The word ‘politics’ might have been deeply attached with the society from the very beginning of human civilisation. In those days, the formulation of politics was definitely determined according to the need of the land and the people. In that case, the main concern was politicians’ purpose of using politics and in what context. But over time, as the norms of politics have changed, the objectives and the demands have also appeared in different dimensions and values. The tide of change has also been noticed in the politicians. In fact, it comes automatically considering the global reality; there is no need to wait or to seek instructions.
The nature, ways and issues of politics have not only changed over time, those have developed and gradually spread over every level of our society. Whatever was the reason for the emergence of politics in the early stages, it was essential for the people, who used to live in groups. In fact, they were organised under a leadership for their defence or to attack others. That is, politics was mainly used for military purpose. More issues started to involve in politics with the development of complexity in the human society. Thus the scope of politics started increasing with needs. And consequently, politics has become more important. That means, politics has turned into the source of power. Still people are encouraged in politics for power. But it is desirable that the power should be used to improve the economic condition of the country and its people.The present world politics is giving more emphasis on development activities. Bangladesh is not an exception of that. Politicians are doing politics by promising people to lead the country along the path of development. Parties in government and opposition - all are pledging the same this way or that way. But it seems to me that politics of economic change would be better than politics for development. Now the question is - what is the difference between 'development' and 'economic change'? Does economic change happen when there is development? As much as I understand, the word ‘economic change’ covers more space than the word ‘development’. For example, a country may have a lot of development activities done through aid, loan or credit, but it may not change the economic condition of the people. Truly speaking, we need the economic change of our country and each of its people.
It is difficult to predict the future direction of politics in Bangladesh. It is not certain whether it will stand on the right or left, or in the middle. As politics of the same nature exists in this country, there remains every possibility of doubt. It is true that what types of politics exist in Bangladesh depend on the political parties of the country. And the role of the party's leadership is also important in this regard. A people’s welfare oriented party will prefer practising politics of economic change, though such political philosophy might not be found in other parties. However, in the current world, especially in the developing democratic countries, the nature, purpose and responses of politics are rotating around the socio-economic changes of the people.
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had fought for the economic emancipation of the Bengali people. He wanted to create an exploitation-free society all over the world. He believed that the development of the country would not be possible if the people’s economic condition could not be changed. He had made it in the Constitution. When he was going to implement his strategies, he was assassinated. In order to implement Bangabandhu's dream, the Awami League-led government is taking various people-oriented plans to change the economic condition of the people. Many of the measures taken by this government are contributing a lot to increasing the economic ability of the people, making them self-reliant. The progress of their financial capability is a real example of economic change. By taking more such programmes, the space of economic change could be widened. However, without taking these programmes sporadically, an institutionalised framework can be shaped to bring all such efforts under one roof and the work would then be much easier to regulate. And to do that, politics needs to be reorganised as per demand. The name could be given –‘Politics of economic change’.
We must acknowledge that the economic change is the key to bring changes in all other fields like social, cultural, health, education, etc. Economic capability does not only guarantee a family’s future, but makes the ways to have other services in building an educated and healthy family. When the economic change will happen in each and every family of the country, then the economy of the whole nation will be changed. And it is the responsibility of our politicians and representatives to make this change.
For introduction, practice and implementation of the politics of economic change in Bangladesh, it is important to consider the issues like- (1) the extremely high density of population; (2) the agro-based economy; (3) mineral resources are very limited, both in varieties and volume; (4) the industrial sector could not be developed as required; (5) remittances sent by Bangladeshi migrants are rarely used in any productive/profitable sector to support the families for financial solvency; (6) unemployment rate is increasing due to inadequate work-oriented education facilities as well as employment opportunities; (7) lack of attention and appropriate initiatives to expand the self-employment sector; etc.
Each political party, in its agenda, always says about the economic emancipation, the development of the country, or the welfare of the people. However, it should not only be included in the agenda, politics should be poured into the stream of economic changes and create a new political doctrine, and it will be the ‘politics of economic change’ not ‘politics for economic change'. We have, now, the practices of democracy in our country. Therefore, acknowledging the present day reality, we have to introduce the politics of economic change by replacing/amending the old fashioned political theories and thoughts. Politics should be used for the sake of economy.Naturally, it is necessary to determine the course of action in this trend of politics. In essence, the main goal of this politics will be to convert every family of the country into an earning family. That is to say, to create employment opportunities for every eligible citizen of the country. And for that, domestic and foreign investments should be increased. Based on our limited natural resources, utilising our abundant human resources properly, channelling good governance and, above all, using modern technology, we have to determine the policies and its implementation process for widening and strengthening economic activities. And the wheel of politics will have to rotate placing all these at the centre. The aims and objectives of the political parties should be to ensure the economic change as well as to provide all the people of the country a poverty-free, healthy and better life.
The writer is a former Ambassador and Secretary