23 June, 2024

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Evil Is Not Mere Money Printing, But Unbridled Government Expenditure

By W.A. Wijewardena

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

Huge hole created by CEB

President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing the recently concluded Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2022 hosted by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, posed a threatening question to private sector bastions packed shoulder to shoulder in a too small auditorium for that large crowd. Briefing them of his new economic model for the next 25 years, he warned them that year 2023 is to open with a huge hole in government financing caused by unsound financial policies of the government monopoly of electricity generation, Ceylon Electricity Board, amounting to some Rs. 300 to 400 billion.

He asked the private sector bastions who are already overburdened by high taxes, galloping inflation, cost increases, forex scarcities, and slowing economy whether they would want the Government to fund the hole by running printing presses.

His reference to ‘running printing presses’ is related to the popular slogan among many Sri Lankans today, money printing by the Government to finance the budget causing inflation. His suggestion was that this option should be avoided because it was evil and those who use electricity should be required to pay the cost on the principle that the user should pay and not the general public.

But according to the World Bank’s collection of development indicators, by 2020, Sri Lanka had had a near 100% of population having electricity connections. Hence, the general public and the electricity users in Sri Lanka are one and the same. As such, there is no difference whether it is the public that pays or the electricity users who pay. It is the same group.

But the bigger hole is in the Budget 2023    

What President Wickremesinghe omitted to disclose was that the so-called hole created by the deficit in CEB is nothing compared to the bigger hole in the Government budget. The Consolidated Fund, the constitutional provision for recording all inflows and outflows of the Government and hence, naturally balance itself, is overdrawn to the extent of Rs. 1,000 billion as at end of 2021. Rs. 850 billion of this overdrawn amount is funded through a temporary overdraft facility from state banks and another Rs. 150 billion by a provisional advance from the Central Bank.

On top of this, the Budget 2023 has a much bigger hole on a gross basis. According to the budget numbers, the gross expenditure of the Government in 2023 will amount to Rs. 7.9 trillion including the long-term debt to be repaid by reissuing to the market as against a gross revenue base of Rs. 3.4 trillion. However, this gross expenditure does not include the reissue of the maturing Treasury bills within 360 days amounting to Rs. 3.8 trillion. When this amount is also added to the gross expenditure announced in the budget 2023, the overall total amounts to Rs. 11.7 trillion.

What this means is that the budget deficit on a gross basis will amount to Rs. 8.3 trillion or 28% of the estimated GDP of Rs. 30 trillion for the year. The Government has taken out the reissue costs from the budgetary numbers but the actual burden to be borne by the public constitutes the whole of this expenditure as explained later in this article. The gap in CEB estimated at Rs. 300-400 billion is nothing compared to this huge gap in the overall budget.

Ricardo-Barro Equivalence: No difference between bond financing and tax financing

When a government spends money, it is generally believed that it is the taxes which the current population should pay that will constitute the burden to be borne by them. Therefore, if the government borrows money to pay for the expenditure, it was not considered a burden because it is only a redistribution of the financial assets from taxpayers to bondholders. Therefore, when the bonds are repaid, people will pay taxes to repay them, but it is only a transfer of money from taxpayers to bondholders. Therefore, it does not involve a burden because one section of population owes it to another section of the population. This led to the popular slogan relating to the domestic debt of the government that ‘we owe it to ourselves’. This was changed by the 19th century English economist, David Ricardo, who argued that there is no difference between the tax financing and the debt financing.

When people pay taxes today, they bear a burden today by transferring their resources to the government sector. It reduces their spendable income known as the disposable income and force them to curtail both consumption and money available to lend to their private sector peers. When the government charges higher taxes to repay what it has borrowed in the past, the people must pay higher taxes. Hence, debt financing is simply the postponement of the current tax liability to the future. This is known as Ricardian Equivalence, and it was further developed by Harvard Economist Robert Barro who argued that when the government spends one rupee here there is a reduction of one rupee spent by the private sector elsewhere. Therefore, this theory is now known as Ricardo-Barro Equivalence.

Foreign borrowing is more burdensome

This analysis presumes that the Government borrows only from domestic sources to finance the budget. It becomes much more alarming when foreign borrowing for financing the budget is allowed. At the time of making the foreign borrowing, there is an inflow of resources increasing the welfare of the people. However, when it is repaid, there is an outflow of resources more than the initial inflow because the country should now repay the principal along with interest. But it is the people who should curtail their consumption to provide for resources for repayment of the foreign borrowing. Therefore, the crucial requirement for meeting the foreign debt of the Government is not just having domestic savings. The nation should have foreign exchange to convert the domestic savings to usable mode of repayment.

If it does not have, it runs in to a new problem in the form of being taken hostage by foreign creditors who will insist that the available foreign exchange resources should be used to repay their debt before meeting the nation’s normal import requirements. If foreign debt is defaulted, unless a speedy resolution is arrived at, the door for refinancing the maturing foreign debt plus payment of interest will be closed for the Government. It makes the gross expenditure of the government not just a book entry but a threatening reality. This is the issue which Sri Lanka is going through today.

Money printing leads to inflation

Then, what about running the printing presses as warned by the President to meet the holes in the budget? It does not impose an immediate burden on the people, and therefore, there is a tendency to believe that it does not inflict a burden on people. Instead, people will be benefitted by the higher liquidity they now enjoy due to the increase in the cash balances. However, if money is printed over and above the safe levels, that is, much more than the increased liquidity requirements arising from the real economic growth, the excess money leads to both domestic inflation and the pressure for the exchange rate to depreciate. This is because the increases in excess money will increase the aggregate demand above the short-term aggregate supply and if imports cannot be increased to meet the increased amount of aggregate demand, it leads to domestic inflation on the domestic front and to balance of payments difficulties on the external front. With inflation, the country will lose its competitive edge, fail to realise much from international trade, and there will be pressure for the exchange rate to depreciate. Therefore, exchange rate depreciation is not the cause of inflation but the result of inflation. Therefore, money printing over and above the safe levels will cause inflation and inflation is a tax which is being paid by all.

Inflation is a tax on people

But how does inflation become a tax? Suppose the Government pays the salary of a teacher by getting the Central Bank to print a new 5,000 rupee note. The teacher sacrifices, say, 8 hours of her real labour to get that 5,000 rupee note. But the Government spends only the printing cost of the note and therefore, there is an unequal exchange between the Government and the teacher. Why should a teacher agree to such an unequal exchange? Because she is told by the Government that when she goes to the market with that 5,000 rupee note, she can buy, say, a kilogram of rice. But when she goes to the market, she finds there are others who also have got 5,000-rupee notes and are about to exchange for rice.

When the demand goes up, prices go up and assume that they have increased to Rs. 10,000 per kilo. She can buy only half a kilo of rice now and the lost quantity of a half a kilo is a tax she pays to the Government. Since this reduction in the consumption level has arisen due to inflation, it is called due to the inflation tax.

Total government expenditure is the burden on people

What does this mean? Whether the Government finances its budget through tax financing, or debt financing, or printed money financing, it imposes the same burden on people. Tax financing will force them to make the real sacrifice today. Debt financing is simply a mechanism to transfer the tax payment liabilities to the future. Money printing causes inflation to set in the economy and force people to curtail their real consumption. This curtailment is a real sacrifice which they should make to survive in the system. Hence, President Wickremesinghe as well as the private sector bastions should be more worried about the burden which the elevated expenditure would impose on people rather the gap in the finances of CEB.

Even when this cost is passed on to electricity users, who in Sri Lanka’s case constitute the general public, there is still a mounting burden being borne by people when they have to finance the total gross expenditure of the Government. They will do so by paying current taxes, future taxes, or inflation taxes. In 2023, this burden is estimated at Rs. 11.7 trillion or 39% of the estimated GDP. This is an unaffordable burden-bearing for a private sector which is already overburdened by other economic calamities faced by them.

Tariff on government monopolies is also a tax

There is a fine point about government monopolies and their pricing. Since they are monopolies, the prices charged by them are considered a tax imposed on their customers. This does not happen in the case of a firm which operates in a competitive market. There, the prices are determined in the market and the firm has no leeway to pass its cost structures on the customers. But in the case of a government monopoly like CEB, CPC, Railways, and Postal Services in Sri Lanka, the prices known as tariffs, is determined by the governmental authorities and hence, a tax imposed on the users.

Hence, any increase in the tariff relating to CEB to fill its deficit in 2023 is a tax imposed on the private sector. It is an inclusive tax since in Sri Lanka almost all people have been provided with electricity supply. Therefore, the choice before the private sector bastions is whether they should pay it now through increased tariff in the current period, pay for it tomorrow if the Government chooses to cover the costs by issuing debt, or pay through the inflation tax as suggested by President Wickremesinghe who declared that he has no other alternative except allowing the printing presses to run.

Need of the day is to curtail government expenditure

If the Government is desirous of relieving the private sector of the high burden it is called upon to bear, the choice is to cut the total Government expenditure progressively over the next decade. This is similar to the choice given by the California Governor Ronald Reagan in 1960s to the state’s university system. He said that he would cut their budget by 25% in the first year, up to 50% by the second year, up to 75% by the third year, and no more budgetary allocations after the fourth year. President Wickremesinghe too should go for such a plan if he really wants the private sector to take the leadership in resource allocation and ensure the long-term economic prosperity. Without such an expenditure control plan in place, increases in taxes to meet the rising Government expenditure is simply running after an elusive goal.

The writer, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at waw1949@gmail.com.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    4

    Unbridled expenditure, robbery, money printing or sex outside marriage are all limitless things which pollute character of humans which was created to live godly. Hence we have consequences.

    • 4
      2

      davidthegood

      “Hence we have consequences.”

      Of course we have consequences.
      It started with 1948 Citizenship Act.
      All those who immensely contributed to Sri Lanka economy (200 years) were brutally made stateless and eventually started the process of deportation. Then came Banda Sirima Socialist Ugaya which you know was the foundation for disharmony, racism, ….. caused the idea of Sinhala/Buddhism to take root, … the country was never the same except for SJ.

      Racism, Sinhala/Buddhism, fake patriotism, …… strengthened the hands of crooks, robber barons, mass murderers, … gave permanent lifelong immunity from all crimes.

      Tell us please as to why voters repeatedly elected crooks, mass murderers, racists, ……. to the top jobs and tolerate racists and mass murderers being appointed to top state jobs?

    • 0
      0

      dtg
      “character of humans which was created to live godly”
      What makes one so sure?
      If that was the Creator’s purpose, He has failed miserably.
      I am inclined to think that the fallen angel is a better player in whatever the game the pair are at.

      • 0
        0

        SJ, The Creator has promised to finally restore and hell was created for the fallen angel. We must avoid going with the lies of the fallen angels and fallen humans.

  • 11
    1

    old codger, nimal fernando, …..and others.

    Dr. W.A Wijewardena writes about “bond financing and tax financing”, “foreign borrowing”, “Money printing/inflation”, “inflation a tax”, and “Need of the day is to curtail government expenditure”

    He has restraint himself from mentioning, corruption through out the state structure from top to bottom, 10 to 20 % commission, functionaries demanding bribe from poor public to perform their legitimate duties (for example issuing birth/death/marriage certificates) …….

    In the meantime today’s Island editorial titled “Thieves of the soil” reminds the readership that there are other ways crooks steal from the coffer.

    I do expect nimal fernando to be a man, take off the glove, challenge the crooks who own the state.

    • 6
      15

      Dr. W.A Wijewardena / Native Vedda
      .

      1) Native Vedda says of you – “He has restraint himself from mentioning, corruption through out the state structure from top to bottom”
      .

      2) It is INEXPLICABLE why anyone is surprised by you “restraining” yourself from “mentioning, corruption through out the state structure” when you AVOID revealing why you ALLOWED the Sri Lanka Accounting & Auditing Standards Monitoring Board (SLAASMB) at the time you were its Chairman to send me its FARCICAL response after my COMPLAINT of the ‘Professional Misconduct’ by the Sri Lanka affiliates of Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and Ernst & Young (EY) in the scandalous privatisation of the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) –
      .

      “Whilst we appreciate the contribution made by the complainants, we are not in a position to keep the complainant informed of the progress of the investigation and the outcome of the investigation, as it would undermine our policy on releasing information to the public.” (SLAASMB e-mail dated 28 November 2005).
      .

      (continued below)

      • 5
        15

        Dr. W.A Wijewardena / Native Vedda (continued)
        .

        3) When you were Deputy Governor of the CBSL did you not “initiate” the “setting up of Sri Lanka accounting and auditing standards as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Monitoring Board from 2000 to 2008”?
        .

        http://srilankaeconomicforum.org/weerakoon-wijewardena.html
        .

        4) The COPE Report to Parliament dated 12 January 2007 as recorded in the ‘Hansard’ inter alia states as follows:
        .

        “Ernst & Young auditors and PwC consultants were directly involved in the said FRAUDULENT conduct.” (emphasis mine)
        .

        (continued below)

        • 6
          16

          Dr. W.A Wijewardena / Native Vedda (continued)
          .

          5) This must be viewed in the context of Auditors/Chartered Accountants being the first and last line of defense against any form of financial corruption.
          .

          6) Is not your CREDIBILITY of paramount importance since you are a weekly columnist on the economy, banking and ‘good governance’ in the ‘Daily FT’ which claims to be “Sri Lanka’s only national business newspaper”? What does this convey about the credibility of the ‘Daily FT’ itself? You are also a regular contributor to ‘Colombo Telegraph’.
          .

          Amrit Muttukumaru

          • 1
            7

            Dear AM. It is mind boggling to me to figure out how come that there are so many “thumbs down” for your above comments which I see as perfectly logical, invasive and sound.

            • 7
              15

              hanchopancha
              .
              1) “It is mind boggling to me to figure out how come that there are so many “thumbs down” for your above comments which I see as perfectly logical, invasive and sound.” – hanchopancha
              .
              2) What is particularly DISTRESSING is the deafening silence of those CT commentators who are generally au fait on issues of governance. This is what alarms me and tells me this country has probably gone ‘beyond the pale’. Not for a moment am I saying they should agree with me!
              .
              3) Why are all and sundry including ‘Aragalaya’ AVOIDING the question whether there could be REAL ‘system change’ without addressing the CORROSIVE link between politicians/professionals/private sector / media in FACILITATING corruption and abuse of power?
              .
              4) Before attempting to straighten-out politicians, should not the searchlight be directed at professionals/private sector / media – particularly professionals who could blow the whistle on corruption and abuse of power?
              .

              Amrit Muttukumaru

              • 4
                1

                When the Judiciary and the Police are waist deep in corruption what hope have we?

                • 2
                  10

                  hanchopancha
                  .

                  1) Thank you ‘hanchopancha’ for your response.
                  .

                  2) Here too it is the PROFESSIONALS in the Judiciary and at senior levels in the Police who could make a difference for the ‘system change’ the country needs.
                  .

                  3) My CONCERN is why the usually VOCAL commentators in CT are MUTE on the question of whether there could be REAL ‘system change’ without addressing the CORROSIVE link between politicians/professionals/private sector / media in FACILITATING corruption and abuse of power?
                  .

                  4) This corrosive link is best exemplified by the recent statement of business chambers led by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) to “call off mass protests” planned for 2 November. Believe it or not, the spokesman was Ernst & Young ‘Senior Partner and Head of Tax’ (Duminda Hulangamuwa) who is also Vice Chairman of CCC. How can an auditor be INDEPENDENT when coalescing with business chambers? Why is this not a problem to anyone?
                  .

                  5) I was hoping for a meaningful DEBATE on this question in the expectation that those with a link to the ‘Aragalaya’ youth could convey to them that a mere ‘regime change’ is not the answer to the country’s socio-economic and political crisis.
                  .

                  Amrit Muttukumaru

                  • 4
                    2

                    Now here is the Catch. A Police Top Brass put his underworld nephews in charge of a Police Station which is like asking the Fox to take care of the Fowl Run. When they end up in court facing serious criminal offenses the Chief Justices with links to the criminal Mafia are there to put them beyond the reach of the Law. It becomes a double jeopardy for the victim having cost a fortune in money and time going through the courts seeking justice. A true mockery of justice.

                    • 2
                      0

                      It breaks my heart to see our Aragalaya Hero Wasantha Mudalige who stood up tall opposing the looters of this country suffering behind bars all by himself, a victim of unjust laws sustained by a partial judiciary.

                • 7
                  2

                  “When the Judiciary and the Police are waist deep in corruption what hope have we?”

                  The root of all confusion is people’s ignorance. I will say it again and again. Back in the Middle Ages, people were “immobilized” by natural lightning and thunder… People were short on inventions in those days anyway. However, in our society, which is full of extremely stupid people, people today behave like people in the Middle Ages.
                  :
                  Media mafia in this country is thousand times stronger than drug mafia or any other mafia. There is another misleading news on Derana TV these days as much as the “water snake” fraud that the relic has visited the temple in Kelaniya.
                  There is really no demand in the world for testicle transplants. It cannot be compared with other implants of body organs.
                  . But they are planning to create another false impression that even testicles are being sold in the world today….this is generated by a “Sinhala nigraha idiom”. That’s how bastards work today. I will dance around the world if someone destroys private TV channels in Sri Lanka. That is the biggest headache of all.

      • 3
        6

        Dear Amrit,
        .
        Yes, you talk eminent sense,
        yet not greatly appreciated.
        .
        I have now read the article, and the comments, and crucially, I have listened to the 18′.48″ video of His Majesty, Our Dictator.
        .
        I’ve been kept busy on Rajan Philips’ article which seems to be looking at the same problems as this, by Dr W.A.W. All this is about Economics, which I don’t pretend to understand. That the Philips’ article veered off course is partly my fault.
        .
        The problem here, as you say, is that those who disapprove of HM The Dictator seem not to have listened to the video, and you’ve been holding Dr Wijewardena responsible. As far as I’m aware Dr Wijewardena always talks sense, but he’s not going to preach Aragalaya. Nor do I. Yet your discussion, such as it has been, deals with DR WAW, and not with the airy fairly talk of His Majesty, who is arrogating power to himself, instead of preparing us for elections (which he knows that he will lose). Lose badly.
        .
        I was stuck here:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-next-25-years-from-where-will-the-economy-takeoff-where-will-it-land/
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)

  • 11
    2

    We can save the budget and reduce the deficit by trimming the excess in the government sector. For example we have a huge defence force that needs to be trimmed. Excess staff in government departments we have quantity but no quality I say chop chop and chop !.
    Then we have to sell off the white elephants, like Railways CTB, Electricity and so on.
    Another thing we must do away with provincial councils and the many sabhas. they are just another unnecessary level of red tape or whatever you want to call it.
    I know this sounds brutal but there is no other way out of the s..t we in at the moment.

    • 1
      0

      Alternatively, invite the British, the last Bastian of Imperialism and Colonialism in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, to come over once again and do the cleansing act!!!
      That’s because, none of the IMBECILES AND IDIOTS are able to understand the issues and problems in a coherent cohesive manner to address the resolution thereto, because of their masking themselves buried in the misconceived 2600 years of the Supreme culture and Civilisation, leading us nowhere!!??
      It’s been a case of 1 STEP FORWARD, RESULTING IN 2 STEPS BACKWARDS FOR PAST 75 YEARS OF BS!!!???

  • 4
    0

    He wants to be a president his priority and loaning to keep him in prominence
    The It works for a while but eventually leads to higher debt levels.
    Not aiming for cause what stimulates growth with expansive to do something extraordinary. “Long terms as it is in unsound financial policies
    Way to Spur Economic growth include “boom, prosperity that creates more profit for businesses. As a result, stock prices rise. The factors of production was put into failure due to wrong decision, when people feel prosperous, they reward political leaders but people are protesting

  • 3
    1

    Our much-revered leader is on the cusp of appointing more cabinet ministers according to news reports – or at least bringing in ‘more capable’ ones as replacements. Taxing the (m)asses is his forte and the protestations of the hoi polloi are of little consequence to him.

  • 17
    5

    I kept an open mind and kept my Sri Lankan emotions aside and listened to RW’s 18.48 min speech. I am quite relieved that RW seems positive in every way, and that with the right effort, the right attitude, and the right participation, there is a possibility that we can beat the odds and turn our economy around.
    Going by his ideas, his attitude, and his optimism, it is clear to me that he is the only one in the present government who has half a chance to pull off this huge task at hand.
    It is a pity that our people voted the Rajapaksa bastards into power for all the wrong reasons, they had nothing to offer to the country, how could they, they were a bunch of opportunistic nitwits. The entire Rajapaksa family has not produced one proper intellect. Yes, Zero. They are all thugs and conmen. How could tricksters and scum like them have ever positioned SL in the right direction in the 21st century?
    It is the weakness and cussedness in the mind of the majority of typical Sri Lankan that they used to come to power and milk every penny into their personal pockets. They had zero love for the country. I hope that much is clear by now.

    • 5
      1

      HT,
      “It is a pity that our people voted the Rajapaksa bastards into power for all the wrong reasons,”
      Exactly, and now they want an election to get rid of the guy who is trying to pull them out of the shit the last election created. What can we call this? Masochism? Death wish?

      • 4
        0

        OC
        To answer your question, the first word that comes to mind is “Kaalakanni Kama”
        There is no medicine for that, sadly.

        • 0
          0

          (Part II)
          The VISTAS OF PROSPERITY AND SPLENDOUR propounded, the aspirant Executive repeated likened to “Sacred Mantra”, the new incumbent wasn’t agile or emancipated to discern as to the starting and end point of the process!!!!??? Though he was well proficient and versed with AK47/T56 and SHEEP head bolt stun guns, unfortunately!!!!
          ALAS, SO THE 2019 ELECTION WARGAME ENDED ON A SAD NOTE!!!!

    • 0
      0

      Part I)
      HT,
      “It is a pity that our people voted the Rajapaksa bastards into power for all the wrong reasons, they had nothing to offer to the country, how could they, they were a bunch of opportunistic nitwits. The entire Rajapaksa family has not produced one proper intellect. Yes, Zero. They are all thugs and conmen. How could tricksters and scum like them have ever positioned SL in the right direction in the 21st century?”
      Fully agreeing with sentiments expressed, as accurate and without an iota of doubt!!!???
      The most election pledge, then was, Sugar, reducing price from Rs 35 CESS to 25 cents!!?? How could sensible overlook such ‘SWEET TOOTHED OFFERS??’ Time of elections, one never discerned, was being swindled by the Messiah, who held the power behind the English sounding deceased, Burgher gentlemen’s company down Laurie’s Road Bambalapitiya, Colombo!!! Close to the infamous Kindergarten complex of VIP!!
      Unfortunately, that was not a ‘SWEET TOOTH’ to be, Sri Lankans after all was, “a Mess of Pottage”!
      Nay, ¼ bottle of Gal, Chicken Biriyani and SL Rupees 5000!!! Please note correction for forthcoming election if ever happens- possibly 2024, SL Rs. 10,000 only – NW devaluation!!???
      (TBC)

  • 9
    6

    Ranil Wickremasinghe is in politics for more than 50 years and he hold prime minister post for six times and he now pretend that he is a new “Avatar” of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka. The fact is he is now the father of corruption came to power by bribing around 125 corrupters on the promise of protecting the theives of this nation. He cannot print money because he is now a slave of IMF. He cannot touch the increased budget allocation for defence because what can he do with 200000 or 300000 who just depend on government and bribes. He will spend all of his remaining 2 and a half years with just speeches and promises and nothing will change.

  • 1
    2

    Ranil is a useless fellow, he pretends he knows everything, his only aim is to maitain his power at what ever the cost. He said selling profit making institution will bring 3 billion USD, thats what he wants to remain in power by giving people fuel and gas. He does not realise by selling these we will be loosing rupee income and force to print money and the profit earned by the prostective buyers will be transfered as USD abroad at a greater loss to the country

  • 0
    0

    Alternatively, invite the British, the last Bastian of Imperialism and Colonialism in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, to come over once again and do the cleansing act!!!
    That’s because, none of the IMBECILES AND IDIOTS are able to understand the issues and problems in a coherent cohesive manner to address the resolution thereto, because of their masking themselves buried in the misconceived 2600 years of the Supreme culture and Civilisation, leading us nowhere!!??
    It’s been a case of 1 STEP FORWARD, RESULTING IN 2 STEPS BACKWARDS FOR PAST 75 YEARS OF BS!!!???

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