News Watch, Side Feature, South Asia

Capitalist Development Fattens the Cronies of the Government but Only Increases the Suffering of the People

Dhaka, the bustling capital of Bangladesh, was ranked first on the list of the slowest cities in the world, according to a new study that analysed traffic in over 1,200 cities in 152 countries. The study titled “The fast, the slow, and the congested: urban transportation in rich and poor countries” by the US-based National Bureau of Economic Research. (The Business Standard, 30/09/2023)

Dhaka is like a textbook example of the impact of capitalism’s development model. The capitalist government undertook mega development projects throughout the last decades. As the development expenditure and implementation of such projects increased, Dhaka’s traffic congestion increased, and livability decreased. A study of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology suggested that in 2008 average motor vehicle speed in Dhaka was 21 km per hour while in 2020 it reached to 4.5 km per hour – which is less than the speed of walking! And now National Bureau of Economic Research survey suggests that it is the slowest city in the world! Meanwhile around Tk. 300 billion spent to ease the traffic congestion. Recently Tk. 330 billion first metro rail has been hurled in the city, Tk. 90 billion expressway has been opened. Earlier 8 flyovers were constructed.

Capitalist development is not human centric, rather profit centric. Its development motivation is not people’s problem solving, it is rather to serve the interest of the ruling elites and their crony capitalists. So, Bangladesh’s capitalist government has been taking desperate mega projects to loot people money for themselves and to gratify their local and foreign allies. That’s why most of these projects didn’t improve the traffic and livability condition in Bangladesh, rather increased living and transportations costs heavily. The costs of these capitalist development take place at the expense of the people.

As Capitalism stands based on separation of religion from ruling, it ceases the guardianship based on accountability (to the Creator) from the rulers’ part. Due to this fundamental flaw, the capitalist rulers become protectors of the interest of their cronies. But in Islam, ruling is a staunch responsibility, the rulers can never go beyond accountability. Rasulullah (saw) said,

«كُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ، فَالْأَمِيرُ رَاعٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَهُوَ مَسْئُولٌ»

“Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people (Khalifah) is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects”.

So, fear of Allah and accountability by the people that make the Khilafah (Caliphate) system the best public serving ruling system, history is the witness to it. Such accountability is so real that Khalifah Umar (ra) understood that he was not only responsible for his people but also for the animals living under his reign. One of his famous statements was,

“لو عثرت بغلة في طريق العراق لسألني الله عنها لم لم تصلح لها الطريق يا عمر؟”

“If a mule or a donkey should fall because the roads are not level, Umar will be questioned before Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgment as to why he did not repair the roads for these animals”.

Muhammad Talha
Member of the Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Wilayah Bangladesh