20 June, 2024


The Economics Of Democracy

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Want to buy some illusions,

Slightly used, second hand?

They were lovely illusions,

Reaching high, built on sand….”

(Marlene Dietrich in A Foreign Affair)

“After emergency laws are lifted, constitutions are drafted, and elections are held, policymakers in the Middle East will be faced with a tough practical challenge: how to create economic opportunities for the region’s teeming millions.” This was what two analysts, Bassem Awadallah and Adeel Malik, wrote in October 2012[i]. The importance they accorded to economics in bringing about and sustaining positive political change is valid beyond the Middle East.

Maithripala Ranil W Piv Via MS's FBThe need to be free of autocracy did play a role in ushering the Arab Spring. But it was just one contributory factor. For the vast masses, economics was more important than politics. They wanted their political rights. But for people who were mired in economic want, the right to life also meant the right to a liveable life, characterised primarily by bearable living costs and decent jobs.

For this majority, democracy was a means to an end. If democracy did not bring about an immediate, real and lasting improvement in their living conditions, their faith in democracy eroded.

Extremism, ethnic, religious or tribal, is the main winner, when the democratic experiment fails. This is as true in Colombo as it was in Cairo.

A plethora of reasons contributed to the defeat of the seemingly invincible Rajapaksa juggernaut. Among these, economics played a pivotal role. The minorities turned against the Rajapaksas for obvious political reasons. But this loss in and of itself would have been insufficient to defeat the Rajapaksas electorally. If the Siblings managed to retain their 2010 support-level amongst Sinhala-Buddhists, Mahinda Rajapaksa would have scraped through on January 8th. That was what he was counting on.

As the CPA survey of 2014 revealed, 58.1% of the Sinhalese wanted the regime to focus on reducing living costs. [ii] The Rajapaksas did anything but. They believed that a combination of patriotic rhetoric, toxic attacks on the minorities and shrill warnings about international conspiracies could make a sufficient number of Sinhala-Buddhists forget their very real economic problems.

In 2011, 70% of Sinhalese thought the general economic situation will improve in the next two years. In 2013 only 38.5% of Sinhalese thought the general economic situation will improve in the coming two years[iii]. Official figures confirmed the trend. According to the Department of Census and Statistics, 53% of the urban population, 73% of the rural population and 81% of the estate population did not receive the minimum income necessary to pay for food and other basic needs.[iv]

In the end, everyday experiences trumped grand slogans; real facts trounced imagined fears.

It is not absolute poverty which gives birth to political dissent, but relative poverty. The ruling family atop a bloated political caste enjoyed the good life at public expense even as ordinary people struggled to make ends meet. The regime’s refusal to acknowledge the economic sufferings of the people added insult to injury.

The vote against the Rajapaksas was a vote in the main for a more responsive and caring economic regimen. If the new administration forgets this fundamental fact, the advances made on the political front will be at risk.

Imitating the Rajapaksas?

Last Monday, the police baton-charged a group of protesting villagers in Bandagiriya. The protest was peaceful, the police attack indefensible and the government silence about the anti-democratic response baffling.

The protestors were demanding clean drinking water. Bandagiriya is in the Hambantota district, the bastion of the Rajapaksa clan. The fact that the people of Bandagiriya are without access to something as fundamental as clean water, after almost a decade of Rajapaksa rule, is a damning indictment of Rajapaksa economics.

It is also a warning to the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration.

During the Rajapaksa decade, no expense was spared to turn Hambantota into a megapolis. A port, an airport, an artificial island, an international cricket stadium and an international convention centre were among the many infrastructure projects Hambantota was saddled with. Another Rajapaksa term and Hambantota would have ended up like Naypyidaw, the massive ghost-capital Myanmar’s military rulers built, a place replete with buildings and bereft of people.

In the rush to provide Hambantota with all the trappings of a glitzy super-city, the Rajapaksas forgot the ordinary needs of ordinary people; such as water.

Hambantota’s innumerable new additions include a botanical garden, with many wet-zone plants. To keep them alive in this rain-poor district, bowsers of water are brought from outside. “If people know the true extent of the water being wasted here, there will be a riot,” a university professor, who refused to be named, told the AFP[v].

That is what the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government should have done. Told the protesting people of Bandagiriya what the Rajapaksas did with their water.

The Bandagiriya protest provides incontrovertible proof of the failure of Rajapaksa economics. In the Rajapaksa development plans, the people didn’t count and their needs were de-prioritised. So living costs soared, basic requirements went unmet and hopes for a better future eroded. The gap between the Rajapaksa rhetoric and the everyday experiences of ordinary people widened. The regime did not understand what the people were going through and the people lost faith in the regime’s capacity to improve their lives.

Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the presidency. History was made.

During the time between the presidential and parliamentary elections, the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government acted as if it has learnt the necessary lessons from this Rajapaksa-failure. Since that victory, the new administration seems to be inclining increasingly towards Mahinda Chinthanaya, not just in matters such as leader veneration and family bandysm but also in the all important area of economics.

Had the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration remained sensitive to the ordinary needs of ordinary people, it would have embraced and not ignored the Bandagiriya protest. This protest over something as basic as clean water in the Rajapaksa-heartland revealed the hollowness of Rajapaksa development. With the money spent on any one of the mammoth infrastructure projects, the entire populace of Hambantota could have been provided with clean drinking water. The Rajapaksas didn’t do it. That shows their real nature.

The new government’s incapacity to understand the explosive political potential of this incident is indicative of a malaise which, if left unattended to, can have devastating consequences.

Ever since the parliamentary election, the new government has succumbed to a Rajapaksa-like indifference about the adverse effects of its policies on ordinary people. The price hikes of the last two months, caused by the depreciation of the rupee and increased taxes, have caused living costs to jump up again. The sudden axing of subsidies has resulted in plummeting rubber prices, pushing small-and-medium rubber growers into a serious crisis. Tea sector is facing its own crisis while the government’s promise to make vehicles accessible to the new middle class is turning into a grotesque joke.

There is growing public impression that having secured power, the new rulers are acting with the same arrogance and callous disregard as the old rulers. With every mistake the administration makes, with every act of insensitivity, with every broken promise, the gap between it and the Rajapaksas erode.

A more dangerous situation for Sri Lanka’s restored democracy cannot be imagined.

Sustaining Reconciliation and Democracy

Vasanthy Ragupathy Sharma is Tamil, a mother of three and a prisoner. Recently the Colombo High Court acquitted her of the charges against her. By that time she had spent 15 years in jail under the PTA, for a crime she did not commit[vi].

The plight of many PTA detainees is even worse, because they have never being charged. The war ended more than six years ago. Yet these men and women languish in detention, while the likes of Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) are free. The least the Attorney General’s Department can do is to press charges where possible and release the rest.

That was the demand of the PTA prisoners who commenced a death-fast last week: press charges or release.

The government’s rapid response to the fast highlights a key positive difference between the past and the present. The Rajapaksas would have sent in the commandos. The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration initiated talks and promised a resolution.

The Geneva consensus is far from perfect. Still it is indubitably a step in the right direction. Not just accountability and justice but even common-or-garden acknowledgement that civilian lives were lost was rendered impossible thanks to the Rajapaksa insistence on the myth of ‘Humanitarian Operation with zero-civilian casualties’. Since only ‘Tigers’ were killed by the military, even mourning for the war-dead became outlawed.

Israeli human rights activist and co-founder of B’Tselem, Daphna Golan-Agnon, points out that there are multiple layers of denial operating in Israel on the war crimes issue: literal denial (it never happened); denial of significance (these weren’t really war crimes); justification (we had no alternative). A similar system of collective denial was deliberately encouraged by the Rajapaksas. Even if there is no justice, this denial, the lie that the war was won without harming any civilian Tamils must end. The nature of the LTTE made the war necessary; but that does not mean it was humane or desirable. That distinction needs to be made.

The conviction of four soldiers by the Jaffna High Court for gang-raping two Tamil women in 2010 is a welcome development, but much more needs to be done, if Tamils are to gain some faith in the judiciary.

Accountability, reconciliation, hopefully even a political solution to the ethnic problem – for any of these to happen, there must be a minimum level of consent from the Sinhala South. Support would be ideal, but benign indifference would do. And that would depend primarily on how successful the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government is in alleviating the economic burdens of ordinary people.

Democracy, accountability and reconciliation require a minimum degree of economic contentment in the South. If people feel their economic burden has lessened, they will have hope for the future. Such a people would be more capable of resisting the lure of majoritarian extremism and minority-phobia. That was what happened on August 17th.

If the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration governed from January to August, as it is doing now, Mahinda Rajapaksa would have won the parliamentary election.

Internationally, democratisation projects suffered violent failures in the recent past due, in part, to the erroneous equation of democracy with neo-liberalism, a mistake to which both opponents and proponents of democracy are prone to. Newly emerged democracies need time to consolidate their gains, and this time can be brought not by imposing austerity on an already traumatised populace, but by providing much-needed economic relief to ordinary citizens.

Sri Lanka is a deeply divided nation, ethno-religiously. The Rajapaksas exacerbated these divisions as part of their political strategy. They failed because they did not get the economics right. Post-defeat, they are staying the Sinhala-Buddhist course, hoping to regain power the only way they know. And they might succeed, if the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration continues to get its economics wrong.

“Decent jobs are key to ending poverty in its most extreme forms and transforming the lives of millions,” ILO Director General, Guy Ryder, reminded the world recently[vii]. Youth unemployment hovered around 19%-20% at the end of Rajapaksa rule. Addressing this problem is another urgent task. High levels of youth unemployment played a role in making and unmaking the Arab Spring. It’s a warning Sri Lanka cannot ignore.

Marc Stears was former Labour leader Edward Miliband’s chief speech-writer. Recently Prof Stears argued that to win the next election, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour must do what Ed Miliband’s Labour couldn’t: convince the British public it ‘respects them’ and ‘takes their lives seriously.’”[viii]

The Rajapaksas didn’t and paid the price. The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration must not tread the same path.

[i] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bassem-awadallah/the-economics-of-the-arab_b_1196473.html

[ii] http://groundviews.org/2014/09/19/infographic-views-from-uva/

[iii] http://www.scribd.com/doc/182597529/Top-line-survey-results-Democracy-in-post-war-Sri-Lanka

[iv] Question Time reveals colossal waster of public funds while masses struggle – Chandani Kirinde – The Sunday Times – 27.7.2014

[v] http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2015/06/28/hambantota-white-projects-eat-up-economy/

[vi] http://groundviews.org/2015/10/05/court-acquits-tamil-mother-after-15-years-of-detention-under-pta/

[vii] Daily Mirror – 17.10.2015

[viii] http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2015/09/day-earth-stopped

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Latest comments

  • 8

    Signs have become to appear that the government is loosing its grip on the administration in the direction of good governance. The new air we breathed in January is becoming polluted and we may be choked to death. With the promises given to seek out and prosecute the fraudulent and other criminals who were given refuge and protection in the earlier regime, have now become more of a political statement than actual prosecution. Some advisers have gained access only to reap the benefits at high costs and have only produced unworthy results.

  • 8

    Thank you Tisaranee.

    “The Rajapaksas would have sent in the commandos.”

    Rajapaksa followers are still in action.

    Police station in Jaffna surrounded by Sri Lanka’s military after arresting 7 soldiers for theft

  • 7

    It is always good not to forget what we had and compare the current conditions against past TG has given a perfect comparison with a what if scenarios.

    I believe the curve is yet to bottom out. Push and efforts required to change direction is tough task. The government is doing all it can. We will have to give them time. 20 years of legacy cannot be corrected in few months.

    On the outset we cannot be happy about the performance of the government but generally if you compare what would the MARA government done when there is a cash crunch for example increasing the duty for vehicles will only effect a sections of the population but the previous regime would have increased the prices of essential items overnight effecting the ordinary man. Recently bust customs bribe shows us the scale of affairs, in the past imagine the scenario when the government ministers are also involved in it. All this money which should add to the revenue of gov coffers are shared among selected few.

    Lets give these guys a bit of time. Vehicle duty increase is not a popular item, but we have much wider freedom now, we are not ruled buy a single man and his family. There are no arbitrary decisions effecting day to day life.

    4+ more years to go, lets judge with time. At least these guys are selling a visually bright dream. Time is required to materialize much of it.

    In my view government may bring in law’s or encourage people to scrap or sell vehicles which are older than certain no of years like in Singapore. Already there is talk of exporting old vehicles to Africa. If citizens are given duty incentives to scrap/sell old for new people will go for it.

    Ohh CT mocking on presidents daughters activities is very lame to say the least, when old regime’s bag carries also attended UN sessions we meekly kept quite !

    • 4

      To make comparisons, TGs Article is incomplete without this evidence placed in public
      domain in Nov,2014:
      HAMBANTOTA DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS – 22 Nos. and costs exceed Rs. 600 billion:
      Source Ms.N. Wijedasa .. Sunday Times 30-11-14:

      “Fisheries Harbor upgrading 373 (all figures are in million Rs.)
      International Exhibition & Convention centre, Siribopura 2000
      42 – Office administrative complex 2983
      Mahinda Rajapakse Stadium, Sooriyawewa 700
      Mattala Rajapakse International Airport (1) 27500
      Hambantota Port – Phase 1 47380
      Hambantota General Hospital 70000
      Solar Power Park (Korea/Japan Govts.) 1300
      Belliatta town & Irrigation tank rehabilitation 300
      Mattala access road flyover 3090
      Fuel hydrant system & aviation refueling terminal at MIRA 5100
      Bunkering facility & tank farm 9900
      Dry Zone Botanical garden (1) 500
      Mahinda Rajapakse National Tele-cinema park (1) 600 (+ 600 more)
      Siribopura Flyover at junction of H`tota-Werawila Road 2675
      TRC 8 Storey Business Centre 3500
      Hambantota Port (11) 106000
      Expressway between Hambantota & MIRA Airport 54000
      MIRA development project cost overrun & addtl.work 16000
      26.75 Matara-Belliatta Railway 36500
      H`tota International Hub development project 52.96 km 33200
      Matara-Hambantota Expressway extension 90 km 253000
      T o t a l: 676,601 billion SL Rupees”

    • 0


      You cannot compare present government’s current actions with what previous government did in last few years. At the beginning, every government behave with voters in mind then they forget. MR was a hero for muslims when he first elected (e.g his involvement with palestine) . had a better track record in HR. but we all know how it ended.

  • 5

    Lets be honest politicians don’t make any decisions which are economically prudent since mot of them would be disastrous politically.

    We would have to address the following if we are to prosper economically. But politicians will never do them.

    1 state entities involved in commercial activities such as banking, gas, airlines etc should be privatized.
    2 university education including medical should be opened up to the private sector with regulation
    3 40% of population involved in agriculture which produce 10% of GDP. Complete overhaul required.
    4 All state sector institution boards should be filled up with competent people. No political cronies.
    5 all subsidies should be targeted. Diesel BMWs should not get discounted diesel.
    6 price controls should be replaced by a transarent formula. Hoppers and tea cannot be price cobtrolled.
    7 non contributory pension schemes should be abolished. Current pension cost is Rs 200 b per annum!!!
    8 health and education should be revamped
    9 minimum qualifications and experience for aspiring politicians
    10 independent police and judiciary

  • 5

    Tisaranee, an excellent article,

    Very true,
    “They (MR) failed because they did not get the economics right. Post-defeat, they are staying the Sinhala-Buddhist course, hoping to regain power the only way they know. And they might succeed, if the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration continues to get its economics wrong.”

    Maithri-Ranil are sadly mistaken if they think Good Governance is only about changing the constitution, no certainly not, what people expect is good management of economy & better living standards for people, if they fail, should pack their bags.

    Yesterday I watched Sirasa-Satana & Police spokesman (lawyer by profession) said AvantGarde damn company of Gota is making US$ 80 to US$ 140 million a month, just imagine even if the average is US$ 100 million a month it’s
    LKR (Rs,) 13.5 billion a month which should have otherwise gone to SL Navy or to Govt. treasury.,

    Added to that the contract between Defense Ministry & Gota’s company is void
    ( not voidable) at the inception, 02 lawyers present at program agreed,

    So If Ranil-Maithri want they can stop this colossal loss to exchequer overnight, but they don’t do it.

    Further incumbent Attorney General, a govt. employee is dragging his feet, neither giving correct instructions to Police, nor bringing criminal charges in High Courts, perhaps for good reasons, going by Rs.13.5 billion profits per month, ( your guess is as good as mine)

    This is the way Ranil-Maithri acting, just a matter of time you’ll see repercussions of it

  • 7

    “the new administration seems to be inclining increasingly towards Mahinda Chinthanaya, not just in matters such as leader veneration and family bandysm but also in the all important area of economics”

    Leader veneration is happening to the hilt even though president Sirisena promised that he will not behave like a King. Every national government MP or minister when they open their mouth starts praising the president. According to them everything is achieved because of the president. We do not need such a useless MPs and ministers. This has become a joke. May be President Sirisena has changed and enjoys flattering. He should realize that these politicians are doing it to get more and more benefits from him and that they do not really mean it.

  • 5

    Brilliant Thisaranee dear and hats off to you. Economics is the key and political CORRUPTION is the biggest obstacle to equitable economic development.

    1. Sri Lanka today needs a citizens’s campaign for a FAIR MINIMUM WAGE. There are millions of people who work for long hours – more the 12 hours a day- but earn less than 3 dollars a day. They live in poverty despite working hard and cannot support families. Meanwhile the rich are getting richer and inequality expanding.

    I do not know what the NGO Centers that work on poverty analysis are doing colonized as they are by UN and international donors.. but we need a people’s movement for a decent wage for working people.

  • 2

    The confidence people had on this Government is fast eroding due to nepotism in various appointments made.
    1. Austin Fernando’s son-in-law appoined to HC in UK. This is the same Austin Fernando [Edited out] and is so corrupt to influence the President to appoint his SIL to a high position.
    2. Arjuna Ranatunga appointing his brother to the top position of the Port who has a record of corruption while at the SLC
    3. Ravi Karunanayake appiting his BIL who is only a retired police constable to head Sri Lanka Insurance.

    Immediately after the August 17th election Ranil said that all high positions will be filled by a small committee including him and the President. What happened to this hypothetical committee or has the PM conveniently forgotten his pledge hoping that people will forget all this. Or is it because he wants to leave space to appoint his old buddies such the Chairman of SriLankan airline?

  • 4

    A timely warning and another excellent analysis of the current administration’s situation in comparison to pre-election promises.

    It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if the mistakes of the Rajapakses are repeated, in spite of all the promises of change, another regime change is on the cards.

    Complacency and a sense of false security may well be the downfall of any pretenders, so they must be aware and stick to the script!

  • 4

    Vasanthy Ragupathy Sharma’s case is ignored by most of the media.
    It shows the pernicious nature of the PTA and how it violates the fundamental human rights of citizens.
    PTA was enforced by Gotabaya Rajapakse and he must answer for this and many other similar instances.
    The state should pay compensation to her.
    No news yet of Jeyakumari Balendran who was similarly arrested, released, and rearrested – on a charge of harbouring a man said to have, along with two others, been trying to locate buried LTTE arms caches using stolen mine detecters !!!
    If such arrests had happened in the south, there would have been a hue and cry & public protests.

  • 2

    Tisaranee Gunasekara,

    Are you afraid that an Arab spring will bring back the Rajapaksas? It certainly will, because in the absence of greater SOCIALISM, what current Gosl is doing is exactly what all governments will do when faced with a populous that wants to become like Singapore and Honk Kong minus country context. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    And SOCIALISM in context of Sri Lanka, is about the rural farming and traditional sectors being developed first. Unless Ranil-Sirisena regime starts moving towards this, I fear it will definitely be a Rajapaksa comeback.

    With Rajapaksa attempting to build up Hambantota as a megapolis, he did the same for the Jaffna also. In Jaffna’s case, he was a bit more careful with the water and other situations. So, if he did, what he did, to Jaffna as in Hamabantota, goes to show at least he was really trying his best for the Northerners, with no racism.

    For it seems that in building up infrastructure, does a country tap into the global capitalistic network. Once the infrastructure is built, the populous is supposed to work with and around the buildings, modernize, and spread the capitalistic concept throughout the community. If Rajapaksa had won a 3rd term, no doubt this would have happened very effectively.

    And with Rajapaksa, the country had so much of a better Rupee value and GDP, too. They had the knack on these sorts of things, even if it meant nepotism. Somehow, the Nepotism and corruption charges do not correlate to the higher Rupee value and advanced GDP that transpired with the Rajapaksa regime. Populous must be hitting their palms of their foreheads and saying “Aparadha,”

    • 3

      MR is more efficient manager but problem was corruption & waste running over dozens of billions of US$.
      His projects were White Elephants, never gave Return on Investment.

      GDP growth is due to billion dollar govt, expenditure on those projects & on war, remember even expenditure on national security is taken in to consideration when GDP is calculated.

      • 0


        GDP is the final sum of everything a country does, and is reflected in monetary value :

        [Gross domestic product can be calculated using the following formula:

        GDP = C + G + I + NX


        C is equal to all private consumption, or consumer spending, in a nation’s economy,

        G is the sum of government spending,

        I is the sum of all the country’s investment, including businesses capital expenditures

        and NX is the nation’s total net exports, calculated as total exports minus total imports (NX = Exports – Imports).

        Read more: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Definition | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/gdp.asp#ixzz3owpuNzvs
        Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook ]

        Under Rajapaksa, GDP was at a surplus.

        As for the White elephants you mention, I say again :

        Once the infrastructure is built, the populous is supposed to work with and around the buildings, modernize, and spread the capitalistic concept throughout the community. If Rajapaksa had won a 3rd term, no doubt this would have happened very effectively.

        • 3

          ramona mother therese fernando

          “Under Rajapaksa, GDP was at a surplus.”

          Can you define “GDP was at a surplus”?

          Please ignore me if you haven’t got a clue.

          • 0

            Different economists see GDP differently.


            In the US :“First quarter 2015 real GDP just went negative with a -0.7% contraction.”

            • 5

              ramona mother therese fernando

              You are talking a load of bull.

              Stupids rush in where economists fear to tread.

              GDP is not described being in surplus or dificit.

              One can say Budget surplus/dificit.

              DEFINITION of ‘Recession’

              A significant decline in activity across the economy, lasting longer than a few months. It is visible in industrial production, employment, real income and wholesale-retail trade. The technical indicator of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by a country’s gross domestic product (GDP); although the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) does not necessarily need to see this occur to call a recession.

              DEFINITION of ‘Economic Growth’

              An increase in the capacity of an economy to produce goods and services, compared from one period of time to another. Economic growth can be measured in nominal terms, which include inflation, or in real terms, which are adjusted for inflation. For comparing one country’s economic growth to another, GDP or GNP per capita should be used as these take into account population differences between countries.

              Please stick to your day job.

              • 1

                NV: she can’t help “talking bull”, as she is CT’s resident cow, as you can tell from her stupid comments. Half the time she has no idea of what she is talking about, which many commenters have discovered and brought to her notice.

                She is a total waste of space and time!

                • 0


                  I don’t mind the foul rants…….I am proud to speak for the Motherland.

        • 2


          Thank you for explaining GDP,

          but when I was an undergraduate ,Economics was a major subject I read for 04 years & my University’s Economics Professors taught me Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is calculated either by expenditure or income method.

          If you cross check with Economic Research Dept. of Central Bank of Sri Lanka, whose publications I read for more than a decade in 1980’s ,they may guide you how it’s done by them.

          you say ” Under Rajapaksa, GDP was at a surplus.”. ???? haa..haa..

          OMG, this is the first time I heard any “GDP surplus”, there is no such a thing in economics books I read , if you really want to promote Rajapakse, you can say GDP growth rate was highest during MR time .

          For example we recorded real growth of GDP 8.2 % in 1978 (base year I think 1951) under JRJ, people felt that.

          Like wise War expenditure is taken in to consideration for calculation of GDP , so during MR regime 2008 & 2009 recorded very high expenditure , so GDP had that effect.Further his White Elephants too had an impact on GDP. That’s why people never felt any relief in economoic front during MR regime, so finally people kicked MR out.

          You say,
          “and NX is the nation’s total net exports, calculated as total exports minus total imports (NX = Exports – Imports).”

          ramona, this net import / export figure is taken when you prepare GNP ( gross National Product) not for GDP

          • 0


            It seems that different economists see GDP differently.


            In the US :“First quarter 2015 real GDP just went negative with a -0.7% contraction.”

            Budget surplus/deficit is a % of GDP. In the case of a surplus it will be a positive of GDP. In the case of a deficit, it will be a negative.

            Maybe it can be called GNP as you say. Whatever it is, Sri Lanka had a budget surplus under the Rajapaksas.


            “With an economy worth $80.591 billion (2015) ($233.637 billion PPP estimate),[1] and a per capita GDP of about $11,068.996 (PPP), Sri Lanka has mostly had strong growth rates in recent years until the government toppled early in 2015 where most development projects were stopped abruptly on corruption claims[citation needed]. In GDP per capita terms, it is ahead of other countries in the South Asian region.”

            • 1

              You are again mistaken, GDP per capita is -constant prices is around
              US$ 4,000, it’s always ahead of all south asian countries for last 30 years or more, your $ 11,000 should be current market prices which is not taken for any comparison, because prices/ value of currency keep on changing,
              & This wikipedia has some inaccuracies as well,

              Now you don’t say any GDP surplus ?

              Now you say Budget Surplus, we did not have any Budget surplus from 1950’s todate,
              moreover ,deficit budget is a concept in developing economies, sort of a strategy ,not even a balance budget is considered here.

              Only economy I can remember having balance budget was US under Bill Clinton for one year or two,

              I think your mission is to promote rouge MR only ,not to see the truth, it’s waste of time replying to you

              • 0


                Not at all…..I am not promoting any one person or regime, but am giving awareness that MR was had a good take on the economy.
                Everybody knew this, but MR was yet voted out (if we consider that the voting was not tampered with as in the case of too many countries that wanted to move away from the global order).

                Many people in Lanka were unhappy that they didn’t have a say in the democratic process – financial especially, irrespective of the economy doing well. Also there was the probable racial factor from a handful of “pure” Sinhalese that Rajapakas were seen as part of (I am not sure if they really were part of that mindset), and the Tamils and Muslims, and probably the majority of Sinhalese themselves, felt slighted by racial purity talk. Also there was fear of retaliation from the established global-order, but at this time, global-order seems to be coming down to some compromise with deviancies.

                Best that should be done for Sri Lanka is to stop attempting to needlessly prosecute Rajapaksas, acknowledge their successes, and involve them in the process, even if they pose a possibility of making a come-back in six-years’ time.

                • 3

                  John, don’t waste your time with this ignoramus, she wants to pretend that she knows what she doesn’t and is like a bitch with a bone when anyone brings her ignorance to her notice.

                  • 0

                    Gonzo, Yes, I understand, thanks
                    this ramona is not existent person

          • 4


            My advice to ramona mother therese fernando is to stick to her day job if she has one.

            • 0

              I got what you say, thanks

    • 0

      Hong Kong*


      Populous must be hitting their palms ON their foreheads and saying “Aparadha,” *

    • 2

      Ramona TF – “You can’t have your cake and it it too”

      You should have warned the Rajapakses about that. Now they “must be hitting their palms of their foreheads and saying “Aparadha,”.

      • 0


        Too late! I said it first about the populous….(he, he, :))))

        • 0

          Ramona TF – first you should learn the meaning of “populous”,as you are using it wrong!

          Just one of your many errors!!


          • 0


  • 6

    ramona therese fernando

    You are living with the fantasies of Rajapaksha regime, enjoy with that dream with some orgasm as well, better keep within your self, for sake of decency.

    Do not propagate lies for that!

    You imagined that no body from Jaffna will bother to reply your fabrication and absolute lies about Rajaparasa’s Development in Jaffna in parallel to the Development in Hambantota. In jaffna India restored the Public utility facilities including transport through insisting only!
    Following are the development?
    1. He sold the KKS Cement Factory for Metal Scrap despite India offering to refurbish 2. Acquisition of private highly fertile lands to make them useless 3. Northern sea corridor became a drug trafficking hub
    GDP and Rupee Value, were kept high, with sword of Damocles hanging over head of Ajit Navas Cabaral their family Cashier!

  • 2

    “Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the presidency. History was made.”

    History was made when Mahinda Rajapakse defeated the LTTE, after a 30 year civil war. What is more important, that the conqueror is the next patron saint, or that a brutal tyrant like Prabhakaran was swiftly put down. People like Tisaranee live in a utopian fantasy world, while the real world is something entirely different. The US wages war in foreign countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) to plunder the natural resources of those countries. Yet it is one of the biggest sponsors of the “Geneva Convention” that Tisaranee writes odes to. Germany is accepting 800K migrants this year; democracy? Hardly! It has an acute labor shortage and needs millions of low-wage slots to be filled. Let us not forget the “democratic” Western nations built on the displacement of millions of native inhabitants: Aus, NZ, Canada, USA, etc.

    So I would ask Tisaranee, why hold Rajapakse as the anti-thesis of “democracy.” Define democracy first. Show that a single government, anywhere, adheres to it in the true form.

    • 0

      Well said Lester..TG,s uncorroborated stats on SL youth unemployment and implication of a Arab “Spring” in the making prompt me to quote more stats of the same, such as, black and latino youth unemployment in US hover around the same numbers..does that imply a looming Arab “Spring” in the US..

    • 0

      The article is vintage TG

      Vehement cries against the excesses of the Rajapakse Administration!!

      Kid gloves and gentle admonishments for the horrid excesses of the Sira-Wicki Administration!!

      Typical Sri Lankan Attitude. When “Apey Kolla” is in the High Seat, everything they do is fine !

  • 0

    Excellent Tisaranee.
    Will the majority of the Sri Lankans agree with you ?
    Are they going to bring back MR regime back again soon by playing race and religion card?
    Can MS- Ranil regime survive longer to persuade the majority to bring in policy changes for a new Sri Lanka without fear ?

    Talking about UN, foreign expertise I would like to the attention of the readers :

    Albert Winsemius (1910–1996), a Dutch, was Singapore’s long-time economic advisor from 1961 to 1984. He led the United Nations Survey Mission to Singapore,[2] and was to play a major role in the formulation of Singapore’s national economic development strategy.

  • 1

    Bill Clinton was right when he said to George Bush Snr., “It is the economy stupid!”.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 0

    I think what we are witnessing is not lack of intent but rather lack of competence. The Rajapakse rot has becoming endemic in all aspects of the government service.

    Also Ranil and MY3 have to accommodate all sorts in this coalition government.

    I will personally give them a year from this August to get things in order.

  • 0

    TG: I truly pity your bitterness and hate towards an administration that is no longer in power, and as for Bandagiriya you know very well from 2003 through 2011 and 2014 there were many attempts to provide clean water to this village including supplying water from Mattala airport to ferry water by bowsers, it is a shame that a real solution has not yet been found, I recommend that you channel your hate to some thing productive..like work with local organizations to provide clean water to that or any other deprived poor village

    • 0

      Inconvenient: The “real solution” should have been provided by that administration you defend. How long did they need for supplying water while they were busy stealing the country blind?

      Save your recommendations, you should have made use of them when the white vans and kudukarayas were having a field day under your criminal heroes.

  • 4

    The Economics of Democracy
    This should have been my first response, any way
    The hybrid government is unable to content with economic requirement and grieve of the public that is for sure, which is quite necessary to go forward with the Accountability and Reconciliation matters with some ease. The problem with the hybrid government is, though the Heads are locked up for a common course the tail and the body yet to coil up for realizable output, when snakes coil up for (re)production body and tails coils up tightly, but the Heads loosen up with for courtship.
    The hybrid government’s body and tail are such they have not come out of that same old practice of vying for votes, viewing one another’s actions with grinding suspicious, that brings grinding halt to benefits to the people. They have not yet coiled up for the reassuring and realizable output for the states real stakeholders the public expectations.
    The hybrid government is a too dangerous poisonous snake for minority issues as a whole, but it may be yielding good results as well, if they have learned the lessons of the past, we all have to be only optimistic.
    Whatever it is the hybrid government is obligated to show some firmness and resolve in approaching the matters related to public interests, which will make them believe that the government is doing things for their betterment only, even if it is a bitter pill at the beginning. This is an important formula to move on with ease. Even this aspect is lacking, may be due to coiling up unprepared with individuals’ wishes taking fore front.

    the public have to be reached by realizable contentment thru

  • 0

    We have seen that the essence of the 2015 January 9th that counter-revolution now in progress amount to the NOT going break-up US and Indian monopoly powers, that want essentiality subordinated Sri Lankan national sovereignty and its interest to US led forces by means of installed new puppet regime in center of Colombo. That has done by installed buying voters and misleading former MR alliance of misery of “corruptions” by previous government.

    It has not created free and democracy economic system of developing GDP and promoting in Agriculture, Industries and Trading the dominations also of commodity production by foreign monopolies ; since the struggle for the redistributions of land & capital that cannot alter the relations of productions in cultivating lands as well as GDP by UNP led new regime.

    We have seen last 67 years that basic and chief component of distributions of land for rural poor peasants are fighting against big and urban comprador bourgeoisies (UNP)back by US and UK MSN,s.
    In fact needless to say look at the outline given evolution of
    Sri Lankan rural agrarian system and economic order from present stage to the bourgeois revolution.

    The writer has Trotskyist political background and as well as US back political agenda that she call ‘economic democracy’ the strongest mainstay of survival of US Neo-Liberal new colonization set of policies in Sri lanka.

    That her “economic democracy ” denied development of commodity of production and capitalism of sustsnibility, will certainly and inevitably NOT put an end to those past UNP politics of survival.

    In that fact respect Sri Lankan has only one path before her that sustsnibility of bourgeois development.

    It is true that the restoration so-called ‘economic democracy’ in
    Sri lanka ,that UNP new regime want to restore the very survival of US led Neo-Liberal Economy as whole. The story behind bitter is the lot of those peasant of rural population of 70% people who have been suffering for colonial ages without land.

    Since 1948 they have been waiting for fortune to drop from skies, but it has not come. Even current regime under new changes of MS -UNP, Ranil W….of UNP… and CBK of Neo-Liberal- SLFP fortune is in the pockets of the back by roots of big-bourgeois UK land gentry, who obtain this lands together with their grand ,grand fathers.

    The our economic democracy is the basis of sustainability of capitalist revolution in Sri lanka and determines the special and historical national character of this revolution.
    If we required economic democracy to be established free farming system in Sri lanka, it is necessary to unfence all lands, landlord as well as allotment land of rural economy.

    The rural population of 70% are that whole system not that ‘cluster villages order’ proposed by UNP Ranil W… of neo-liberal landownership must be broken up and all lands of rural base must be made equal for the FREE Framers and upon a FREE soil.

    The Economic democracy that greatest possible facilities must be created for the exchanges of holding for the free choice of settlement for rounding off holding for the creation of NEW ,FREE ,Associations that instead of US back rusty tax-levying cluster VILLAGES. The whole rural economic must be liberated from all NEO-colonial and feudal lumbers.
    The current political institutions is an old forms of colonial order not that suited to new revolution expected by People of Sri Lankan.

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