Foreign Policy Blogs

Bangladesh, The Export Market and the Volcano

Suppose the economy in which you go about your business is run by export revenue and remittances from migrant workers. Suppose further that one can reasonably suppose that remittance revenue will soon dip.  In that circumstance, export revenue matters, doubly.

Consider then the long run impact of the Icelandic volcano mess on the import and export market in Europe and Asia. Flights to and from Continental Europe have been erratic, at best, even admitting the cataclysmic impact on the European imports and exports for that week when Europe was nothing but a shuttered island. Consider, more specifically that even if the macro-level economy is elastic to that terrible disruption, the micro-level impact of grounded planes, contracts unfulfilled, tenders unsigned was surely life-changing for the worse for many tradesmen, small business owners and service providers.

But Bangladesh’s economy isn’t elastic to that kind of shock. Its economy is buoyed by the garment’s export market and for those few days– even now given the disruptions in Ireland and so on– the Bangladeshi export market had been crippled, flung back into a circumstance where it was and remains hostage to nature’s whims. This is not unfamiliar territory for Bangladeshi’s. But since 1947 seldom have Bangladesh’s problems so obviously and unremittingly emanated from European skies.

To get a flavor of the discombobulation on the streets in Dhaka, please watch the Al Jazeera English piece below.

There are other victims of this crisis, of course. As the garments trade has come a halt, so has food export and import. Asian and African countries are hurting. Read more about the effect of the volcanic ash-cloud on Kenya’s declining food trade at the excellent blog on Global Food Security,



Faheem Haider
Faheem Haider

Faheem Haider is a political analyst, writer and artist. He holds advanced research degrees in political economy, political theory and the political economy of development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and New York University. He also studied political psychology at Columbia University. During long stints away from his beloved Washington Square Park, he studied peace and conflict resolution and French history and European politics at the American University in Washington DC and the University of Paris, respectively.

Faheem has research expertise in democratic theory and the political economy of democracy in South Asia. In whatever time he has to spare, Faheem paints, writes, and edits his own blog on the photographic image and its relationship to the political narrative of fascist, liberal and progressivist art.

That work and associated writing can be found at the following link: