Amartya Sen categorises Rohingyas’ experience of genocide as a slow genocide. His categorisation is borne out in our experience. To situate our understandings, we draw from Sanayal’s arguments on the developmental state and the organisation of postcolonial capitalism. We argue that the core understanding of the political economy of slow genocide calls for the characterisation of genocide in relation to the capitalist formation of a developmental state and of particular social relations; this was conducted by organising the hierarchies of both civil and political societies as dominant and dominated factions within the project of the nation-state and nation-building. Examining the management of de facto stateless people reveals how substitutability evolves as a management strategy by the militarised form of the nation-state project. This strategy also characterises the politics of institutionalising and legitimising violence in the forms of expulsion, displacement, and death. Hence, we argue that the substitutability strategy is underpinned by the logic of extinction; thereby, this strategy institutionalises and legitimises violence in the forms of genocide. Thus, racial capitalism is organised and reconfigures the lives of minority communities in the context of the developmental states. Finally, we extend our debate by asking what role business academics should undertake in an increasingly corporatised academy in contemporary global capitalism.

Keywords: slow genocide, Rohingya, stateless people, Myanmar, substitution, racial capitalism

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Author information:

Habiburahman (“Habib”) is Rohingya. Born in 1979 in Burma, he escaped torture, persecution, and detention by fleeing to neighbouring countries, where he faced further discrimination and violence. In 2009 he came to Australia by boat, spending 32 months in various detention centres. Now in Melbourne, he remains passportless and stateless. He is the founder and secretary of the Australian Burmese Rohingya Organization (ABRO).

Fahreen Alamgir received her Master’s in Management from the University of Dhaka and her PhD from the School of Management of RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Her research focuses on inequity, inequality, and violence, focusing on precariat migrant workers, the feminised workforce, refugees, and the stateless people.

Posted by Habiburahman, & Fahreen Alamgir