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Can Dustbins Provide Progress?

There is a proverb in Nepali called, “bandar ko hath ma nariyal”, an ape with a coconut in its hand does not know what to do with it

Aug. 13, 2017, 3:25 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 11, NO. 02,August 11, 2017 (Shrawan 27,2074)

A nation’s economy depends on the environment resources it consists, therefore such resources has to be conserved not only for its own interest but also for the overall climate. Such is the importance of environment to a nation and its economy that the European Economic and Social Committee report, Beyond GDP – Measuring progress in a changing world, had consultations to change the way GDP is traditionally measured. It would suggest taking into account the environment factors too for measuring the GDP. Besides the environment the “communities” that benefit economically, socially has to be considered. The core ingredient of any nation is the communities that call nations their home.  Therefore a nation’s GDP numbers has all the contributions from its citizens, and in order for a nation to progress it has to be from efforts made by its citizens.

 This article talks about the 4000 dustbins distributed by the government of People's Republic of China to the Democratic Republic of Nepal. One would think the then government would make China the “Master” to make progress with such similar ideologies, but you know the Animal Farm – more about that later! But ideas were not the same, the citizens with its new found freedom and democratic rights had to steal and destroy dustbins. There is a proverb in Nepali called, “bandar ko hath ma nariyal”, an ape with a coconut in its hand does not know what to do with it. Similarly the dustbins can also be used as a metaphor for freedom, democracy, rights which the people did not know how to make it sustainable. It takes a lot of know – how research and consistent efforts to sustain  our resources and  make the most of it. I ask this question, why does the leading newspaper of the nations and social- economic thinkers bother to write about the GDP numbers, and other development issues, when its citizens have to do with stealing dustbins courtesy of international donor organizations? It is a reflection of society's behavior of not respecting enough the resources for development provided by the environment, its government and the donor organizations. Those dustbins were also provided to the government organizations, but none is in existence today!

 It does not have to show it has reached the moon or travelled far beyond in search of new galaxy or civilizations. It just has to keep its house and front porch clean and not steal or misuse dustbins. Thus every community has made significant contributions to a nation’s development from their personal efforts. A nation cannot only rely on foreign assistance, GDP, GNP numbers. We have to take examples from Europe, Asia and other regions; countries who have strived to be better and show exemplary standards of progress they made after being steamrolled in wars.

 We can talk about countries like Germany(Duetchland) or Japan, who after participating in two wars, and economic crisis, leading to the European Union, the Germans apparently seem to be steadfast in progress.  The nation’s austerity measures are not only for the EU, since the German economy depends on other nations, it has its vested interest too. Also without the austerity measures imposed by the current housewife of Europe – Angela Merkel – there would be an EU wide economic catastrophe. But it has taken the contribution of its citizens and its government to make such progress.

 One of the models for progress adopted by Duetchland was the public banking system. This model is being studied across the world, to bring about more stability. According to Michael Hudson, Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri in Kansas, publicly-owned Banks can be an instrument of economic development, were the banks would be acting like a public utility model rather than converting it to an actual public enterprise. There has to be banks that can offer the credit card rates without inflicting punishment on the citizens with their 30% interest rates or similar, much like utility bills without increasing the rates of interest if one does pay the utility bill. They charge extra to the credit but they do not have any interest rates on the total sum.

 The economic miracle of Japan included establishing manufacturing corporations, the efficient supply chain, banks called keiretsu, enterprise unions of shuntō, good relations with government bureaucrats, and the guarantee of lifetime employment (Shūshin koyō). Besides all this all of them had its citizens for the main ingredients, the manufacturing sector, supply chain management, government bureaucrats, Shūshin koyō. Therefore the citizens of a nation form the core values of a nation regardless of its political and economical ideology, and it must be known what the country requires from it. Sure we hate our country, but we do represent it in international arenas.

 If progress must be made in terms of social economic and environment sector such stealing has to stop! It just seems so atrocious towards the environment, the government and the donor organizations that such manners have to be taught. Even the laws of Mao Tse Tung would not consider being strict in order to teach such citizens.  A nation cannot progress if its citizens have to steal dustbins, not because they cannot afford it, but it is a behavior which lacks the respect towards items that are free. Moreover, there is an attitude in existence which does not believe in buying products from their money but destroy those given by others.

 Currently with the show the country provides to its international communities, with roads which resemble a cloth stitched, hotels, fancy automobiles(costing more than a crore) and bikes, the core essence and pride of being a Gorkhali is being flown down our holy river Bagmati.

 We cannot progress forward if we cannot keep our environment clean and have great expectations of  countries to provide us with dustbins!










Nirendra Basnett

He is studying in Asian Institute of Technology. He can be reached at

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