Jobless economic growth in South Asian countries - An alarming scenario.
Our economic growth is visible but we can't feel it!
Yes, it sounds obvious but that's what it is. Huge highrises, highway interchanges, million-dollar structures, and billion-dollar projects will puzzle you. It's a phenomenon to showdown, a weapon to powerplay, to eyewash what's going on underneath. Not only in my country Bangladesh but most South Asian countries are facing the same problem.
Especially if we talk about India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh; it's highly visible.
There's a common pattern in our political economy that has a huge influence on shaping this economic psychology amount the rulers.
Photo: My own creation using Canva
What is Jobless economic growth?
When an economy experiences growth without an expansion of jobs, unemployment remains stubbornly high even as the economy grows, and the economic structure doesn't allow for the creation of job opportunities but rather makes a barrier.
A real scenario.
Not only manufacturing jobs but agriculture, agriculture, and service sector job opportunities are declining by millions in number. Though the economic growth is not declining. Mostly because of foreign exchange and private-sector investment. The quality of the jobs created now also can't be considered sustainable or add as much to the economy.
Another big concern is the rise in the share of youth (aged between 15 and 29) who are not in employment and not in education or training. The energy they carry, if not used properly, they are the biggest threat to society.
As I have first-hand experience with this I can say, the situation is not good for overall socio-economic development.
Joblessness has a direct connection with social structure, crime rate, food production, and many more. A growing reserve of frustrated, unemployed youth threatens to turn the demographic dividend of having a young population into a curse.
As I have said, these million-dollar structures and billion-dollar projects can't save us, and can't feed us. It's like eye wash. Because all those projects are serving only 5-10% of the population. For example, the ongoing Metro rail project is a good example of the inefficiency of the usage of money. On the other hand, if that same amount of money would be used to venture into the private sector, it will create millions of jobs and will bring stable growth.
My final words.
Only growth has no good if it's not meaningful. These highrises can't run our economy but the youth through their employment. Growth must be able to produce jobs and livelihoods for as many people as possible. But the governments are doing so mostly intentionally to show down their power, eye washes their potential voters. That's where we lose the game.
This jobless growth can't be undone without removing the evil intention of the people in power. There are many 'bookish' way out we all can give but in reality, it all depends on the socio-political structure. I'm not very hopeful about them but the only hope is in youth entrepreneurs.
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