Debra Efroymson

Debra Efroymson is the executive director of the Institute of Wellbeing, Bangladesh, and author of "Beyond Apologies: Defining and Achieving an Economics of Wellbeing."

A Licence to Kill

Why is it possible to manufacture and advertise a car that goes faster than the maximum allowable speed?

3w ago

The price of comfort

The devastation is already here and now; the longer we wait, the greater and sooner the future damage

Learning to live with less?

In some neighbourhoods, when the power goes out, people emerge from their apartments and socialise.

Burn less fuel, build better cities

Imagine for a moment our city without cars, but with high-quality public transport, people zipping by on bicycles, others on foot.

How can Dhaka solve its traffic problem?

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that “traffic was particularly bad today,” I could have retired already

Systems thinking: A solution to our many global crises

The crises we face are terrifying. And yet I can still imagine an infinitely better life that would solve many of our problems.

Is violence against women only a women’s issue?

People in power also need to be held accountable for addressing violence in their institutions, be they religious, educational or other.

Less flooding, more liveability

Our craze to build and pave has led us to create cities of concrete and asphalt. Canals and wetlands are paved over.

Roe v Wade: The (Questionable) March of Progress in the US

People tend to believe in progress. As the decades advance, we become more civilised. We expand important freedoms, like voting rights. Except that time and time again, some events prove otherwise.

Inflation, globalisation, and localisation

It is difficult these days to go anywhere or do anything without thinking or hearing about inflation – what is less obvious is what to do about it.

Gun violence in the US: Bullets, politicians and corporate lobbyists

Even the children who have never had a shooting at their own school are not free from the damage.

Girl, boy, person—let everyone blossom

Funny how this question often preempts concern about the health of mother and baby. Why are we so obsessed with a baby’s gender?

Learning to Love Dhaka

The other day, a Dutch friend of mine and I were having lunch when I mentioned how chaotic I’d heard the Dhaka airport was now.

Is democracy worth fighting for?

The eyes of the world are on Ukraine as its citizens fight to uphold their democracy in the face of Russian aggression. But how many people are aware that American democracy is similarly under grave threat?

Pandemics, pain and prosperity

After two years, it is no wonder that people are fed up with the changes the Covid-19 pandemic has inflicted on us.

If I am not for sale, what am I?

Recently, I was chatting with a young friend. She mentioned that, with all the Covid lockdowns (she is in a country much harder hit than Bangladesh), she has learnt to do business online, selling herself as a yoga and meditation instructor.

We need logical thinkers now more than ever

For many people, education means sitting in a class and mindlessly repeating what the teacher tells you. But is that really what education is about?

We need affordable transport, not affordable fuel

With the price of basic necessities going up yet again, it is no surprise that people are campaigning for a reduction in fuel price. Fuel is, after all, related to the price of transport, food, and other necessities—which is, in fact, precisely the problem.

Who still cares about GDP?

Many years ago, a colleague at the United Nations invited me to watch a video of Marilyn Waring, an MP and economist from New Zealand, talking about economics.

Mobile Playground, Happy Children

Have you ever watched kittens, puppies, or other baby animals play? Running, chasing, jumping, nipping.

Road deaths, and our infatuation with motorised transport

As children and others continue to die on our roads, we ought to reconsider just how highly we value our current traffic system.

Toilets: The only shame is the water we waste

Toilets do not, admittedly, make for a great dinner table conversation—though a few younger people might disagree.

Taxing sugary drinks and promoting healthy food are the way to go

Anyone who has recently started exercising in a public space has probably heard this question, or seen people ask it to their acquaintances. There is no need to specify the “it”—everyone knows that a diagnosis of diabetes is the most common spur for people to begin exercising.

Celebrating cooperatives, reimagining economies

On the first Saturday in November, Bangladesh observes the National Cooperatives Day.

What future do we have to offer our youth?

In the past few generations, the world has changed extremely rapidly—and it is likely to continue to do so. Artificial intelligence threatens many of our existing jobs and even raises the question as to what need there will be for human workers in the future.

Dhaka, Density and Liveability

Growing up in a small city in the southwest United States, I thought I didn’t like cities. I loved hiking in the nearby mountains, from the top of which a grey haze hung over the city, which itself offered a few charms.

A plea for safer travels

Today, on October 22, we celebrate National Road Safety Day. But why? Not why we care about safety—the devastating toll of accidents makes it clear why it is important—but why call it Road Safety Day? If we are using roads to travel from place to place, and we want to be able to do so safely, why not call it Safe Travels Day?

Can we make Dhaka better?

Having lived in Dhaka for more than 20 years and, prior to Covid-19, travelled to many other cities, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to reflect on what makes a city great.

Learning to value people, not cars

Imagine if aliens came to Earth. If they landed in just about any major city, they would be forgiven for believing that people are simply batteries for automobiles, and that automobiles are the true life form, with everything designed around their needs for housing, fuel, and socialising with other automobiles on congested streets.

Reclaiming streets for our children

Here is an important but little-known fact about car parking: the more that is provided, the greater the demand.

Public space, Covid, and the right to recreation

As the Covid pandemic drags on and schools and universities continue to remain closed, children and youth in particular are tired of being cooped up at home. Serious as they are, it is not just the loss of livelihoods and education that affect us; we need to have social contact, relaxation, and recreation.

Walking is not pedestrian

Life has changed in so many ways due to Covid-19, this one change may not even have registered for you. But with restrictions on motorised transport, people are walking more than ever. Much of it is by necessity, but sometimes the necessary can also reveal hidden pleasures.

Women, unpaid work and the coronavirus

Ask the average man whose wife has no paid job what she does and the response is likely to be, “Nothing”.

Some thoughts on the draft Parking Policy

It is now quite well-accepted that the demand for vehicle parking in Dhaka City exceeds the existing capacity. Common sense suggests that the solution is to increase the supply, and the government’s new draft parking policy seeks to do so.