James Saville writes for the Dhaka Tribune:
On Sunday evening Tariq, who came here to attend the Hay Festival Dhaka 2013, captivated an audience of students and professors at ULAB with a talk entitled ‘History and Fiction’
Always eloquent, and by turns sombre and witty, Tariq Ali, the renowned British Pakistani writer and journalist, beguiled his audience with a potted history of capitalism since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Tariq, who came here to attend the Hay Festival Dhaka 2013, captivated an audience of students and professors at ULAB with a talk entitled ‘History and Fiction.’
He told of the astonishing success of China’s particular brand of capitalism, and how he believes this has turned it into such an unequal society.
“More so than the United States of America, or any western European capitalist country, the gap between rich and poor in China is the largest gap in the world.”
The fact that advanced education is no longer universally available under the current Chinese system of state-backed capitalism, is particularly ironic he suggests, given that it was the skilled workforce provided by free education that enabled China to ditch communism and embrace competition in the first place.
After detours covering many diverse topics including Europe’s financial travails, the Arab spring, and homosexuality in Islam, he eventually returns to China – discussing its problems with corruption.
This in turn segues nicely to sub-continental matters; discussing a recent ranking of the most corrupt countries in the world, in which Nigeria came first and Pakistan second, he tells of jokingly asking a friend in the Pakistani civil service: “How could you let this happen… how could you only come second?”
“We forgot to bribe them,” comes the response. Read more