Sheikh Tausif Ahmed, Sadia Urbana
According to a recent report by Wealth-X, a global ultra-high net worth intelligence and data company, the ultra-rich population in Bangladesh is growing faster than any other countries in the world.
Ultra-high net-worth (UHNW) refers to individuals with a net worth of $30 million or more. Wealth-X uses econometric techniques that incorporate a large number of national variables such as stock market values, GDP, tax rates, income levels to determine wealth distributions across the population and figure out the number of ultra-rich people among them. The finance, banking and investment sector was the primary industry focus for the largest proportion of the global ultra-wealthy population in 2017, accounting for a 14.2 percent share. Manufacturing was the second most significant industry, with its share edging higher to 7.6 percent.
According to the report, US still accounts for the largest number of the ultra-rich person, albeit having a slower growth in the population, amounting to 79,595 individuals. Asian countries, buoyed by their fast-growing economy has seen a dramatic improvement in the number of UNHW populations. China, Japan, Hong-Kong are among the top countries with high UHNW concentration.
Bangladesh topping the list of the fastest-growing ultra-rich population is a strange advancement. The report reads, "Looking at a broader range of nations, China - perhaps surprisingly - is not the global leader. That status lies with Bangladesh, which has registered compound annual growth in its UHNW population of 17.3% since 2012.” In terms of growth, Bangladesh is not only ahead of China but also fast-growing economies like Vietnam, India, Hong Kong, and Pakistan.
Such progression may seem like an achievement to many. But, it also means the accumulation of wealth in the hands of few is the prevalent trend in the country. A bigger share of the economy is going into the hands of a few, while a major part of the population is having less. According to the government led HIES survey of 2016 the top 10 percent of the population (in terms of economic standing) is now having more income share (38.16 percent) compared to what they had (35.84 percent) in 2010. On the contrary, the lower echelon (bottom 10 percent of the population) now has half (just 1.01 percent) the income share it had (2 percent) in 2010. While it’s not a desirable one, this situation is more common in developing countries like Bangladesh.
To fully comprehend this scenario and identify a solution, development narratives which have been normalized, need to be addressed from a critical perspective. This trend of rising inequality is a central feature of the economic system that decides production and distribution. Without a proper mechanism in place, the system will continue to demonstrate such trends
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