Accumulation by Dispossession and Poverty in Bangladesh
Tauhid Hossain KhanLecturer, Department of SociologyJagannath University,Dhaka-1100
Accumulation by dispossessionHarvey’s (2003) accumulation by dispossession (ABD) is aninspiration from Marx’s seminal analysis of primitive accumulation– ‘the historical process of divorcing the producer from the meansof production’ (1976: 875).Accumulation by dispossession : the neoliberal capitalist policiesin many western nations, from the 1970s and to the present day,as resulting in a centralization of wealth and power in the handsof a few by dispossessing the public of their wealth or land.These neoliberal policies are guided mainly by four practices:I. PrivatizationII. FinacializationIII. Management and manipulation of crisesIV. State redistribution
Objective of the StudyTo show how does ‘accumulation by dispossession’ influence povertythrough widening inequality in Bangladesh.Data and MethodologySecondary data are main resources since there is a rich amount of researchesand studies related to inequality and poverty and their dynamics that I couldcollect for this study. These resources were collected from many websites,scholarly articles, books, dissertations, and unpublished research reports,newspapers, and magazines, annual or monthly reports of different ministry ordepartments of Bangladesh government. Data produced by the HouseholdIncome and Expenditure Survey (HIES) of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics(BBS) are predominately adopted in this study.
Inequality and Poverty Nexus‘Inequality, rather than want, is the cause of trouble’ (Ancient Chinesesaying)Inequality is necessary for society or not: Philosophical debateGerhard Lenski (1966): conservative thesis and radical antithesisConflict theoristsFunctionalist sociologistsHarvey (1990): flexible accumulationAnthony Giddens (2000): runaway worldEconomic growth and inequalityUnequal accesses to different forms of services hamper the expectedlevel of growth in reducing poverty.Unequal growth pattern has a weaker poverty alleviating effect and hasbeen shown to be harmful to growth, and it will also reduce the growthand thereby exacerbate poverty.
Dynamics of Accumulation by Dispossession in BangladeshLabor exploitationIn the case of rural areas:Privatization or commodification of rural land: transfer of agrarian landto capital for industrial, commercial and residential developmentCapitalist rentiers (corporate developers) who commodify land forindustry and urban growth and capture windfall profits from the artificiallycheap land acquired by the state, e.g., EPZs developers. Extraction of natural resources Restructuring of rural class structure: drawing certain classes into achain of land-based rentiershipWidening inequalities in the rural class structure: process ofmodernizing the countryside creating industrial proletariatBreaking up the traditional rural class structure –third party (locally knownas dalal): getting richer than the original owners of land- gearing up gettinglandlessness of the rural farmer and widening the rural inequality.Remittances: Who is the receiver of remittances?Labor market: getting deskilled and losing their jobs
In the case of urban areas:Creative destruction –process of displacement -the mirror –image of capitalabsorption thorough urban redevelopmentHouse rentIncome Inequality in BangladeshSource: Author’s Calculation Based on HIES 2005 and 2010 DataTable: Income Inequality in Bangladesh (Gini co-efficient)Year Rural Urban National2000 0.393 0.497 0.4512005 0.428 0.497 0.4672010 0.430 0.452 0.458Growth rate 0.94% -0.91% 0.16%In rural areas, income has increased from 0.393 in 2000 to 0.430 in 2010 with thegrowth rate of 0.94 percent, whereas it has decreased from 0.497 to 0.452 at the sametime in urban areas with the growth rate of -0.91 percent.It has increased from 0.451 to 0.458 at national level with a growth rate of 0.16percent during the period.
Incidence and changing trends of poverty in BangladeshTable : Incidence and changing trends of poverty in Bangladesh2000 2005 2010 Annualchange(%)2000-2005Annual change(%)2005-2010Annualchange(%)2000-2010Head Count IndexNational 48.9 40 31.5 -3.64 -4.25 -3.35Urban 35.2 28.4 21.3 -3.86 -5.00 -3.94Rural 52.3 43.8 35.2 -3.31 -3.93 -3.27Poverty GapNational 12.8 9 6.5 -5.93 -5.55 -4.92Urban 9.1 6.5 4.3 -5.71 -6.77 -5.27Rural 13.7 9.8 7.4 -5.69 -4.89 -4.59Squared Poverty GapNational 4.6 2.9 2 -7.39 -6.20 -5.65Urban 3.3 2.1 1.3 -7.27 -7.61 -6.06Rural 4.9 3.1 2.2 -7.35 -5.80 -5.51Source: Based on HIES-2010, BBS; Hossain and Khan, 2011:120aa
Discussion and ConclusionAccording to United Nations (2010), more than 80 percent of theworld’s population lives in countries where income differentials arewidening. The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accountfor only 5 percent of global income. On the other hand, the richest 20per cent account for 75 per cent of world income.Significant reduction in poverty has taken place in the last fourdecadesDespite notable progress in poverty reduction Bangladesh facesthe stark reality that about 45 million of its population still live underpoverty (BBS, 2010).The other dimensions of poverty which make poverty reductionmore challenging in the future are rural-urban divide in poverty,regional variations in poverty.17.6 percent of the total population live in extreme poverty orchronic poverty (BBS, 2010).Growth-induced degradation of these resources can adverselyaffect livelihoods of poor people; the poor can themselves be partlyresponsible for overexploitation and degrade natural resources.
Poverty and Youths in BangladeshSchool drop outJuvenile delinquencyRisky behavior such as commercially sex working, victimtrafficking and risk of HIV/AIDS infection and so onOrganized violenceAbuse of drug and other substancesBecause of widening inequality by accumulation by dispossession,youths are being deprived of productive activities. And mounting pooryouths in Bangladesh are out of reach of resources,Since potentialities of youths are being debacle by the unequaldistribution of the resources and services.Poverty among the youths and adolescents is the crucial factor behind: