At the moment, Bangladesh has two contrasting pictures of the society it lives in before itself. If we go by the words of our sagacious demagogues, we can say that the country is living in a society defined by meteoric growth and prosperity.

Well, the reality says otherwise – as a society, Bangladesh is going through a restless time, defined by anarchy and bedlam.

Issues related to the current social state have been debated ad nauseum in recent times, so let us keep the debates aside and try to visualise how our society will look 10 years from now. It will not be a bad notion, given the fact that the room for imaginative pursuits is gradually shrinking.

If I transmute the images visualised by me into words, there could be four possible scenarios.

Probability 1

That day is not so far when lessons related to ways of fleecing cross-sections of people, especially those belonging to the lowest rungs of the social ladder, will be included in the textbook so that a whole generation driven by avarice and megalomania could be produced.

The lessons might include didactic and time-befitting lessons, like “five effective ways to make a killing”. One of those ways will be to try as hard as possible to ingratiate yourself with different syndicates active in the business world. Another one could be “the art of running a Ponzi scheme under the very nose of the authorities”.

Next, the youth would be taught to do whatever it takes to grab a government job, no matter if it is the job of a driver for a Masters’ degree holder. If you are finding it difficult to relate to this (making a fortune), just cast your mind back to remember driver Malek who once used to work at Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health.

Well, more creative lessons will probably surface as time slips away.

Probability 2

In the near future, a particular economic class (the middle class) will vanish from society, and there will be only two economic classes: the ultra-rich and the ultra-poor. As the price of almost everything is going through the roof and the cost of living is mounting up, the middle class will have no place in the economic stratum after 10 years.

However, some people will still strain every nerve to cling to middle-class sentiments. For those souls, a new definition will arise. For example, a family that eats twice a day is called middle-class. Despite cutting corners, this class will find it really hard to put food on the table.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh will be creating waves in other parts of the world for producing the highest number of super-rich people in the shortest period. Whereas the number of poor people has increased during the pandemic, it is also true that more than 8,000 people have become millionaires in Bangladesh in 2021.

There are around 21,399 millionaires in Bangladesh at the moment, and the surge is expected to continue at a good rate in the coming years, according to Global Wealth Report 2021 published by Credit Suisse Research Institute.

If the trend continues, we can witness a steady accretion in the number of millionaires in the near future, who will be grinding down on the increasingly desperate middle and working class. While some people will bask in the glory of their wealth, others will wallow in poverty.

At that time, other countries, especially the developing ones, will refer to Bangladesh to instantiate a new type of economic wonder. We can also hope that Bangladesh will be cited as a textbook example in economics classes for giving rise to a new class of the ultra-rich and wiping out the middle class.

Probability 3

As the whole nation is getting more and more passionate about reading and learning new things, a neo-conscious group of people will arise who will pore over Animal Farm written by George Orwell. Driven by an afflatus sourced from the connotative meanings of this novel, that group will formulate a new law expounding the idea “all are equal, but some are more equal than others”.

Despite the fact that this law will go into motion 10 years later, the process is already on. As for example – our bureaucrats and the law enforcement agencies always come up with propositions that will grant them undue advantage over others. They want supremacy over mass people, whom they are actually supposed to serve, by maintaining a tutelary relation with the state mechanism.

A few years ago, police demanded that the law prohibiting custodial torture be scrapped. Meanwhile, we see that the bureaucrats are always prioritised over mass people when it comes to availing any facility, and opportunities are being created for them so that they can enjoy all the trappings of power and do mala fide abuse of position.

“Civil Service Bill 2018” is already in place to serve this purpose. This practice will be fortified and turned into a convention by giving teeth to the existing laws.

Probability 4

This is the final stage. With changes expedited by the afore-mentioned points, we will be able to transcend ourselves to a society where everything would morph into something more bizarre, and moral proclivity will be a trope.

That society will be an anomie-stricken society, where nobody will care about the moral compass.

For those unversed in the idea of anomie, it is a state of no moral or social principles in an individual or in society. In a broader sense, it is, as defined by French sociologist Émile Durkheim, a societal condition defined by a total breakdown of moral values and ethical standards.

Two things will rule this society – an insatiable will, and an absence of legitimate aspirations.

Even now, amassing wealth by resorting to different shenanigans and aggrandising power are considered as something anti-social, but after 10 years, society will embrace people practising these with great alacrity and open arms.

Already, people in our society are more focused on setting up money-making machines, rather than concentrating more on developing a generation inspired by rectitude, altruism and good sense.

If you have come this far and this write-up has left you totally flabbergasted about the future, then placate yourself. Nothing of this sort is going to happen, as this piece is purely a work of fiction.

Pretend to be deliberately obtuse to allay the fear simmering within you right now, and use the cup of tea you were imbibing as an anodyne to numb the emotional pain you are in now, after perusing this piece.

This article first appeared in Dhaka Tribune.