ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The RMG Industry

Unmaking the Global Sweatshop: Health and Safety of the World’s Garment Workers edited by Rebecca Prentice and Geert De Neve, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017; pp viii + 291, 7,652.

Rise of the Corporate NGO in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is now known as the land of the largest non-governmental organisation (BRAC), and the largest microfinance institution (Grameen Bank). In the last four decades since independence, Bangladesh has become more marketised, more globalised, and more urbanised than ever. It has had spectacular success in garments export, remittance and food production. The country also has seen a dramatic growth of microcredit and NGOs. Nevertheless there has been very slow progress in poverty reduction, and there has been catastrophic destruction of environment and increase of inequality. An attempt has been made to explore the role of NGOs, their emergence with the rise of the neo-liberal world view and new economic order, as also their retreat, polarisation, integration and subsequent corporatisation.

Workers' Lives, Walmart's Pocket

In its spatial expansion, capital has globalised the production and distribution chain. The division of labour has been restructured throughout the world, factories have shifted from North to South, structural unemployment has increased in the North and cheap labour has been exploited to the hilt in the South. Bangladesh has thereby become the second-largest ready-made garment exporter in the world after China, supplying garments to major Western clothing brands. On 24 April 2013, the collapse of Rana Plaza that housed five garment factories killed at least 1,134 workers and injured many more. It exposed the vulnerability of the industry as well as the global lack of responsibility and accountability. This article investigates the global chain of the industry in order to understand the linkages between the lives of workers in the South and the profits of the monopolies of the North. The article also makes an attempt to understand the roles played by the local and global profiteers in the supply chain.

Natural Resources and Energy Security

This article examines myth and reality vis-à-vis natural resources and energy security in peripheral economies, with special focus on Bangladesh. It highlights the fact that resource abundance does not automatically translate into development; countries like Bangladesh suffer because of their local hegemonic rulers and global alliances which, in the name of development, extract disproportionate private profits from common property through the use of corrupt practices and skewed policies. The article also insists that natural energy resources should be considered common property, and in order to make development meaningful and sustainable should remain so. Planned development of the national capability is an essential precondition to maximise the potential use of natural resources. In the context of Bangladesh, a ban on exporting mineral resources and open-pit mining is also necessary to ensure energy security and sustainable development. It concludes that energy-sovereignty is the key to energy security, and therefore to sustainable development.

Wealth and Deprivation: Ready-made Garments Industry in Bangladesh

Bangladesh's ready-made garments industry has taken the low road to competitive advantage. Local capitalists, the big retailers and western governments are reaping the benefits of the super-exploitation and repression of the (mostly women) workers. Inevitably, the resistance of the victims is taking shape.

Grameen and Microcredit: A Tale of Corporate Success

The Grameen Bank's microcredit programme has been recognised internationally as a successful model. This model has become an integral part of development thinking and has earned global attention as a new form of banking. But it has been hailed more as an effective tool for alleviating poverty and empowering women. To find out if this is correct, gb's publications and studies were analysed, its declared objectives were scrutinised, and international experiments of the model were also studied. The findings from inside and outside Bangladesh contradict the current myth around the model. The model created a good opportunity for expanding the market for finance capital, thereby ensuring gb's spectacular success. However, it failed as a tool for poverty alleviation and empowerment of women.

Globalisation and Economic Transformation in a Peripheral Economy

There are two major interpretations of the term "globalisation". The first and mainstream view takes globalisation as the rational outcome of global economic "progress". A second, and dissenting view, gives more emphasis to the power and ownership aspects of the globalisation process. This paper argues that the present globalisation process embraces elements of both views and is essentially monopoly capitalism, advancing on a world scale that seeks to integrate peripheral economies into a single global system. As a peripheral economy Bangladesh has become more marketised, more globalised, and more urbanised; and in the process it has now a large number of super-rich and an increasing number of uprooted poor people. This paper makes an attempt to understand the integration process of Bangladesh with the global econom

Bangladesh: Waterlogged Again

The several highly expensive, huge projects promoted and funded by various aid agencies to control river waters have not been able to save Bangladesh from disastrous floods, whose frequency has increased over these years. The last such programme was the World Bank-aided Flood Action Plan launched with great hope. Today three-fourths of Bangladesh is under floodwaters.

Opening 'Black Box' of Education System in Bangladesh

This paper is based on a quantitative analysis of SSC and HSC results and admission test scores of more than 4,000 applicants who sat for admission in the department of economics, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Usually, the admission test is designed to measure the applicants' accumulated stock of knowledge through their 12 years of early education. But the data reveal that performance of early education consistently fails to register in the test performance. Is the test design perhaps faulty or is something wrong with the pre-university education system in Bangladesh? Though we have fished a data driven hypothesis, our analyses provide quantitative support to the observation that we endow a terrible system of early education in the country.

Bangladesh: Closure of Adamjee Jute Mills

The decline of the Adamjee Jute Mills goes back to as early as 1995, soon after a World Bank-Bangladesh government agreement envisaged wide-ranging changes in the jute sector involving closure, downsizing and privatisation of several mills and retrenchment of their workers. Adamjee's experience has found replication in numerous cases in the manufacturing sector, prompting renewed questions once again about adjustment programmes and who actually constitute its true beneficiaries.

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