We were just talking, in part one, about a family reacting to Japanese and Korean steel flooding America, and American steel having a problem. Now if we go across the ocean to Asia, we've got the same thing going on over there, don't we?

Absolutely. Bangladesh - one of the world's poorest nations. 144 million people living on an acreage about equal to the state of Iowa. And there's not a whole lot of industry in Bangladesh. But one of the strongest parts of their economy was the garment industry. It's a low wage, low skill business. But it's been hurt, thrown into turmoil by China; the world's economic colossus is moving big into that business. So it has really thrown a lot of people in Bangladesh out of work.

So what do they do?

Well, there's another export industry that a lot of resources are being poured into in Bangladesh. And it's shrimp.

It's shrimp? Shrimp for export?

When you go to the grocery store and you go to the frozen food part of the counter and you pull out those frozen shrimp, there's a good chance they came from Bangladesh.

Now here is where the comparison gets interesting. When the Nemeths in Pittsburgh had to deal with Japanese steel, they had schools, they had social insurance, they had the rule of law for one thing. You couldn't just be thrown out of your house or out of your job with impunity. But when you go to a very poor part of the world like Bangladesh, and families get hit by international change there, then you get a very different situation.

All right, let's take a look.

A woman pulling a prawn fishing net from the mud embankment on the Matla river, in the Sundarbans delta.

Winners and Losers
part 1 2 3 4

Prawns in Bangladesh
by Lucy Ash, BBC Current Affairs

My guide here today on this chilly morning is Morshed Ali Khan of the Daily Star newspaper. We've come along because we're trying to find some fry collectors. They're the people who've stretched their nets all the way along this riverbank and they're hoping to catch some fry or baby prawns. We're at the gateway to the Sunderbans, the world's largest coastal mangrove belt. They stretch all the way down here south to the Bay of Bengal. We've stopped here now to talk to an old woman who's hunched over a small bowl. She's up to her knees in mud. Her name is Noor Jihan.

There's a stiff breeze blowing.

She came very early morning. She says it's very cold out here. She collects this bowl full of water.

Ms. Jihan has wrinkled hands. She collects water in an aluminum pot, then sifts through it with a mother of pearl shell. She's shivering in the cold.

This water is so muddy and murky. I don't know how she can see anything in it. How much does she earn doing this?

She sold her fry yesterday for 10 taka. [About fifteen cents.]

Continue to part 2

©2018 American Public Media