Volume 2 Issue 38 | July 19, 2008 |


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Editor's Note

Intentions and Outcomes

It's hard to objectively assess something when it looks like it is being done with 'noble' intentions. Noble efforts are hard to critique. If a noble effort gives disastrous results, does one admire the first-rate intentions or ridicule the third-rate results? Free market cheerleaders are always getting into heated arguments with do-gooders, disparagingly referring to them as 'bleeding hearts'. These free marketers- children of Adam Smith- say that you don't need to have good intentions. Good business isn't about trying to save the world; it's about making a profit. Pursue your own interest and you'll be doing everyone else a favour in the process. Try to help everyone and you may wind up making a big mess.

Problematising this whole equation is the fact that there are self-interested business people not creating a socially optimum outcome in this country. Self-proclaimed educators and coaching centres have materialised everywhere. If Adam Smith were right about the 'invisible hand', bad or inefficient private education wouldn't be able to sustain themselves- the public wouldn't want their product and they would go bankrupt. However, in this country, we're stuck in a weird situation where a lack of accountability allows such charlatans to flourish. There are, for example, 'English teachers' with the audacity to appear on national television and teach things that are wrong using methods that are utter nonsense. Bangladesh does have plenty of top-notch educationists with good, solid qualifications. If these qualified people care at all, they should probably actively attack some of the frauds out there before there is serious and irreversible damage done to our children, either with good intentions or bad.

Abak Hussain
From the Insight Desk

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