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Black_cats

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South Asia Should Pay Attention to Its Standout Star

India and Pakistan have much to learn from their once-poorer neighbor Bangladesh.

By Mihir Sharma

May 31, 2021, 7:30 PM EDTCorrected May 31, 2021, 11:29 PM EDT


Bangladeshi women have been key to the country’s rise.

Bangladeshi women have been key to the country’s rise.

Photographer: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

Half a century ago, in March 1971, Bangladesh’s founders declared their independence from richer and more powerful Pakistan. The country was born amid famine and war; millions fled to India or were killed by Pakistani soldiers. To the Pakistani military’s American backers, the new country seemed destined to fail: Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, famously called it a “basketcase.” George Harrison and Ravi Shankar organized the first-ever super-benefit to raise money for UNICEF relief work in the struggling country.

This month, Bangladesh’s Cabinet Secretary told reporters that GDP per capita had grown by 9% over the past year, rising to $2,227. Pakistan’s per capita income, meanwhile, is $1,543. In 1971, Pakistan was 70% richer than Bangladesh; today, Bangladesh is 45% richer than Pakistan. One Pakistani economist glumly pointed out that “it is in the realm of possibility that we could be seeking aid from Bangladesh in 2030.”

India — eternally confident about being the only South Asian economy that matters — now must grapple with the fact that it, too, is poorer than Bangladesh in per capita terms. India’s per capita income in 2020-21 was a mere $1,947.

Don’t hold your breath expecting India to acknowledge Bangladesh’s success: Right-wing figures in India are convinced Bangladesh is so destitute that illegal migrants from there are overrunning the border. In reality, Bangladesh is far richer than the depressed Indian states where Hindu nationalist politicians have been railing against Bangladeshi “termites.” It’s as if Mississippi were fretting about illegal immigration from Canada.

Perhaps that explains why Indian social media exploded with indignation and denial when the GDP numbers were announced. Meanwhile, Bangladeshi media have made little of the comparison. That’s the sort of self-confidence that comes from growing consistently.


Bangladesh’s growth rests on three pillars: exports, social progress and fiscal prudence. Between 2011 and 2019, Bangladesh’s exports grew at 8.6% every year, compared to the world average of 0.4%. The success is largely due to the country’s relentless focus on products, such as apparel, in which it possesses a comparative advantage.

Meanwhile, the share of Bangladeshi women in the labor force has consistently grown, unlike in India and Pakistan, where it has decreased. And Bangladesh has maintained a public debt-to-GDP ratio between 30% and 40%. India and Pakistan will both emerge from the pandemic with public debt close to 90% of GDP. Fiscal restraint has allowed Bangladesh’s private sector to borrow and invest.

Bangladesh’s success brings its own set of problems. For one, its exports benefit from the country’s participation in various mechanisms that allow tariff-free access to developed economies, such as the U.S.’s Generalized System of Preferences. These groupings are only open to the world’s least developed countries. Thanks to its growth, Bangladesh will likely have to give up these privileges by 2026 or so.

As its economy matures, its comparative advantages will also change. Like Vietnam and others, it will then have to shift emphasis away from garments to higher-value exports. The transition will test Bangladesh as it has those other nations.

The government needs a strategy for the next decade that focuses on new forms of global integration and on a continued transformation of the economy. The smartest thing to do would be to retain access to the developed world’s markets by signing free-trade agreements. Work has started on an FTA with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to Bangladeshi officials, but there’s a lot more to be done.

Once again, Bangladesh should benchmark itself against Vietnam, which is not only part of the China-centric Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but also signed an FTA with the European Union in 2019. Transforming the terms of Bangladesh’s trade won’t be easy, which is why the effort needs to start now. Dhaka will have to beef up its negotiating capacity in particular: It doesn’teven have a dedicated set of trade negotiators in its commerce ministry.

Nevertheless, the past 50 years have shown how unwise it is to bet against Bangladesh. In 1971, success seemed well beyond a long shot. Today, the country’s 160 million-plus people, packed into a fertile delta that’s more densely populated than the Vatican City, seem destined to be South Asia’s standout success.

(Correction in second paragraph to remove repetition of the word “Pakistan.”)

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Mihir Sharma at msharma131@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Nisid Hajari at nhajari@bloomberg.net

Mihir Swarup Sharma is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi and head of its Economy and Growth Programme. He is the author of "Restart: The Last Chance for the Indian Economy," and co-editor of "What the Economy Needs Now."

Read more opinionFollow @mihirssharma on Twitter
 

lightoftruth

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And by this definition (of GDP per capita) Sri Lanka and Bhutan are the richest countries in south asia. :rofl:

Selected Countries and Economies
Country
Most Recent Year
Most Recent Value

South Asia
2019
1,956.6

South Asia
Country
Most Recent Year
Most Recent Value

Afghanistan
2019
507.1

Bangladesh
2019
1,855.7

Bhutan
2019
3,316.2


India
2019
2,099.6

Maldives
2019
10,626.5

Nepal
2019
1,071.1

Pakistan
2019
1,284.7

Sri Lanka
2019
3,853.1


https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD?locations=8S
 

Maira La

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And by this definition (of GDP per capita) Sri Lanka and Bhutan are the richest countries in south asia. :rofl:

Selected Countries and Economies
Country
Most Recent Year
Most Recent Value

South Asia
2019
1,956.6

South Asia
Country
Most Recent Year
Most Recent Value

Afghanistan
2019
507.1

Bangladesh
2019
1,855.7

Bhutan
2019
3,316.2


India
2019
2,099.6

Maldives
2019
10,626.5

Nepal
2019
1,071.1

Pakistan
2019
1,284.7

Sri Lanka
2019
3,853.1


https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD?locations=8S
Maldives is the richest. You don't even understand your own post? Were you accidentally dropped as a baby or is it normal Indian IQ?
 

fitpOsitive

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South Asia Should Pay Attention to Its Standout Star

India and Pakistan have much to learn from their once-poorer neighbor Bangladesh.

By Mihir Sharma

May 31, 2021, 7:30 PM EDTCorrected May 31, 2021, 11:29 PM EDT


Bangladeshi women have been key to the country’s rise.

Bangladeshi women have been key to the country’s rise.

Photographer: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

Half a century ago, in March 1971, Bangladesh’s founders declared their independence from richer and more powerful Pakistan. The country was born amid famine and war; millions fled to India or were killed by Pakistani soldiers. To the Pakistani military’s American backers, the new country seemed destined to fail: Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, famously called it a “basketcase.” George Harrison and Ravi Shankar organized the first-ever super-benefit to raise money for UNICEF relief work in the struggling country.

This month, Bangladesh’s Cabinet Secretary told reporters that GDP per capita had grown by 9% over the past year, rising to $2,227. Pakistan’s per capita income, meanwhile, is $1,543. In 1971, Pakistan was 70% richer than Bangladesh; today, Bangladesh is 45% richer than Pakistan. One Pakistani economist glumly pointed out that “it is in the realm of possibility that we could be seeking aid from Bangladesh in 2030.”

India — eternally confident about being the only South Asian economy that matters — now must grapple with the fact that it, too, is poorer than Bangladesh in per capita terms. India’s per capita income in 2020-21 was a mere $1,947.

Don’t hold your breath expecting India to acknowledge Bangladesh’s success: Right-wing figures in India are convinced Bangladesh is so destitute that illegal migrants from there are overrunning the border. In reality, Bangladesh is far richer than the depressed Indian states where Hindu nationalist politicians have been railing against Bangladeshi “termites.” It’s as if Mississippi were fretting about illegal immigration from Canada.

Perhaps that explains why Indian social media exploded with indignation and denial when the GDP numbers were announced. Meanwhile, Bangladeshi media have made little of the comparison. That’s the sort of self-confidence that comes from growing consistently.


Bangladesh’s growth rests on three pillars: exports, social progress and fiscal prudence. Between 2011 and 2019, Bangladesh’s exports grew at 8.6% every year, compared to the world average of 0.4%. The success is largely due to the country’s relentless focus on products, such as apparel, in which it possesses a comparative advantage.

Meanwhile, the share of Bangladeshi women in the labor force has consistently grown, unlike in India and Pakistan, where it has decreased. And Bangladesh has maintained a public debt-to-GDP ratio between 30% and 40%. India and Pakistan will both emerge from the pandemic with public debt close to 90% of GDP. Fiscal restraint has allowed Bangladesh’s private sector to borrow and invest.

Bangladesh’s success brings its own set of problems. For one, its exports benefit from the country’s participation in various mechanisms that allow tariff-free access to developed economies, such as the U.S.’s Generalized System of Preferences. These groupings are only open to the world’s least developed countries. Thanks to its growth, Bangladesh will likely have to give up these privileges by 2026 or so.

As its economy matures, its comparative advantages will also change. Like Vietnam and others, it will then have to shift emphasis away from garments to higher-value exports. The transition will test Bangladesh as it has those other nations.

The government needs a strategy for the next decade that focuses on new forms of global integration and on a continued transformation of the economy. The smartest thing to do would be to retain access to the developed world’s markets by signing free-trade agreements. Work has started on an FTA with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to Bangladeshi officials, but there’s a lot more to be done.

Once again, Bangladesh should benchmark itself against Vietnam, which is not only part of the China-centric Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but also signed an FTA with the European Union in 2019. Transforming the terms of Bangladesh’s trade won’t be easy, which is why the effort needs to start now. Dhaka will have to beef up its negotiating capacity in particular: It doesn’teven have a dedicated set of trade negotiators in its commerce ministry.

Nevertheless, the past 50 years have shown how unwise it is to bet against Bangladesh. In 1971, success seemed well beyond a long shot. Today, the country’s 160 million-plus people, packed into a fertile delta that’s more densely populated than the Vatican City, seem destined to be South Asia’s standout success.

(Correction in second paragraph to remove repetition of the word “Pakistan.”)

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Mihir Sharma at msharma131@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Nisid Hajari at nhajari@bloomberg.net

Mihir Swarup Sharma is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi and head of its Economy and Growth Programme. He is the author of "Restart: The Last Chance for the Indian Economy," and co-editor of "What the Economy Needs Now."

Read more opinionFollow @mihirssharma on Twitter
Why compare to Pakistan and India? Compare to USA, Germany or may be Canada. I mean we are of no match to the great Bangladesh. :lol:
Poor countries.
 
Last edited:

Hareeb

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Thanks to Pakistani businessmen shifting their textile factories to Bangladesh due power crisis during zardari and early NS era.
 

prothought

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South Asia Should Pay Attention to Its Standout Star

India and Pakistan have much to learn from their once-poorer neighbor Bangladesh.

By Mihir Sharma

May 31, 2021, 7:30 PM EDTCorrected May 31, 2021, 11:29 PM EDT


Bangladeshi women have been key to the country’s rise.

Bangladeshi women have been key to the country’s rise.

Photographer: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

Half a century ago, in March 1971, Bangladesh’s founders declared their independence from richer and more powerful Pakistan. The country was born amid famine and war; millions fled to India or were killed by Pakistani soldiers. To the Pakistani military’s American backers, the new country seemed destined to fail: Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, famously called it a “basketcase.” George Harrison and Ravi Shankar organized the first-ever super-benefit to raise money for UNICEF relief work in the struggling country.

This month, Bangladesh’s Cabinet Secretary told reporters that GDP per capita had grown by 9% over the past year, rising to $2,227. Pakistan’s per capita income, meanwhile, is $1,543. In 1971, Pakistan was 70% richer than Bangladesh; today, Bangladesh is 45% richer than Pakistan. One Pakistani economist glumly pointed out that “it is in the realm of possibility that we could be seeking aid from Bangladesh in 2030.”

India — eternally confident about being the only South Asian economy that matters — now must grapple with the fact that it, too, is poorer than Bangladesh in per capita terms. India’s per capita income in 2020-21 was a mere $1,947.

Don’t hold your breath expecting India to acknowledge Bangladesh’s success: Right-wing figures in India are convinced Bangladesh is so destitute that illegal migrants from there are overrunning the border. In reality, Bangladesh is far richer than the depressed Indian states where Hindu nationalist politicians have been railing against Bangladeshi “termites.” It’s as if Mississippi were fretting about illegal immigration from Canada.

Perhaps that explains why Indian social media exploded with indignation and denial when the GDP numbers were announced. Meanwhile, Bangladeshi media have made little of the comparison. That’s the sort of self-confidence that comes from growing consistently.


Bangladesh’s growth rests on three pillars: exports, social progress and fiscal prudence. Between 2011 and 2019, Bangladesh’s exports grew at 8.6% every year, compared to the world average of 0.4%. The success is largely due to the country’s relentless focus on products, such as apparel, in which it possesses a comparative advantage.

Meanwhile, the share of Bangladeshi women in the labor force has consistently grown, unlike in India and Pakistan, where it has decreased. And Bangladesh has maintained a public debt-to-GDP ratio between 30% and 40%. India and Pakistan will both emerge from the pandemic with public debt close to 90% of GDP. Fiscal restraint has allowed Bangladesh’s private sector to borrow and invest.

Bangladesh’s success brings its own set of problems. For one, its exports benefit from the country’s participation in various mechanisms that allow tariff-free access to developed economies, such as the U.S.’s Generalized System of Preferences. These groupings are only open to the world’s least developed countries. Thanks to its growth, Bangladesh will likely have to give up these privileges by 2026 or so.

As its economy matures, its comparative advantages will also change. Like Vietnam and others, it will then have to shift emphasis away from garments to higher-value exports. The transition will test Bangladesh as it has those other nations.

The government needs a strategy for the next decade that focuses on new forms of global integration and on a continued transformation of the economy. The smartest thing to do would be to retain access to the developed world’s markets by signing free-trade agreements. Work has started on an FTA with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to Bangladeshi officials, but there’s a lot more to be done.

Once again, Bangladesh should benchmark itself against Vietnam, which is not only part of the China-centric Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but also signed an FTA with the European Union in 2019. Transforming the terms of Bangladesh’s trade won’t be easy, which is why the effort needs to start now. Dhaka will have to beef up its negotiating capacity in particular: It doesn’teven have a dedicated set of trade negotiators in its commerce ministry.

Nevertheless, the past 50 years have shown how unwise it is to bet against Bangladesh. In 1971, success seemed well beyond a long shot. Today, the country’s 160 million-plus people, packed into a fertile delta that’s more densely populated than the Vatican City, seem destined to be South Asia’s standout success.

(Correction in second paragraph to remove repetition of the word “Pakistan.”)

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Mihir Sharma at msharma131@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Nisid Hajari at nhajari@bloomberg.net

Mihir Swarup Sharma is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi and head of its Economy and Growth Programme. He is the author of "Restart: The Last Chance for the Indian Economy," and co-editor of "What the Economy Needs Now."

Read more opinionFollow @mihirssharma on Twitter
Indian economy shrinks by 7.3% pushing a further 375 million people below the poverty line. India already had more than 800 million people living below poverty line. So, now more than a billion Indians are living with sub-saharan poverty. Indian propagannda on one side, India is an overwhelmingly poverty-striken country. Current pandemic has exposed the real ugly reality about India and its economy. Indians are delusional people and think that the whole world believes in their lies. Using Ambanis and a few metros (while hiding slums in those metros) as showpieces of Indian development was deceptive. Having more than a billion people living with sub-saharan poverty is a shame for a country that spends hundreds of billions of dollars to import weapon systems from all over the world and is following an expansionist policies in the region. Having the biggest pool of poor in the whole world is an utter disgrace but you need some dignity and self-respect to feel it.
 

Irfan Baloch

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South Asia Should Pay Attention to Its Standout Star

India and Pakistan have much to learn from their once-poorer neighbor Bangladesh.

By Mihir Sharma

May 31, 2021, 7:30 PM EDTCorrected May 31, 2021, 11:29 PM EDT


Bangladeshi women have been key to the country’s rise.

Bangladeshi women have been key to the country’s rise.

Photographer: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

Half a century ago, in March 1971, Bangladesh’s founders declared their independence from richer and more powerful Pakistan. The country was born amid famine and war; millions fled to India or were killed by Pakistani soldiers. To the Pakistani military’s American backers, the new country seemed destined to fail: Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, famously called it a “basketcase.” George Harrison and Ravi Shankar organized the first-ever super-benefit to raise money for UNICEF relief work in the struggling country.

This month, Bangladesh’s Cabinet Secretary told reporters that GDP per capita had grown by 9% over the past year, rising to $2,227. Pakistan’s per capita income, meanwhile, is $1,543. In 1971, Pakistan was 70% richer than Bangladesh; today, Bangladesh is 45% richer than Pakistan. One Pakistani economist glumly pointed out that “it is in the realm of possibility that we could be seeking aid from Bangladesh in 2030.”

India — eternally confident about being the only South Asian economy that matters — now must grapple with the fact that it, too, is poorer than Bangladesh in per capita terms. India’s per capita income in 2020-21 was a mere $1,947.

Don’t hold your breath expecting India to acknowledge Bangladesh’s success: Right-wing figures in India are convinced Bangladesh is so destitute that illegal migrants from there are overrunning the border. In reality, Bangladesh is far richer than the depressed Indian states where Hindu nationalist politicians have been railing against Bangladeshi “termites.” It’s as if Mississippi were fretting about illegal immigration from Canada.

Perhaps that explains why Indian social media exploded with indignation and denial when the GDP numbers were announced. Meanwhile, Bangladeshi media have made little of the comparison. That’s the sort of self-confidence that comes from growing consistently.


Bangladesh’s growth rests on three pillars: exports, social progress and fiscal prudence. Between 2011 and 2019, Bangladesh’s exports grew at 8.6% every year, compared to the world average of 0.4%. The success is largely due to the country’s relentless focus on products, such as apparel, in which it possesses a comparative advantage.

Meanwhile, the share of Bangladeshi women in the labor force has consistently grown, unlike in India and Pakistan, where it has decreased. And Bangladesh has maintained a public debt-to-GDP ratio between 30% and 40%. India and Pakistan will both emerge from the pandemic with public debt close to 90% of GDP. Fiscal restraint has allowed Bangladesh’s private sector to borrow and invest.

Bangladesh’s success brings its own set of problems. For one, its exports benefit from the country’s participation in various mechanisms that allow tariff-free access to developed economies, such as the U.S.’s Generalized System of Preferences. These groupings are only open to the world’s least developed countries. Thanks to its growth, Bangladesh will likely have to give up these privileges by 2026 or so.

As its economy matures, its comparative advantages will also change. Like Vietnam and others, it will then have to shift emphasis away from garments to higher-value exports. The transition will test Bangladesh as it has those other nations.

The government needs a strategy for the next decade that focuses on new forms of global integration and on a continued transformation of the economy. The smartest thing to do would be to retain access to the developed world’s markets by signing free-trade agreements. Work has started on an FTA with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to Bangladeshi officials, but there’s a lot more to be done.

Once again, Bangladesh should benchmark itself against Vietnam, which is not only part of the China-centric Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but also signed an FTA with the European Union in 2019. Transforming the terms of Bangladesh’s trade won’t be easy, which is why the effort needs to start now. Dhaka will have to beef up its negotiating capacity in particular: It doesn’teven have a dedicated set of trade negotiators in its commerce ministry.

Nevertheless, the past 50 years have shown how unwise it is to bet against Bangladesh. In 1971, success seemed well beyond a long shot. Today, the country’s 160 million-plus people, packed into a fertile delta that’s more densely populated than the Vatican City, seem destined to be South Asia’s standout success.

(Correction in second paragraph to remove repetition of the word “Pakistan.”)

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Mihir Sharma at msharma131@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Nisid Hajari at nhajari@bloomberg.net

Mihir Swarup Sharma is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi and head of its Economy and Growth Programme. He is the author of "Restart: The Last Chance for the Indian Economy," and co-editor of "What the Economy Needs Now."

Read more opinionFollow @mihirssharma on Twitter
I think at this rate Bangladesh will be richest in the World in few years and Americans and Europeans will line up in front of Bangladesh embassies for better future prospects.
 

IbnAbdullah

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Salaam

I think it's great news for the Bangladeshis. They are doing well for themselves and I hope the trend continues.

However, since there seems to be an element of 'competitive spirit' in the post in regards to Pakistan and India, I'd like to say something about that.

Unlike Bangladesh, Pakistan has been in a constant confrontation with a much larger foe. Pakistan has been punching well above its weight for a long time. We lost more than a decade to the WOT and terrorism because of this.

Ultimately, we are also plagued with the same issues that most post colonialism countries are facing to varying degrees: corruption. However, Pakistan has been forced because of this threat from India to make changes.

I hope with newer prospects and projects like CPEC, things will improve rapidly.

btw I know a lot of people seem to knock it but the Muslim world is going through changes and the progress Pakistan has made in the defence sector has helped Pakistan achieve a good standing in the Muslim world.


The potential of Pakistan is untapped. Not just in terms of population but also geostrategic and economic. I have hope for Pakistan and good wishes for Bangladesh.
 

UKBengali

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I think at this rate Bangladesh will be richest in the World in few years and Americans and Europeans will line up in front of Bangladesh embassies for better future prospects.


Unfortunately the thread starter has a habit of repeatedly posting this kind of news and while BD is doing ok it still has a good 10-15 years to go like this before it can consider itself to have been an economic success story.
 

Pandora

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There is a lot happening between per capita income and income disparity. Although this dick measuring contest every time you go up a dollar is typical i would say open your window and smell the reality in your country. People seem to forget that Pakistan is suffering from devaluation of dollar which is why our per capita is low in dollar terms but not in rupee terms. Last year our dollar rate gained 15 RS and is projected to gain more this Financial year meaning it will go higher and faster than any other country in the region. Still even if we achieve higher per capita income in south asia i would collectively call it shyte for our country. I am more worried about income disparity rather than per capita.

In absolute terms India is the richest country in the region. Their GDP is unmatchable for Bangladesh or Pakistan even in next 3-4 decades. Lets aim higher and not compete each other at the arse end of ranking.

Australia is my second home and here per capita is 52000$. Even if Pakistan gain same level as Bangladesh is today doesnt get rid of the fact the we will still be bottom scrappers.
 
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