BRAC and
the government jointly ran a huge programme to inoculate every Bangladeshi against tuberculosis. BRAC’s primary schools
are a safety net for children who drop out of state schools. BRAC even has the world’s largest legal-aid programme:
there are more BRAC legal centres than police stations in Bangladesh.
scale is a response to one of the biggest challenges of development: that solving one problem leads to others. This happens
in economic development as well as the social kind. In the 1950s South Korea’s Samsung had a big woollen mill. It found
that to expand, it had to make its own textile machinery; then, to export, it built its own ships; and so on. Samsung now
has around 80 companies and is the world’s largest information-technology firm. BRAC is a sort of
chaebol (South Korean conglomerate)for social development. It began
with microcredit, but found its poor clients could not sell the milk and eggs produced by the animals they had bought. So
BRAC got into food processing. When it found the most destitute were too poor for micro-loans, it set up a programme which
gave them animals. Now it runs dairies, a packaging business, a hybrid-seed producer, textile plants and its own shops—as
well as schools for dropouts, clinics and sanitation plants.
NGO now has 100,000 health volunteers with mobile phones (mobile-phone coverage is widespread in Bangladesh). When a volunteer
finds a woman is pregnant, she texts the mother-to-be with advice on prenatal and, later, postnatal care. This is helping
BRAC build up a database of maternal and child-health patterns in remote villages.
BRAC goes out of its way to involve everyone. When it set up a programme for the ultra-poor in Shibaloy,
the whole village gathered to decide who should be eligible. They drew a map of the households in the dirt so everyone could
see who was involved and ensure that nobody was missed (the same process, in a different village, is pictured below). BRAC
argues that such things encourage a sense of ownership of the programmes and reduces waste and corruption.
still has formidable problems. Its nutritional standards are low and stalled for a few years in the early 2000s. While the
government has managed to increase school enrolment, the quality of education is abysmal and the drop-out rate exceptionally
high (only 60% of pupils complete primary school, much less than the regional average). Only a quarter of eleven-year-olds
have reached the required standards of literacy and numeracy.
the big improvements have taken place in rural areas, but Bangladesh is urbanising fast, which will bring a different suite
of problems. Dhaka is one of the ten largest cities in the world, but has the infrastructure of a one-buffalo town.
Villagers are doing it for themselves
And as if all that
were not enough, the government seems intent on killing one of the geese that lays the golden eggs. Incensed that the founder
of Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus, should have had the temerity to start a political party, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina,
has hounded him from his position as the bank’s managing director and is seeking to impose her own choice of boss on
the bank, overriding the interests of the owner-borrowers. This is sending a chilling signal to other NGOs.
But Bangladesh’s record is, on balance, a good one. It shows that the benefits of making
women central to development are huge. It suggests that migration is not just the result of a failure to provide jobs at home
but can be an engine of economic growth. Indian’s rural-development minister, Jairam Ramesh, said recently that “Bangladesh’s
experience shows…that we don’t have to wait for…high economic growth to trigger social transformations.
Robust grass-roots institutions can achieve much that money can’t buy.”
Bangladesh is still poor and crowded. With the lowest labour costs in the
world (textile workers make about $35 a month) it should be growing faster than China, not more slowly than India. It is badly
governed, stifled by red tape and faces severe environmental problems. But in terms of the success of its grass-roots development,
it has lessons for the world.
Economics Millennium Challenge - download
Bangladesh offers grassroots network
"labs" for many of the world's multidimensional crises - please help us identify useful tags
- climate friendly agriculture 1
Embargo 16 November 2010< Boardroom The Economist: Best Economics News for the World
Help us see where do you map youth's best news from: Kenya, S.Africa, Global Sustainability Goals, Google, Intel, Paris, Glasgow, London, NY, DC, Austin, Atlanta, Glasgow, Japan, India
| || Teenage Norman learnt economics from an Indian
correspondence course whist waiting to navigate ww2 RAF planes out of modern day Bangladesh. The Economist celebrates
his life 16 Novemeber 18.30 pm St James London. In 1984 he became the first journalist of www forecasting 2010s as youth's most exciting decade connecting Asia Pacific www Century. He was also the
first journalist of the EU , and was concerned with how (unfree) media can destroy economics, communities and so peoples. Linkin dialogues : 1 |
1 At the start of
the 1970s, in bloody war of independence from Pakistan , the nation of Bangladesh was born poorest in world
because it inherited the shortest straw from British colonialism
2 However, Bangladesh’s great good fortune: to be empowered by 2 of
the world’s leading entrepreneurs: its youth are now leaders of net generation’s sustainability world (as recognised
by eg the head of the Nobel peace judges: Dhaka 17 July 2008 when he addressed a meeting of Bangladeshi youth: You
have dreams of prosperity and peace in Bangladesh, I will join you. You have dreams for a good life for the future generations
in Bangladesh, I will join you. We all have dreams for peace and justice in the world. Let us do it together. Asia has a very
important role to play.
3 Thanks to 30 years work by America’s leading grassroots network www.results.org : yes we can help American and worldwide youth turn
round 2010s from macroeconomics most depressing decade to microeconomics most exciting decadeSeptember 2010 , US Congress Votes For Economic Genius of our Generation
Bangladesh invites you to map connections with capitals and villages that wish to hub sustinbility's
world trade round youth job creation. www Collab Game 1: please help survey (RSVP email@example.com) Top 20 identifiers of 2010s most exciting decade
.There will also be plenty of world service broadcasting opportunities to get updated animated by 3000 person
-Youth & Yunus- future capital festivals starting with Glasgow summer 2011. Themes in the race to poverty musuems
we are currently working on:
- Village-poorest banking
- Urban youth poorest banking
- Job Creation
- Microeconomics SMBA & Sustainability Professionals
- Info Tech (mobile bridging of digital divides)
- Green energy & abundant organic agriculture
- Water including factories & communities working on a zero-waste future
- Community & Poorest-owned (free) market sectors
- Education to teens
- Education teens
- e-gov including community empowering social dynamics of daringnation
- Social Business Stockmarket & Funds
Asian-Pacific Sustainability trade & multi-win leadership maps:
Friends of Bangladesh- Embargo 11 Feb 2011
Download whole of First Issue; Discuss with us if your future capital or sustainabiloity network could edit special issue
Rsvp firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to subscribe to our occasionl newsletter featuring actions like this:
SUBJECT : Can you help
survey next actions linking in Norman Macrae's Underacknowledged Purpose?
Norman Macrae’s Purpose (& that of unacknowledged Micro-Media(te)-Innovating-Economists)
worldwide journalism to search for innovations in economics with greatest compound impact for the human lot
only journalist at birth: Messina (after observing as teenager: stalin's moscow, hitler's europe, and English colonialism's
of Asia Pacific Century 1975 (with china as epicentred of 2 billion people’s rising productivity)
Silicon Valley at sun
micro's birth time when venture capitalism involved giving start ups 6 months free ir ticket nd list of leaders to try
to connect sales with
Berlin (& east-west interfaces of Europe ) 1984-1988
Sweden Den Nye Vikingen 1993
Global partnering with Bangladesh
Prototype internet 1973: UK mationl development project (computer assisted learing)
: being productive other than where located
Internet generation 1984-2024 united round economics greatest system goal: end of children
born into poverty traps (open sources connections between end poverty in developing countries and let people crete more jobs
than technology takes in developed nations, and then ending politicians' macroeconomics of nations!)
Von Neumann : above Zero-sum
games-exponentially revisited for starting up death of distance's millennium's - transparently mediated around billion
person global village dialogues of most exciting goals for 2020
revolution – ending the risk that mass media spun economics of big bet bigger
1982 Intrapreneurship : service economy
With Drucker knowledge
worker as service plus economy
Networked (death of distance) end of digitally divided economy
Some sectors questioned
(what happens if their costs (or per cent of family’s budget) exponentially increases):
Property early 1960s
risk of imbalance due to one mega-capital
TV advertising spot 1976
(help with others I forgot or never knew of dad please!)
Rush Holt, New Jersey –Award Congressional
Gold Medal to Economic Genius, Muhammad Yunus I rise in strong support of this
legislation to award Dr Muhammad Yunus the congressional gold medal ; the house has garnered 297 bipartisan sponsors of this
bill; Muhammad Yunus is widely known as banker to the poor and is one of the world’s great humanitarians, and an economic
genius From this first experience, with the power of small amount of money,
yunus developed the concept of microcredit; with just a few dollars to work with the
poor are able to become entrepreneurs; they sell vegetables or clothing or other handmade goods and other
products in order to slowly generate and accumulate profits; or they devise clever service industries with the cell phone
or a computer that they can buy with the microloan; and it turns out that the poor are wary of debt , and are careful stewards
of money; repayment rates of microloans are consistently near 97%, and step by step these borrowers build individual ladders
on which they can climb out of poverty and into mainstream economy Microfinance institutions now
serve over 160 million people in developing countries; women who make up 60% of the world’s poorest citizens and disproportionately
shoulder the burdens of poverty receive over 95% of the microloans; the funds allow them to increase their independence and
improve the quality of life of their entire families Jim McDermott Washington Getting 290 members
to sign something is not an easy task however the object of this gold medal Dr Yunus is clearly somebody who is worth working
for. I got to know him by being out in Bangladesh to the villages watching the whole process of the women paying their debts. I also had the opportunity when he came
to Seattle to introduce him to a Results dinner
of about 500 people. The impact of Dr Yunus goes far beyond the Grameen Bank – Seattle has probably 40 microlending operations working worldwide where this idea that this man created
has been taken by other people and it works anywhere. What’s remarkable is to think about how one man faced with the
poverty in the most densely populated country Bangladesh could say to himself : you know I think I can change this and then
not only did he think that but he went out and did it. I think that’s why a gold medal for dr yunus is so important
for us to remember in congress. We often think we have to give 100 million dollars or 80 billion dollars or whatever- this
man started with $27 and created something that effected millions and millions of people.
|Spencer Bachus, Alabama –Overdue recognition of a vastly important concept: what credit can do Over the last couple of the years we have talked about the effects of the recent economics crisis, and how it has
limited our ability to procure loans in this country. We all know that credit is the lifeblood of both business and daily
life. And that businesses need capital to invest in tools, labour and raw materials and that in individuals need credit for
short term needs and long term investments such as education.. It is a testimony to the man we
honor today that he both recognised the needs of many for loans of very small amounts of money and devised a system that can
be replicated anywhere to address that need. In the years since the founding of Grameen, the model has blossomed
in projects ranging from information technology and communications to food production with partners ranging from small local
companies to giant multinationals. One project has funded installation of nearly half a million small solar electrical plants
producing power for off the grid people in Bangladesh. I remember reading the book by Robert Caro about Lyndon Johnson and what electricity meant to the hill country of
Texas- the miracle that we saw in America a century ago is being repeated in these countries
now: the miracle of electricity. . Dr Yunus holds out the possibility that another offshoot he calls
Social Business might be a way to help redevelop Haiti and bring its people out of poverty , as well as in developed countries to provide a path to help
the poor become self-supporting without the need for welfare. |
Bangladesh is today’s epicentre of sustainability world’s free market system designs as Adam Smith scholars out
of Glasgow are celebrating with the new journal of social business and an emerging summer Fringe Festival supported
by Artists Peace Corps www.singforhope.org and hubs of future capitalism http://danonecommunities.com/ http://the-hub.net/ ...
Monday, January 7, 2013
9:56 am est
spotted at www.grameenamericas.com
The hidden history of Bengali Harlem http://bengaliharlem.com/
MIT professor’s new book details the overlooked waves of South Asian immigrants to the United States.
Indian Muslim seamen gathered at the port in Baltimore, Md., during
the Second World War.
Photo: Baltimore Afro-American
South Asian immigrants were not legally allowed to enter the United States between 1917 and 1965. But
many came anyway: working on British steamships, then deserting in American ports and carving out new lives for themselves.
Consider Habib Ullah, a Muslim from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) who in the 1920s left a ship in Boston and found his way
to New York. Ullah settled in East Harlem, and by the 1940s was running a popular restaurant, the Bengal Garden, in Manhattan’s
Like Ullah, other South Asian Muslims —
from present-day Bangladesh, India and Pakistan — settled in the United States at the same time, often marrying into
African-American and Puerto Rican families. Today, many African-Americans, and Americans of Puerto Rican descent, also have
South Asian ancestors.
While it is commonly known that a wave of well-educated South Asians arrived in the United
States after 1965, this earlier saga of immigration and assimilation has largely been overlooked. Until now, that is: A new book
, “Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America,” by MIT assistant professor Vivek Bald, illuminates
this thread of history in unprecedented detail.
“Without these stories, the history of South Asians in the
U.S. is incomplete,” Bald says.
One reason the subject has
particular resonance for the present day, Bald believes, is that many of the immigrants in question were Muslim. “I
wanted to make clear the depth and the persistence of the South Asian presence in the U.S.,” he says, “and specifically
the South Asian Muslim presence in the U.S., at a time when Muslims are being portrayed as newcomers, enemies and outsiders.”Making waves
The genesis of “Bengali Harlem,” published this month by Harvard
University Press, comes in good measure from conversations Bald had with Alaudin Ullah, a New York-based actor and playwright
and the son of Habib Ullah. Hearing about the Ullah family’s odyssey sparked Bald’s curiosity.
wanted to see if Alaudin’s father was just one anomalous person or part of a much larger history that we had completely
overlooked,” says Bald, of MIT’s Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies.
After all, as he notes, “the predominant understanding of South Asian immigration to the U.S. was one in which
the doors to immigration closed in the late 1910s and early ’20s, and then opened up again in 1965,” Bald explains.
Because of the way the 1965 Immigration Act was crafted, he notes, the South Asians who came to the United States in its wake
were predominantly highly skilled professionals. But Ullah’s story suggested to Bald that there was a longer history
of striving, working-class South Asian immigrants in America.
Bald, who had previously made two documentary films
about South Asians in the United States and Britain, launched an ambitious research project, scouring census records and historical
archives, conducting interviews, and even locating one autobiographical account written by an Indian Muslim seaman who jumped
ship in New York in 1918.
Bald found two waves of early South
Asian immigration to America that had been overlooked. The first, which began in the late 1800s, consisted of peddlers who
sold embroidered goods made in their home region of Hooghly in West Bengal; many such immigrants settled in the Treme neighborhood
of New Orleans. In the 1920s and 1930s, it became more common for South Asians, such as Habib Ullah, to jump ship and live
in Eastern and Northern cities, including Baltimore and Detroit.
In the process, many Bengalis, who lived in close proximity to African-Americans and Puerto Ricans, found themselves marrying
into those communities. For instance, Habib Ullah’s wife, Victoria Echevarria Ullah, was a Puerto Rican immigrant who
helped him run the family restaurant.
“This began as a story about the South Asian diaspora, but it quickly
became clear that this was also a story about African-American and Puerto Rican neighborhoods, and the families and friendships
and communities that South Asian Muslims formed there when they were not openly welcomed into the nation,” Bald says.
The trajectory of these migrants, he observes, underscores “the importance of working-class communities of color in
the larger story of immigration to the U.S.” Crowdsourcing
Bald hopes “Bengali Harlem” will be read both by scholars and by a general
audience. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, has called
it “meticulously researched, movingly told, and absolutely timely.”
The book is just one element of
a larger project on the topic that Bald has been pursuing. He is also collaborating with Alaudin Ullah on a documentary film
on the subject, “In Search of Bengali Harlem,” and has created a website
where the descendants of other early South Asian immigrants to the United
States will be able to relate previously unknown stories.
“My hope is that through the book and through the
documentary, the children and grandchildren of those immigrants will come forward to tell their stories,” Bald says.
Bald suspects there was more Bengali Muslim immigration to Detroit, among other places, than he has yet been able
to document. Further detailing the history of Bengali immigrants, and in so doing providing a link to the present, will likely
be a group effort.
“The project aims to provide a collectively produced digital archive for contemporary
working-class and Muslim South Asian communities, which have grown in the U.S. and are continuing to grow,” Bald says.
“I hope it begins a larger process of recovering and documenting these groups’ historical experiences in the United
Friday, November 16, 2012
3:06 pm est
Sunday, November 4, 2012
10:26 am est
Editors at The Economist discuss entrepreneurial
revolution and why Norman Macrae supported Bangladeshi Microfinance pioneers like Muhammad Yunus ...by microeconomist
From email@example.com of
Norman Macrae Family Foundation (Washington DC 1-301 881 1655 - after navigating airplanes over modern day Bangladesh in world
war 2, dad was mentored by Keynes at Cambridge University: that economists either design or destroy the futures that peoples need most. He tried through his life work at The Economist to diarise designs future generations most need out of
every global village; famously his consider japan series starting 1962 foresaw
asian pacific worldwid century 1976-2075 - see chronology of surveys here; in 1972 he first saw 500 young people sharing knowledge
around a digital network and from then animate the genre of Entrepreneurial Revolution - would we invest in youth futures
to make the net generation the most productive time of worldiwde youth -with his 1984 book mapping back the future of 3 billion jobs that borderless
youth economics needs to co-create- dad's last survey in 2008 reviewed what youth investment banking in bangladesh knew that wall street and the EU didnt-
it is republished below celebrating inter alia that bangladesh microentrepreurial networks are now on a moores law of annual
doubling installation of solar units due to total a million by end 2011- in the brochure handed out at norman's remembrance
party at the boardroom of The Economist 2010 - join our survey of 100 leaders of 2010s = youth's most productive decade at
http://wholeplanet.tv and note how many are directly influenced by extreme innovation
experiments that social labs in bangladesh helped collaboratively start up -see also which trillion dollar global markets'
purposes we the peoples can most free up for job creation at http://trilliondollaraudit.com if you live in usa a plan for renewing joy of youth's productive freedoms is to develop
a university of jobs competitions where students design social solutions to all the most valuable bottom-chalenges using societies
as labs- a 2011 pilot in Georgia has started 3 solution streams- 1) end illiteracy; 2) end monopoly
retailing of obesity to big cities' poor; 3) end detachment of global markets from deep historic local skill bases - what will be streams 4 and up - this hunt next takes place 26 sept to 1 october across usa and then moves
on to 12000 youth competition in Tokyo in january 2013 - we'll keep you posted on new streams at this web, and at http://jobscompetitions.ning.com - if you have ideas on how to collaborate emaal me and i will link you into the most expert youth-led group I am aware of
in the practice challenge area you specify
yunus article in 2006
10:19 am est
note from 2012
he has since withdrawn from the political and focused on pro-youth economcal- he has found that japan
is the most friendly facilitator of his growing up with giants story
Growing Up With Two Giants
|February 4, 2006 |
Happy Birthday to the
This is a great occasion to celebrate. Pages of the Daily Star have documented
fifteen years of history Bangladesh history. For Bangladeshis this is a period to be proud of. Fifteen years of democracy
itself is a great cause of celebration.
Now we are at the outset of a new year which is
going to be a critical year for Bangladesh democracy. Whole country is abuzz with one single question: Can we hold a peaceful
and fair election on schedule as required by the constitution and desired by the nation? We see many bad signs. They upset
the citizens. Despite all the bad omens, the nation must express its resolve by saying: "We shall hold the election on
time. We shall make it more peaceful, more credible than any other election ever held in the past. Despite all shortcomings
still remaining, we shall accept the result of the election and move on to build the nation unitedly."
Election is the Overriding Agenda
Let holding a peaceful and fair
election be the overriding agenda for 2006 for our nation.
Holding the national election
on time is a necessary condition to keep the process of democracy alive and strong. Any derailment from this course will be
a disaster for the nation. Getting derailed is easy and, sometimes, attractive, but it becomes costlier by the day to stay
derailed. Getting back on the rail is an extremely painful and slow process, and exhausts the nation by consuming all the
energy and attention of the nation.
Despite outstanding accomplishments recorded by Bangladesh,
people of Bangladesh feel unsettled, unhappy and frustrated. Our politics is killing our spirit. It has led to our major national
crises: 1) limitless corruption, 2) rise of unprecedented terrorism, 3) fast deterioration of the public service structure.
They are all inter-connected and linked to politics.
From all indications it is absolutely
clear that Bangladesh has quietly and steadily built a very strong foundation to make the big leap forward. But our non-stop
political bickering does not give a respite to celebrate or get inspired by our enormous successes to prepare ourselves to
reach out to still higher levels of accomplishments. We are ready to launch ourselves into a path to cross USD 1,000 per capita
income, 8% GDP growth rate, and reducing poverty level to under 25% in the near future. But our political attention remains
riveted to day to day party politicking rather than strategic national issues.
to Have Two Giants As Our Neighbours
India and China are almost there. They have
already reached the 8% growth rate and 25% poverty level. They are becoming such political powers and economic power-houses
that the whole world is gathering around them to get their attention.
Bangladesh is lucky
to have two globally sought-after giants as her next door neighbours. These giants are not sleeping giants. They are super-active,
and growing very fast. We must learn how to take advantage of fast growing giants. We must assess our best interest in building
our relationship with them. In their turn, they'll assess their best interest in having us as their neighbour.
Obviously, they will look at us as their market, their competitor, their partner, and also as a potential trouble-maker.
From our side we must make it absolutely clear that we have no intention to be trouble-maker for our neighbours, nor do we
want to see them as trouble-maker for us.
But a section of our politics find it a very attractive
theme to impress on the common people of Bangladesh that India is behind all the terrible things that happen in Bangladesh.
If you don't vote for our party, India will turn Bangladesh into her client state.
are not made of saints only or angels only. There are bad people in India, who can dedicate themselves to do bad things to
Bangladesh. Similarly, there are bad people in Bangladesh committed to do bad things to India. Both countries must remain
vigilant to catch the bad people and punish them forthwith to uphold the friendship between the two countries.
Growing Up With Giants
When our giant neighbours bring the whole
business world to their door-steps, our door-steps come very near to the business world. Visibility and contacts are very
important factors in business. They come to us easily because of having important neighbours. If we play our cards right our
economy can pick up the speed of our neighbours. Even if a small proportion of their business finds its way to our shores,
we benefit tremendously. Before business moves away to Africa, buyers and investors will examine our capability. It will be
our failure to catch them that will push businesses away from us.
Growing neighbours are
also sources of technology and experience. Expanding economies keep moving towards more and more high-profit products and
services, leaving behind low- profit, labour intensive items. This creates opportunities for neighbours. This is not to suggest
that Bangladesh has to satisfy herself only with the markets and the products which giant neighbours are not interested in.
What Bangladesh can do will depend on our level of efficiency and management skill. Bangladesh can find niche to provide high
value specialised products and services to her giant neighbours.
I am emphasising on the
fact that having two fast growing giant neighbours is a great boon for us. Let us dispel the fear that living between two
giants is a scary prospect --- that we may be stepped on from any side, any minute! On the contrary we'll be the beneficiary
of coasting effect of having two giants next to us. We can get a ride on the fast train with them.
An Open-Door, Open Arm Country
Future of Bangladesh lies in being
an open-door, open-arm country. We must not live under the fear of Indian wolf. We must get the constant fear of Indian wolf
out of our system. If it is a real threat, we'll have to prepare for it and get on with our lives. If it is imaginary, we'll
have to get our minds cleansed out. Frequent cries of Indian wolf is a sign of our political emptiness. We carved out a separate
country for the Muslims in 1947 to protect us from Hindu domination in the united India. We created Bangladesh to protect
us from the Punjabi domination. Now some of us are rediscovering Hindu domination coming from India. Where do they want us
to go now?
We are not going any where. We stay where we are. In the world today domination
does not come through sneaky conspiracies. Domination comes from economic power. If we remain a poor country, everybody will
dominate us, not just India. Moving up the economic ladder quickly is the best protection from all dominations. Let us not
confuse this issue.
In order to move up the ladder quickly we should open all our doors,
invite everybody in, encourage our people to spread themselves all over the wide world, show their talents and win over the
confidence and appreciation of the whole world. Hiding behind closed doors is no protection at all.
Let's Make Bangladesh the Cross-Roads of the Region
Bangladesh as the cross-roads of the region, if not the world. Let people, products, investments from all over the world flow
into Bangladesh, and out of Bangladesh, with utmost ease, safety, and efficiency. Let's make our laws, institutions, bureaucracy,
travel and transportation facilities, financial system most friendly to the movement of people, investments, goods and services
in and out of Bangladesh. Let's build everything in Bangladesh in such a way that Bangladesh becomes the natural first choice
of hard-nosed investors and traders. Let Bangladesh be Bangladesh International. Let us all agree on this vision and then
move forward unitedly to make it a reality in the fastest possible speed.
To make Bangladesh an international cross-road
we'll have to address the following:
- Reduce corruption level drastically.
reliable electricity all over the country.
- Open up ICT and make Bangladesh a very attractive country in terms
of state-of-the-art ICT.
- Build a mega-port in a suitable location along the Chittagong coast line capable
of serving the following countries: Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Eastern India, Myanmar and South-Western China.
highways to connect the mega-port with all six countries.
We must visualise
Bangladesh as the ICT, industrial and trading hub of the region. On the first day of 2006 we have signed a document which
has the potential to change the economy of SAARC region. The document we signed was the document relating to SAFTA agreement.
Now Bangladesh should take the lead, rather than wait for initiatives to come from other countries, to move SAFTA forward.
We can be smart, open our doors, convert disadvantages into opportunities, and change our destiny. Our biggest worry is corruption.
In a corrupt environment it is easy to befool the system; by throwing in money, one side can take away all the gains of trade
(even so, I'll not support a closed border, which creates a fertile ground for higher-stake corruption). There is no way out
but to eliminate corruption in politics, from where the infectious disease of corruption spreads around.
Geographically Bangladesh is strategically located to provide access to international shipping to Nepal, Bhutan,
Eastern India, Myanmar and South-Western China. We should start making appropriate preparations, in consultation with these
countries, to create facilities for access. Again, it'll to be our call to draw attention of our neighbours. We'll have to
do our home-work well to show them the benefits accruing to them by opening up the access to the sea-routes through Bangladesh,
and doing business with Bangladesh. We'll have to resolve formidable political and technical issues with India. Remaining
passive is not at all to our interest. It is actually very costly in terms of gains foregone. True leaders not only have visions,
they have to have the burning drive to push through the solid walls of obstacles to make their visions come true. Vision must
be backed up by hard work and dedication.
Mega-port at Chittagong
Mega-port at Chittagong is the key to making Bangladesh the cross-road of the region. With the
economy of the region growing at a sustained high speed, demand for the access to a well-equipped well-managed port will keep
on growing. A region, which includes two giant economies, will be desperately looking for direct shipping facilities to reach
out to the world. Chittagong will offer the region the most attractive option. Even today, despite the problems of present
Chittagong port, Kunming is requesting permission to utilise this facility.
competition becoming more fierce shorter and shorter lead time for delivery will become the magic formula to attract business.
An efficient mega-port at Chittagong will be in high demand. This port can be built and owned by a national or international
company with government participation in equity. It can contract out the management of the port to a professional port management
may support an international airport in its proximity. With appropriate aircraft servicing facilities and hotels, this airport
can become an airline hub. It has the advantage of cutting distances to many Asian cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Beijing, Shanghai,
etc, and taking off the pressure from important SAARC airports.
During the SAARC Summit held in Dhaka recently, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, proposed
to build a highway network to connect the SAARC countries. We should enthusiastically welcome this proposal and offer our
plan to build highways connecting Nepal, Bhutan, eastern India, and Pakistan. We should make sure that our highway network
extends upto Cox's Bazar, so that it can be connected with Myanmar, Thailand and China --- in the eastern side.
Need a Regional Water Management Plan
With borders opening up,
highways criss-crossing the region, businesses growing, we can create mutual trust among our neighbours leading to right kind
of political climate to engage them to work towards preparing a regional water management plan in conjunction with the plan
for regional production and distribution of electricity. Fortunately, this region has an enormous capacity to produce hydro-electricity.
With political understanding Bangladesh can meet her ever growing electricity need from a mutually beneficial arrangement
with Nepal, Bhutan, and India.
Human Resource of Bangladesh
Human resource is our best resource. We must pay our top priority to make sure our young generation get prepared
to play important roles in a global framework. It is nothing but utter disgrace that we have allowed some of our young people
to turn into suicide bombers. This is an unforgivable failure on our part. We must take the blame without any excuses, and
must ensure that no other young man has to choose the path of suicide for any reason.
100 Lap-tops to School Children
Bangladesh has a very young population. Half the
population is under the age of 18 ! If we pay serious attention to them we can create a dramatically different next generation.
Some countries are already signing up with MIT Media Lab to provide USD 100 lap-top to each school student, just like text
books. Lap-top to a child gives a message. Message is: Discover yourself, discover the world, create your own world. There
is no reason why we cannot sign up with MIT Media Lab to do exactly the same and give lap-tops to our students. Let us not
miss this world-changing opportunity.
One way to let all children, poor or rich, boy or
girl, urban or rural, feel equal is to ensure access to computer and internet. This connectivity also takes off some of the
unevenness in our educational facilities. We have already witnessed a telecommunication revolution. Within a short span of
five years mobile phones have reached every village in Bangladesh. At the end of 2006, one in every eight persons in Bangladesh
will have a telephone! With USD 100 lap-top, every school student will have access to internet telephony.
Our Young People Can be Role Model
The world that these young
people will create will be the world of innovative ideas. Old resistance to new ideas will crumble away. Ideas will chase
ideas. Seekers of ideas will sift through mountains of ideas to get to the ones they are looking for. Unlike in old times,
ideas and innovations will no longer remain unknown. Creativity in every direction will be rewarded more than anything else.
Our education system has to be oriented towards promoting creativity in our young people.
Bank employs 17,000 staff. Ninety per cent of them are young people. I see the dedication and commitment with which they work.
They can be role model for young people any where in the world. Grameen Bank gives student loans to Grameen borrowers' children
to pursue higher education. Nearly 10,000 such students have received student loans from Grameen Bank to study in medical
schools, engineering schools, universities, etc. Their parents are illiterate and poor. It is for the first time in the history
of their families that some one went to school. They are making a sharp break in their family history --- going from illiteracy
to highest level of education ! It is a thrill to meet them and talk to them.
I meet many
Bangladeshi young people when I am visiting foreign countries. Many of us are used to meeting Bangladeshis in New York. But
it is a quite different experience to meet young Bangladeshis in a small town of Spain, or in an island in Italy, or in Argentina,
Chile, Columbia. They show up to meet me at the hotel, or in the conference where I am speaking. They discover my presence
in the town from the newspaper reports. They come individually. They come in groups. Among everything else they express their
worry about the political situation in the country. I ask them how they got there. Each tells a horror story. Each time it
is a story of perseverance, tenacity, and high risk adventure. It is quite an experience to hear them tell the story of how
they moved from one country to the next, how they switched from one livelihood to another. They are doing well now. They have
learnt the local language, and understand the local way of life. They are at ease with local people. Story one gets from a
migrant worker working in an Asian country is different, but not too different. It is the story of how they are cheated by
the man-power agents, and how they are mistreated by the airport officials, at the time of departure as well as at the time
Bangladeshi young people reached out to all corners of the world with basically
individual and family initiative, using network of friends and relatives. Government has built some facilities to help them
by making it easy for them to go out. But you hear more about the harassment, bribes. extortion and unresponsiveness of the
government officials than nice things about these arrangements. These young people who live under extreme difficulties are
making a big contribution to the national economy. They have been sending a very substantial amount of money as remittances.
The piece of information
that amazed me is: in 2004, Bangladesh received USD 3.4 billion in remittances, compared to India's USD 21.7 billion (China
USD 21.3 billion). That is quite an achievement! With nine times larger population, India's share would have been USD 30.6
billion if she had received the same per capita remittance. Bangladesh remittance earning rate compares well with Pakistan
too (Pakistan USD 3.9 billion). Total remittance to Bangladesh constituted one-third of the total foreign exchange earning
of the country. Despite all the problems faced by Bangladeshi migrant workers, this is a very significant chunk of foreign
exchange earning contributed by them.
More important than the quantum of foreign exchange
earning, remittances go directly into poverty reduction. The World Bank Global Economic Prospects Report says this remittance
inflow has helped cut poverty by 6% in Bangladesh and given a boost to rural economy.
is one fascinating example of low-income people making direct strategic contribution in achieving nation's economic and social
goals. This is also an example of common people's initiative in changing their own lives. As an appreciation of their great
contribution to the nation we could have done a lot more to reduce the risks involved in venturing out of their own known
world to totally unknown territories. We could help them increase their earnings, reduce their costs, and humiliation.
Must Keep On Building Up Respectability As a Nation
Bangladesh is a rather new name in the list of nations. It came to world's media attention mostly through disasters
--- floods, cyclones, tidal-waves, etc. Reporting on disasters always highlight poverty, and helplessness. That's the image
of Bangladesh that sticks in people's mind. Two recent negative images have been added to that. One, Bangladesh has been repeatedly
found to be the most corrupt country in the world, and two, suicide bombers are killing innocent people in Bangladesh.
Image of a country is very important when it comes to dealing with the world. The better the image
a country has, the better is the deal it gets. To be successful in international relationships we'll have to build up respectability
as a nation. Luckily for us Bangladesh has a very strong positive side which counters the negative image to a large extent.
Bangladesh is enormously respected globally for being the birth place of microcredit. Every country
in the world feels the need for microcredit. No country can ignore it. They study microcredit in academic institutions, discuss
it in meetings, conferences and workshops. Most countries, rich or poor, have active microcredit programmes. They all pay
respect to Bangladesh for being the originator country. Bangladesh, microcredit, Grameen have become synonymous in the minds
of people around the world.
Bangladesh is remembered as the country which gave the world
oral saline to combat diarrhea.
Bangladesh earned respectability by demonstrating her skill
and efficiency in disaster management. World media publicly suggested that Tsunami affected countries and the USA, after devastating
Katrina, should learn from Bangladesh in disaster management.
Bangladesh is cited as a success
story in producing enough food to feed her people despite doubling the population in 35 years.
Terms of Human Development Indicators Bangladesh is Third From the Top
birth rate has declined significantly. Fertility rate declined from 6.3 in 1975 to 3.3 in 1999 - 2000 reduced almost to half.
This is cited as a global success story.
During early 1990's world looked at Bangladesh
with pessimism. But it all changed dramatically. Now Bangladesh stands up with many laurels over her head. World is trying
to understand how can a country do so well when it is number one country in corruption, its weakness in governance is so unbearable,
politics is so chaotic and confrontational, work stoppages are so frequent and unpredictable.
performance and human development indicators of Bangladesh have been moving upwards since early 1990s. GDP growth has been
over 5 per cent during this period.
Bangladesh has very impressive performance in terms
of the human development indicators. In terms of these indicators Bangladesh came out in number three position in the developing
world, after China and Cave Verde.
Life expectancy of women in Bangladesh used to be lower
than men. Now it is higher than men --- a better performance compared to South Asia as a whole.
labour force participation rate increased dramatically between 1983 and 2000, both for rural and urban, with sharper increase
in rural, than in urban. Female labour force participation rate in rural area increased from 7 per cent in 1983-84 to 22 per
cent in 1999-2000. Urban rate increased from 12 per cent to 26 per cent during the same period.
and infant mortality have been falling at more than 5% a year, malnutrition among mothers has fallen from 52% in 1996 to 42%
in 2002. Primary school enrolment rates have reached 90%, up from 72% in 1990. Enrolment in secondary education has been rising.
Bangladesh has already eliminated gender disparity in primary and secondary school enrolment and has made remarkable progress
in providing universal basic education.
In the past decade, Bangladesh reduced infant mortality
by half ---- at a rate faster than any other developing country has done, increased adult literacy rates by 8 per cent for
women, and 6 per cent for men.
In terms of infant mortality rate and female primary enrolment,
Bangladesh is ahead of West Bengal, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh of India.
achieving millennium development goals (MDG) in Bangladesh is surprisingly on track. According to data on current trends,
Bangladesh has either met or is expected to meet most of the MDG targets. If right policies are pursued dedicatedly there
is a good chance that Bangladesh will reduce poverty by half by 2015.
Been Built, We Are Ready to Go
Bangladesh has outstanding accomplishment in reducing
child labour. According to UNICEF, percentage of child labour in Niger is the highest (66%). Bangladesh has one of the lowest
percentages (7%). Nepal is 31%, India 13%.
The list of our accomplishments is long and very
impressive. We notice the admiring eyes of international delegates focused on Bangladeshi delegates when we attend international
conferences, be it microcredit, disaster management, health, education, renewable energy, environment, women empowerment,
or child labour.
When we visit capitals of SAARC countries we are always asked, "How
did you do it? What must we do to catch up with you?"
I am not saying that Bangladesh
is on top of everything. Far from it. Our list of failures is much longer than the list of successes. I bring up the list
of successes to point out how wrong we are when we throw up our hands in the air to say in frustration that we'll never make
it. This list of successes will convince anybody that not only will we make it, we have already made it in many respects,
and will do better than many others around us, and like us.
Good news that comes out from
these successes is that we have created the capacity to address all our problems roundly and solidly. Not only we have gained
self-confidence, we are ready to earn the confidence of the world. Soon a Bangladeshi passport can bring out admiration and
respect from others, rather than suspicion and disrespect.
It is hard work to score points
in respectability. It is easy to lose points. One tiny incident, one tiny misstep, one tiny callous decision can push us down
quite a bit in respectability. Let us hold on to what we already have, and add to it, as much as we can. It is our very precious
capital in facing the world.
Here are our two most important tasks at the moment: we must
combine all our efforts 1) to make sure we hold our election on time with the participation of all major political parties,
and 2) make sure we reduce corruption sharply and immediately.
Voters Must Unite
to Say 'No' to Corrupt Candidates
Yes, Bangladesh has done very well so far. We
may thank our luck for it. But let us not get used to relying on our luck alone. If we do, everything around us will crumble
This year, 2006, is the year for the nation to sit up and make a desperate attempt
to put our house in order. People have to wake up to the fact that they are the boss. People have to make their minds known
to the politicians who want their votes to run the country on their behalf. This is the election year. This is the best time
to get heard. Voters should not allow themselves to be treated as absentee owners who do not have any knowledge of their own
properties. All that the absentee owners are offered by their employees, is to sign on the dotted lines. No question is allowed.
Voters must refuse to sign on the dotted line. When political parties nominate their candidates,
they do not consult the voters. Voters are not given any real choice, such as a choice of voting for an honest person, for
a person who is committed to work for people, for someone who is not known to have amassed wealth by using his power as a
member of parliament or as a party official or a worker. Only choice voters are given, is the choice of voting or not voting.
Voters want to vote, and want to vote for a person they admire, rather than be compelled to vote
out of party loyalty, or on some other considerations. Voters must create their own choice. If political parties offer corrupt
candidates, people will put up their own clean candidates. If we don't do that we'll continue to be the most corrupt country
in the world, and our dreams will never get a chance.
Voters Can Organise Campaign
for Clean Candidates
I propose that this year the voters create their own option.
They tell the political parties who is to be nominated in their constituency. Supporters of each political party or alliance
of political parties will organise themselves to prepare a three member panel of clean candidates of their choice, in order
of their priority, and give it to the political party/parties to nominate one out of them. If none of their candidates are
nominated voters will be free to submit blank ballots as a protest, unless they actually ask one of their candidates to run
as an independent candidate. Similarly, voters who do not vote on party lines will organise themselves and suggest to all
parties who they should nominate.
Voters must start speaking out their minds from now on.
Rather than speculating about who is going to get which party's nomination, party supporters and independent voters have to
start speaking out who they think should be nominated. This year people should get themselves heavily involved in the nomination
process. This will be the only way to get the bad people out, and good people in.
of the voters and non-voters this year will be to eliminate corrupt candidates from the ballot-paper. If they still get on
the ballot-paper, it has to be ensured that they'll not be the only ones on the ballot-paper. Honest persons as protest candidates
will be put on the ballot-paper as people's choice. The loudest message the voters must give to the political parties is:
"We shall not give votes to a candidate who is known to be corrupt, who is known to have amassed wealth by misusing his
power and authority or using his power to terrorise people."
All civic groups, associations,
professional bodies (teachers, doctors, journalists, etc.), youth groups, farmer groups, women groups, business groups, student
groups, political parties, individuals, both voter and non-voters, can prepare and submit their panels to the political parties.
They can make a panel for each alliance of political parties. Groups can share these panels among each other, can come up
with common panels to make their cases stronger. If the clean candidates within the party do not want to run against the party
candidates, voters can select an independent clean candidate to run.
When sending the chosen
names for party nominations to respective party, voters should give those names also to the press. Voters should keep lobbying
with the parties to let them know how strongly they (voters) feel against the potential party candidate and promote the case
of their own candidate. Voters should tell the party that if they nominate the person that voters reject, then that candidate
will not get their vote. Voters will vote for their own candidate instead. Even if their candidate does not win, voters will
have a tally of protest votes. If these protest votes add up to be a significant number, it may have an impact on the outcome
of the election. Some protest candidates may even win.
I invite the media to launch their
own Clean Candidate Campaign. They can start a series of reports identifying and highlighting at least three potential clean
candidates for each contesting political party, in each constituency. They may refrain from publishing speculative news about
possible nomination of non-clean candidates who are usually considered as front-runners. Media can play a decisive role in
bringing out support for clean candidates, and destroy the chances of non-clean candidates in getting nominated or elected.
Students can play a vital role in this Campaign for Clean Candidates. But they'll have to start
building up the campaign organisation right from now. They can work in the constituencies where they appear as voters, or
volunteer in other constituencies. Electing clean people to the parliament is very important task this year.
A Proposal To Resolve Election Impasse
Opposition parties have
put some conditions for their participation in the next general election. These conditions can be discussed and resolved if
the two opposing sides can sit face to face. But given the past history, we do not expect this to happen.
Here is my proposal. I request both sides to find a Respected Person, accepted by both sides, who will come up with
a solution package in consultation with both sides. He will be given 30 days. If both sides agree time can be extended. The
Respected Person can co-opt two persons of his choice to help him prepare the solution package.
may be other proposals to resolve this impasse. Let us all put them on the table to see if any one of them can interest both
the parties. Although ruling party's position on those conditions is clear and constitutionally correct, there is nothing
wrong or unconstitutional about making attempts to bring all parties on board to hold a peaceful, credible national election.
Our media, and individual or groups of citizens can suggest names of the possible Respected Person.
Ruling and opposition alliances can come up with their own choices and pass on to the other side.
Important thing is to hold the election in the right manner, and right mood, to uphold our democracy and move forward.
Tremendous Energy Waiting to be Mobilised
is changing very fast. If we are late by a day we'll fall behind by years. We have come a long way and we are ready to go
forward with speed. Bangladesh has the fire in her belly to keep pace with her giant neighbours. Let us not allow ourselves
to slow down. We need the right politics and the right leadership to mobilise the tremendous energy in Bangladeshi young people.
Let us think and work hard to make it happen.
Friday, September 7, 2012
climate friendly agriculture
5:02 pm edt
for some of bangladesh's most exciting solutions on future of agriculture-see the social business facebook stream on this
for a profile of Bangladesh's situation this blog Q&A http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/q-and-a-how-to-save-bangladesh/
with— Thomas Rath (
the country program manager for the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development
project in Bangladesh) is seminal - extracts
How would you
describe Bangladesh’s agricultural picture?
bordering India, Myanmar and the Bay of Bengal, is in the subtropical zone, very wet and flat and dominated by agriculture.
Three large rivers from the Himalayas flow through the country, all ending in the bay on the southern coast. It’s a
beautiful, fertile tropical delta.
About 150 million people live here, and the population density is one of the highest in the world after places like
Singapore and Hong Kong. That’s 1,200 people per square kilometer (about four-tenths of a square mile). By comparison,
in Mongolia there are only three or four people per square kilometer.
This density means that many farmers have very
small land plots on which they struggle to feed their families. About 35 percent of the population lives under the poverty
line of $1 a day, and about 40 percent, or 60 million people, are completely dependent on agriculture. Many people are landless
or have less than an acre or half an acre to live on. It makes you wonder what they are surviving on.
Rice is the principal crop and, for those with very little land, the only crop they grow. Forty percent of children are
malnourished, either because they don’t get enough calories or because they can’t develop healthily only eating
How is climate change affecting the land, people and economy?
Bangladesh sits at the end of the cone of the Bay of Bengal. The country is infamous for natural disasters.
Every year there are typhoons. The coastal zones routinely get washed away, and the farmland is destroyed: people lose animals,
crops, everything they have. They are very exposed: most of the land is flat and just above sea level, every storm sweeps
across the country without any obstacles, and tidal surges pound the coast.
If you go further north, there is an area
in the northeast that is essentially a large depression in the land. When the monsoon season starts, the water comes down
from the mountains and floods the whole area. It fills up with water and takes months to drain. Vast areas are underwater
half the time, so farmers can’t go into their fields or grow anything then; they have to rely on something else for
most of the year.
These things have always happened in Bangladesh, but with climate change it is expected that these
flash floods will occur more frequently, and rainfall will be more intense and erratic. Farmers are already trying to adapt
to these changes by sowing their rice earlier and using varieties that mature more quickly so they can get the harvest in
before the rains come and they are left with nothing to eat or sell.
In the coastal areas, storms are expected to come
earlier and be more frequent and severe. In the last two decades, 500,000 people have been killed in storms, and we should
expect that this will increase.
And then of course, the sea level will rise, and the ocean will come in over what dikes
have been built. It is very likely that about 30 percent of land in Bangladesh will frequently be underwater and the soil
will be saturated with salt and useless. Many, many people will lose their farmland, crops and livestock and homes and become
climate change refugees. Where do these people go then, when there is already not enough land in the country?
What are your thoughts on Rio as the conference approaches? Are you hopeful? Cynical?
I am not cynical — there are too many cynics already, and how does that help?
But I do think
it’s important that people act instead of just talking.
It’s really sad that there are still politicians
and governments out there who don’t believe that climate change is fact. It’s very sad. I don’t know what
their motivations are, but they should come to Bangladesh and meet the people who won’t have homes or land or any way
of supporting their families.
“Many, many people will
lose their farmland, crops and livestock and homes and become climate change refugees. Where do these people go then?”
If we don’t do anything, then the problem will come to us: these
won’t be problems in our backyard, we will have climate refugees in our front yard, knocking on our door.
people have a right to live, just as we who by chance were lucky enough to be born in comfortable North America and Europe
have the right to live.
Rio was and is a fantastic thing, but we have no time to waste.
The planet cannot afford
for us to continue the mistakes we made during industrialization: rooting our economy in fossil energy and polluting the atmosphere
as much as possible. We need to help one another.
What are the biggest challenges for
It’s not enough for us to help people become better farmers; we need
to help transition the economy to something that does not depend on the availability of land. I know farmers who grow rice
before the monsoon season and then, when the rains come, they stock their flooded fields with fish fingerlings and crabs and
sell these in Dhaka. It is a strange sort of crop rotation, but it works in some areas.
Agriculture will still be a
very important sector in Bangladesh — it has to be, given so much food insecurity. But food insecurity can only be tackled
by sufficient food production, and expanding agriculture — livestock, rice cultivation — contributes to climate
change, which in turn leads to greater food insecurity through flooding, etc.
We need to find ways to help countries
all over Asia to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while at the same time producing enough food to feed their people.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
9:27 am est
your ideas sound good to me; the Social Action is to interpret worldwide sub-branding of Norman's Consider genre as helping to connect several dots: in what I write below I would be most delighted to be
told if you see any mistakes I am making; 27 years of chartering what intrenet can do, even the most optimistic realists have run out of time for perfect (ie safe) processes to sustain the planet,
we have to co-create guesses of what will unite young people of goodwill beyond borders
ECONOMICS, AS WELL
AS MEDIA, CAN BE DESIGNED TO SUSTAIN HUMANITY
until the journal of social business, consider leaflets are
the only thing we have to connect those people who want to be involved with propagating actions that yunus congress
(expected may 2011) testimony newly makes possible. (someone needs to follow up my intervention with my
old boss martin sorrell at wpp the world's largest ad agency on the nov 16 launch of meetings debating 2010s decade of good
news media; he's the sort who zags except when he hears someone else a few hundred yards away from him is having more
fun leading; its same with my dad's old mates soros and murdoch )
www IT CAN CONNECT SUSTAINABLE COUNTRY LEADERS
the 12 types of social busienss partner data collected by 2000 book readers shows yunus spends his time looking for the
test of whether a country has a leader of status that will help yunus is whether we can find anyone who would
passionately wnt a consdier published for their own country's social business collaboration with the worldwide
we do know people who want that for kenya and s.africa and japan and india nd jordan and australia - not sure where else
WHATS (friends of) YUNUS ACHIEVABLE MISSION/GOAL BY 2015
Demontrating that Bangladesh , as sustainability
world trade centre of asia pacific century, has the trust (and 21st C's social business capital markets) to find
partners to use technology to ensure bangladesh wins the poverty museum race; until someone shows me another publication channel
, consider bangladesh can represent that
--- On Fri, 26/11/10, Mostofa Zaman, London <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: Mostofa Zaman, London <email@example.com>
Subject: Version 1 of Consider Bangladesh
To: "Christopher Macrae" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Friday, 26 November, 2010, 23:30
I am starting to design the version 1 of Consider Bangladesh. I think that
it would be perfect if we could include
1. Something on the biggest prospects of bangladesh technology
Also a short survey report of status of all Bangladeshi so far social business so that people can see the current status and
also that Social Business is working well as Sam was unexpectedly questioned by a girl while in North South.
Some web links.
I will ask views from other peoples later after I add to/ improve the above.
I have already contacted British Council where I am confirmed to meet them while I am next in dhaka. So
the V1 will be sampled at British Council and North South.
Enter main content here