Economist urges structural changes to capitalism

Noted economist Rehman Sobhan yesterday called for structural changes to the malfunctioning capitalist system to provide new opportunities to the country’s common people that have actually built the nation.

“The younger generation and leftist politicians will have to find structural solutions to the malfunctioning capitalist system to offer a new order of opportunity to the ordinary people,” Prof Sobhan said during a discussion meeting in Dhaka, the Daily Star reported.

Rehman-SobhanHe said the ordinary people have built the country over the years through agriculture, sending remittance from abroad, and toiling at garment factories.

Sobhan spoke at the re-launch of the publication “Shomaj Orthonity and Rashtra (Society, Economy and State) in the RC Mazumder auditorium at DhakaUniversity.

Shomaj Gobeshona Kendra (Social Research Centre) launched the publication in the 1980s, but the publication stopped in the 1990s.

Sobhan, chairman of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a local think-tank, said the global capitalist system, rooted in the USA, is now inherently a weak and unsustainable system and does not yield economic benefit.

“It is no longer in a position to transform the global economic system, it is now in a deep crisis. But the capitalists don’t have answers to correct the weakness. So, you need to rethink about it.”

The economist said Bangladesh would have to rethink how it can fit in the global transformation, as the global economic balance of power is increasingly moving towards Asia, with China leading the shift.

“We will have to see how we can build a just society, as it has become deeply unequal over the years,” he said.

Serajul Islam Choudhury, a professor emeritus of DhakaUniversity, said Bangladesh’s astounding success of achieving an average of 6 percent economic growth is mainly due to the working class people.

“This has happened despite deep-rooted corruption. The industrial capitalists have very little contribution to the economic success of the country,” he said.

He said unemployment is increasingly becoming a serious problem for the country and has become a breeding ground for militancy.

“The major two political parties are busy in annihilating each other, which is actually creating ground for fundamentalists to thrive.”

Choudhury also said the economic inequality has reached an impossible point, stoking dissatisfaction and anger among people.

“The common people now don’t trust politicians. Besides, we have never seen the level of deep influence a number of foreign governments are exerting over the country. “Now, Washington or Delhi are deciding which parties would win the elections.”

“As a result, the country is moving towards a tragedy. Now, the leftists would have to come forward and stand against the capitalists.”

MM Akash, a professor of economics at DhakaUniversity, moderated the discussion.