1 October, 2020

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Development As Development Of The Heart: Why Are We So Poor?

By Vagisha I. Gunasekara – 

Dr. Vagisha Gunasekara

What is the biggest ethical challenge facing us today?  The reality that we have let economics guide our lives, and in doing so, we have devalued people and the associated virtues of respect, cooperation, empathy, and compassion.  The primacy that we have allotted to economics underlies and complicates daily challenges we face; do the following – “stressed and tired”, “juggling work and home”, “surrounded by selfish individuals”, “led by uncaring politicians”, “in strained relationships”, “constantly pressed for time”, “never enough money, even for the basics” sound familiar?  In other words, we have been carried away by the pragmatics of the “bottom line” dominate our decision-making, turning money, which is essentially a means, into an end in itself, while turning people, ethically understood as “ends in themselves” (according to Immanuel Kant) into mere means.  The idea that money is a resource that should be used to serve our ethical ends—ensuring that our society functions in a way that addresses the needs of everyone—is increasingly losing its allure; instead due to our collective preoccupation with money, we have discarded our responsibility to individual and societal development and lost touch with our values, morals, and relationships with our community and the environment.  This shift to market that aims at transforming society as a whole into a ‘market society’, has not only influenced the behaviour of individuals, government institutions, NGOs, and private organizations active in the domains of development, but also dampened intellectual diversity of ideas about human progress.

Do We Have Our Priorities Right?

Money-making is the raison d’être of the modern human civilization.  At the individual level, many of us, encouraged by parents and society, embrace wealth accumulation as our prime achievement.  Though most of us cannot afford to revolt against such goals created by the market culture, we must not underestimate the lasting impact such values have on our lives and the society at large.  For example, these goals induce pressure on our educational institutions to reshuffle their priorities in favour of the pragmatic goal of preparing young people for the workforce, as if technical knowledge and the skills of obedience and productivity are more important than history, identity, meaning, purpose, values, creativity, and vision.  In the business world, many investors do not see investing as a moral act, but a financial one. Instead of approaching investment as an opportunity to use their extra money to support those businesses they believe are serving society the best, these investors are motivated simply to use their extra money to make even more money for themselves:  they choose to invest in what they think will be most profitable, regardless of whether the values the companies they invest in line up with their own.

The market culture has reduced people to being consumers.  Our addiction to consumerism is not only promoted, but also required by the capitalist economic process which is driven by interminable desire for profits and consumption.  According to the World Watch Institute (2013), there are now more than 1.7 billion members of the “consumer class”—nearly 50% of them in the developing world.  A lifestyle and culture that became common in Europe, North America, Japan, and a few other pockets of the world in the 20th Century is going global in the 21st.  Worldwide, the amount spent on goods and services at the household level—topped US$20 trillion in 2000, a four-fold increase over 1960 (in 1995 US$); and between 1950 and 1990 more goods and services were consumed than by all generations in human history!  But the irony is that a high level of consumption does not necessarily guarantee happiness (Happy Planet Index 2006; Diener & Kahneman 2013 – Gallup Organization).  According to the study, individuals can live long and happy lives without using more than their “fair share” of resources.  Data shows that many poorer countries achieve levels of life satisfaction just as high as their wealthier counterparts, implying that above a minimum level, there is no apparent correlation between per capita income and life satisfaction.  In fact, a recent study “Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility” (Oxfam/IDS 2012) shows that for most individuals in developed as well as developing countries, “home life is less harmonious, with the unpaid work of care left undone or shouldered by harassed working mothers, tired grandparents or children”, begging the question as to whether we are chasing a mirage with our current model of development.

We often spout fashionable terms like “sustainable development”, but do our daily activities and behaviour reflect the type of “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Bruntland Report 1987)?  Instead, we constantly engage in arguments about whether it is realistic to convince states to live within their ecological means, with open, localized economies and resources more equally distributed through new forms of democratic institutions, or whether it is fair to convince individuals that limits on material wealth and comfort are required to secure the environment for future generations.

What is the impediment, then?  We have a structural problem:  the over emphasis on economics has resulted in a de-emphasis on profoundly important things such as, relationships with other humans as well as with nature.  This pandemic in turn has lead to an unsustainable world where everyone wants more and more – giving into our desires at every turn, rather than exercising control and limits. Such irresponsible behaviour is applauded in the current world which values consumption over restraint.  This hierarchy of values, has seeped into our institutional structures (education, labour, politics, economy), through which disruptive social norms are endorsed and crystallized (Giri 2012; Loy 1997).  Most of us take great pride in conforming to this socially-constructed hierarchy of values, defining ourselves, our worth, and success in terms of money and power, go through our entire lifetime without realizing the lasting negative impact that we are leaving behind.

What is the Way Forward?

Traditional economic theory posits that physical resources are finite while our cravings are infinite.  As such, failure to reacquaint ourselves with the idea of self-limitation is a recipe for disaster.  But again, this is not an inherent or necessary problem:  it is socially constructed largely by how we have prioritized money above values and relationships.  Individuals can and do transcend this constructed dichotomy, and collectively we can choose to dismantle it by changing how money and power function in society.  We can start by thinking and talking more honestly about money, exposing and critically examining the mythology of economics representing the common good.  There is a paradox in this mythology: on the one hand, we moralize money, associating wealth with virtue; on the other hand, we regard money as morally neutral. In this paradox, perhaps we strive to create a non-moral value system by which to run our lives, but that itself is only a clever disguise for the re-emergence of “might makes right.”  What gets lost is human dignity.

Development is about the well-being of people, and so it is values, relationships, and ethics that should be the end while money is merely one kind of means.  It is not unrealistic to hold each other accountable to this standard and insist that our financial policies and social institutions uphold this ideal as well. It is imperative.  There is no inherent reason why living true to our ideals or doing what is best for society, the global community, or the planet should be economically impossible.  On the contrary, there is every reason to believe that our fundamental task is exactly to pool our resources, financial and otherwise, to solve these problems.  Reintroducing the idea of restraint, personal limits, and spiritual growth into this highly commoditized and monetized world is an uphill battle.  But we have to start somewhere.

*The Centre for Poverty Analysis(CEPA) is an independent, Sri Lankan think-tank promoting a better understanding of poverty related development issues. Vagisha Gunasekara is a Senior Research Professional at the Centre for Poverty Analysis, Sri Lanka.  Vagisha received her PhD in political science from Purdue University, USA.  Her research straddles issues at the intersection of post-war reconstruction, gender, feminism and international relations.

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    “What is the impediment, then? We have a structural problem: the over emphasis on economics has resulted in a de-emphasis on profoundly important things such as, relationships with other humans as well as with nature. “

    Very good article. So many things in one article. How these things are relevant to Sri Lanka or this said institute tries to solve problems for the whole world ?

    Some religious orders make vows to stay poor. SO, poverty is not a bad thing. But, govt’s actions lead people to to stay poverty, that is a concern.

    On the other hand, what is the worth of money, education, and wealth if people don’t want to understand what human values should be and/or if they don’t treat others as part of theirs.

    Buddhist Environmental Psychology focuses on the whole human environment. What it says that one’s mental environment affects every thing around the person. That is the physical environment, living beings and plants around the person and all those in turn all those affect that human being.

    At present, we try to maximize one factor. We focus on how big one’s bank account is or how much material things one should have. So, in a world where so many variables are working, focusing only on one variable always leads to Chaos.

    When you are part of the daily rat race for the survival, competition to succeed, at one point you understand, what is the most important is not anything around you or what others say, what you think what you should have and how things should be.

    See, your article talks about how greed has ruined the individual, society, country and the whole world. If I don’t scare you, I think, some spiritualism is needed every where.

    For example, Picazzo, in his old age, focused completely on painting and he had refused even to answer the phone. I think he understood the world.

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      Nothing new here – vague pseudo philosophical touchy feely prattle about development!
      Please say something specific or more to the point review the books of economist Dambissa Moyo..
      In Brazil and Turkey and Indonesia people are protesting public transport and fuel price rises and the misappropriation of public lands to awarded to political cronies of the ruling regimes in the name of “development” – a development model which forces the poor to subsidize the rich.. This is neoliberal crony capitalistic development which is in vogue and the crude and uneducated Rajapassa brothers are following the same model..

      Time for the citizens of Lanka to get on the street and tell the Rajapakse looters and the corrupt clown at the central bank Nivard Cabraal to go to hell and STOP MORTGAGING the country, accumulating public DEBT and depreciating the rupee to line their pockets..

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    Thanks Vagisha , for introducing us to CEPA. Neither I nor my friends have been aware of CEPA so far.

    Also good luck in achieving what you advocate.

    The juggernaut called ‘economics’ has been on the march for a long time now and has rumbled across all cultures and people. What it can’t achieve by obfuscation, or persuasion it will achieve using blunt force. This monstrosity of a model has smashed through many an iron curtain, silk screens and even self sustaining cultures such as India which proudly boasted of such only until recently. A pliant and docile world media as its main devotee you don’t stand a chance in hell in changing human values to respect, cooperation, empathy or compassion as your stated benchmark to happiness.

    What is the way forward – hehe it is the most baffling question. What is the alternative – your article Vagisha is a bit thin on the practicalities of achieving your stated alternative of higher and morally sustainable living. Proselytizing on virtues of development that serve the well-being of the masses and upholding some kind of higher value systems than the crass chasing of money is fine and well. How we will achieve this is another thing. We all know where communism with all its stated good values led to in almost all countries where that model was instituted.

    Reading your article Vagisha, one can’t help but muse on what George Orwell’s dystopian allegory ‘Animal Farm’ and William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ rather aptly put together to explain human behavior.

    I believe that the human gene itself is flawed. Just take time to reflect on your claim ‘unreasonable craving for wealth by human beings’ and also look at the historiclly systematic increase in destructive violence unleashed on humans by other humans to get a gist of what I am aiming at. Polishing a car and making it beautiful is one thing but if the engine itself is flawed the car will go no where we intend it to take us to.

    Vagisha, you or for that matter any human being, I think, is rather foolhardy or dreamers that believe the human trend to accumulate wealth or indulging in unrestrained consumerism can or will ever be reversed. That is the real ‘mirage’.

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    In comparison to the previous article, This article is 1000 times better.

    You should break this article into pieces with respect to different views and suggestions etc., and should discuss each of those in relation to Sri Lanka.

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      As if you – the mr INSANE back and forth, bear all qualifications to evaluate her Article ? :(

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        And the unfortunate Seelawathie adopts the double-blind trial.

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          You sound tobe from CLINICAL RESEARCH, what I meant is nothing else than guys that stay insane keep trying to add evaluations about the article – which is I think s far from my understanding. ..

          btw, double blinded of any kind CT sorta experiments is not easy with our folks so long the politics would not adhere to ICH-GCP standards. This is the recent though the very good exp data obtained by dozens of Dengue patients to be rejected by good journals today.

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            It seems you got stung by a malign variety of dandy bite. It seems the plasmodium have given you a real prolapse, although you need a clinical research through a rectal probe.

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              “When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.”

              -George Bernard Shaw

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              My previous comment was focused on @Sealed Twat

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              Still Apeubabbs is unfocused.

              By courtesy of the CT arrows.

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    The Islamic perspective on wealth as stated in the Quran is as follows

    Allah Almighty says, “Know that the life of this world is merely a game and a diversion and decoration and a cause of boasting among yourselves and trying to outdo one another in wealth and children: like the plant-growth after rain which delights the cultivators, but then it withers and you see it turning yellow, and then it becomes broken stubble. In the Next World there is terrible punishment but also forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure. The life of this world is nothing but the enjoyment of delusion.” (W57:19; H57:20)

    The Almighty says, “To mankind the love of worldly appetites is painted in glowing colours: women and children, and heaped-up mounds of gold and silver, and horses with fine markings, and livestock, and fertile farmland. All that is merely the enjoyment of the life of this world. The best destination is in the presence of Allah,” (3:14)

    and the Almighty says, “O mankind! Allah’s promise is true. Do not let the life of this world delude you and do not let the Deluder delude you about Allah.” (35:5)

    The Almighty says, “Fierce competition for this world distracted you until you went down to the graves. No indeed, you will soon know! Again no indeed, you will soon know! No indeed, if you only knew with the Knowledge of Certainty.” (102:1-5)

    The Almighty says, “The life of this world is nothing but a game and a diversion. The Abode of the Next World ­ that is truly Life if they only knew.” (W29:64; H29:63)

    So the greed for money and wealth is countered by the realisation that this life is temporary and only a preparation for the eternal life after death. The fight is for wealth and property but no one takes anything when he goes from this world. Just as we came into this world naked and empty handed, we will go in the same fashion. We are accountable for our deeds in this world and our wealth and property will be of no use.

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      Dear Safa, You did not cover up the right Islamic economical view in its right way. Please tap on google to read more if not books.

      Islam has mastered devices for draining the wealth gathered within a limited group of people while supporting individual possession unlike communism. Zakath, Sadhaka, Hadiya, Kaffara and many more which stream line the wealth of rich to poor. What you have said is just a marginal point of Islamic view.

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        You are correct. I have covered only the attitude towards the accumulation of wealth. The distribution of wealth as per the Islamic system is a whole new topic.

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    Thanks VG, you & your ideas are reeaaaaally hot. Now don’t call this a sexist comment. We have to give the devil what’s due.

    If you study Buddha’s teaching, you’ll find solutions to almost all the issues that you have brought up above. I’m not taking about the Buddhist way that BBS or other balakayas are talking about.

    If you do not believe in Buddhism, I would recommend that you read 7 habits & 8th Habit by Dr. Stevan R Covey. He also teaches a way of thinking and action without talking about any religion in particular to address most of the issues you have brought up above. Perhaps you could use it as a tool in your efforts to address issues that falls under your purview.

    Good luck with your efforts and it was great to read a non partisan valuable article in CT. Most CT writers try to make their living selling & blaming R’pakshas. I don’t recall reading any article in CT that was not blaming them for everything that’s happening today.

    It’s time that we educate our younger generation to think what they can do for the World than asking what the World can do for them.

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    Dear Dr. Agisha Gunesekera,

    You ask:

    “What is the biggest ethical challenge facing us today? The reality that we have let economics guide our lives, and in doing so, we have devalued people and the associated virtues of respect, cooperation, empathy, and compassion.”

    These are symptoms. However, the underlying cause is related to Myths.
    Yes, religious and Racial Myths.

    Even though religions tried to correct the issues. their dogmatism and intolerance for others have made religion, to be a good part of the problem.

    So Egalitarianism and Marxism, tried to correct the problem. Karl Marx more or less correctly pointed out that religion is the opium of the masses. Lanka at Lanka, the Racist Monk Mahanama Myth believers and the Wahhabi Myth believers who are causing calamity in Lanka and the world.

    It is was Myth, that got them there in the First place, Reason will not get them out of that place. No amount of data will make them change their mind. One needs to wait until they die out.

    Examples of Myths, proven to be incorrect, with new data.

    1. Monk Mahanama Racist Sinhala Buddhist Myths in Mahawansa.

    2. The Aristotelian and Church Myths of Geocentric Model.

    3. Adam and Eve Myths of Abraham religions
    ic
    Add yours to the list.

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      Amare, add to your own list: The Egalitarianism, Marxism, Leninism and Maoism which created the Rohanaism that still plagues the country under the guise of JHU & BBS which hits the nail of destruction on the economy of the nation.

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    Thank you Vagisha for writing a meaningful article on the current thinking of what economic development is and what it should be. I have translated a report for CEPA some time back and I know the quality work that they do. It is doing great work in analysing poverty in Sri Lanka as not so much poverty of income but more a problem of poverty of opportunity.While I wish the organisation the very best I am proud of intellectuals like Vagisha whom CEPA has produced over the years.

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    An after thought.I regret that the meaningful articles that CT publishes do not get across to the majority of the Sinhala and Tamil speaking population.This is the very reason that we are unable to mobilise the massess for a change of vision.Polititians like the status quo .Hence the subservient attitude due to the ignorance of the massess is a blessing to them.

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      You seems to be making some valid points, until you stopped with the notion that people who disagrees with your kind of concept are just so stupid.

      And things are often not as they seem, so people who are sagacious or obtuse, may not be necessarily deemed as clever or insane.

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      If the intent is to mobilize people for political gain, then I would say it’s a futile effort.

      But if you try to mobilize people address above cause, then there will be lots of people who will want to participate without thinking of which political party or politician that they like of prefer.

      It’s unfortunate that most in the country has hidden agendas when they come forward to address a common cause. This doubt always put a foot back of people who are genuinely interested in doing something for our Country.

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    What you present is an agreeable philosophical argument. Unfortunately your solution, the pooling, while appealing is unworkable.

    Pooling is the essence of Socialism and Marxism.

    The problem is that pooling or sharing is only possible within ones own social circle – family and friends – or a small tribe. In anything larger, the competitive beast that is the essential nature of man comes to the forefront and the question of “why share when I can enjoy it all?” comes up. The answer, invariably is “let me enjoy it all”.

    Is this not the very behaviour that we see in the ruling cabal of Sri Lanka? Is this not the observed behaviour that has been experinced in innumerable dictatorships the world over.

    This is why every experiment at practising socialism has eventually ended up a communism-the only way to share is to do so through terror and repression. This may start off well but eventually leaves the majority worse off.

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      Well said, the gist of Vagisha & Sunila meaningfully encountered.

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    I agree that economics should not guide our life, but looking for more wealth is relative. For instance in Sri Lanka, we think we can live with our pensions of 20,000 but then with medical bills but old people find it difficult to live with that money. Inflation and the rising cost of living makes you work more and more- whatever you earn is not enough to meet the day to day expenses. Old age comes with different sickness- diabetic, arthritis and other complications. Unlike those days life expectancy of Sri Lankan is on the rise. That is why we are encouraged by our parents to work hard. Then building a house or renting a house with somewhat easy access to workplace and schools is difficult. That is the drive to earn more and more. This article applies to the upper middle class and not the others.

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      At times prudence is an alibi of timidity, the article deploys in private which hid a personal magnetism with a cindering effect to manipulate the acumen of the masses.

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    Vagisha,
    Sri Lanka may be poor in terms of per-capita income, but I think we are richer than most countries in the world when it comes to quality of life indicators. Here are some of them.

    1. We enjoy more holidays than any other country in the world. Hence, people are subject to less stress.

    2. We provide free healthcare, free education up to the university level and free books, uniforms, shoes and a nutritious meal to school children. Can you name many countries with comparable per-capita incomes that match what we offer?

    3. With unemployment at 4% and perhaps the best termination of employment package in the world and a culture that provides good job security, we provide an excellent package for employees and job seekers. Periodically, the government provides non-existent jobs to the unemployable graduates produced by our JVP dominated universities, to reduce social tensions. At the same time the reform oriented Minister of Higher Education is struggling to introduce university reforms. Measurement of the international rakings of our universities is a step in the right direction.

    4. Our Human Development Index is way above other countries with comparable per-capita incomes.

    The exposure to the consumerism through the medium of television has made individuals to embrace wealth accumulation as their prime objective. This is the universal norm. A survey of the aspirations school children in grades 9 to 12 is likely to show that most young people want to go abroad to earn high wages. They want to acquire a command of English to realise their dreams. Unfortunately the Sinhala & Tamil medium schools do not have the English teachers to make their dreams come true. So the housemaids going to the Middle East depend on other passengers to fill their immigration forms. They are unable to read what is printed on digital electrical equipment and are subject to ill treatment by their employers and treated as virtual slaves.

    Parents who can afford a private school education, send their children to the international schools. As shown in the film ‘Machan’ the desire to go abroad is such a craze, that they are prepared to risk their lives by jumping in to un-seaworthy boats to reach their El-Dorado. The boat people to Australia is a reflection of this ‘get rich quick’ mentality. The religions all teach that money cannot bring happiness, but most young cannot people help being heavily influenced by the consumerism.

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      Are ur 4 claims true?
      1. does everyone get to hv these holidays? Do u really feel our people are less stressed?
      2. Is healthcare and education still free?
      3. unemploymnt at 4%, really?
      4. HDI is ok at .7 or so but HDI looks at life expectancy, per capita income and education. But we have serious issues not taken into account when computing the HDI.

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      Holidays that you mentioned are mainly for the employees in the bank and the state. For instance those working in the shop or office only has 21 days holidays which they have to earn the previous year. Estate employees also has only 14 days leave and may be 3 paid public holidays. Most industries that come under wages board has only 14-21 days holidays. All these sectors do not have medical holidays

      ” We provide free healthcare, free education up to the university level and free books, uniforms, shoes and a nutritious meal to school children. Can you name many countries with comparable per-capita incomes that match what we offer?”
      To some extent you are correct but now free health care is eroding as patients has to provide most of the medicines. Free education also being eroded because of the percentage of gdp spent on education. Most parents subsidise the school by way of involuntary donations.
      Teaching is so poor that private tuition is a must. Mahapola is 2500/- and thats hardly enough for the Uni students to survive paying boarding fees. I do not know whether we provide shoes, but actually shoes are so costly that I felt that the school authorities should not insist on shoes. I know children in the rural areas has left school as they cannot afford the donations and the shoes. Do we need socks and shoes to go to school. Of course Bata and other shoe companies would promote it and they will loose business. I really feel that we can do without shoes-think about it.
      About unemployment- may be true. But most are underemployed.

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        Vagisha asks the question whether we have got our priorities. The strategy has been infrastructure development coupled with GDP growth and Multi Dimensional Poverty Reduction. Multi Dimensional Poverty Index has reduced from 3.6 in 2006/7 to 1.9 in 2012, while maintaining satisfactory GDP growth.

        The salary related benefits of public sector employees accounted for 72% of the non interest recurrent expenditure of the Government. The excessive cost of the public sector, bloated by providing non-existent jobs to the unemployable graduates and the unproductive Provincial Councils, does not permit increased allocations for the health and education sector.

        We need to reduce the losses of CEB, CPC, Sri Lankan Airlines and other state owned business enterprises, to increase the health and education budgets. For further information refer: http://www.treasury.gov.lk/reports/annualreport/2012/8-ExpenditureReview.pdf

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      YOU FORGOT TO MENTION ONE FACT;

      a FREE RIDE IN A WHITE VAN AND
      NO COST DISAPPERANCE WITH THE BLESSING OF YOUR BOSSES,
      IF THEY CALLED YOU A TRAITOR.

      1] We enjoy more holidays than any other country in the world.
      2] We provide free healthcare,free education upto university
      level and free books, uniforms, shoes and a nutritious meal to
      school children.
      3] Our Human Development Index is wayabove other countries with comparable per-capita incomes.

      your 4 claims are true to all rajapassa hench men like you.

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    Vagisha’s bravery is appreciable. She has mixed philosophy with economy. This article is a fore-say of many which can come in future in this regard.

    Developing hearts can truly develop economy. It is that way Japenes cold build up their country but only economy after hit by WW-ii because they had already developed hearts.
    Unfortunately the racism plaguing the country going to push it in the opposite direction and the most effected out it will be poor is an important concern.

    Say for example a entrepreneur like the owner of Wendol Balm has a developed heart. He definitely going to spend the money to poor or create more jobs instead of putting it in enjoying luxuries.

    Developing hearts in another word is avoiding luxuries is the most needed of the time. Without developing hearts there won’t be any sustainable economic development.

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    We purchase an international commodity – petroleum – at market prices,and sell it to a captive market – the pubic of sri lanka, at prices far above the purchase price, and SUSTAIN A LOSS !!!
    Can this economist explain ??

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    Good and original thoughts from Vagisha Gunasekara. As she said our resources are limited but our wants (call it cravings or greed) are greater. Current economic theory attempts to meet the demands of one with the other. This is impractical and will always fail which is why the world is in trouble.

    Religions have addressed this issue obliquely without much success. Crux of the matter is how much money does one need to be happy? Or is money only illusory? The American founding fathers referred to “persuit of happiness”. Marxists said ” from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. These thoughts do not work because each human being is so complex and unique.

    I feel that economic theory must accommodate a sense of “Charity” or “free giving”, in other words, “giving without receiving” for it to succeed. When argued ,the economist would say that aspect is addressed by taxation but taxation is based on other parameters, such as how much you earn rather than how much you need to contribute, though I dare say there is a bare relationship between the two that governments work out. Perhaps the truth may lie between the control (or suppression?) of craving, and the happiness one can derive from giving. Charity by Sacrifice? Good luck with this research!

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    Brilliant…a light in the darkness. Thanks for sharing this

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      Switch it off, a heavy tag is imminent.

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    Very Good and important insight.

    There have been philosophers, preachers on this subject. Giving priority to morality, virtue, contentment, humbleness, against materialism and other worldly pleasures. The Accepted Truth is to strike a balance between.(Middle Path).

    Where in history do we get a practical scenario where the Middle Path was practiced. The closest we have is, the life of the Prophet and his economic, administrative system which strikes the balance between universal morality and materialism.
    – An Emperor who earned his own living ( earned what is required to live for the next day)
    – He prohibited the leader living on the peoples taxes.
    – the Zakath of 2.5% on the people who have in excess of what is required for a moderate life is termed as the ‘Entitlement of the Poor” instead of calling it a tax on the rich.
    – At his last breath his belongings were limited to his clothes and utensils.

    Wonder in universities if these schools of thought are taught.

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      fairy tales…

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        It’s a confused vaggyshag.

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        With all due respect. All are good analysts, critics, etc… where is the solution… Please provide the solution…..

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          Solutions are in the mirage. Drink of, swim thereof, surf on, in there yours shall be myriad of choices.

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    It is a good article. One need to be pragmatic in that how we are as people going to change the status quo. It need to start at home,school,society,and may be at political level.
    Analysis is paralysis, unless practical actions taken to end the means.Is money the root cause of all evils. No, but the misuse of money as as a power to solve all problems is the real issue

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      …and unreasonably pay a pound of flesh to the legally obligated.

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