After Reading "দারিদ্র্যের অর্থনীতি অতীত বর্তমান ও ভবিষ্যৎ"

This is a very well-written book for someone who is an outsider in the economics world to understand what poverty is, how government policies and private interest are affecting it and how the future of poverty may look like. The first and still-answered question came to me as I was reading this is why do we need to eradicate poverty. Is it because of moral reasons, or of economic reasons. Nevertheless, it seems some people and organizations made a career out of it without really making any significant impact to eradicate poverty.

The book starts with exploring how poverty looked like in the ancient world. It becomes very clear that until the industrial revolution, things were pretty much the same all around the world. Right after the industrial revolution, we see the shift in the distribution of wealth among the population. Then the book dives into the definition of poverty in economics and talks about how it is challenging to come up with good metrics to measure poverty. The next part talks about how various pro-poor policies of governments effect the poors. We see that government investment in education and health clearly have an impact on helping people get out of poverty. The key challenge for countries whose majority population is poor is to figure out how to fund these investments in the education and health sector. Here we see the emergence of various outside entities who are eager to fund these with various ulterior motives (both good and bad). Later, the author discusses the role of non-government organizations in reducing poverty. Here he specially focuses on two Bangladeshi organizations, Grameen Bank and BRAC. The discussion on Grameen Bank is followed up with two additional chapters on the role of interest in the lending industry. Finally he wraps up the book with a discussion on how poverty might look like in the distant future. In each part of the book, the author spends some significant time to relate things back to the context of Bangladesh.

Overall, I found it as a good introduction to the study of poverty in economics. I found the writing very structured and educational. As I wrote last year, I am awed by the intellect and persuasion of knowledge by Dr. Akbar Ali Khan. I have not seen many people in Bangladesh who are of his stature and yet actively pursuing to stay updated in his domain and write eloquently for mass people. I am looking forward to reading his future works.

Published at: 04/04/2021