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The Multiple Realities of Neoliberalism and Garment Kormi

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Part of the Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference book series (ATSIAD)

Abstract

This chapter summarizes the various discussions presented in the monograph and exemplifies that policy shifts and new labor market relations developed over the last 30 years did not occur in an economic and social vacuum; instead, it suggests that the conditions for expanding women’s employment were deeply rooted in government policy, social campaigns, and the reinterpretations of social relations and values. Following this, two aspects are highlighted: firstly, the relationship between employment and women’s empowerment that creates multiple realities for women, for example, garment kormi, and secondly, the compound forms of relations that exist between the state and neoliberalism in Bangladesh. The case of Bangladesh makes it evident that we cannot define and analyze capitalism, neoliberalism, or economic reconfigurations in isolation from the rest of the social process.

Keywords

  • Bangladesh
  • Capitalism
  • Garment kormi
  • Garment worker
  • Government policy
  • Neoliberalism
  • Ready-made garment industry
  • Reinterpretation of social values
  • Social campaign
  • Social process
  • State

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF)—Rural Activities Assistance Foundation—an apex development organization, was established by the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) in May 1990 for sustainable poverty reduction through employment generation (PKSF, n.d.). As of June 2020, PKSF has 278 partner organizations, 14.24 million members, and 10.95 million borrowers. The cumulative amount of loans disbursed from PKSF to its partner organizations stood at BDT 38.67 billion (USD 1 = BDT 84) in FY 2019–2020 (PKSF, 2020).

  2. 2.

    The president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) stated, ‘Since its inception, BGMEA has been working relentlessly to promote and protect the interests of the apparel industry that has brought about revolutionary socio-economic changes in Bangladesh by generating employment, empowering women and alleviating poverty’ (BGMEA, n.d.). Further, Karim (2014a, p. 57) in her work on the labor conditions in the garment factories in Dhaka argued that despite women workers’ contribution to the country’s foreign income, the government has been indifferent to plight of workers. In this regard, she quoted the Finance Minister of Bangladesh, who once remarked, ‘[T]hese foreign manufacturers cannot move so easily. Where else can they find such cheap wages and an infrastructure already in place?’ (Karim, 2014a, p. 57).

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Hasan, M.T. (2022). The Multiple Realities of Neoliberalism and Garment Kormi. In: Everyday Life of Ready-made Garment Kormi in Bangladesh. Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-99902-5_9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-99902-5_9

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