World Trade Organization (WTO) former director general (DG) Pascal Lamy has said the rise of inequality has been creating tension and frustration, especially among the new generation, and this problem needs to be addressed through policies at the local level.
The special envoy for the French government came up with the remarks at a public lecture titled “Knowledge to Share, Planet to Care” hosted by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in Dhaka on Saturday.
The former WTO chief has come to Bangladesh to seek vote in favour of his country (France), one of the four countries that are vying to host the World Expo 2025. The three other countries are Japan, Russia and Azerbaijan.
He said there had been a positive relation between economic development and political stability in the past, but the relation has somehow broken in today’s world.
The former WTO DG also said we should acknowledge that we could not address the major challenges properly in the recent decades.
He pointed that the rise of inequality and environmental degradation are the two key factors which have been causing frustration and anxiety among the new generation.
The envoy suggested that inequality should be addressed in a place where community solidarity is present.
“I am not saying that there is nothing to be done at the global level in order to combat inequality, but policies and instruments need to be implemented in the sectors like education, trade policy, housing, and taxation; and such policies are undertaken at the national level.”
Rehman Sobhan, chairman of CPD said a $5 shirt made in Bangladesh is sold in the United States at $25 or $30.
The CPD chairman asked the former WTO chief if there is any scope to distribute the profit share among the workers who take part in the production process.
Lamy replied: “This is the reality of a competitive market. But manufacturers have to be careful about any sort of market manipulation by global retailers and should take necessary steps to tackle it.”