20 May, 2022

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A Layman’s Long-View Of The Economy

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Experts rarely layout the longer view of Lanka’s impasse in simple words. Political manifestoes are all boringly much the same except a difference in emphasis between the roles of state and market. I do not touch on a What Next Programme today; that will have to wait. I wish to take a step back and measure processes not persons. We need first to appreciate that both the consumer side and producer side have been transformed between Independence and now. In previous times mass consumption needs were simpler; now even the less well-off classes and all but the lowest stratum in the village have more complex expectations; books and apparel for school kids, tuition-masters, consumer durables – fridge, microwave, gas-cooker, a motorbike or a scooter, and money to sometimes take a three-wheeler, better clothes, jeans, shoes, the list goes on. There is explosive growth not only in the amount but also range and variety of consumer demands across the social spectrum. And I must mention the quality of housing and furnishing. This is not the snotty elite; I refer to maybe 70 or 80 percent of people in towns and villages.

A simple agricultural economy as in colonial times cannot generate the surplus required to meet these expectations of a much-expanded population. In an agricultural economy the value of output minus costs of production (including farmers labour time) is too small to generate a net economic surplus to carry this burden. (The plantation sector of course produces a large surplus). This is transformation number one, the consumption side.

There have also been advances to a degree in the production side. Local industry in the broad sense that includes the capitalist sector, state enterprises after the mid-1950s and often forgotten but very important small and medium enterprises (SME) has expanded, somewhat. (The contribution of SMEs to the economy, in production, services – repair shops, computer services and trade – is significant). Still, the gross surplus generated in production is inadequate to (a) plough back for sector expansion and (b) satisfy growing consumer needs. The extended nature of consumption and the somewhat muted progress in production together characterise Sri Lanka’s stifled transition to economic modernism. I speak here of the economic side, not of life-style, cultural, educational and political progress. Furthermore, alterations in the rural sector has created an excess labour pool that the agricultural economy cannot absorb. This together with population growth has led to a demand by the young for jobs in the modern sector which it cannot satisfy because this sector is struggling to expand.

Allow me to summarise what I have said. There has been a large if not explosive expansion in consumption but a by no means matching response in production. It is also vital to bear in mind that the surplus value (that is output-value net of all costs including labour) created in manufacturing, services, plantations and SMEs, must put aside a portion for expanded reproduction. In other words, a part of the profits in manufacturing must be ploughed back for expanded reproduction. But Sri Lanka is a democracy, every one of us jealously guards our democratic system. When you have growing mass consumption, inadequate surplus generated in production and also democracy, the outcome is inevitable; Political Populism!

Political parties, leaders and budgets have no option but to resort to theoretically off-radar methods not only to survive but also to maintain social stability. Otherwise you get strikes, unsustainable wage demands, hartal-1953, electoral avalanches (1956, 1970, 1977, 1994-Chandrika, 2019-20 Rajapaksa landslides) and now in 2022 an explosion on the streets. I do not gloss over corrupt leaders, rampant robbery by political classes and monumental policy blunders but these subjective elements have to be placed side by side with evolved economic imbalances. The failure of material conditions is more important than the robber barons, but let’s not pause here to argue about chickens and eggs.

You would have observed that I have so far assumed a closed or autarchic economy. That is, I have not said anything but cross-border influences – trade, export-import, foreign investment and indebtedness. In the case of a small dependent economy, in an age where globalisation is sweeping like wildfire across the world and bending even mighty China to its will, to ignore the ‘border’ is like talking about an unclothed emperor. Take-off into modernism failed in Lanka because economic conditions for take-off did not come to fruition. And add another aspect, nationalism. Sinhala nationalist extremism and its child a Tamil nationalist civil-war undermined economic development. The counter example that is quoted frequently is Singapore. The thesis that basic material factors are interwoven with the independent actions of decision-making elites is not new, some people have a name for it, the dialectic, but never mind, no ideology today.

But there is no escaping that the political dimension influenced the consumption-production contradiction and had deep influence on how take-off into modernism took effect in countries whose economies modernised. The Singapore way curtailed racist-populism but satisfied consumption expectations (housing first), in South Korea the tool was harsh repression till the capitalist class expanded the economy, then the dictatorship was overthrown in the late 1980s releasing the nations democratic energies. Taiwan’s is far too complicated a story of economic take-off and political democratisation to recount here. These are examples of take-off into economic modernity and democracy. Eastern Europe pulled off economic take-off under the Stalinist gun and democratisation after the Berlin Wall tumbled. Among smaller countries, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela have failed the tests of both democratisation and economic take-off for reasons outside the scope of this essay.

The previous paragraph was something of a digression. I wish to return to the significance of turning away from the autarkic road (closed-economy) to economic modernisation and return to the theme of cross-border flows; that is globalisation, external economic relations and foreign investment. The chances of economic take-off in a closed economy (that is generating sufficient surplus in domestic industry and manufacturing alone to bridge the ever-widening consumption-production imbalance) is zero. Sri Lanka is the classic example of that failure. We have fiscal deficit, money printing, balance of payment deficits and gigantic foreign debt. Even if Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ and the Prophet were President, Prime Minister and Finance Minister (in any order) this outcome was inevitable in a country that has for seventy years been unable to raise production to match consumption. In truth Lanka is not a closed economy, but it has not been open enough to modernise production, trade, investment, technology and thinking.

Enter trade and investment

Investment from abroad whether the capitalist West or China is the lifeline if after these chaps take away their profits there is, first, expanding reproduction (growth in production), second a surplus injected in some form (goods, services or money) into local consumption and third employment creation. Employment is another way of saying injecting consumption into the domestic economy. Production has to expand and expand uninterruptedly to meet increasing and diversifying local consumption expectations. This is where champions of shaving imports down to the bone, eliminating all “luxury” imports, introducing cooperative distribution of necessities and such like frugality, are careless. There is a large element of social justice motivating them; that’s ok but it’s not going to do much good for modernising and expanding production. It also calls for a licence regime; licence-raj as they call it in India.

Allow me to tell you a story about licence-raj. My late uncle Vernon Peries was Director of Family Planning in the 1970s. At one stage there was panic in all the clinics; the essential wherewithal had disappeared from pharmacy shelves. Vernon maama investigated, visited the Treasury and dug out files. Now this was the era when the import of sports goods was prohibited as a luxury. He found that an enterprising official had classified condoms as Sports Equipment and the Customs Department had withheld import licences. That’s a true story, and that’s licence-raj for you.

To get back; does encouragement of foreign investment spell the death of state engagement in the economy? No, in my scheme which envisages a different State from now, there will be directive principles about what investments are welcome bearing in mind the three criteria in the para before my sporting story. I envisage three categories; all-foreign, joint ventures where local and overseas capitalists participate, and in the case of the largest enterprises, joint ventures between the state and big investors. Sure, investors have to take something away, but it has to be a win for the nation too; Deng Xiao Ping played it well. They left behind the capability of production facilities to survive on their own when it was time to say goodbye. This assumes a government with clear objectives and the ability to implement policy. Observe that I have not touched on technology and productivity enhancement – crucial, but too much for one essay.

What are the benefits? One is rent extraction. Taxes and duties will accrue to the state, that’s a sine qua non apart from the previously mentioned three points. This helps finance populist demands without recourse to deficit budgets. And export earnings will help buy motorbikes, cell-phones, refrigerators, books and blue jeans without falling off the debt cliff. It assumes intelligent political leadership and clear policy; well, if you don’t have that forget the whole discourse anyway.

My mind is on a future progressive regime, so in relation to state-foreign joint ventures what should the role of the state in enterprise management be? Managers of the best international companies are professionals whose loyalty is to the excellence of the company itself; they are rarely the big investor or representatives of share-holders. Similarly, our government and ministerial mutts should keep their grubby fingers out and let able managers get on with it. Younger readers will not know BD Rampala, Vere de Mel and ANS Kulasinghe. The role of the state is only laying out directive principles.

You might object that this is not socialism. Well which idiot said that socialism was possible in one country, and how bizarre to expect it in a tiny island or to expect it even in mighty China in this day and age? But I am not talking about bare-faced capitalism and extraction of surplus value by that class by simple exploitation either. What is the state form in Vietnam, or in China or such indeterminate cases? Not capitalism, but I don’t have a name for it either – a rose by any other name is good enough. As for party programmes everybody says the same thing; raising production and productivity, pruning handouts, cutting expenditure, export orientation and attracting foreign investment of the correct type. Aye there’s the rub; the dichotomy between inordinate market orientation and the directive function of the state. But that’s for another time.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    0

    Good to see you back, faithful Old War Horse!
    .
    It’s also sensible that you took a bit of a break. I hope this computer stuff won’t take too long. Got to demonstrate in Matara.
    .
    Just see this:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/on-political-appointments-to-universities/
    .
    Manel is coming out with her guilty secrets!
    .
    She’ll be deadlier than the male.
    .
    Regards,
    .
    Panini

  • 1
    1

    Prof. KD,

    Rajapaksas really thought that credit cards for increased consumption would magically create impetus for greater production. But are the rural Lankans really on credit cards? No, they pay cash for their expenses, using cash that they earn in places like labour camps of the Middle East. It is the commercial side that makes money off them, of which they off-shore the profits. Bits and pieces of any global profits on these off-shore accounts are doled back to Lankan worker-producers.

    Yes, greater corporation across the border would have been great. However, joining Tamil Nadu, the closest place across our border, would have made Sinhalese more Tamil. Not a bad thing of course. But since the Sinhalese do not want that, they should not have gone to off-shore accounts for off-shore creation of wealth for individualistic purposes.

    Yes, I agree we have to be socialist first, for the economic take-off. And after that has been achieved, end the dictatorships with the democratic take-off. It is that simple; evidentiary. But our Sinhalese (especially the R’s) never had the intellect to understand that. No, R’s and also JRJ went backwards, and used dictatorship for free-trade. Never worked. Dumb!

    • 2
      1

      What about paying our workers their due wages in proportion with the profits of production, without off-shoring our profits. Luxury items are only for rich countries that have excess profits, or credit expectations as they have far greater potential and ingenuity for enterprise on their side e.g. scientific ones, or ability to control another country that is trying to rival them e.g. America vs. Russia. Motherland has little of these, therefore making indulgence on luxury foreign goods moot in terms of overall profits for the country. Indeed, it creates shock, distrust, and justifiable anger.

      But yes, foreign investment is a good thing for Lankans to produce goods for foreigners, where we too will get a share in the profits via, as you say, rent extraction, taxes and duties accrued to the state. However, all these profits will go, yet again, to offshore accounts of the elites handling the profits. And state-foreign joint ventures profits go directly to the grubby hands of the politicians for their campaigns and luxury needs. And future consolidation of the Kingly Crown.

      In the end, it’s all about Capitalized-Socialism! That’s the only way to keep profits of labor for the Lankan worker.

  • 2
    2

    Mr. Kumar David, great article, yes. I will read it in full and get back to you, what I can say for now is, as a certain official said: “This could be an opportunity”. Could it be the chance to get back to the idyllic socialist Sri Lanka we had in the 1970s with queues for bread and rationing for everything else?

    • 0
      2

      Sorry, Professor Kumar David. I missed that,

    • 3
      0

      V
      There was a seven fold increase in oil price between 1973 and 75. There was also a two-year worldwide drought that affected grain availability.
      The country was not thrown into debt.

      • 2
        2

        SJ , is right. Vanguard do you remember the last time we were dysfunctional, failed and bankrupt ??

        • 2
          2

          Rear end guard, your colleague Regie the fund manager can help you with answers.

        • 0
          0

          So those policies were good for the country?

          • 0
            0

            It’s not about returning to any policies, but changing the whole corrupted political system. I agree the policies we had before were worse which turned ugly after two decades of Rajapaksa’s economy. We were a failed dysfunctional country and thanks to Rajapaksas, now bankrupt. Since InDependence all we had until now are family dynasty, kleptocracy, corruption, crime, nepotism, political exploitation, pseudo patriotism, religious/racial discrimination ……… the list is endless. If you think we were any better after 84, may be financially (on paper) but not otherwise. Then again as expected, it didn’t last that long.

        • 0
          0

          We are not bankrupt, however I hope you enjoy your memories of when we were functional and not failed. 1977 to 1983 maybe?

    • 2
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      Absolutely, VanguardII,
      .
      I don’t know what sorts of idiots gave your comment two dislikes.
      .
      Caviar to the general. I know that this comment of mine is going to be full of contradictions! After all, the guy who wrote this is only an electrical engineer, but what a master of the English Language!
      .
      And I’m speaking of caviar to a guy who’s had a lifelong obsession with Marxism . Oops, sorry! He’s supposed to have been a Marxist since the age of 14, but he was right to proudly claim, that he’s been a Marxist longer than old Karl. The oldest person ever (on record) lived to the age of 122; so let’s hope that Kumar breaks that record as well by living for another 45. At 73, I wish I could live another 45, so that I could read such articles by him.
      .
      I’ve spoken of the great Swift already; in Laputa he makes Gullive run into Struldbruggs :
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struldbrugg
      .
      No point living like that, of course. Methuselah?
      .
      No, that’s rubbish
      from the Bible. Swift was without doubt an Anglican priest, but he was withal, a good specimen of one!!

  • 2
    1

    Sinhala land will never be anything other than beggar land because its prevalence of looting arson murders of minorities and their business establishments that create employment in sinhala land for the beggar sinhalas.

    I met a sri lankan minority person a week ago who had worked in bangladesh and he said that the main industry there is garment manufacturing and it was all set up by sri lankan minorities. That the infrastructure and set up is industry favourable and dealings with government officials get a response within maximum three days!. He said sri lankan entrepreneurs in bangladesh are highly valued and respected (cf lotting and arson in sinhala land)

    A Singapore wealth manager told me that I may not believe it that his clientele are mainly bangladeshi millionaires. Now after this bloke telling me how efficient bangladesh is and knowing that beggar sinhalas had to borrow $USD 500million from bangladesh I now believe this.

  • 4
    4

    “Among smaller countries, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela have failed the tests of both democratisation and economic take-off for reasons outside the scope of this essay.”
    *
    The author should be adequately aware that these three countries were victims of cruel sanctions and repeated attempted sabotage by US imperialism.
    Contrary to the claim of the author, the three governments have creditably withstood US assault on their sovereignty and the economies are fast recovering. (The US now wants Venezuela to produce oil for it!) There is far more popular support amid US-backed counterrevolutionary activities within and without the countries.
    *
    It would not have taken more than a few lines to discuss there countries and an honest comment would have placed the background in proper perspective.
    *
    Depending heavily on mainstream media hurts one’s independent thinking.

  • 3
    5

    “Well which idiot said that socialism was possible in one country”
    It was built in more than one country individually instead of waiting for “world revolution”.
    It endured decades much to the dismay of some ‘progressives’.
    *
    BTW, which bunch of idiots claimed that revolution was round the corner?
    Which bunch of idiots claimed that the UF government was socialist and tried to achiever socialism by demonitisation, nationalisation of restaurants, planting loyalists in high posts etc. I still remember the claim by the top LSSP theoretician that the coalition will take them faster towards their goal, and Sanmugathasan telling him off with “Comrade you are going faster, but in the wrong direction”.
    It took five years for the LSSP and its wise leaders to discover its folly. And even longer for the seven PhD holders who ditched the LSSP.

  • 5
    5

    “Allow me to summarise what I have said. There has been a large if not explosive expansion in consumption”
    Is not this ballooning of consumption that several call economic growth?
    Why are we craving more electricity with imported fuel to run air conditioners?
    How many of us have had the courage to denounce our post-1978 consumerism?

    • 2
      1

      SJ,
      “Why are we craving more electricity with imported fuel to run air conditioners?”
      Good question. The air conditioners are bought on credit, along with the microwaves, 50 inch TV, and all the totally unnecessary paraphernalia which people buy simply because it’s available. In January, out of curiosity, I bought a little heavily discounted Norwegian salmon, which turned out to be identical to the local “Kossa” when cooked. What a waste of foreign exchange!
      BTW, 90% of microwaves end up as status symbols, because most owners find them too complicated, or think they are radio-active.
      We need to ban all credit for a start. Let people live within their means.

      • 2
        2

        “50 inch TV”

        Some wanna take a closer magnified look of Palki Sharma!

        I say, hang Palki!

        • 2
          2

          Nimal,
          Don’t you think it strange that Palki isn’t seen in anything better than 480 quality?

          • 4
            0

            old codger

            Please remember Nimal is bit of a ladies’ man.
            It does not matter if it is 360 or 1080.
            Man knows how to appreciate beauty even in utter darkness.
            Therefore, nimal fernando for president, prime minister, Defense Minister, minister for women, Finance Minister, ………. Minister.

      • 2
        0

        OC
        Thanks for that elaboration.
        Consumption is based on imagined need, often having what the other man has.

      • 3
        0

        Dear oc,
        .
        FIRST DISSENT
        *
        .
        What you say about air conditioners is very true. They consume in a minute the energy that can be traced back to what millions of little creatures left behind aeons before man evolved.
        .
        In 1990, I asserted that truth , and was told that I couldn’t be trusted with educating young Lankan minds. I have written about all that, but they have so far succeeded in silencing me.
        .
        Jonathan Swift, 296 years ago, in Brobdingnag , saw the warts and pock marks on the face of nimal’s Palki Sharma .
        .
        However, my personal experience with microwave ovens is that I use them about ten times a day. I don’t bother with the complications. I don’t operate them at 10% power even if that is what Europeans are advised to do when thawing that poor chicken that was allowed only 42 days of unreal life. The chicken farmer does all that.
        .
        I only warm food – and only at 100% power. I’m conscious of the power consumed by the turntable. So warming a full meal for 90 seconds becomes 30X3, with one minute pauses between as standing time.

        • 4
          0

          SM,
          Microwave ovens are very efficient when used correctly, which most owners don’t.
          You can safely warm food at 20%. The oven automatically does the “pauses” you mention at that setting. I use mine to even cook small portions of curries, make pittu, etc. Don’t be afraid of experimenting.

      • 4
        1

        OC,
        Not all microwave ovens are user unfriendly. The problem in developing world incl SL, is that they import without respecting the consumer expectations.

        Please find below the chart you could see the sizes of various waves per its frequendies.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_spectrum

        FYI. Microwaves are not radioactive. As is the case in SL with BUDURAS (radition of buddha on Stupas) there are also myths based on waves.
        Microwaves are btw non-ironizing radiations.
        .
        Is microwave radiation harmful?
        Microwaves, in addition to radio waves and visible light, are all non-ionizing radiation. The only non-ionizing radiation that causes cancer is UV light. So overall, microwave ovens are safe to use and will not cause cancer or any other adverse health conditions.

        Ironizing radition is proved to be cancerous.
        :
        So you may use micriowave oven without any hesitation.

        .

        • 2
          1

          LM,
          I am a great fan of microwave ovens, never believed all the BS.

  • 3
    1

    Very good article KD. A much optimistic and practical answer. Will it happen ???? But my guess is, the hole we are in right now is much deeper than what is told. Only a miracle can help in coming out. Remember, it’s 75 years problem exacerbated by 20 years of Rajapaksas economy.

    • 0
      1

      There are more solutions that political parties in Sri Lanka, so eventually one of them will solve the problem. Unless they sabotage each other but that never happened before. There is always a first time.

  • 2
    11

    ” I wish to return to the significance of turning away from the autarkic road (closed-economy) to economic modernisation and return to the theme of cross-border flows; that is globalisation, external economic relations and foreign investment. “

    These were JR’s plans all along. Open-market economic policies to attract foreign investors while building up the basic infrastructure of the country. A total reversal of the policies of that buffoon, Sirima. Most of the power generation in the country still comes from dams initiated during JR’s time. This was around the time Deng had opened up the Chinese economy. Unfortunately, JR had to put his plans on hold due to Tamil Tiger terrorism. It goes without saying, Sri Lanka at the time had a more highly educated workforce than China. It wouldn’t need a “port city” similar to today. With all the FDI coming into Sri Lanka, it would have had many supercities and be competing with Singapore, China, and the other “dragons.”

    • 5
      1

      Hi Lester the Jester,
      Nice to hear from you!
      “With all the FDI coming into Sri Lanka, it would have had many supercities and be competing with Singapore, China, and the other “dragons.”
      I cannot agree with you more on that sentiment!! MISSED the Bus!!!
      It was unfortunate that ‘Terrorism and LTTE’, made significant retardation of the progress and achievement expected to achieve JRJ’s dream.
      JRJ, was a missionary, more ‘visionary’ politician than any other of his vintage!!
      Having said that there were undoubtedly, elements in the opposition, antagonist aplenty working against JRJ’s and UNP.s success n 1978?
      Case in point, THERE WERE FAMILIES AND THEIR RELATIVES RESIDENT IN THE BEST PARTS OF COLOMBO, COMPLAINING THAT IT HAS BECOME IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO LIVE IN COLOMBO CITY (Cinnamon gardens, Colpetty, Borella, Bambalapitiya and Havelock Town) and moving to suburbs out outside, Colombo city limits of Kadawatha, Malabe, Kandana, Kotte, Nawala and Battaramulla!!
      Castigating JRJ and his party (UNP) as the ‘Villain of the Peace’!!!
      The truth of the matter was different!!!
      The MOVE from inner suburbs to the outermost, was not in DISGUST, but in most cases sought by AVARICE!!!

      • 1
        5

        Low IQ Mahila,

        As usual you are just stating a problem without offering any solution. JR made mistakes, but he did more for the development of the country than any other politician. You terror supporters are so hung up on “racism” and the fake freedom struggle, you don’t understand that economic development is an entirely different issue. China experienced double-digit GDP growth without any consideration to human rights or democracy.

        • 3
          1

          If Mahila ‘s IQ is that lower, yours should be 1/ 1000000000000000000. of it.
          .
          Pleae grow up Lester ! We understand your kind of MINDSET… more of you are down there in our hell – they are the ones who paved the way real high criminasl be back and destroy where they were stopped by 2015.
          :
          As today their bag boys (Nimal Perera or the like) cant face even the cameras of the foreign journalists. The damage Rajapakshes bp shave made to this nation/country is beyond all estimation.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLQqd4IpiaE

          • 2
            1

            Thanks, “leelagemalli”, I’ve seen this, and then got led to other sites.
            .
            We now seem to be getting somewhere, but it may be too complicated to get across to the majority of Lankans.
            .
            I think that I can vouch for your being genuine, but I hope you now see the importance of having someone like me telling the plain, simple truth – and being identifiable.
            .
            Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)

        • 3
          1

          Lester the Jester

          “JR made mistakes, but he did more for the development of the country than any other politician.”

          True he presided over thugs who burned down a Public Library with more than 95,000 books and old ola records and then he tried to find a final solution for the TAMIL PROBLEM, then of course tried very hard to solve Sinhala Youth problem by killing tens of thousands of innocent young people, brought the IPKF to TAMIL PROBLEM again, ……

          And he introduced a new constitution to perpetuate corrupt undemocratic dictatorial regimes.
          Did he solve any problem?
          In fact he created more problems than he solved any.
          You need time to relax.

        • 2
          2

          Thanks, “leelagemalli” ,
          .
          This eleven minute YouTube that you’ve linked us to has stunning information.
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLQqd4IpiaE
          .

          However, I must once again draw your attention to little details that are necessary for any new reader to take us seriously. With so many using pseudonyms, this is why I tend to give yours in full.
          .
          By now I have clearly indicated that you are a real person with whom I converse on WhatsApp, but, owing to your request, I am careful not to reveal your real name or where in Germany you reside. There is a serious overload of information and it is important that we follow up on what those whom we trust are saying. And be accurate; see, you have misspelt “Rajapaksa”, and added a totally unnecessary “bp”; guys like me know the context in which some of you devised that; I never use it.
          .
          We can’t repeatedly be saying the same thing. Look at the first comment on this article – made by me before setting out for Matara myself, and before properly reading this article.
          .
          tbc
          .
          Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)

        • 4
          0

          Continuing…
          .
          I have given you a link to an article by a Dr Janaki Jayawardena. You will find there a whole comment by me dealing with the spelling of “Rajapaksa”.
          .
          That article had started off promising to expose much but petered out after those who knew about Colombo University began to rebut the author’s neutrality. Comments are over there now, but it’s important that you look at them.
          .
          I stress again the importance of taking responsibility for what we say; it doesn’t matter saying fewer things.
          .
          What happened in Parliament yesterday? I know that you have work; I have other problems: power cuts only the most obvious.
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EGcySL9a_k
          .
          We’re beginning to rely dangerously on WION. They’re following events closely, but it’s staccato, and hardly disinterested.
          .
          You know my reservations about Sajith; I heard his speech yesterday, and thought it good. At that point it had looked as though we weren’t going to have the secret ballot for Deputy Speaker.
          .
          Yesterday’s 40 minutes are good, but we have to be mindful about not overloading this English site with Sinhalese:
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fDrk6fgbuM
          .
          and today this makes Bharatha Thennakoon’s blogs an industry:
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6g4RwBmKdo&t=110s

    • 2
      1

      (Part II)
      Renting/Leasing their present vast household to the foreigners spending a ‘PITTANCE ON AIR CONDITIONERS AND CARPETING’ to purchase a ‘SECOND HOME’ in the suburbs along with a car for ‘locomotion’ to boot, with the quick cash gained due to influx of the “foreign mafia of consultants of all sorts”
      COLOMBO OVERNIGHT IN 1978 TURNED OUT TO BE CITY OF RS. 100,000 PER PERCH OF LAND VALUE TO ALMOST RS. 1,000,000 PER PERCH LAND VALUE WITHIN 12 MONTHS – END OF YEAR!!!
      None thanked JRJ, for the economic upturn or visionary “Open Economy and of Free Market”, cursed him for the ‘Ill-Effects’ of “Variation/Fluctuation in price changes of commodities, based on SUPPLY AND DEMAND and ’Native liking of Consumerism’, till this day,I find people ‘writing because the Curse of JRJ free market economy’!!!
      WHEN WE HAVE ABUNDANCE OF STUPIDS, WHY DOES THE NEED ARISE FOR INTELLIGENCE??!
      “ROBERT KNOX VINDICATED”!

    • 6
      2

      “With all the FDI coming into Sri Lanka,…”
      Why did it not happen?

  • 3
    1

    what is taking place today is the end-game of the political-tool of weaponized “Sinhalese-Buddhism”………. brought on by economic hardship ……….. brought on by gross mismanagement, incompetence, ignorance and unimaginable asininity.

    How will all this end? ……. Your guess is as good as mine.

    I haven’t a clue ………. Gotta wait and see

    • 3
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      Nimal is Malwathu burned out ?? Says he will not be meeting politicians anymore.

      • 3
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        chiv

        “Nimal is Malwathu burned out ?? Says he will not be meeting politicians anymore.”

        Both Malwathu and Asgiria met with some of the protesters today according to media. How did the protesters select their representatives is not known. Are they actually representing the protesters or Mahinda’s young b***s carriers is a question for which I am looking for answers.

        China has agreed to grant Sri Lanka 300 million Yuan.
        Whether this amount will be used as Rajapaksa family’s travel expenses or for them to buy some quality crowd control equipment is not known.

        Lets wait SJ to say something about TNA.

        • 0
          1

          “Lets wait SJ to say something about TNA.”
          This time, I will not hurt the balls that you bear.

  • 5
    1

    Lester the Jester

    “JR made mistakes, but he did more for the development of the country than any other politician.”

    True he presided over thugs who burned down a Public Library with more than 95,000 books and old ola records and then he tried to find a final solution for the TAMIL PROBLEM in 1983, then of course tried very hard to solve Sinhala Youth problem by killing tens of thousands of innocent young people, brought the IPKF to TAMIL PROBLEM again, ……

    And he introduced a new constitution in 1978 to perpetuate corrupt undemocratic dictatorial regimes.
    Did he solve any problem?
    In fact he created more problems than he solved any.
    You need time to relax.

    • 1
      1

      Lying Veddah,

      Foreigners, other than LTTE terror supporters, love Sri Lanka.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93pVoxyMT-Y.

      That guy was in Sri Lanka for 50 days, he says safety was never an issue. He even recommends it to single women. No one harassed or cheated him.

      You and your Tamil diaspora spent 30 years lying to Westerners about a fake genocide, now people can visit see the truth for themselves.

      Stop thinking in terms of “Tamil, Tamil, Tamil.” No one gives a s-t about Tamils. Island is MULTICULTURAL. Tamils will be replaced with Muslims demographically, so you are wasting your time.

  • 1
    0

    I think we do disservice to the intent of the article. The points are well made: consumption has outweighed production and trading with foreign parties has not been a solution.

    There are two things that the good professor has not addressed : one is the environment, we could carve and cut our way to development if we mine and sell our land – or bauxite – or oil or whatever we can, Venezuela is a great example for several reasons. The current economic model is not sustainable, it never was, and now the West is pretending to wake up, although vested interests deny global warming.

    The second concept is somewhat related, it is about limits to growth, the classic work from the 1960s that predicted, and has been verified again, which predicts a global economic and environmental meltdown in around 2054.

    Given these factors, a far sighted political leadership must plan for survival beyond these doomsdays and seldom is this factored into anything.

    The concept of de-growth, that is, keeping the increase in GDP at near zero and maintaining the environment and social infrastructure as a constant, is another option, but I suspect will not be very popular in Sri Lanka.

  • 3
    1

    Can those reading this article, which has drawn responses from a number of intelligent people, believe this? With the country in this turmoil, some want not only Test Cricket, but also Day-Night matches!
    .
    ‘“The law enforcing authorities, with their past experience, are accommodating and there is no unrest on the streets. The people are listening to music at home and they will watch cricket too. But it will take one insane person to disturb the quietness, so we can’t predict what will be the state of affairs when the series is scheduled to begin in a month ,” says Colombo-based Malinda Seneviratne, a political analyst.’
    .
    To be found here:
    .
    https://island.lk/australias-tour-of-sri-lanka-2022-strife-hit-sri-lanka-banks-hopes-on-australias-tour/
    .
    There is no hint of satire; they could well be serious about all this.
    .
    As for Malinda, I knew him extremely well, at Peradeniya where he was two years my junior (read also as c. 14 years younger!). We both directed plays in an Inter-Halls Drama competition, and he came up with a pretty interesting re-hash of a Chekhov play. Mine won, but that’s a different matter!
    .
    Can you just believe the callousness of these Colombo guys?
    .
    Bandarawela Guy – Panini Edirisinhe

  • 0
    3

    Cricket will bring in dollars. Business has to go on, I am all for this. We have embarked on a commercialized world wide circus called globalization so lets not stop now.

    If you are worried about callousness they could carry placards while they eat and drink – drinking is important these days.

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