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     Volume 8 Issue 87 | September 18, 2009 |

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Profit = A minus B;
a simple equation


The recent publicly-made demand at a press conference by garment manufacturers and exporters for three thousand crore Taka, or whatever, from the government to pay before the impending Eid the workers of factories owned by them, owned by them, owned by them, although have been described by some as outrageous, a tamasha, and a means of blackmailing the government, the ploy has given me an idea. Read on, this may also help to fatten your purse.

Oh! How much more fat does it have to be?
We the people of Bangladesh, who enjoy maximum independence in the world, can form a samity to hold similar press conferences, and put the government in a bay-qaida situation. I know you are at this moment more interested to know about 'maximum independence' than the association, because the latter can be formed at anytime, anywhere; the Memorandum of Articles are just but ready for printing if you fatten the purse of a qualified lawyer.

Oh! How much more fat does it have to be?
Many countries in the world are independent. Hah! So they think. 'Visit Bangladesh', tell them, 'it is the most independent country in the world.'

Where else in the world can you spit anywhere? Where else can you find such finesse where people aim the spit through a gap of four inches in a window grille? And miss!

Where else in the world can you park your car anywhere other than a parking? Where else can you block the busiest street in the world? And piss!

Where else in the world can you build whatever you want and wherever you want? Where else can you construct a kindergarten just beside a pollutant-spewing factory? And fleece!

Where else in the world can you destroy anybody's property? Where else can you smash the car of an innocent passerby and proclaim you did it to rescue the country? And iblis!

Where else in the world can you conduct business in the middle of a road? Where else can you play deadly games with the stock market and still be invited to a talk show on prime time TV as a knight in shining armour? And please!

Where else in the world can you dump everything you want into a pond, a lake, or a river? Where else can you have a mineral bath for free? And itch!

Where else in the world can you be sure that money can buy everything? Where else can you get away with anything, from traffic violation to murder, if you fatten the purse of those who are supposed to punish you under the law? And bliss!

Oh! How much more fat does it have to be?
The samity that I proposed at the head of this piece is still on. This is a free country, man! Our organisation, (give it a name, give it a name) let's call it “The Bangladesh Jatiya Samity to Claim Salaries for Our Driver-Mali- Cook-and-Bua when Our Business is Bad”. And, does the government know any better? Business will always be bad. Our books of account will say so. And we shall always be able to claim compensation from the government. Profits we shall take home. For losses, the government has to take the blame. Membership shall even be open to people with fixed income. Their business is also bad, so it is said. No money, we shall all shed tears to fool the government. But we shall all buy the whole market. Cry and buy! Or else how can we just justify the packed crowds at glittering shopping centres when the economy is said to be so bad? Some of us are making our purse fat somehow at the cost of the other fourth-fifth.

Oh! How much more fat does it have to be?
The very garment factory owners, who appeared to be 'very poor' when they met the press, pun intended, and demanded big money from the government, or the government would be responsible for any untoward situation in the sector, do not lead an uncomfortable life. That is because they have a profit margin. Obviously, otherwise they would not be in the business. Let us say that the margin is “A+B”, where A is their actual legitimate profit, but B is what some of them deviously gain by denying workers their salaries and bonuses, proper space for working, dining, lavatory, prayer and recreation, and lighting, and ventilation. B is what some of them earn by violating the building, factory, and other relevant rules, making the working environment unhealthy and dangerous. B is what they profit by avoiding compliance practices when the compliant officer is not in the country. B belongs to the workers. Giving B to the workers would have made their purse justifiably thinner.

Oh! How much more fat does it have to be?
A is the profit of garment owners. B is what they deny their workers. The equation is simple.


Cartoon by Tanmoy

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