Major changes are taking place in the geopolitics of the world and due to this the equation of inter-country relations is changing. As a result, less developed countries also have to fall into this tension. As there are risks involved, there are also opportunities for profit.
Highlighting this picture of changing geopolitics, former caretaker government advisor Wahiduddin Mahmud said, in this situation, it can be said that the more public support the government has, the easier it will be to coordinate its political interests with foreign economic interests.
The tendency of multinational companies to take unfair advantage can be tackled. In this context, he mentioned geo-economics as a complement to geopolitics. He thinks that this is the challenge of a less developed country like Bangladesh.
Wahiduddin Mahmud said these things in a public speech on Saturday, the last day of the three-day development conference of Bangladesh Institute of Development Research (BIDS). The title of the lecture was ‘Developing Global System and Geopolitics: What is the Reality of Least Developed Countries’.
After the economist Wahiduddin Mahmud finished his keynote speech, the economists questioned and discussed globalization, Bangladesh’s participation in world trade and the legitimacy of the government. The session was moderated by Policy Research Institute Chairman Zaidi Sattar.
Zaidi Sattar said, since the Bretton Woods conference, the world economy has been run on the basis of neoliberal system. From there globalization. It would not be fair to say that the system has broken down, but it has slowed down in the last 10 years. Nationalism is gaining ground in contrast to globalization, which has given rise to a form of economic nationalism. Even the proponents of globalization are now adopting protectionist policies. In this reality, there is room for deep thinking about what developing countries can do.
In view of the last part of Wahiduddin Mahmud’s speech, BIDS director general Vinayak Sen’s question was whether the legitimacy of the government can be obtained only from the representative democratic system, or it is also possible to obtain this legitimacy from a deeper relationship with the people. Good governance, limited corruption, better public services—can’t legitimacy be derived from these?
Salim Raihan, executive director of the research institute South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), said that Bangladesh has not been involved in geopolitics in the last 50 years, except for one or two minor incidents. But Bangladesh now seems to be the end of the battlefield of the conflicting big powers. His question, will it not affect the development of Bangladesh?
In response to Vinayak Sen’s question, Wahiduddin Mahmud said, legitimacy cannot be defined, it is a matter of feeling. (Former Prime Minister of Singapore) Lee Kuan Yew had legitimacy. Communist countries had a similar system. But the reality is that today’s developing countries no longer want to follow the communist countries. There was popular support for (former Prime Minister) Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, even if there had been no election.
Wahiduddin Mahmud opined that there are many things to be learned from these models. Regarding Vietnam and China, he said that the government institutions of Vietnam once became loss-making institutions. They were later privatized but the government still holds some shares. Now that they are profitable, the government is automatically getting dividends, same is happening in China. But when Alibaba’s Jack Ma got too big, he was stopped right away. That is, they did not approve of hyper-capitalism.
Wahiduddin Mahmud pointed out that although the political system in Vietnam cannot be questioned or debated, economic policy can be done, and even accepted by the government. He said there is full freedom of expression in economic policy, inside the party, outside – everywhere. Economic skill-based performance appraisal systems were adopted within the Communist Party of these countries when they adopted market economies. While the politics of China and Vietnam are boring, the bureaucracy is fascinating, Western countries are just the opposite.
According to these economists, countries like Bangladesh can take something from both models.
Wahiduddin Mahmud said about the dispute between the superpowers, the rivalry between China and the United States is very different from the Cold War. Because now it is not possible to completely separate. Although the US and China have waged a tariff war for so long, they are still each other’s largest trading partners. The ideological underpinnings of the Cold War were straightforward. That is not the case with China-US, although China is trying to expand its own model. We should take care of that. He said about China, the world’s second largest economy cannot be ignored.
Recently, Wahiduddin Mahmud does not mention the word Bangladesh in his writings. According to him, many people say, “Don’t you see the good things of Bangladesh”. That is why he now refers to the word ‘underdeveloped’ or ‘developing country’, not Bangladesh.
According to the prothomalo