Speakers at a workshop on Saturday observed that Bangladesh has shown tremendous performance compared to other Asian and African countries under the growth-enhancing informal institutions. They said, Bangladesh was successful in creating some efficient pockets for these informal institutions. RMG sector, labour exports, agricultural research and development, and microfinance are examples of the sectors that have fostered the informal institutions.
Microfinances have never been disrupted as a system, and thus NGOs have helped to achieve some significant aspects of development. The workshop was organised by 'SANEM Political Economy Centre' at SANEM's office in the city. Dr. Selim Raihan, Professor, University of Dhaka and Executive Director, SANEM conducted the opening session of the workshop while Dr. Mirza M. Hassan, Senior Research Fellow and Head, Governance & Politics Cluster, BIGD, BRAC University conducted the other session.
In the first session, Dr. Raihan explained the dynamics of the formal and informal institutions of the country. “Rules of the game are very important when it comes to institutions. The paradox can be understood if we take a look at the dynamics of the informal institutions,” he said. “A growth-enhancing informal institution can give some returns in terms of development, but ultimately it is not effective. The countries get trapped in the lower stages of development,” he said.
The second session on the politics of growth in Bangladesh in light of “Deals Space and Limited Access Order” was conducted by Dr. Mirza M. Hassan. “The elites in our country are mostly political elites and business elites. The middle class elites do not hold much power over the system. If the non-elites do not have proper political representation, the elites can fully ignore them. Bangladesh’s political parties capture both the elite and the non-elite population, unlike India and Nepal,” said Dr. Hasan.
He said, there is no well-defined political representation of the non-elite. There is a gap between the actual interests of the people and their political ideologies and affiliations in our country. According to Dr. Hassan, Bangladesh is in the limited access order, like most countries, the countries that have developed within this order can be defined as the matured access orders. Limited access order is the natural state in the world for a long time now, though the process is a dynamic one.
Dr. Hassan drew the example of China while unpacking the concept of development paradox.Bangladesh, like other South-Asian countries has targeted growth-enhancing governance, rather than market-enhancing governance. “If we normalize the concept of deals space, Bangladesh is not an anomaly or a paradox, but rather a normal process of establishing capitalism or capitalistic development,” he said.