Beyond the Bangladeshi basket-case

By Razib Khan 62 Comments

Coronavirus has been an economic disaster all across South Asia. But, beyond that, there are changes that have occurred before the pandemic and will continue after. For example, Bangladesh’s per capita GDP now higher than eastern and northeastern India:

Bangladesh’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is now higher than most Indian states in eastern and northeastern India, with the exception of small hill states such as Mizoram and Sikkim. According to the data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bangladesh’s per capita GDP was $1,905 in 2019, against West Bengal’s $1,566 in 2018-19 (FY19) — economically the most developed state in eastern India.

Bangladesh is not really comparable to India, which is a diversified economy that is more than an order of magnitude larger. But, it is comparable to West Bengal. On economic matters, I am broadly sympathetic to right-liberal economics, so I’ll spare you my interpretation of what’s going on.

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62 Replies to “Beyond the Bangladeshi basket-case”

  1. Bangladesh, similar to India has defied the odds in terms of continuing down the path of (halting) economic development and unitary statehood. Unlike on the Western border, India and Bangladesh have a more pragmatic record of co-existence. Bangladesh has astutely balanced relations with India by seeking closer relations with China and to a lesser extent with the US.

    The major challenge for Bangladesh comes from climate change. It is often mentioned as the one major country which will be devastated by floods and rising sea water, leaving Bangladeshis nowhere to go other than across the border into India. This reality is going to force Bangladesh into closer economic and social integration with India – also be impacted by climate change. The wild card is whether and to what degree India continues down the path of Hindutva.

    Bangladesh’s higher literacy, better primary health and education, and management of demographic dividend will continue to yield dividends.

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  2. Bangladesh’s tfr has reached 2 — which is a net plus. Continuing on, they should be able to deal with climate change IMO; and now they can invest their savings in human resource development.

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  3. There are two big differences that stand out for Bangladesh vis-a-vis their South Asian cousins:

    1) A much higher share of manufacturing as a percentage of GDP. It’s around 25% in Bangladesh whereas in most other South Asian countries it varies between 10-15%. Manufacturing as an escalator of growth is critical for developing countries. IT services alone doesn’t cut it, as India has discovered.

    2) Significantly more women in the labour force. Many of them employed in the manufacturing (often textile) sector. This tallies with what economists have said for a long time: economic liberalism requires social liberalism to be sustainable over the long haul. This is also why countries like Pakistan or Turkey failed despite a right-liberal economic programme in the 50s-90s. They never liberalised socially, and so shut out a huge part of their potential workforce. India is committing the same mistake now, though I am somewhat more optimistic about India in the long run.

    I think Razib has mentioned that Bangladesh has much more mixed genetics compared to India, which would again point to a higher developed/more enlightened national culture. The Bengal region was the richest in the Indian subcontinent for most of history and it was also the leading source for Indian intellectuals over the past few centuries. I wouldn’t be surprised if it once again became the richest. Certainly Bangladesh is en route to surpass all countries except Sri Lanka (which can live off tourism, and hence not a great comparison).

    The key challenge for Bangladesh is two-fold: can it graduate from textiles the way China did and Vietnam is now doing? That is the key to get from $2000 GDP per capita to $5000 and eventually more than that. Second, how will it cope with climate change, particularly the rise of the sea water level *and* increased flooding?

    I am a bit more sanguine on the second (don’t underestimate human inguinity) but a bit more bearish on the first. Bangladesh has poorer human capital than Vietnam had at comparable income, same with China, and thus it will be harder for it to make more complex manufacturers.

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    1. The mail was a clickbait as it said that Bangladesh had a higher nominal GDP per capita when compared to the whole of India while the article is clearly a comparison with a few eastern states of India, notably West Bengal. India’s nominal GDP per capita is still much higher than the Bangladeshi one.

      You are overtly optimistic about Bangladesh based on the History of Bengal forgetting that the Bengali Renaissance took place within the Hindu Bengali communities and not within the lesser educated Muslim Bengali communities. None of the great thinkers of the Bengali Renaissance were Muslims. All the scientists were Hindus.

      West Bengal’s mistake was to hand the state to the communist parties for decades even after the 1991 liberalisation and it never built a manufacturing base. West Bengal is also in competition with other indian states when it comes to manufacturing for the home market. Apple won’t open a factory to build its phones in West Bengal when it can go to Andhra Pradesh and later sell the product in Kolkatta.

      Bangladesh is bound to get stuck in the middle income cycle as it doesn’t have any scope for higher end exports. Bangladesh has no research facilities, has minimal research and development and contends with being the factory of the world so long a cheaper alternative does not takes its place.

      Women involvement in the workforce is higher in Bangladesh when compared to Pakistan because Bengalis are peculiar Muslims. Muslim Bangladeshi women are more entrepreneurial than Muslim women from Uttar Pradesh. The more liberal Bengali society is an advantage. That said, the critical lack of interest be it at the public, private or even individual for science and technology will hamper its development.

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  4. Bangladesh doesn’t have much in the way of good universities but they are not that important at this stage of development. They have a lot of freelance IT talent and I am hearing of more projects with Bangladeshi talent working on them. But yes, it is possible a quarter of the country could be lost to rising sea levels over the next century. India is held back by a prevalent attitude of bureaucracy, socialism, over-regulation and distrust of free markets although the recent reforms are at least headed in the right direction. Pakistan is cursed by a governing elite class of parasitic morons who don’t know or care about improving the country as long as their own nests are feathered.

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  5. The secret sauce of BD’s progress is that it exports its poverty/unemployment to India. Of course there is nothing secret about this – it happens under the benign gaze of Indian administrators. RBI’s latest report states that the largest remittances to BD happens from India, somewhere in the range of 4B USD per year or effectively about 30000 crores.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remittances_to_Bangladesh

    Applying the standard denominator of 2L per year on the CSDS studies for the mean savings of internal migrants – that translates to approximately 1 to 1.5 million BD people in India. This is also in line with several Home ministry calculations for illegal immigrants.

    The political question is of course, why do Indian administrators allow this? There are several conjectures and the most interesting one is a long term view. Bangladesh is the natural port for Eastern India (not Kolkata) and the Indian Eastern/North Eastern hinterland will be best served by a business oriented BD. At some point in time, Bangladesh will have to take a call for a Sikkim style integration. Its interests will probably be best served – removing the 15% defence + diplomacy share of spending will boost its expenditure on other things. Good things to come for both India and Bangladesh.

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    1. “Bangladesh will have to take a call for a Sikkim style integration.”
      Whaaaaaaaaaat?
      What did I just hear?

      2 points:
      1) Islam
      2) Bengalis are THE most conceited people on the planet.

      Indian Bengalis are here because they genuinely think that India is theirs (India is a part of Bengal not the other way round)

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      1. @Bhimrao

        Don’t worry, there is not going to be a plebiscite to decide things. These things are external to what the elites think!

        Demography may be or may not be destiny but geography is God! Bangladeshis are surrounded by a sea of Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and Animists on one side and their Bay on the other.

        Follow things closely especially what MEA thinktanks are uttering. Manmohan Singh as PM proposed a monetary union in a working committee – basically the Rupee will subsume the taka. There was enthusiasm on the BD side as well. Because of the Govt change, it did not go anywhere. But things are moving on the ground – keep you eyes open.

        Bangladeshis aren’t going anywhere – like I said the sea on the deep end and us on the other! Both time and geography favor us.

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        1. None of this is going to happen afaik. What would happen is that some Bengali is going to pick up your comment and quote it for a thousand years on hegemonic intentions of Hindus over ‘Sonar Bangaal’.

          Common currency might be a good idea but I am no economist, tell me more about how would that be good for Indians?

          Islam+majority is something I am (rightfully) deeply suspicious of and would always keep at a distance. If (Bengali) Muslims become soft/chill/PC like Hindus or Christians, I have no problems with living with them in peace, intermarrying and treating them as fellow (Bengali) Indians (which they technically are) but then this is Islam we are talking about.

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          1. @Bhimrao

            This dating game has been going around for a very long time. You are not very inquisitive apart from technical matters, it seems. And almost no appetite for risk! 🙂

            https://opinion.bdnews24.com/2013/06/24/common-currency-in-south-asia-a-trojan-horse/

            Above is an Bangla economist giving his opinion in 2013. The BD Finance Minister was in full support of a monetary/currency union.

            Sama, Dana, Bheda, Danda – every action of MEA has been going on full throttle since the last 25 years. We have full consensus across the spectrum of Indian polity (Congress, Trinamul, Communists, BJP).

            Start noticing and reading, Bhimrao!! Don’t become that boy who is surprised to find a butterfly in his matchbox overnight.

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          2. Common currency is a bad idea unless India doesn’t have a problem with Bangladeshi Muslims migrating to India full time.

            But this is like the self-goal of highest order – you decide to separate two parts based on religion. The second part cleanses itself of its religious minorities and then the first part invites the second part to send its migrant back to the first part. If you don’t learn your lessons from history, you are an idiot.

            Some liberals might argue – Oh but the immigration is already happening, why not make it legal?

            The day India-Bangladesh become a union like EU – that day would be the end of Hindus of India. It would be like Troy inviting the Greeks via a Trojan Horse. It would lead to another partition down the line and Hindus would be worse off.

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        2. India is completing is border wall alongside Bangladesh, so the idea that India is going to take over Bangladesh is funny to say the least.

          150 million Muslims isn’t going to be palatable to Hindu India anymore.

          The best I can think of is a smoother immigration process with linked biometric data and other things. Throw in AI to the mix with better predictions etc. Faster road transport, again with airport type baggage checks for trucks (with technology). Plus, better rail connectivity to Tripura + Barak Valley (India might invest in double Broad gauge lines in Bangladesh for right of way). Some steps towards this is Agartala-Sabroom-Chattogram rail+road link, Bangladesh allowing usage of Chattogram port to Tripura and restarting of Siliguri-Sealdah rail corridor via Petrapole-Benapole/Chilahati-Haldibari.

          Common market can be a longer time goal, but that is it. (I don’t know how services would work, but given that remote working would improve drastically in the next 10-20 years, this wouldn’t/shouldn’t be a problem).

          No formal “Union” as such, because such a “Union” would be lopsided and there are enough Islamists/Nationalists in Bangladesh to derail any such thing. Also, what would be the status of Nepal in such a case? Would it be a part of the “Union” too?

          Food for thought: what would be the government like of the theoretical “Union” of India + Bangladesh? Would places like South secede? South is already tensed about delimitation process that is going to happen in 2026. I don’t think any government can reduce the seats from South even proportionally – as in the seats would grow with the same ratio as it is now.

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    2. You don’t take into account how much Bangladeshis valourise those who died in the 1971 war of independence. They are not interested in being an outpost governed by Delhi.

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      1. I agree. My father used to visit Dhaka back in 1972 and the folks he met there, used to insist that the Mukti Bahini would have defeated the Pakistani Army even if India had not intervened or provided aid to them.

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      2. @Ali Choudhury

        In case you haven’t noticed, Indian babus have been redrawing the maps of South Asia consistently since the last 70 years. The Indian Administrative hegemon is persistent, slow and expends resources in a concentrated manner to achieve its ends.

        Do you think that the Sikkim people or Arunachalis have lesser nativist feelings than the Banglas? Every nail will meet its hammer……

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        1. 160 million Bengali Musclemaan are too big a meal for the Indian leviathan to swallow and not a meal the Hindutva right would countenance dining on. Definitely not halal for them. Sikkim was what, barely a million Hindus and Buddhists?

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          1. What is today is an aberration! That whole Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta region was fully linked to the Indian hinterlands in terms of culture, trade, currency, markets, language and transport for the past 2000 years. Indians have never had any problems except for motivated reasoning during the past century.

            Bengalis are cultural hegemons not religious! Why do you think they shout Joy Bangla and not Joy Allah? We are very good at synthesizing cultural uniqueness. And there is a lot of mutual respect as well. The elites get on well, the political dynamics match and there is a lot of economic win-win.

            And of course, the sea is waiting on the other side!

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  6. yeah. the absorption of bangladesh seems like a non-starter on all sides. senegal couldn’t even manage a confederal arrangement with gambia!

    that being said, economic cooperation/integration seems like a way to go. i am not a close Bangladesh watcher, but china is clearly making a play so bangladesh will find an economic big brother either way

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    1. “that being said, economic cooperation/integration seems like a way to go.”

      Definitely. I think a realistic goal over the coming decades could be something like Canada / US. Still have borders and citizenship etc. But economic regions (like the Bengal Delta & Northeast India) can largely function without being impeded significantly by political borders. Transit connectivity for India between East India and Northeast India. Lots of cooperation needed in river management (maybe like St Lawrence Seaway), trade, security, hydroelectricity, etc. Skilled workers / students can easily get permission to study / work temporarily in each others’ countries. Little to no restrictions on visiting.

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  7. They’re comparable, but the stark difference is how much comes from manufacturing in Bangladesh vs. how little from West Bengal.

    Of course, India will never industrialize. The kind of top-down labor suppression that China and Bangladesh required to grow would not be possible in India, where labor unions play a powerful and integral role in politics.

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    1. “India will never industrialize” – Truer words have never been spoken.

      What the unions did to Belapur belt near Navi-Mumbai is mind boggling.

      There used to be several Iron and Steel works near this area, all migrated to parts of Karnataka like Hospet because the Sena+MaNaSe unions would act like goons forcing industries to hire their men.

      First the industries moved from Mumbai proper, then from Mumbai suburbs.

      The only place where I think industries can prosper is where there is a HUGE population without work (e.g. UP/Bihar), only thing is if the unions rear up their head once again, India would be done forever.

      Someone right said – “India is a 3rd world country with laws from the 1st world”.

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      1. “The only place where I think industries can prosper is where there is a HUGE population without work (e.g. UP/Bihar)”

        Maybe but highly unlikely for industry to prosper there given the extremely low human capital, among the lowest in South Asia and the world, ever.

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          1. you just undercut on price if productivity is low

            Not if you want to get rich at some point. All the successful development stories have a common feature: they had above-average human cap for their income level. This is a necessary but not sufficient condition (Ukraine has fairly good human cap but has other problems). Georgia by contrast has pretty bad human cap but has grown fairly well in recent years and has low corruption. Though their incomes are still low and will hit a barrier fast if they don’t raise the bar among their population.

            But if you want to vault into the 1st world you need both. And human capital accumulation takes time. Decades. So there’s no space for complacency.

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        1. All the places in UP are not the same. Noida-Greater Noida are highly developed regions. The same development can be extended till Jewar-Agra-Kanpur-Lucknow. This region has a high connectivity (due to airports+expressways+railways+new HSR) and a semi-prosperous market in Delhi-NCR region.

          Migration from Eastern UP to Western UP can alleviate the problem of HDI(plus the educated from Western UP themselves) because there are decently educated people from 2-3 tier cities like Mau-Jaunpur-Azamgarh apart from the normal Allahabad-Gorakhpur-Varanasi.

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          1. You’re right about this. Western UP is among the more developed places in India. The parts around Delhi might be the most developed place in India. Eastern UP and Bihar are the places lagging a lot more in most measures.

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  8. PPP per capita is the loser’s measure. Doesn’t show how rich a country is getting in a global context which is what matters. Shows how easy it is for residents to get by. It is like boasting about how cheap you are living rather than how much wealth you are building.

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    1. Well PPP/ per capita is a better measure of standard of living compared to nominal / per capita.

      Nominal aggregate is better measure of how wealthy the population of a territory is on a global scale

      My guess is WB is getting some goods / services at a subsidized rate due to being a part of India. So this is boosting their standard of living, but BD is probably doing better in terms of actually improving their economy.

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      1. Well PPP/pc is a better measure of standard of living compared to nominal/pc.

        That depends how A) poor you are and B) how ambitiious you.

        Bluntly put, if you are very poor without much ambition, then PPP is the right measure for you. It measures poverty levels the best. However, if you are not as poor (think Thailand or Brazil) but still not rich and have ambitions to be rich, then nominal is better. Once you no longer have grinding poverty to worry about, people’s aspirations start to rise.

        Suddenly, the middle-class wants to have foreign vacations, import the latest smartphones, buy a computer maybe send their kids abroad for studies etc. All those things is about nominal, not PPP. So for an aspirational society, nominal is better. PPP is better when you’re close to the bottom (or if you’re a middling country without ambitions to rise).

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  9. India is goofed. They need a super strong growth focused central government that brutally tears down garbage socialist policies, at the expense of upsetting millions’ short term financial security for long term gain

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    1. That is true. But also easy for you to say as your family has built up enough capital to be insulated from the effects of change.

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      1. In my experience Socialism screws with people’s mind, vigor and confidence. Makes people complacent, unethical and lazy. More than that it arms these people with its rich propaganda vocabulary to sound victimized when defending dumb things. If only they knew how much more they could be without this cursed ideology, so many people move on to a better life after taking the plunge into private sector in India and regret not having done it earlier.

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  10. Industrialization at the expense of everything else isn’t viable. And yes, the Indian story isn’t proceeding on the lines of Asian Tigers or China. We have a different historical overhang that permits us to reap the benefits of servitization in a way that others cannot.

    The Indian Servitization story is of course bigger than the manufacturing story. It is also allowing us to leapfrog certain phases of industrialization that are just based on the sweatshop model.

    I posted a twitter post showing what are the biggest goods exported by South Asian countries. For India, it was petroleum products. For BD, it was garments. India has the world’s fourth largest refining capacity despite the fact that we produce very little crude.

    What we have done is build some of the biggest refineries with sour crude capacity (dirty crudes), import them from OPEC, refine them to the highest grade and sell it to end customers in South America, Europe and Asia. We are so big even the Saudis and Emiratis buy aviation grade kerosene from us for their airlines! This was made possible by Indian expertise built up over the years by creating and selling engineering services.

    This is what India is doing with proper governmental assistance in select areas. In the long term, we do not want to be just the workforce making Tshirts (which is also good) but also the people who can design engineering solutions. And right now, the Indian bureaucracy is aiding servitization.

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    1. What do people think of economic complexity measures?

      It’s an interesting measure which I keep track of, but they also frequently revise it. A few years ago they put out a very bullish report on India, forecasting gangbusters growth. Then we started to see the slowdown that started with the NBFC crisis and later snowballed. The people behind that index quickly put out a new forecast and suddenly India wasn’t projected to be a growth champion anymore.

      In other words, I really like the concept behind it. I am not just 100% trusting of the intellectual honesty/integrity of the individuals behind it. When their original models were wrong, instead of admitting error and going back to the drawing board, they just pump out new forecasts to fit the latest narrative. They should have made a transparency blogpost about what went wrong about their original methodology and how to fix it. There’s no reason to assume their latest forecast is any better than the last one, and if they get something badly wrong again, expect a sudden re-jig that magically fits the latest development.

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  11. Why didn’t right liberal economics work before independence? The dummy nationalist view was that free trade and capitalism were bad. Let’s not forget distortionary taxes were lower back then too.

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  12. The best thing that Bangladesh could have done for it to not remain a basket case was deport all its communists/socialists to India (Jyoti Basu et. al.). The state of West Bengal today is due to Bengali Bhardalok.

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  13. Lots of people in this comment section making blasé statements about socialism should read Ha-Joon Chang. Vast majority of rich Western societies today got rich through protectionism and the those who had the highest trade barriers historically were the UK and US. They also did a lot of state interference in industry (infancy industrial protection policies etc).

    The fact that India failed during the 1950-1990 period can be explained by two things: insufficient investment in human capital (Netherlands had universal literacy as early as 1860s, the US was known for investing huge amounts into primary education). India’s literacy rate lagged China’s for most of the postwar era, with the result that its growth model was top heavy (IT, pharma) and thus unsustainable. Second, there was too much meddling under Indira in particular, which was harmful.

    State-led capitalism isn’t the same as ‘socialism’, though they share quite a few similarities. It’s the former that has produced the best results. No country has ever gotten rich through a neoliberal laissez-faire approach. That’s only what rich countries preach once they reach the highest ladder of development.

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    1. Hong Kong? It had no industrial policy they just let entrepreneurs do what they wanted. This mantra for state-led capitalism is overdone it only lets you get up to a certain threshold via catch-up growth. The South East Asian (and China) countries got richer in a similar fashion with a focus on developing human capital (lots of schools not universities), a culture of savings and investment and being able to export into world markets to support the development of the domestic economy. The state-led aspect of this led to massive cronyism and corruption such as shown in the chaebol scandals of South Korea. The industrial ministry of Japan heavily directed industrial policy. Japan’s economy is rather stuck in the past, a reliance on state bureaucrats making decisions leaves industries unable to keep up with the winds of change, government officials are not in the thick of things.

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      1. Ali. I have heard this argument that the reason of growth of China is their developing of Human Resources and not the much touted state lead capitalism etc. Atleast in India this argument doesn’t hold true. The two states who followed the Chinese model , Bengal and Kerala have nothing substantial for their investment in human capital. They are not bad but no front runner either.

        As razib also pointed out the BD had even lower investment in human capital and still getting more bang for the buck.

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        1. re: human capital.

          all the ‘sinic’ societies start off before any modernization with an emphasis on education and broad-based literacy. this is china, japan, Korea and Vietnam. they all poured a lot of money into having a meritocratic literate elite (japan less so until the meiji restoration, though the samurai became that). in contrast, theravada Buddhist societies used temples to bind society together. this is cheaper, but seems to have resulted in less broad-based human capital.

          i think south asian societies have this problem. it’s improving.but ‘outsourcing’ literate-professional niches to particular castes might be a major issue. in places like china peasants could at least aspire to become bureaucrats (or peasant clans could invest in the education of a promising boy).

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          1. I don’t really think literacy has much of an independent effect. People didn’t get educated because they worked jobs that didn’t need it. Rising literacy and education is more so an indication of economic growth rather than a cause. At least it was until every government went crazy trying to reach mass literacy. I will accept arguments that school instills discipline and hard work (Bowles and Gintis, but it’s a good thing).

            Take Burma for example: in the 1920s it had male literacy of 62% compared to the Indian 15/20% and what good did it do it?

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        2. @ Saurav:

          Sure that is as expected as other factors are important in accumulating wealth such as how congenial the environment is in fostering capital formation and accumulation. I am not very familiar with either Kerala or west Bengal but both were run by the communist party for decades who probably were not all that interested in growing business and enterprise. Kerala is currently ranked 28th out of 36 in the Ease of Doing Business rankings for India which should be easy enough for anyone to game. The stereotype for Bengalis is that they are overly focused on salaried positions and not running their own companies although I do not know how valid that is.

          https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/opinion/is-a-business-friendly-kerala-a-mirage-5787021.html

          If you took Kerala’s HDI and married it with Gujarat’s entrepreneurial culture you would probably have an Indian superpower.

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          1. Yes, and tha’s the point i was making. Investment in HR in and of itself is no guarantee. Plus as Iskander marks, its economic growth first which aids more investment in Human capital. Some of India’s poorest states like Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh have leveraged their economic growth (thru natural resources) to plough the money back is some small scale social safety nets and education. And nowhere in India has any state revived economic growth through investment in Human capital.

            In India the only state who got the balance right was Tamil Nadu. But from their example, its tough to glean whether it was economic growth (manufacturing) which led to higher investment in Human capital or vice versa. And Tamil Nadu has had a very left leaning society with huge overlays on social safety nets and all.

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          2. Saurav,
            In India the only state who got the balance right was Tamil Nadu. But from their example, its tough to glean whether it was economic growth (manufacturing) which led to higher investment in Human capital or vice versa. And Tamil Nadu has had a very left leaning society with huge overlays on social safety nets and all.

            What about the influence of Christianity in TN. Places like Madras Christian College come to mind.
            In Sri Lanka, many of the modern schools (early 1800’s) were by the American Mission, Methodist Church (Church of South India) etc The Brits allowed them as they saw the products would be useful as clerical and lower admins.

            These schools also pushed the merits of obviously education and equality. In SL then the Buddhists too joined the bandwagon of building schools. Even that was spearheaded by the Theosophical Society, which was headquartered in Madras.

            The other issue seems the further south you go in the subcontinent ((Higher AASI)you have more left leaning society. Ends with SL which I would argue is the most left and egalitarian.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosophical_Society

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          3. Saurav,

            You will appreciate these interconnected stories.

            Fake news by NY times by Rukmini Callimachi a Romanian-American
            https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/10/not-news-but-a-juicy-collection-of-narratives-how-the-new-york-times-failed-its-readers.html

            Had to look up how Romanian got a name like Rukmini
            Callimachi got her name “Rukmini” through her family’s closeness to the Indian theosophist Rukmini Devi Arundale, founder of Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai, India

            and then to Devadasis
            http://sbarrkum.blogspot.com/2018/09/devadasis-bharatnatyam-and-theosophical.html

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          4. “The other issue seems the further south you go in the subcontinent ((Higher AASI)you have more left leaning society. Ends with SL which I would argue is the most left and egalitarian.”

            This should make Tamil and Sinhalese BFFs bro. Why you all always fighting at 😛

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          5. Always felt her name as Rukmini as odd. Some years back i was looking her up and found no connections of her Indian sounding name. No family i mean. Seemed a through bred Romanian.

            Its sad news still. I still remember her doing some authoritative pieces on ISIS and all. When other reporters used to pooh-pooh their rise.

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          6. This response is for Saurav and sBarkum. A lack of an economic plan versus a social development program has left Tamilnadu on the outside looking inside. There is not a huge stratification economically in TN, but a general lack of economic risk taking, and lack of capital formation has straitjacketed development. Even Hyderabad has more companies incorporated. This has also led to a huge Kerala-style outflow of human resources, and a geographic zone that has massive lack of development starting approximately about 60 km south of chennai that extends all the way to the southern tip. In spite of being a hard core tamilian, I am totally unsatisfied with the economic situation here. The state has wasted its capital.

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    2. Also countries like Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, United States initally gained wealth by patent theft from wealthier countries.

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  14. BD has potential to really break this perennials two horse Indo-Pak bullshit and emerge as a third power in the subcontinent.

    Also the comparison of BD with WB with WB still leading somewhat in PPP in misleading. Comparing a region which necessarily started from ground zero in the 70s with its money all sucked up by Pakistan, with a region which was the center of British dominance and housing upwards of 60 percent of all manufacturing in India till the 40s is not a fair comparison. States in India itself which lagged behind WB in the 40s have now outstripped its already.

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  15. i think bangladesh’s secret is it doesn’t want to be a ‘power’

    there is some stuff relating to watersheds and the rohingya problem. but Bangladeshis seem focused on getting less poor, not become a geopolitical player (which is good)

    even in the 80s my parents and their bangladeshi friend were explicit pak and India could bicker and best just to stay out of the whole thing

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  16. there is some stuff relating to watersheds and the Rohingya problem.
    How big is the Rohingya issue for BD economically ?
    In marathi there is a phrase – doghancha bhandan tisryala faayda – when two quarrel third gets lucky.

    but Bangladeshis seem focused on getting less poor, not become a geopolitical player (which is good)
    this seem to be Key.

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