21 May, 2024

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From Socialism To Success: Sweden’s Economic Evolution

By M. Rizwan Muzzammil –

M. Rizwan Muzzammil

Both Sweden and Sri Lanka profess to follow Democratic Socialism. But Sweden has seemingly produced a more successful economy. This has led to the popularly held belief that Sweden is an example of Democratic Socialism done right. In this article a brief economic history of Sweden is provided (as published in “The Power of Capitalism” by Rainer Zitelmann). The details show that this popular belief is in fact incorrect.

100 years of growth

In the early 19th century Sweden was a very poor country. This was due to the existence of guilds which hindered the freedom of trade and imposed price controls. However, in 1846 the guilds were abolished, and in 1865 complete freedom of trade resembling a free-market with low taxes was introduced. This led to 100 years of tremendous growth. This growth significantly exceeded other European countries such as Germany, Italy and France. Globally it was the second highest in per capita GDP, exceeded only by Japan, and twice as high as in the UK.

Democratic Socialism Introduced

However, the growth of Sweden was significantly slowed after the Social Democrats’ ascent to power. They introduced the welfare-state policies of Democratic Socialism, which rapidly increased in scope between 1970 and 1991.

During these latter years, the ratio of ‘market financed’ individuals (those deriving income predominantly from private enterprise) to ‘tax financed’ individuals (those dependent on the public sector) declined from 100:38 to 100:151. Between 1970 and 1984, the public sector absorbed the entire growth of the workforce, with the largest number of new jobs created in social services.

During the mid-1970s global recession, the government increased social benefits and introduced stricter regulations to protect workers against dismissal. The government kept borrowing and taxing more to finance policies such as public sector job creation and private sector subsidies. Key industries were nationalised and entire swathes of the economy bailed out with taxpayer money.

The impact of high taxes

The marginal income tax rate on the rich was increased to 85%, and wealth and estate taxes were introduced. This caused prominent entrepreneurs such as Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad to move to Denmark and Switzerland, where he spent the next few decades as Europe’s wealthiest man. He didn’t return to Sweden to live and pay taxes until 2013, after the wealth and estate taxes were abolished – a textbook example of how countries cut their own throat by taxing the rich excessively.

The Swedish government also received much negative publicity by reclassifying ‘cultural workers’ (writers, artists, musical groups, etc.) as entrepreneurs, obliging them to keep accounts and files for tax audits, and pay an advanced corporate tax unrelated to their actual earnings.

Astrid Lindgren, the world-famous author of children’s classics including the Pippi Longstocking series, is just one example. Her long-standing commitment to social democratic beliefs didn’t stop her from feeling outraged by the 102% marginal tax rate levied on her earnings in 1976. Lindgren vented her anger in a satire titled “Pomperipossa i Monismanien” which got published in a leading newspaper.

Another example was Ingmar Bergman, winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Palm of Palms award. He was arrested, interrogated, and had his home and office searched after a dispute with the tax authorities. Although Bergman was cleared of wrongdoing he decided to leave Sweden due to the tax authorities insinuating that they hadn’t finished with him. Bergman and his wife fled to Paris, where they were welcomed by a large crowd of journalists.

The outrageous outfits worn by the Swedish band ABBA was partly influenced by laws that allowed the cost of outfits to be deducted against tax, so long as such outfits could not possibly be worn on the street.

The impact of unions

New laws expanded union influence in the workplace. Designated health and safety representatives had the power to suspend any workflow processes they deemed unsafe pending further review by public officials. The burden of proof was reversed in any legal dispute between employers and unions – companies accused of wrongdoing were presumed guilty until proven innocent.

The laws stipulated that employee representatives must be appointed to the supervisory boards of companies with 25 or more employees. In this way, the unions gained influence at every level, from day-to-day operational matters, to the recruitment or dismissal of employees, to overall corporate strategy.

Additional sickness benefits meant that those who took sick leave were paid more than a person who came to work every day. Sweden held on to the record for the highest rate of non-working adults in the labour force for many years.

The introduction of special workers funds made it mandatory that companies place a large share of their profits at the disposal of the unions. It was expected that one in three companies would be owned by the funds after 20 years, paving the way for the eventual disappearance of private enterprise. Despite a protest of 100,000 people (among the largest in Swedish history), the parliament enacted this into law in 1983. By the time the funds were dissolved in 1991 the unions had already acquired 7% of Sweden’s total market capitalisation.

Steps towards reform

As a consequence of Democratic Socialism, Sweden’s GDP dropped from 4th place in 1970 to 16th place in 1995, far behind many of its European competitors.

A government appointed commission reported: Attempts by previous governments to alleviate the crisis had only resulted in aggravating and delaying necessary adjustments: The dramatic rise in public-sector spending had contributed to a number of serious issues including “the overheating of the economy during boom periods and … recurring budget deficits.” Attempts by policy-makers in the 1970s and 1980s to avoid high unemployment by increasing public sector employment had contributed to “a steep inflationary trend.”

It went on: “What the commission would like to see regarding the market system is nothing less than the restoration of those freedoms of entry, occupation, and profession that new legislations in 1846 and 1864 established in Sweden. Those liberal reforms preceded a period of unprecedented growth. But during the last century these freedoms have been more and more diluted by regulations and barriers to competition, largely due to the influence of different short-run special interests.”

A major tax reform slashed corporate taxes from 57% to 30% in the 1990s, to only 20.4% today. Some incomes from shares were exempted from taxation, and capital gains taxed at a lower rate. The top marginal income tax rate was reduced to 50% with the proportion of those taxed dropping from over half to 17%. The reforms included the introduction of indexing to prevent bracket creep due to inflation. Indirect taxes were raised to offset direct tax cuts. Between 1990 and 2012, government spending fell from 61.3% to 52.0% of GDP.

The removal of many tax exemptions also simplified the system to a point where the majority of taxpayers filed their own income tax returns online without need of an accountant.

By 2007, the wealth and estate taxes were abolished, and property taxes cut substantially. Business owners and self-employed professionals had the option to significantly reduce their tax burden by declaring a part of their earnings as capital gains rather than income. After these reforms, many successful entrepreneurs stayed in Sweden and reinvested capital in new ventures, creating businesses such as Spotify and Klarna and a substantial high level of US$-billionaires per capita, 9th in the world according to Forbes.

The Swedish population seemed willing to accept that the stripping back of the welfare system would result in a decline in equality. Sweden has long lost its ranking as the world’s most egalitarian country.

Although contemporary Sweden remains a traditional welfare-state in some respects (e.g. having comparatively high taxes), successive governments since the early 1990s have consistently chosen more freedom over more equality, more market over more state. Following the obvious failure of the socialist experiment, the balance between capitalism and socialism has shifted towards capitalism.

Some inferences and conclusions

The Swedish welfare-state is much admired around the world. However, prior to its implementation Sweden had built a tremendous wealth reservoir from 100 years of unimpeded growth. When the welfare-state was expanded upon during the 1970s Sweden had the resources to endure its punishing economic effects. When the people had had enough, the government saw fit to reduce its impact. Though Sweden is still not what it was prior to the 1970s it has improved its situation through the measures that have been described here.

Sri Lanka was never in a position of wealth like Sweden. Yet a welfare-state was imposed upon its people, mainly for political ends. The welfare-state led to a huge public sector, increased corruption, and massive borrowings to support its existence. Over the decades it continued to crush the economy until a severe crisis occurred.

The Sri Lankan government has made no concerted effort to shrink the welfare-state. The government instead is trying to make ends meet by raising taxes on a people who cannot afford to pay, such that many have determined that payment to a first-world government instead might provide better value. The government is depending on worker remittances and tourism to provide a USD income. Both these income sources can disappear during times of crisis, as the COVID experience showed.

To create a truly resilient economy Sri Lanka needs manufacturing, production, exports and foreign investment. To encourage this a free-market is necessary, but that is the result of lowering taxes, slashing regulations, and leaving interest rates and exchange rates unmanipulated. These changes would not however be possible while the welfare-state remains in place.

*The writer, a civil engineer, resides in Singapore. He can be reached on write2rizwan.m@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    This article, I think, is required reading for all the dyed-in-the-wool socialists/Marxists among the CT readership, esp. those waiting to vote for the NPP.

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      Hello Leonard,
      This is just a rehash of Rainer Zitelmann’s books. I know that M. Rizwan Muzzammil cited at the beginning of his article that much was taken from Rainer Zitelmann. I could write a huge amount on both author’s views, but it is not worth the effort. Sweden’s history has little relevance for Sri Lanka. Try Myanmar instead.
      Best regards

      • 0
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        LS:
        “I could write a huge amount on both author’s views, but it is not worth the effort.”

        Scotty, the King of Bluff!

        • 2
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          Hello Leonard,
          I live in Central Province, Sri Lanka. Previously I lived in the North East of Scotland and worked in the Oil Industry which took me to many Countries in the World. I spent time in Scandinavian Countries. Their People and Cultures are very similar to ours in NE Scotland. I also spent a lot of time in Germany, France and the Netherlands. The more I learn about Sri Lanka the more I see the differences.
          Stalinist Sri Lanka has very little in common with Sweden. You do not have a National Insurance Service, The Health Service is broken. Gaza before the Israeli bombing had better Hospitals than Sri Lanka. There isn’t a General Practitioner (GP) Service like most of Europe. There is rampant corruption from top to bottom
          Contrary to Zitelmann’s defence of Capitalism my ancestors in the Rural/Agricultural areas of NE Scotland were healthier and lived longer than my Working Class ancestors on my father’s side. TB and other diseases were rife in the towns and cities. My 3rd Gt Grandfather died in 1868, his son died in 1881 and his grandson in 1897. In the space of 30 years three generations were gone.
          Best regards

          • 2
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            Dear LS,
            .
            You made my day much nicer, as usual, if anything come from you is informative. Also the weather change may be one of the other reasons make my current weekend happier…… we are enjoying the sun today… my friends are mixed and they are used to go on cycling, swimming and wandering over the weekend.
            .
            Reading from you makes me feel like at least a few commenters see it right. I also respect SJ, OC; HT, JIT, my dear sister MANEL and few others. Most controversial is our SINHALA_MAN who is deceived by JVP savages/rhetorics. He became more or less like a kidnapped teenager who is in captivity of a roudy group today. His eyes and ears are stolen by that roudy group so that he cant have own opinion today. Noting like constructive repsonses come from him today… this is very sad :(

            tbc

            • 2
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              Hello Leelagemalli,
              It’s the opposite here in Central Province, the Monsoon rains have arrived along with the power cuts😢. Power has just come back on after 4 hours. I know things are not perfect anywhere, but I spent 6 months in Germany traveling round the UK Bases installing new IT Infrastructure. I didn’t see a single power cut. Unless there is an incident causing a disruption, power cuts are pretty rare in most of Europe.
              As for the behaviour of CT participants – I had a look at the Archives to see how some have changed over the last 5 years or so. Some have mellowed, some have actually got worse and obviously some have been consistent. SJ, OC , Native, Pandi Kutti and yourself, to name only a few, have been pretty consistent in their outlook. We may not all agree, however you can generally expect a considered response. I genuinely think Lester and others have reduced their invective whilst some of the more aggressive commenters have got worse.
              Best regards

              • 3
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                LS,
                .
                Germans are the epitome of safety and security. I understood it better during the COVID crisis. I was also in London during that time but they didn’t care about “face coverings” and any other safety steps as Germans did.
                Further to this, I know this very well whenever I share weekends with some Germans and italians. Germans are like robots. No matter what, they want to keep their security high. Sometimes too much. I used to ride bikes in the countryside in our small town with my German friend. He is often likes to be a perfectionist. … He’s 76 now, but as athletic as a teenager. can you imagine? In srilanka, people in that age are almost half dead. My former friend sinhala_man behaves as if he is in his early 90ties.
                The Sinhala man aka Panini Edirisinghe branded me as an anti-lanken. I was warned not to engage with lanken issues any more, just because I stood up against the JVP. During the 89-92 rebellion, a bunch of my close buddies were abducted and guned down. I revealed a lot about how the JVP cut the throats of our friends and hanged their heads on their house fences…https://www.sundayobserver.lk/2024/05/12/news/23105/people-should-take-to-the-streets-with-weapons-k-d-lalkantha/

              • 0
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                LS,
                “had a look at the Archives to see how some have changed over the last 5 years “
                Do you get time to sleep?

                • 3
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                  OC,
                  .
                  Hopefully LS will not be infected by “Sinhala Man_Syndorme”. SM is said to be awake also at 4 am. He is embellishing his comments against LM and OC round the clock.
                  If he had invested his hours in teaching English literature to some students, it would have been an invaluable endeavor. .
                  Unfortunately, the naive ex-teacher is far from understanding the truth before us.
                  .
                  I question whether his sacrifices will help reveal the true face of the Janata Vimukti Peramuna-led NPP day by day. In between,
                  Lalkanta give orders to criminals today. The Sunday Observer exposed it loudly.
                  https://www.sundayobserver.lk/2024/05/12/news/23105/people-should-take-to-the-streets-with-weapons-k-d-lalkantha/

              • 1
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                LankaScot,

                ” some have actually got worse and obviously some have been consistent. SJ, OC , Native, Pandi Kutti”

                Here’s a good one from HL Mencken: “Before a man speaks it is always safe to assume that he is a fool. After he speaks, it is seldom necessary to assume it.”

                ” I genuinely think Lester and others have reduced their invective.”

                I don’t know what invective you’re on about. I am fine with disagreement. On the other hand, you argued that the definition of “terrorist” is arbitrary. Which is only superficially true. You cannot assume use that a means to negate the existence of terrorism, which is the central problem facing the world today. Also, you thought Qatar would negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Qatar, which is hosting the leaders of Hamas! Qatar, which is openly funding Hamas terrorism. I told you that Israel would invade Rafah, against any US objections, and that is exactly what happened the next day.

          • 1
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            Hello LankaScot,

            Because of nearly three decades of Tamil Tiger terrorism, Sri Lanka had something called a “brain drain.” This led to the deterioration of many institutions, as would be expected. However, the knowledge base is not lacking, as Sri Lankan universities still produce world-class graduates. Most of the commentators bashing Buddhism here did not have the benefit of higher education (or perhaps any education). It is relatively easy to fix the brain drain. Simply create incentives to bring back the expatriates. There are thousands of Sri Lankans, such as the Silicon Valley billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, with resources and access to capital. Given the small size of Sri Lanka, if we just focus on the Southern provinces, you can easily create a city or two like Shenzhen in 5-10 years max. Maybe not a Shanghai, but definitely a Shenzhen. To encourage FDI, new government regulations and policies are needed, among other things. Overall, Sri Lanka – being secular and democratic – has much more potential than India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc.

            https://theworldwatch.com/videos/1617859/only-in-india-bizarre-accident-with-bizarre-full-bus/

            • 1
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              Hello Lester,
              I am not so confident. Scotland and to some extent England had their own “Brain Drains” From the early 1900s many of my Grandfathers relations migrated to Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. I discovered that even in the mid-1800s some had already gone to Canada and Australia. My uncle (that I mentioned previously) and his Family migrated to Canada in the 1960s to join others that migrated in the 1950s. Apart from my uncle, who came back a few years ago, none of the others came back except for visits. His children, grandchildren and their children are all still in Canada. In the 1970s my father went to visit relations in the USA. They had a very successful Race-Horse Stud Farm run by his Niece and her children. All of them enjoyed visiting Scotland but would never go back to live there.
              Aberdeen’s first University was built in 1495 and it’s second in 1593. Scotland has had a good education for a long time. Schools and Colleges not only prepared students for University but also for the Engineering Trades etc.
              Sri Lanka will have to do this to build a Manufacturing/IT Industry.
              Best regards

            • 1
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              Lester,
              “Because of nearly three decades of Tamil Tiger terrorism, Sri Lanka had something called a “brain drain.” .
              Stop making pathetic excuses. As I told you before, traffic accidents killed more people than terrorism.
              Vietnam had a real war with more bombs dumped on it than WW2, but it’s ahead of us today. Surely there are no Jewish Brahmins in Vietnam?

  • 2
    1

    Well, it’s obvious that the Swedish masses had some relief from their sufferings from the entrepreneur money-making class who sucked up the hard work of the masses that gave the entrepreneur class their success-stories. When all was adjusted, Sweden reintroduced capitalism in bits and pieces.

    Sri Lanka never had the significant growth Sweden had, albeit on borrowed money, like when Rajapaksa took out US$ billions from China for their infrastructure projects (which they called growth). So, unlike Sweden, we should have built up slowly from socialism, and started introducing capitalism only about now, and not at the time it started under Jayawardena.

    • 3
      3

      Ramona Fernando,

      The Rajapakses were not entirely wrong to borrow billions from China for infrastructure. The problem is that the labor source for those projects was Chinese, and not Sri Lankan. So there was no technical transfer of knowledge to Sri Lanka, nor did these projects boost employment.

      • 3
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        Dear Rational Thinkers,
        .
        Everyone with some knowledge grasp it today, that all collosal wastages what RAJAPAKSHES did boasting of Road and construction were just eye wash and withhout feasiblity studies.
        .
        However, lower IQ holders continue to support SLPP (WITHERED POHOTTUWA aka Rajapaksha-curse). Numbers are said tob e 2-3 millions of voters yet today support them.
        .
        Low lives such as LESTER can fool the audience (SLPP and rajapakshe supporters anymore) but not the CT commentators and writers.
        .
        Unfortunately, all of Rajapakse’s giant projects funded by China are white elephants because there was no proper feasibility before doing so. Medamulana Thirisana (Beast) aka Mahendra Rajapaksa suffered from “massive inferiority complex” against the “Bandaranayake and Wickramasinghe families”.

        tbc

        • 3
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          cont.
          .
          SRIALNKEN melechcha MEIDA WHORE HOUSES painted ” RAJAPKASHE public masturbation” as the sinhala-power for their political selfish gains. How many in souther srilanka have tatooed Mahendra Percy Rajapkashe (face and penis) on their chests ? And why ? can they face the life today ?

          Therefore, MaRa thought to use the “people’s tax money” to build more in that Hambantota area and brainwash gulliable people with “Sinhala-Uttamachara”. He never thought that it was “tax payers funds”: At the time bugger et al hosted CHOGEM, european leaders felt Rajapakshe is no different late Mugabe in former Rodesia. In the end, to the very same manner, Rajapakshes bankrupted this nation.
          :
          This was catalized by ” head shaved bastards” (Ghanasara, Itathakande, Kollupitiya Ananada, Abeythissa mudalali, Elle Baluwansa and many others disguised as monks). Most of these monks falsly ordained to monkhood because their parents could not give them food and education. How can a monk who is said to have read his PhD at Paris Sorbone could ever agree with ” fake stories planted by medamulana rascals”. That is called ” low esteem of lanken fake monks”:
          .

        • 0
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          No need to fool anyone. Feasibility studies were conducted. Here is one example for Hambantota Port:

          “The Pre-Feasibility Study for the Hambantota Seaport began in October 2004 and was completed in September 2005. The study included field investigations, mathematical modelling and preliminary designs. The Detailed Feasibility Study began in February 2006. This included detailed mathematical modelling of wave tranquility and littoral transport studies and was completed in June 2006.
          In October 2006, an MOU between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and a consortium comprising China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and Sino Hydro Corporation Ltd. (SDC), of the People’s Republic of China, was signed for detailed design studies for Phase 1 of the Hambantota Seaport. For the same study, LHI carried out for hydraulic mathematical and physical modelling studies…”

          https://www.lhi.lk/hambantota-seaport-development-project.php

          • 0
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            (cont)

            We have to use various metrics to evaluate the payoff, such as economic growth, employment, social development, tourism and trade, and long-term competitiveness. As I mentioned, the issue is with the labor. Had locals been employed in these projects, it would have created long-term competitiveness. To do business in China, companies generally form joint ventures (JV’s). Technical knowledge is then transferred from foreign companies to Chinese companies, making the latter more competitive in the long-run. This is the strategy MaRa should have followed.
            Ranil is following a different strategy. He is simply selling State assets to the highest bidder in India and pocketing the commissions.

            • 0
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              Hello Lester,
              I know very little about Hambantota’s Economic success, however I have seen some reports about Norochcholai Power Station. Kotte Hevage Eranga Hirosh Jayarathna did a Master’s Thesis on the Plant back in 2015. I wonder if he ever re-reads it?
              One of my Sri Lanka relations remarked that all the Technical Documentation was in Chinese and didn’t help with problem resolution. Maybe this has been rectified since. CEB doesn’t seem to have the ability to keep its skilled personnel for very long. This seems to be a fairly comprehensive Report. See what you think? https://sangam.org/report-on-norochcholai-power-plant/
              A long time ago I was involved in the Maintenance of the Power Generation Plant on an Oil Production Platform (it wasn’t Piper Alpha). They had 3 Gas Turbine Generators (John Brown) that were cycled according to our Planned Preventative Maintenance Program. Have CEB Management never heard of these types of Maintenance Programs?
              Best regards

              • 0
                1

                Hello LankaScot,

                You have proved my earlier point about the value of technical knowledge being transferred from foreigners to locals.

                “Moreover, it has been reported that the maintenance work at the plant is done by Chinese engineers only and the manuals available for any repair work is written in the Chinese language. This means that the local engineers are unable to rehabilitate the plant without any Chinese expertise.”

                The Sri Lankan side is capable, however, repairs can only be done by the Chinese. I have personally worked with Chinese engineers; they are not good at quality control. What they excel at is rapid, high-volume production. These so-called “white elephant” projects are very common in China. In fact, only very recently, the Chinese property market declined sharply after the largest developer, Evergrande, defaulted. Evegrande, which had invested in numerous unprofitable ventures, had to be bailed out by the government to prevent the property market (and Chinese economy) from collapsing.

      • 1
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        Lester: Agreed!

        • 3
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          Ramona,
          .
          Please explain why you agree with what Lester said above…if you agree with anything, it should be cleared with all the other commenters.
          .
          If only the Rajapaksas were realistic about the possibilities of giant projects like “Mattala Airport” and “Hambantota Port”. Why on earth do people believe even heavy losses are “development projects”? The elephant is in the room but no one is talking about it… What is this corpse?
          .

          • 3
            3

            LM,
            The Hambantota port ran at a loss from the start under local management. But after it was leased out to China, it’s making money. Doesn’t that tell you something about local managers?

      • 2
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        Lester,

        But still the loans from China were unnecessary for those White Elephant projects. If Mahinda had been an able leader, he would have developed the worker base and worker level of our infrastructure workers. In the end, only a few Lankans got rich on the commissions, and many connected to him lined their pockets.

        Only the NPP has the ability to develop the Lankan worker base from ground up. True it won’t look anything like Malinda’s White Elephants and city scapes (that the working masses did not ask for, and of which they are struggling, suffering, and starving to pay back). But slowly and gradually our Motherland will emerge to into a country where workers can be proud of their organizational capabilities and what they have built, and from day one, they will have good jobs, decent dwellings, good food, and less stress and anxiety.

        • 0
          1

          Ramona,

          I don’t know if Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka have the technical knowledge to build a superhighway or modern port. China is very good at doing these things; it does it all over the world, in many developing countries. Not only that, but China offered the necessary loan facilities, on very generous terms. For example, China is still paying Sri Lanka to use Hambantota Port. China developed the Hambantota Port at a cost of $1.5 billion. Upon completion, the port was managed by the Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA). However, from 2010 to 2017, the port was running at a loss and Sri Lanka could not pay back their loan to China. Following this, Sri Lanka agreed to form a JV company with China to run the port. China Merchants Port (CM Port) holds 70% and SLPA holds the remaining 30%. This JV will run the port for the next 99 years. CM Port then paid $1.12 billion to Sri Lanka.Sri Lanka also received from China $292 million in December 2017 and another $97 million in January 2018. These need not be paid back. They are grants.

          • 1
            1

            Has Ranil built a single road since his tenure? I agree with you that the path towards development should have had more accountability. The fault lies with the Executive Presidency, which was essential to win the war, but not so much during peacetime. Reforms are clearly needed on the parliamentary side.

          • 0
            0

            Lester,
            _
            It all sounds very grand, but Sri Lanka could have gotten only some technical advice from China, and thus now be owning 70% of the port. The fact that we own only 30% of it shows that it should not have been built at all.

            Then there are the massive other White elephants like the stadium, rail service from the airport, Lotus Tower, Nelum Pokunna…….the latter two look very nice, but now the people are trapped in long-range poverty to pay for all of them.

            Mahinda wanted to fast-track us to look like Dubai and Singapore for those countries are within oil-producing regions. That was beyond silly. Then came all the alternate deals in an attempt to make clandestine money on the global system, and that included Port-City. Nothing worked in the end.

            The reason he lost the elections in 2015 was because the country saw the debt-trap it was in. He and his government did not have the brains to do the nitty-gritty work of working with the Lankan working masses to build the country from ground up. Only the NPP understands the system from the ground-level and will install the necessary systems-change.

        • 0
          0

          “But still the loans from China were unnecessary for those White Elephant projects.”
          Did they thrust any loan on this country?
          They went to Chinese support for the H’tota harbour when others refused.
          It is a gong concern after Ram=nil chose to sell most of the shares to the Chinese company to pay dues on some other loans.
          If the H’tota Airport is a White Elephant why are foreign companies bidding for it? Do that want t store paddy there?

          • 0
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            SJ,

            India! It is only India that is bidding on H’tota airport. Omg……they’d bid for anything that moves or stands on Lankan soil.

      • 0
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        Managing Si Lankan labour is something that the Chinese are not good at.
        Is anybody else good at it?

        • 2
          1

          Managing Si Lankan labour is something that the Chinese are not good at.
          Is anybody else good at it?

          Answer: Mahendra Rajapakshe and his henchmen.
          .
          He could continue the work because he knows that almost everyone, including himself, is highly corrupt. Unfortunately, this resulted in incalculably large financial losses. there is a infamous statement made by MaRa then ” you can do whatever stealings, so long you would not betray me”. This led to bankrupsy of this country by July 2022.

          Only the corrupt could continue with the corrupt. I dont think irrdication ramphant corrruption in our motherland will be easy also by NPPrs.

          Just as irradiation of coconut beetles is only possible through the introduction of a “control of nature’s coconut beetles”, agricultural scientists are now used to it.

        • 0
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          SJ,
          “Managing Si Lankan labour is something that the Chinese are not good at.”
          I know the Arabs are good at it, once they get their passports to make sure they don’t run away.

    • 2
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      Hello Ramona,
      When was Sri Lanka a Socialist Country?
      Best regards

      • 1
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        Lanka Scot,….Sirima’s government was.

        • 0
          0

          Hello Ramona,
          The 1960 – 65 time, 70-77 or 1995 – 2000. What about SWRD maybe he was Oxford’s Anthony Blunt?
          Thanks,
          Best regards

          • 1
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            LS
            There was something anti-imperialist in Sirimavo that was even more courageous than in her husband.
            The West saw both husband and wife as friends of USSR and PRC. It equally resented India’s friendship with the USSR.
            Much of this was part of the momentum of the Non-Aligned Movement.
            After his success in 1977 JRJ cynically wrecked every good thing that happened under the Bandaranaikes.

        • 1
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          What did Sirima do that was socialist?
          Nationalising foreign owned plantations is not socialist. The workers were exploited just as badly as before.

      • 2
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        LS,
        Sri Lanka was then branded communist before 1978 so they called it for their convenience. my old professorr in BIochemistry called me ” adorable lad from bandaranayaka’s country” and welcomed me in Germany then (in earliy 90ties). Our country was world recognized until early 2000 or so.
        But the destiny changed it by 2015, it became the murderous state of Rajapkashes. Unfortuatnely my nephews and nieces had to struggle in abroad not being able to defend them. Paradoixially, our LESTER as a high IQ person, with BScEng continues to be a life-long supporter of POHOTTUWA which ruined our nation.
        .
        The truth is, according to analysts, even then it was not a “manufacturing” based economy. This was recently revealed in a good economic critique on a TV talk show.

        During my childhood, we were mesmerized by Vasideva (very much into advantages)Nananayake’s May Day rallies. But like many other politicians, he too was a lover of perks during the tyrannical reign of the Rajapaksa regime. Lankan politicians, be they left or right, were both tamed by their lucrative gains.

        That is why by July 2022, Sri Lanka ended up on the brink. They never respected the “facts and figures revealed by the analysis”.

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          Hello Leelagemalli,
          Just to lighten the mood – I was at a Biochemistry lecture on Glycolysis and the role of ATP with a small part concerning Mitochondria and Genes. There were about 500 or so students at the lecture and at the end we were invited to ask questions.
          After a few questions I plucked up the courage to ask “How do Genes know when to express themselves”
          The Professor gave a little laugh and looking round the audience said “He doesn’t know this” and quite a few gave nervous laughs.
          He then said “I will give you the answer” looking at my bright red embarrassed face.
          “It’s Magic”
          He then went on to explain that although there were many theories nobody knew the answer. It was a bit of a mystery that Scientists were actively researching. Nowadays it is better understood but still not fully https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wm-biology1/chapter/reading-expression-of-genes/
          Best regards

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            Thanks L.S.
            Our blind believers in God would say: It is the God who acts on the genes and asks them to express themselves.
            We never know. Those who are guided by religious beliefs would constantly think that it is the God behind it. Gene expressions function according to physiological conditions and various other multifactorial reasons.

            For example, my good friend (cyclist) asked me why we always have to struggle with stomach acid. The reason for this is his thought patterns. The more you think, the more acid cells produce their secretions. This is according to human physiology.
            Proctologists (intestinal specialists) would make it clear: When you worry unnecessarily, your stomach stimulates the acid-producing cells more, causing your PH to drop drastically. This causes met ones to get an acidic feeling in their stomach. It then causes burning and gastritis. So this friend is an unusual thinker and I asked him to avoid this. Unfortunately, it has become his habit. He can’t stop because he’s a perfectionist too. He has a wohnmobile, which keeps him busy around the clock. So all these causes lead to more gastritis.

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          Very strange this “Leela” character continues to blame MaRa family for the country’s so-called failures while defending the Bandaranaikes, who are anyway neither Sinhalese nor Buddhist by lineage. They are “Perumals” from Kerala. So who is responsible for the mess?

          – 1956 (“swabasha”) = SWRD Banda
          – JVP (1971) = Sirima Banda’s nationalization
          – 1995-2005 = CBK. Military performed poorly, CBK attempted to negotiate devolution with terrorists who finally gave her a glass eye (karma?)

          So you had decades of failure from Banda family, meanwhile, just 4 years after becoming President, MaRa put an end to 26 years of Tamil Tiger terrorism.

          Some blame “Gothabaya” for the country’s bankruptcy. What were Sirisena/Ranil doing from 2015-2019? Other than helping “Harjuna Alexander” hide money in Singapore through bond scams?

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            Hello Lester,
            Journalists call this “whataboutism”, when a respondent tries to deflect criticism, or divert attention, by bringing up something else. It is like the claims used to justify the IDF killings of their own hostages. “Hamas uses human shields” is constantly used to justify any atrocities against the Palestinians, Journalists and UN Personnel. Watch Blinken, Sullivan and Matthew Miller constantly hiding behind this statement no matter how blatant the killings are. There is plenty of surveillance footage from Israeili Drones and IDF Soldiers Cameras that explicitly show their War Crimes. I have even seen footage of the IDF holding a Palestinian in front of them whilst operating in the West Bank https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8rrfys-Fgc
            – and also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oed1s5jv3Cc
            The truth about what the Rajapakses (and others) were responsible for in the Civil War will come out. The Mass Graves will be found. As for the LTTE War Crimes “There is evidence of war crimes committed by the LTTE and its leaders as well, but most of them were killed and will never face justice”. https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-asia/sri-lanka/war-crimes-sri-lanka
            In a Court of Law someone else’s Crimes are NOT a Defence for your own Crimes.
            Best regards

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