6 December, 2022

Blog

How We Came To This Pass –  Waiting On IMF

By Sachithanandam Sathananthan

Dr. Sachithanandam Sathananthan

On economic “development”

The government is seeking refuge in the IMF, by one count, for the 17th time. The country’s economy has gone from bad to worse despite the previous 16 IMF interventions; why would this one be any different? President Ranil Wickremasinghe appears convinced his government must invite the IMF to put the country’s finances in order in the short-term. He may well be correct. However, the larger and long-term issue of salvaging the economy too has to be addressed.

Members of the Sri Lankan intelligentsia – public intellectuals, university academics and media professionals – have struggled, no doubt with great sincerity, to come to grips with all or some of “bridging finance”, “macro-economic stability”, “deficits” in budget and balance of payments and “debt sustainability”. The academics tinker with theories – “export-led development”, “trickle-down”, “re-distributive growth”; they churn out numbers, compute percentages and construct comparative statistics with arithmetical precision; and they strive to divine a path for economic development they seem to assume is implicit in IMF’s intervention. 

However, the IMF is a money lender; very briefly, the Fund makes loans to temporarily improve the current account balance (simply put, ease cash flow), to service past debts and sometimes meet current consumption and recurrent expenditure in cash-strapped economies. 

In return for financial assistance, IMF’s guidelines seek to “get prices right” and, allegedly toward that end, are likely to insist the government cuts back social expenditure primarily for health and education and raises taxes and utility charges to reduce the budget deficit; they could demand production subsidies for paddy be drastically pruned. Mystified as “structural adjustments”, they boil down to squeezing the already impoverished people to pay for the corruption of, and mismanagement by, their political class they regrettably and repeatedly elected to power; and it’s a double squeeze: the government extracts revenue from wage earners overwhelmingly through indirect taxes (VAT, Sales Tax) whilst the business class transfers most of its own tax liability to the people through higher market prices. 

The IMF may recommend Sri Lanka continues its export-led growth based on primary commodities (mainly tea and rubber), labour-intensive garment “manufactures” (actually assembling mostly imported components) and export of labour to manage the balance of payments deficit since they constitute the only viable option the Fund sees for the immediate future. It is very likely to paper over the worsening international terms of trade between the country’s primary products and industrial nations’ value-added manufactures by requiring the Rupee be devalued, once again, to make primary products more price competitive. As in the past, such toying would not arrest the deteriorating terms of trade. Once the loans are exhausted, Colombo will be back knocking on IMF’s door in about three or four years, if not sooner. 

Sensible Sri Lankan economists ought to examine how agricultural countries – such as Australia, New Zealand – have industrialised agriculture to process their own primary products and export only the finished commodities, ready for consumption. They don’t export milk and import back butter! 

In other words, the longer-term effect of IMF’s interventions is to shackle the country more firmly to the agricultural “development” model crafted by C.V.Brayne. 

Development through peasant proprietorship

The colonial regime’s development model prioritised self-sufficiency in rice, the primary wage good for the plantation sub-sector and subsistence commodity in the peasant sub-sector and beyond, in order to smooth out its domestic supply distortions that necessitates compensating, more expensive rice imports. British administrator and Government Agent C.V. Brayne spelt out his strategy in the 1920s to prevent disruptions to paddy cultivation: “the peasant proprietor”, he noted, “is steadily being crushed out of existence”; since his dispossession – the loss of cultivable land – threatened rice supplies, he proposed a “peasant proprietor system” with an inheritable but restricted “paddy cultivation tenure” that forbade the sub-division or sale of paddy lands allotted by the State (Draft Paddy Cultivation (Tenure) Ordinance, 1922. Archives: University of Cambridge Centre for South Asian Studies,). In short, he sought to reverse the process of proletarianization by practically chaining the peasant proprietor to land. 

In 1927 Governor Hugh Clifford backed Brayne’s plan by endorsing the “bringing into existence of a prosperous, self-supporting, and self-respecting multitude of peasant proprietors” (Hugh Clifford, “Some Reflections on the Ceylon Land Question”, Tropical Agriculturist, No. 68). The uncharacteristic infatuation over “self-supporting” and “self-respecting” peasants was to groom them as reliable domestic suppliers of wage goods. A further reason, of course, was to discourage the allure of urban, industrial employment since colonial policy makers recoiled from industrialisation that would consume a substantial proportion of raw materials otherwise destined to foreign markets as well as displace British manufactured exports; their intention was to lock Ceylon as a source of raw materials for British industry and a market for its output. 

The preference for the politically regressive and socially conservative peasant proprietors in Ceylon was no doubt accelerated by the British elite’s fear of the October Revolution that brought forth the Soviet Union, the increasingly aggressive Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and the rapid spread of the Third International’s influence in the British Indian Empire. 

Members of Ceylon’s semi-feudalist, landed class shared similar forebodings, which mired them in an insoluble contradiction: its members understood the need to industrialise but dreaded the associated expansion of urban workers that could threaten their interests as a class; they ideally preferred industrialisation without its working class. Since that is impossible, they sacrificed industrial development, arrested the growth of industrial workers, pushed the unemployed into peasant-agricultural occupations and thereby retarded development. 

Evidently unnerved by the meteoric rise of the Trotskyite Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and the Communist Party’s (CP), Prime Minister Sir John Kotelawela feared the “dangerous…spread of communism” (Hansard, vol.23, col.869, 1955). The CP’s Dr.S.A.Wickremasinghe accused the Minister of Lands and Land Development in 1959 of a counter-revolutionary embourgeoisement of peasants to “prevent…a socialist society” (Hansard, 1959, col, 1495); and Satchi Ponnambalam concluded in 1981 that peasant proprietorship served as “a political buffer” (Dependent Capitalism in Crisis in Sri Lanka, 1948-1980, 1981, p.22).

Having foreclosed industrialisation, peasant land colonisation remained the main avenue to increase employment and raise food supply. The fledgling Don Stephen Senanayake and his class of Ceylonese landlords mimicked and fortified Brayne’s colonial formula – the 1920 Draft Paddy Cultivation (Tenure) Ordinance – in their own 1935 Land Development Ordinance (LDO). Under the LDO State land was parcelled out to “landless” peasants (mostly unemployed agricultural workers) to turn them back into “peasant proprietors”. The land settlements were sugar coated with nationalist flavours. The 1932 Report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands harked back to irrigation agriculture that “attained a zenith of prosperity under the wise and possibly benign coercion of Ceylon’s Monarchs” (Sessional Paper No. VIII, p.17). It touted land colonisation under State control as the first step to rebuild the historic Irrigation Civilization, supposedly wiped out in part by the dastardly Chola invaders from what is now Tamil Nadu; the apparent aim is to Make Sinhalese Great Again. 

However, the short-term boost in paddy output was more than offset by several related issues: reclaiming land for cultivation wiped out large tracts of irreplaceable virgin forests, denuded habitats, endangered rare wild life and compounded the colossal environmental degradation the colonial regime inflicted when it cleared ancient forests and catchment areas from the late 19th century to establish the plantation system. 

Consequently, two important conditions for the success of the Irrigation Civilization – demography (low population density) and environment (functioning catchment areas) – hardly existed; population growth and plantation-induced environmental destruction largely obliterated its historical pre-conditions. Senanayake-led miniscule political class slurred over the stark reality especially since the advantage of expanding vote banks, vital in State Council and Parliamentary elections, by distributing public land to allottees was a strong incentive. 

Not much seems to have changed. Minister of Agriculture E.L.Senanayake of the new United National Party (UNP) government explained in 1977: “the policy of this government is to create a nation of peasant landowners and not a nation of labourers” (Ceylon Daily News, 29/dec/77). In 2022 the Ministry of Agriculture’s website claims, since Independence the agricultural sector is “a major economic force in Sri Lanka”; it contributes “to the national economy, food security and employment. At the same time agriculture is the livelihood of the majority in the rural sector and plays a key role in alleviating rural poverty.”. 

Nonetheless, the static approach of focusing investments in peasant agriculture because it satisfies the basic needs of the population is a logical fallacy since it eschewed a structural transformation of the plantation system towards broad based industrialization, which ought to be the main thrust of balanced development.

If Senanayake’s UNP could not grasp the extremely regressive economic consequences of Brayne’s “development” model, the Old Left was at hand to educate its members. The LSSP dismissed peasant proprietorship as the “two acres and a cow” method of development (Hansard, 1957: col.2020). Moreover, Social anthropologist Edmund Leach similarly concluded that State-assisted peasant colonisation schemes are a “solution…of staggering ineptitude” (Transition from group landholding to individual landholding: an example from dry-one Ceylon, 1962. p.13). 

Two refreshing attempts were made to come to grips with colonial underdevelopment: by Satchi Ponnambalam (see above) and Gamani Corea’s The Instability of an Export Economy (1975). However, a critical mass among the intelligentsia that could have followed up the initiatives was sorely lacking.        

“Development thinking”

At no point from Independence has “development thinking” seriously challenged the model the landowning Ceylonese elite copied from the British colonial State. In all likelihood the majority of social scientists perched in academia and “think tanks” either belonged to the landowning elite or shared their interests, usually imbibed through marital connections, and emulated their values. Inevitably they either turned a blind eye to the debilitating effects of the colonial model or were careerists cowed down by the elite’s political power. 

Development thinking pursued “rural upliftment” from 1948 onwards through Prime Minister D.S.Senanayake’s Rural Development Societies (RDS), set up by his UNP government. The RDSs also helped to cement political alliances between UNP’s landowning class based in the Western Province with those from rural constituencies. About four decades later UNP President Ranasinghe Premadasa retooled the initiative as Gam Udawa to build his own rural political ballast. The roads, community centres and clock towers they built of course contributed to improved rural life. 

In 1958 the thinking veered towards Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)-led Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) coalition and its revolutionary Philip Gunawardena’s “socialism from below” through one ministry, his Ministry of Agriculture, on the backs of Cultivation Committees(CC) his ministry established under the 1958 Paddy Lands Act. He categorically declared: “I am not a believer in peasant proprietorship” (Hansard, 1957, col.2344) and Dr. G.H.Peiris cited Gunawardena’s anticipation that “the Cultivation Committees [would] eventually…blossom out as collective farms”. The unreasoned opposition by landowners gave credence to the imagined radicalism of the legislation: the Paddy Growers’ Association grieved, “this Bill is seeking to corrupt the mind and morals of the rural community”; the Tamil Congress (TC) leader G.G.Ponnambalam thundered it would result in “a propertyless class of wage slaves working state-owned farms run by a cast iron bureaucracy under the whip of totalitarian dictatorship” (Peiris, CJHSS, vol.4:1, 1957); and Ilankai Tamil Arasuk Kadchi’s (ITAK) S.J.V.Chelvanayagam lamented: the law “has the seeds, if not the full grown plant of communism” (Hansard, vol.30, 1957, col.2316).The confusion deepened; R.J.Herring characterised CCs as “a Marxist tenure reform” (Herring, Journal of Peasant Studies, vol.8, no.2, 1981.)

The Traditional Left further muddied development thinking. CP’s Dr. S.A.Wickremasinghe welcomed the legislation as “the first step towards collective forms of agriculture, resulting…in the gradual evolution into a socialist form” (Hansard, 1959, col.1497). He no doubt followed Lenin’s formula of moving from feudalism to socialism leap frogging the capitalist stage in Soviet Union, though Lenin was compelled to reverse the process in his New Economic Policy (NEP). LSSP’s Dr. Colvin R. de Silva explained collectives were set up “to collect and to give” (Hansard, 1957, col. 2344).

Constrained by scarcity of foreign exchange, development thinking meandered towards stimulating import-substitution production (not industrialisation) in the 1960s to economise on costly imports and raise employment. Shaken by the JVP’s 1971 Insurrection, the SLFP-led United Front (UF) coalition lurched back to the colonial model. Lacking both space within settlement schemes and time to construct new ones, the UF nationalised locally-owned plantations in 1972 and parcelled out land to “landless” Sinhalese in a desperate bid to absorb the unemployed – the flotsam largely of the “Sinhala Only” programmatic retrogression – to neutralise the mounting left-radicalism. The SLFP’s semi-feudalist elite aggregated nationalised land parcels into Janawasa Settlements, described as socialist “Collectives”; the leftish rhetoric of course aimed to please the radicalising rebellious Sinhalese youth. Unsurprisingly the Land Commission’s “Collectivisation” failed to contain rural unemployment and arrest radicalism, which culminated in the bloodletting of 1988/89.

The more far-reaching take-over of many foreign-owned estates in 1975 appropriated their export earnings, mainly to bolster the government’s foreign exchange reserves; it also disrupted the otherwise reasonably efficient plantation economy. But the UF dipped the ensuing mess in anti-imperialist shades and purveyed to the public as a long-delayed anti-colonial course-correction, made plausible by the presence of the acquiescing Traditional Left in the UF.

Almost simultaneously the same semi-feudal elite, incapable of launching capitalist industrialisation, conjured up a more ambitious “socialism from above” through the 1972 Agricultural Productivity Committees (APC) in the peasant agricultural sub-sector.

Most members of the intelligentsia across the country hardly questioned the absurd notion that a socialist economy could be gradually built by a dependent capitalist State run by “liberal-feudalistas” (the moniker a perceptive Sinhalese friend – we go back to our school days – applied to the elite). The intelligentsia have been either politically challenged or frozen at the invertebrate stage in biological evolution.

In fact, a former Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands confided in us that the CCs and APCs were inspired by the County Agricultural Executive Committees (CAEC) established under the 1947 British Agriculture Act, enacted to revitalise capitalist agriculture in post-War Britain. However, the Traditional Left appears not to have noticed the “borrowing” nor recognised the SLFP’s “petty-bourgeois socialism” that Marx and Engels cautioned would “ruin of the petty-bourgeoisie and peasant” (“Manifesto of the Communist Party”, Selected Works, 1968, p. 55-56). 

The absurd socialist façade crumbled swiftly. The CCs and APCs became the logical extensions of the rural landed class steeped in the pre-capitalist milieu. The allottees soon saw through the “socialist image”, that they are not co-owners but labourers of the Land Reform Commission. 

Rather than interrogate the inchoate and even chaotic “socialist thinking” that was hardly more than demagogy, the leftish Sinhalese intelligentsia instead dignified it as “populism”. Shorn of the obfuscating jargon of a “cross-class alliance”, the “third path” and “people-centric” development, populism is an apology by the propertied classes and their political representatives for their incapacity to formulate concrete economic programs to raise the country out of its dependency morass.

The J.R.Jayawardene’s UNP government put an end to the deception in 1977. However, his government too resisted broad-based industrialisation and continued the colonial regime’s regressive peasant colonisation under the 1979 Mahaweli (Accelerated) Development Scheme, again to extend principally paddy cultivation with the long shadow of reclaiming the Irrigation Civilisation close behind. Though boomed as a major departure, the Scheme was in essence similar to D.S.Senanayake’s 1940s Gal Oya Valley Scheme. 

A redeeming feature of the Mahaweli Scheme is the construction of hydro-electric projects to supply electricity, not for across-the-board industrialisation but mainly for urban consumption.

Waiting for IMF

Is the “development thinking” of the intelligentsia’s present generation just as uninformed and at sea as the past ones?

The IMF may alleviate the government’s immediate cash flow constraints. Perhaps it’s not too late for progressives to simultaneously repair the enormous damage done by the semi-feudalist elite who dodged industrialisation to protect the economic interests of its class whilst toying with decrepit petty-bourgeoisie socialism. If Sri Lanka’s economy is to get back on its feet in the long run, and it can, the country has no alternative but to launch broad-based industrialisation utilising its abundant hydro-electric energy; that requires above all technological advancement. As small, resource-poor Singapore’s and large, resource-rich India’s stunning economic successes have convincingly demonstrated, technological advancements and not static natural endowments mainly determine economic growth, producing manufactures that enjoy rising comparative advantage. But industrial development is not IMF’s remit nor its interest.

Boosting the services sector and flamboyant talk of turning the Island into the “regional hub” of this or that economic sector are interesting but only as supplements. Industrialisation riding the Fourth Industrial Revolution must be the main platform; the IMF is unlikely to be of much assistance here. 

Policy statements on industrial development churned out by well-meaning specialists, for example, in the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) are gathering dust since the semi-feudalist elite resist industrialisation and continue to be averse to the growth of a modern entrepreneurial class and the concomitant expansion of the working class. Those claiming to pursue development studies, policy studies, policy alternatives and so on must grasp the centrality of a political transformation to dislodge the liberal feudalistas from power. 

The member of The Struggle (Aragalaya) instinctively sensed the task at hand.

*Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan is an independent researcher who received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Cambridge. He was Assistant Director, International Studies in the Marga Institute, Visiting Research Scholar at the Jawaharlal Nehru University School of International Studies and has taught World History at Karachi University’s Institute of Business Administration. He is an award-winning filmmaker and may be reached at: commentaries.ss@gmail.com

(Concluded)

Previous posts

How we came to this pass – I 

How we came to this pass – II 

How we came to this pass – III 

How we came to this pass – IV 

How we came to this pass – V
How we came to this pass – VI 

How we came to this pass – VII 

How we came to this pass – VIII 

How we came to this pass – IX

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Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    Waiting to deliver ……. one more time.

    “President Ranil Wickremasinghe” ………… and our blind love ……..

    To expand a bit on Borges’ themes in “Circular Ruins.”

    Is our existence confined/limited to our physical existence ……. or is there anything more?

    If there is a great rock in a yet undiscovered far away planet ……… does it exist if no one knows about it?

    Borges’ idea (I think) is ……. more than our physical existence ……. we exist mostly in other people’s minds/consciousness ……… our existence will be limited to our physical existence if no one knows about us.

    It’s what we make of others ……. in our minds.

    • 4
      0

      continued,

      For all one knows, Ramona (sorry Ramona …… just hypothetical ……. just some envy and sour-grapes seeping through :))) ) might be a man-eating shrew who gets men to squirm and crawl on the floor and beg …… who has already murdered 4 husbands and got away with it …….. but in Old Codger’s mind she is the undying everlasting true-love he’s been seeking all his life!

      Blinded by love, he gives her qualities she doesn’t have – or want to have.


      Blinded by love, is Old Codger also giving Ranil qualities he doesn’t have? :))

      I’ll be the last to come between a man and his true loves.

      But ……

      Unguarded fantasies flying too far
      Hovering near treacherous waters
      A friend saw him drifting and caught him :)))

      • 5
        0

        I am an innocent.

      • 3
        0

        Nimal,
        “Blinded by love, is Old Codger also giving Ranil qualities he doesn’t have? :))”
        It isn’t love, it’s self-interest. I did spend time watching Gota thoroughly screw the country in record time.I stood in queues for milk powder, sugar, coconut oil……watched people fall dead for LPG……saw people travelling in the boots of buses. If a guy comes round and reverses all that in two months, I’d trust him, even if he has less charisma than a brick, has no moustache, no saatakaya.
        There’s little to choose between a bunch of incompetent crooks, a bunch of professional “students”, and a guy who can get Dinesh Gunawardena to support an UNP budget. I figure an unelected Prez who can get powerful Buddhist monks to pay electricity bills, and casino kings to pay taxes is better than any elected idiot who promises Paradise and delivers Hell.
        Ramona? A different matter.

        • 3
          0

          That’s a very good defence of Ranil, OC! ………. I can’t fault it as I don’t live in SL and don’t experience the troubles people have to go through daily.

          Pity you didn’t defend your other interest! :))

          Perhaps Native would!!

          • 2
            0

            Nihal,
            “Pity you didn’t defend your other interest! :))”
            My other interest is beyond defence. So adept at negating any help given by well-meaning souls…..

          • 2
            0

            nimal fernando

            “Pity you didn’t defend your other interest! :))”

            Please explain.
            Did you mean his romantic involvements?

        • 2
          0

          Old Codger,
          You should practice the technique of thinking-extension. It’s like this: Ranil is using the Rajapaksa stored up funds….well, it is “release the funds or else,” from Ranil to Mahinda. So, what Ranil has to govern on is only a temporary reprieve till all of the 10% hoarded Rajapaksa monies finishes. Not a bean from the IMF. Not enough beans from the WB .Nothing in waiting. Even China won’t refinance our loans. Old-fashioned and outdated Ranil is STILL trying to do the capitalist tango, whilst good modernized Socialist government is all the rage world-over. Go Anura!

  • 0
    0

    How We Came To This Pass – Waiting On IMF

    The delay for IMF is that The Govermnet dont have any plan on or settimg larger and long-term issue of salvaging the economy too has not been addressed. From the first It’s how you dealt with failure that determines how you achieve success by saying country on bankrupt all knows the reason. Noe resetting the official is first then economy.

    • 3
      0

      “the UF nationalised locally-owned plantations in 1972 and parcelled out land to “landless” Sinhalese in a desperate bid to absorb the unemployed – the flotsam largely of the “Sinhala Only” programmatic retrogression –”
      Where have we seen this sort of thing more recently? Ah yes, it’s the ever-growing armed forces set up for the benefit of young unemployable Sinhalese. The idea presumably is to pay them to keep out of trouble. With our money, naturally.
      The question really is why are there so many unemployable Sinhalese? Supermarket customers would have noticed a vast increase in the number of young upcountry Tamils employed in these outlets. If these people can thrive in such places, what is stopping local Sinhalese from doing so? Is there a serious question of attitude to work?

  • 4
    0

    I have respect for Sachithanandam Sathananthan.
    He is knowledgeable. He is thoughtful.
    However, I keep my right to disagree when my thinking differs.
    “a path for economic development they seem to assume is implicit in IMF’s intervention”.
    How accurate is this.
    Intervention implies intervening. Intervention hints at interference.
    Intervening denotes acting beyond invitation. Interference indicates unwarranted act.

  • 2
    0

    “why would this one be any different?”.
    If the country has not faithfully followed IMF expectations, the chances were that we would fail. We did. Who should be faulted? Can IMF be faulted.
    If the faults were ours, and if we resist the temptation to stray, won’t the present one be different.
    Just asking.

    • 4
      0

      Nathan,
      The IMF, like any doctor, makes prescriptions, which they do in good faith. It is possible to argue that Dhammika paniya works better, and risk one’s life trying it. It’s the same with IMF prescriptions. Cabral and Lakshman tried alternative medication.
      IMF medicine is very unpalatable. It will cause unprecedented hardship. Whoever enforces it is not going to win an election. So it may be all for the best that he’s not elected. Let the elected clowns take over in 2 or 3 years time.

      • 1
        0

        old codger,
        … Cabral and Lakshman tried alternative medication.
        No, no, no.
        Which medication. They tried witchcraft!

      • 5
        1

        OC
        My experience with doctors has made me a little wary. The profession has degenerated rapidly over the past several decades from a career (in place of what was once community service) to a business and now daylight robbery by private hospitals. The Big Pharma rules, OK?
        *
        IMF is not there to save any sinking Third World economy. It is there to look after bigger players.
        We have walked into a situation where we are unable to see no other way.

        • 2
          0

          SJ,
          Not only health, but education, transport and various other sectors have been eroded as nothing can be easily reversed.
          Open economic policies were introduced not only to Sri Lanka but also to neighboring giant India. But the Sri Lankans sometimes imported various goods of low value and the Indians managed them, so the Indians did not buy enough important vehicles from Europe, our stupid leaders just fought without implementing the laws in Parliament. They are still killing time in Parliament without any reasonable reason. Both our MPs and those who voted into Parliament are to blame for the mess.

        • 0
          0

          H1! There was no way of leaving a comment/reply to yours in the relevant CT article (Persons Of Colour Who Preceded Sunak) as the comment facility is turned off after 5 days. Contrary to what you had believed/stated, PMs Disraeli and Johnson were ‘practicing’ Anglicans who had converted.

          Following a quarrel in 1813 with the synagogue of Bevis Marks, Isaac D’Israeli renounced Judaism and had the four children baptised into the Church of England. Benjamin was baptised, aged twelve, on 31 July 1817. In 1977, at the age of 13, Johnson converted to Anglicanism at Eaton. In 2021, he converted back to Catholicism prior to his wedding.
          There are plenty of easily accessible and verifiable sources;
          https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/benjamin-disraeli
          https://www.britannica.com/biography/Benjamin-Disraeli
          https://catholicleader.com.au/features/what-is-boris-johnsons-legacy-a-catholic-view/
          https://www.economist.com/erasmus/2019/07/27/boris-johnsons-confusing-and-contradictory-religious-history

        • 0
          0

          “My experience with doctors….wary.”
          You can say that again, SJ.
          And you might be interested to read a supporting opinion in the Island today, by Dr Janapriya:

          https://island.lk/yes-indeed-hippocrates-is-turning-in-his-grave/

      • 3
        0

        OC,
        If they had gone to the IMF earlier, people would have benefited today. That’s for sure. Mahinda-Cabral was naively optimistic that it would be possible by February 2022 without going to the International Monetary Fund, but the nation is still unclear as to what those options are.
        All these are the real problem facing the nation today. However, the media seems not interested in improving public awareness.
        However, the same theorists (JVP and vanguard pundits) limit it to a profit of $2.9 billion. Not only the sum, but all other concessions based on IMF recommendations are the deciding factor here. This should be underestimated.
        In addition, our politicians have failed to reach any agreement regarding sustainable solutions after every recommendation made to this country by the International Monetary Fund in the past.
        Misconceptions about some parts of the country always broke the agenda. That is why the nation must now be made clear that common national policies must be agreed upon by all parties.
        There is a dilemma in this country, some sentiments (real culprits) of the nation and their representatives do not interpret it according to the logic of the issue. They do not care about the consequences, but they even cross any favorable agreements.

        • 1
          0

          LM. Is this possible? ” As for hanchopancha, there is much that I can say, but really, he’s beneath my contempt; I don’t want to degrade myself by talking about him. I hope that my resolve holds for ever; but I know my imperfections. Please don’t think me inconsistent if I give him broadside sometime when I have little else to do. LM would have had just enough intelligence not to allow HP to have his contact details. I gave them to LM ages ago” S_M. I am waiting for the Skunk for his “broadside” preferably his “Backside” with a bucket of boiling tar to pour over it to sanitize the CT Forum.

          • 2
            0

            HP and all,
            HP,
            my advice to you and all others is just forget anything comes from Sinhala Man. I don’t waste my precious time on a man who always acts controversal with comments. Contains more of his gossip and hate attacks on select commenters. The way he has been beating me all these weeks is unbearable. All because I hold a completely different opinion from his.I am no biased to anyone. Nor would I join JVP just because a silly man has become their beloved lackey. I had goodies that were JVPrs then, but for their own sake, they have broken away from JVP. Now for sure, he would attack me a bombshell style BLACK MAILING, just being unable to bear his anger. He should long be under psychiatrist.

          • 0
            0

            LM. Is this correct? ” LM would have had just enough intelligence not to allow HP to have his contact details. I gave them to LM ages ago”. Am I being considered a bad apple?

            • 0
              0

              Dear LM. If what he says is true it sure confirms my gullibility to have put you on a higher pedestal than from where you belong. I have downloaded some documents from Wikipedia which are not there any more to pass on to you. Ignorance is bliss and knowledge is wisdom. BTW Panini Edirisinghe is a viper in the grass, indeed.
              I had already said what you said about him many times in the past. The first thing we learn in life is to respect others privacy. Spying through the keyhole is not acceptable in a civilized society. He is yet to find out. Poor old man.

    • 2
      1

      N
      “If the country has not faithfully followed IMF expectations, the chances were that we would fail. We did. Who should be faulted? Can IMF be faulted.”
      The IMF does the job for its masters. They will not blame it.
      Check with victims of IMF prescriptions.
      The best reference I can suggest is
      Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins.
      The IMF helps countries remain credible borrowers forever.

  • 3
    0

    The reality is that the Lankan masses were mostly peasants both before and after colonization. Only about 1/5th (a million or two) had lost their lands due to the colonial plantation system. Capitalist UNP governments were crass about the peasantry class and thought of them as being stupid. Jayawardena callously tried industrialization, but there was only so much to be done and it couldn’t go beyond the garments manufacture and tourism.

    In truth, we should have developed out agriculture base and lived accordingly….tourist too, would have loved that best. Vietnam did it, and see how well they are doing now. With the advent of the climate recovery industry, this is the best way to go.

    But the last place that we should look towards is the American GMO’d agriculture system. Do not trust the American system of less land for higher crop yield via GMO. They will take our precious ancient, traditional farmlands for cheap industrial development to boost up their monetary reserves even if environmentally friendly. For them, environmentally friendly means GMO’d corn- pesticides on stalks. They won’t be polluting the environment, but they will be polluting our bodies. We should develop our traditional agriculture and sell to USA. There, that’s a huge industry in itself! And they ARE looking for solutions.

    • 5
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      Ramona,
      “Do not trust the American system of less land for higher crop yield via GMO. They will take our precious ancient, traditional farmlands for cheap industrial development to boost up their monetary reserves”
      It really mystifies me why you live in Pittsburgh. You should book a ticket back to Sri Lanka on one of those fishing boats carrying 300 people in the other direction.

      • 0
        1

        Old Codger,
        Let me demystify you: 75% Americans are wary of GMO’s. It’s our golden chance to show them the right path.

        • 2
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          Ramona,
          “Let me demystify you: 75% Americans are wary of GMO’s.”
          So, the solution is to send them over here. We’ll need a lot more fishing boats!

    • 3
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      “Only about 1/5th (a million or two) had lost their lands due to the colonial plantation system.”
      Have you any data on this?
      Most tea plantations were set up in what was jungle on the hills.

      • 1
        1

        SJ,….yeah, they lived in the forests and did organic, sustainable, non-gmo, no-stress, ancient farming techniques between the trees. What a shock it was to them when the colonialist whipped them out of their precious forest habitats. They came to the cities and have been beggars and shanty workers for centuries.

        • 1
          2

          That will be a spicy addition to our history.
          “they lived in the forests and did organic, sustainable, non-gmo, no-stress, ancient farming techniques between the trees.”
          Especially “ancient farming techniques between trees”. High above ground I trust with the occasional whiff of the holy smoke of Ganja?

        • 1
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          BTW
          Our forests must have been rather densely populated at the time.

          • 0
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            SJ,
            You could afford to be kinder to the well-intentioned but imaginative folks.

    • 4
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      Hello RF,
      Thanks for your comments regarding GMOs.
      America’s GMOs may be fine with the like-minded developed world, but not Sri Lanka. And it is worth noting how the Rajapaksa henchmen even imported dangerous agro-chemicals in huge quantities until the entire farming population became chronic kidney patients. This is how Sri Lankans operate with chemical imports. In addition, there are drugs that enter the country unnecessarily without proper rules in those import policies.

      As you know law and order in our country is not equally applying to all. … there are lot of pot holes in our systems. Until law and order would not be reformed for good, nothing will work properly in that country. Besides, people will usually take it on wrong side and people will be sick forever.
      Not to underestimate our region, many suffer from asthma related health problems. That has lot to do with the relative humidity levels in that region. That is why in Sri Lanka, our youth are mostly affected by resp heath problems. .
      In addition, GMO foods cause hitherto unknown health problems in specific human populations. In Europe, most vegetables and fruits in the Netherlands are GMO-based foods. Germany and Switzerland are careful to brand them properly so that consumers are well informed. It is up to them to buy or not buy those GMO foods.

  • 4
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    Industrialization has no chance in Sri Lanka. Lotus eaters of South are not going to fit into industrialization. It is easier to import that is what top to bottom thinks in the South.
    In the North, until such time there is one soldier for evey 3 citizens, what industrialization only militarization.
    Migration and death by starvation will leave none in this miracle of Asia. No one including aragalaya has no clue what to do.
    Only thong we know is to harass minorities

    • 3
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      D
      “one soldier for every 3 citizens”
      There are far too many I agree, but this statistic is rather mind blowing.
      *
      As for industrialization, can we browse through the list of industrial entrepreneurs in this country in the last century before we pass sweeping judgments on the relative attitudes of the two nationalities.

  • 3
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    Not only the IMF , every single Loan provider county is a Money Lender . There’s no
    way you burp other people’s savings and run away scot free and especially while
    you tolerate your darlings barking day in day out at the lenders ! As far as some of
    the so-called Free Services that hadn’t been really free ever since they were created ,
    people are already paying in many ways ! Say for instance , the health service ! The
    majority of doctors are working in private hospitals while employed in the public
    hospitals . Law has provisions to facilitate the system but in real terms , is it not
    servicing the private hospitals at the expense of the taxpayer ? And I am not going
    to waste my time detailing the standard of public health service ! There’s nothing
    more left to be taken out ! If education is free , why children queue up at Tuition
    stores already? So , technically more cuts mean , finishing off what’s remaining !
    Either way , more borrowing will mean , let it be IMF or any other , nothing but more
    trouble creating !

    • 4
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      Who acquitted Basil of all the charges and all the lawsuits he filed?
      It is known to the whole world that Basil or the 10% looted the state all along. Is checking the assets of a dual citizen Basil a difficult task for Americans?
      Let’s mobilize our Sri Lankan Americans to stand up against this great criminal. It is a sorry sight for us to compellingly watch on TV screens that he is returning to this land .
      My opinion is against the Sri Lankan judiciary. Why do people believe that they have no right to speak against the judiciary in Sri Lanka? Nanda Malini’s lyrics keep reminding me.

  • 3
    2

    Here is an article about how the Netherlands became a major food exporter:
    https://wapo.st/3AwmEbe

    (No subscription is required for this article.)

    • 4
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      1/
      First, it is not correct to take examples from the West (Netherlands) for an island nation whose majority is religiously opposed to any form of animal farming. Sinhala monks today are no different from the laity, however, they interpret against new projects of any kind.
      Although they have a much larger community of Buddhist monks, this is not the case in Thailand.
      So, this religious issue should be resolved at the national level.
      I think Thai people are generally more efficient than us South Asians. They also work hard. South Asian mentality is the cancer of our people. Productivity is not a term for them. They love to scold and hate others. They don’t mind wasting precious time.
      They constantly search for their favorite meat (deer meat) for picnics, but they do not approve of large-scale animal farming. The average Sri Lankan is full of high grade thinking based on hypocrisy.

      tbc

      • 4
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        2/
        Although humane slaughter is on the regular agenda, small-scale animal farms in Sri Lanka still operate under various restrictions.

        Secondly, if every other village has a cattle farm, the milk production of our beautiful island can be greatly improved. They should not import “canned fish” as national needs can be better served by the country’s fisheries.

        The government should invest more in local industries like they are doing in Malaysia and Indonesia. I remember Mr. Harsha de Silva implemented in the construction of regional food storage tanks with food preservation facilities.

        I think when the criminals came to power in Nov 2019 they ignored the national interest and finished new projects. They were only interested in getting their court cases tried and acquitted.
        .
        Then they can produce different dairy products (cheese, yogurt and different products than importing milk powder for national consumption) from milk alone.

        • 3
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          LM,

          Development starts with a few people doing things differently and more productively. A few entrepreneurs can focus on it and see if it is successful. The rest will follow slowly. A high % of the population in SL eats eggs, chicken, and goat/lamb. Beef is taboo for Hindus and Buddhists, but some still eat it.

          Tamil Nadu is today producing more wind and solar power than Denmark or Sweden. We should let go of the notion that only developed countries can do this. Actually, even in developed countries, most of the originality and innovation comes from 1–2% of the population. The rest simply follow, adopt the new methods, and improve their quality of life.

          • 0
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            In the supposedly most developed country, most of the originality and innovation comes from immigrants.

          • 2
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            Agnos,
            Do you really think that what is applicable in the developed world can be easily done in a country like ours?
            I strongly opposed the man from Polonnaruwa who destroyed the country during the GG government. He got the opportunity to iron out all what thieves produced by DA Rajapkashe, immediately after so called war victory as they introduced it to the very nation. That was what THE ARCHITECT of GOOD GOVERNANCE, late Rev Sobitha thero expected from such a mandate being given to a man who failed to realize its cruciality.
            Yesterday, it was revealed that Sirisena was well aware of the pre-warning by the Indian Criminal Investigation Department officials to the former Inspector General of Police regarding probable easter sunday bombing in April 2019. The link is below if anyone would be interested in….. it is unfortunately in sinhala language.

            However; Even though Colombo began to shake around the clock due to the torture of the affected families on Easter Sunday, even today there is not a single action against Sirisena. That is our stand on respecting “law and order”.
            This being the reality, dare you still compare Sri Lanka with developed nations????

            tbc

            • 2
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              cont.
              I don’t know about you as a Sri Lankan expat (in mid fifties) living in europe, I have never worked in Sri Lanka and never had Sri Lankans as my own colleagues. However, I had the opportunity to get to know nearly a dozen of university academic staff members (lecture assistants or assistant lecturers) visiting Europe for postgraduate studies. After getting to know them to some extent, it became clear to me that, as young scholars, they cannot reach a common agreement about what works for the good. They behaved themselves as those ragging promoters in campuses of the srilanka. They were against supporting their brothers and sisters. How can this be, even if their religion is said tobe ” sinhala buddhism” ?. I mean most of them were sinhala buddhists.
              Later it became clear to me division mindedness was added to them in upbringing. I may be different and unique too because i moved out of the country after my schooling. Until that is corrected, we as a nation will not be able to introduce better systems that can shape the economy or anything in our island.
              I see, South East Asian countries are relatively doing better with their societies. That you will see in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

            • 2
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              here is the link to see that SORYSENA was well updated by the time he left for a foreign trip, shortly before EASTER sunday bombing.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAvbLRoRG-I

              • 0
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                It wont load on my mobile, Lgm.

    • 3
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      Agnos ,

      Last year by this time I lost a niece of mine at a provincial National
      hospital . When she was admitted , I had to hire someone to help
      her at her bed side at the cost of Rs 3500 a day . She was expected
      to stay in hospital for a month . Now imagine the plight of a patient
      who has no money and no outside help ! My point here is ,
      majority of our Specialist practitioners are UK , Australia or some
      other developed nation trained . We have majority of our politicians
      and the wealthy who receive medical treatments in Singapore ,
      America , Australia and even local private hospitals where you have
      seen the difference between quality and substandard quality . What
      we see in our country is not necessarily lack of knowledge or
      experience , it is about ‘ No Heart’ .

      • 4
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        Whywhy@
        That is exactly the point. Buddhism is considered as a religion that promotes non-violence. According to statistics, it is the religion of more than 70% srilanken majority. But in every corner of the country people are behaving in a “heartless” manner, even if they hear the chanting of Pirit. How so ? I think hypocrisy is in their genes. I am pointing out at the majority of this country. In the public buses, supermarkets, streets, majority of people behave like senseless people.

        • 4
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          Whywhy, LM,

          I am hearing that after the economic collapse, brazen robberies have gone up and people have to watch their backs when walking or traveling and take more precautions at home. Before the country becomes further unlivable and even more heartless, 1-2% of the population should focus on improving productivity, innovation, and competing in the global marketplace to turn things around. By now, SL should have learned from other countries, including India, as to what works and what doesn’t.

          • 0
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            Agnos ,

            1. Innovation = Filth in the place of Pirith ?
            2.Productivity = Oh , more and more corruption , embezzlement ?
            3.Competition = Lotus tower to match Eifel Tower ?

            Agnos , don’t forget , we have the best guy in the Hot Seat to
            handle the CB from Mahendran’s antics !

        • 0
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          leelagebrother ,

          Oh dear dear , after a long time ! Yes , spot on L M ! All Buddhists must
          be held responsible for their tolerance of Rogue Monks chanting Filth
          instead of ‘Pirith’ on streets in public . Where are they now ? Now is
          their turn to chant some good pirith for American Dollars ! It is their
          filth that destroyed the country !

      • 1
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        ww
        In November 2021, a not so well to do relative of mine was rushed to from his village to a hospital close to LHL. His blood oxygen was found low on arrival and he was directed elsewhere. After much delay in getting him into Kalubowila he was (foolishly) admitted to LHL. He was diagnosed COVID positive and kept for 10 days. On discharge they took him to the place where he was supposed to go and his blood oxygen was found low and was returned to LHL. He was diagnosed COVID positive again by the same hospital that discharged him the same morning after treating him for COVID-19 and kept another week there.
        It cost nearly 2 million there. On top of it was the special attendant’s fee of 12,000 per day for 17 days. (Only one who has been cured of COVID-19 qualifies and it was a job finding one.)
        What shocked me was that his special attendant was shared by other patients with permission from the staff but not the knowledge of the patients family. The nursing company, the ward staff and the attendant were all in the game as the ward was inaccessible to visitors.

        • 1
          0

          SJ ,

          First of all , sorry for the pain your relative had to pass through at
          the hands of merciless system and thank you for sharing your
          frustration about the corrupt practice in one of the vital services
          of the county. People have been forced to choose between life and
          death ! Strongest survive but for how long ? Remember , we had been
          selfish and merciless for far too long !

  • 2
    2

    Every adult knows what the IMF is and its intentions.

    It’s just pointless and moronic to blame the IMF.

    IMF didn’t ask us or trap us to come into its arms …… we had to go to it because of our own corruption, stupidity, incompetence ……….. and whole host of crap I can’t even remember ………

    There are many countries who have stayed away from the clutches of the IMF.

    For once, lets have the courage to be honest.

    • 2
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      NF,
      Knowing that countries like ours have no other options but the International Monetary Fund, what are the other options?

      Cabral and others were singing a beautiful song, the lyrics of which have not been revealed to the media so far. I think Cabral is fooling the nation knowing that he can always enjoy impunity within the existing law and order systems. If the offender was in any country subject to the law, we would not be able to see him unarrested.
      .
      I think those who criticize the IMF should come up with alternatives. Overestimating our race, putting them on top, the post-turtle situation will get us nowhere.

      • 2
        0

        LM,

        I’m not saying we shouldn’t go to the IMF.

        What I’m saying is, when we have no other option but to go to the IMF as a last resort people (some very educated and should know better) start blaming and exposing all the bad aspects/deeds of the IMF without blaming our pols who bankrupted the country and got us into this mess in the first place!

        There are many countries who have stayed away from the clutches of the IMF.

        In the Asian financial crisis of 1997 …….. Mahathiya Mohamed of Malaysia refused to go to the IMF (although he was advised to go) …….. and withered the crisis by using other methods/tactics.

        If the IMF is bad then our bloody leaders should be smart enough not to land us at its doors.

        • 1
          0

          Thank you NF,
So NF, if failure, we must learn to make compromises as a nation that cannot cope. It is very important at this critical stage. But it’s not as easy as licking a lollipop. It is the biggest challenge before us. It should be structured from the ground up. Every institution is politically institutionalized. We know how GMOA worked to mediate dog whistles. What is their position today? No one respects the GMOA.
–
As is clear to all, this is not the first time that the Sri Lankan government has sought assistance from the International Monetary Fund. Believe it or not, we have gone to them 16 times, and all ended up in vain not because of the IMF, but because of our own failure.
We lack the ability to make compromises: it’s a learning process. That’s a big mistake. If we do not act to correct it in time, seeking further assistance is like walking in circles.
This is why I believe that if we had instead sought aid from the developed world and invested in rebuilding society if needed, things would have worked out for the betterment of our society today. At least to some extent. This should have started with the eradication of terrorism in May 2009.


          • 0
            0

            So NF, if failure, we must learn to make compromises as a nation for a common cause. TOday in parliament, i see, that Ranil and all agrees to go for ” devolution of power”.

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

            But when it comes to discussion with all, all various culprits would go for their hypocrite networks. That Gewindu and Wimal buruwanse would ruin the country by misinterpreting that RANIL et al is going to give our land to LTTE diaspora. Our so called smaller party representatives destroy everything.
            That has happened all these recent years. That is the mirror image of hitherto srilanka.
            However, things can still change for the benefit of the nation, some sort of hope is still there in my mind.
            If Switzerland and smaller states could succeed it why not a country whose area is not bigger to “GERMANY s Bavaria” could be successful with power consolidation?

    • 1
      0

      nimal fernando

      “For once, lets have the courage to be honest.”

      Tamil/Sinhala speaking people are really, really, really honest, it depends how you look at them.

      “IMF didn’t ask us or trap us to come into its arms …… we had to go to it because of our own corruption, stupidity, incompetence ……….. and whole host of crap I can’t even remember ………”

      Tamil/Sinhala speaking people won’t accept your blanket or specific accusation as you know very well they do not make mistakes.

  • 4
    0

    Who acquitted Basil of all the charges and all the lawsuits he filed?
    It is known to the whole world that Basil or the 10% looted the state all along. Is checking the assets of a dual citizen Basil a difficult task for Americans?
    Let’s mobilize our Sri Lankan Americans to stand up against this great criminal. It is a sorry sight for us to compellingly watch on TV screens that he is returning to this land .
    My opinion is against the Sri Lankan judiciary. Why do people believe that they have no right to speak against the judiciary in Sri Lanka? Nanda Malini’s lyrics keep reminding me.x

    • 3
      0

      WHYWHY@
      Here, again please look at a “Known Multiple Criminal” queuing up for admission, but with a beaming smile on his face as always… Given VVIP security…. How?
      In a legalistic country, not welcome, but the CID officers would have locked him up and treated him as a major criminal. The police has become more politicized than in the past.
      Not a single security guard comes forward to attack him. How can complete ignorance and apathy develop to this level? Either the bystanders have no senses, or the authorities are completely weakened.

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