Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladeshi economist Mushfiq Mobarak argued that in developing countries, lockdown-based social distancing would not be feasible to mitigate its spread. This was because they would be unable to impose restrictions, undertake mass testing, or provide adequate safety nets to the poor. Bangladesh was one of the first countries to allow the reopening of work places (as early as April 28, 2020), especially in the export-oriented garment industry, and has done economically better than its South Asian counterparts. A crucial enabling factor for this pandemic-era economic growth has been the explosive boom in digital money. On the downside, free speech has been sharply curtailed, and women’s futures were further jeopardized when the garment industry was severely hit by order cancellations. But perhaps the most frightening development is the effect of climate breakdown and the mass movement of populations within Bangladesh as well as in and out of the country.

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