"I know the thought on everyone's minds. I am just gonna say it out loud: there are way too many people with way too little to go around. Something needs to be done!" said Zarif Khan, the founder of Kalot Aaka, a boutique art shop in Berrydhara.
The recent pandemic has many questioning how our society is structured and whether the current system is too delicate for humanity's future. Zarif is no different. "I think about this a lot. Every day on my way to work, I see so many people crammed into buses…50? 100? Who knows? I found it to be an apt metaphor for our country -- too many people crammed into buses.
"It was on your own paper. Bangladesh has the fastest growing rich population in the world! That is an incredible achievement. Wouldn't you say it's amazing how so many people are able to push the ceiling up and fight for their place in today's ever connected world where we are all global citizens?
"But I am once again asking you, how can a country grow rich with so many poor people? It's basic math. We need to incentivise the rich."
Asked how the rich can get richer, Zarif's solutions hit at a philosophical level.
"We keep saying rich. But what is rich? Rich is everyone. You can be rich, I can be rich, anyone can be rich. The key thing to remember is that being rich requires a growth mindset. You cannot be rich with a victim mindset. I hate to say it but in our country, certain rich people also have a victim mindset."
When asked about overconsumption as opposed to overpopulation being the problem plaguing the current world, Zarif was quick to laugh it off.
"What overconsumption? Listen, you are putting the cart before the horse. You talk of overconsumption but who is consuming? Did you see me eating four lunches today? I am only consuming as I am able to. We are overconsuming because we are overpopulating."
Asked what he thinks of his 4 cars and 8 flats, Zarif had his answer ready.
"My four cars help feed 16 people! Where would my chauffeurs and their children be were it not for my cars paying their wages? As for my 8 flats, they provide housing for foreign workers. I am doing the country a favour by putting it out there in positive light to the world through my hospitality."