13 August, 2020

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The Miscarriage Of The JVP Signals The End Of The Socialist Idea In Sri Lanka

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

“A fundamental ideological flaw haunts Leftism today. It is the failure of socialism itself.”

A striking feature of the August General Elections is the unexpected slump of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Much was expected that this party would rev up the forces for socialism and ,once again, resurrect the red flag of protest against privilege. As one of the numerous who has been impressed by its leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, I was disappointed with the poor showing of that party. Unrealistically though, I was hoping that the JVP would replace UPFA as the main voice of the Opposition. Anura Kumara Dissanayake does his homework and is thorough with the facts and figures. He is intelligent, well educated, forceful and honest and can fling himself aggressively to make a dent in any powerful government.

Sri Lanka desperately needs such voices in Parliament. Yet, that was not to be. Human events in social and political life are complex in character and many factors have to be reckoned in their explanation. Basically, I think, the JVP was caught right in the middle of the general polarisation of an electorate that had to decide on whether to bring back the former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa or whether to resume the Yahapanaya revolution signified by the January 8th Presidential elections. It had to be either one or the other to most voters and in such a context there was no room for a middle force that was theoretically attacking both options. The JVP lost itself in the way. In fact all their articulate and vociferous criticism of the Rajapakse regime went to help the UNP-led campaign. The UNP derived the benefit of the rhetoric of Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Lalkantha and other capable orators.

Anura KumaraThis reveals that the JVP platform was badly oriented. A better course of action for the party would have been to join the United National Front as a constituent member but, as Vladimir Lyich Lenin famously said in 1921, “march separately; strike together.” within the UNF camp until the day of reckoning comes when the party would have gathered greater strength to combat directly. In this election the party was lost in an ambivalent position that confused its potential backers. Voters who went against a Rajapaksa comeback desperately wanted that to happen. The space for any body in between was simply not there.

There are other immediate matters of concern for the JVP. The party frontline is not strong and broad enough to appeal to the masses. In the heyday of the old LSSP that party had many a stalwart- NM Perera, Colvin R de Silva, Leslie Goonawardena, Cholmondeley Gunawardena, Vivienne Goonawardena, Edmund Samarakkody and so on. A very impressive frontline indeed! The JVP, on the other hand is an Anura Kumar show. Somawanse retired into madness. The UNFPA was also a Rajapaksa show but Mahinda Rajapaksa had built up adequate charisma to hold the imagination of the people. UNP isn’t a mere Ranil show; a strong second line of leadership is already growing in its fold.

These are, however, rather trifling matters on the surface that adversely affects the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna On the other hand,a fundamental ideological flaw haunts socialist leftism in general today. It is the failure of socialism itself and this is reflected all over the world-not only in Sri Lanka. Ideas, as men, are socially located. The emergence of socialism was rooted in the unsavoury experiences of the early phase of capitalism and industrialisation as reflected in the famous novels of Charles Dickens. That was a time when private ownership and private profit invaded social life to the point that exploitation of working people became rampant.”How about a new world order,” many thinking people asked “where social or collective ownership replaces private ownership”? Thinking people the world over recoil from seeing deprivation and social justice. The appeal of socialism grew from such a natural revulsion among thinking people. Karl Marx 91818-1883)and Frederich Engels (1820-1895) intellectually epitomised such a response by bringing out their grand theories to end all exploitation. A great new world free from exploitation, was promised and the world was lit up by that appeal.

However, two things happened in a few decades to rescue capitalism from the socialist onslaught. Firstly, the state intervened with legislation that successfully curbed many of the felt evils of the old capitalist order. Regulatory mechanisms were erected. The influence of new intellectuals like John Maynard Kaynes, the economist, came to the fore. Economics changed.

Second, decades of practical experience in the socialist experiment showed up that socialism had failed to deliver the promised land. “While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery. Cuba is probably the only practising socialist country in the world and Cuba is poor.

Many reformists of the failed socialism began to emerge They began urging that socialism had failed because it had not been practised properly. Sri Lanka itself today has its own brand of socialist rescuers known as the Frontline Socialist Party who are trying to take the place of the failed original doctrinaire JVP movement.These passionate individuals didn’t and don’t realise the possible causal connection between the failure and the inherent ideology itself.

To most ordinary masses the idea that a country’s resources should be distributed in equity and fairness is a self-evident aspiration. Gaps between rich and poor should be narrowed and exploitation eliminated. The short word for all these is egalitarianism. Theoretically egalitarianism is a worthy goal in society.

How could such an idealistic goal be achieved? A government must have at its disposal adequate resources to ensure that everybody’s basic needs are met. How do these resources come? It is through the growth of the national income. The bigger the national pie gets the easier to reach the goal. If the pie is small few welfare benefits can be given. The socialist answer is for the state to assume a central control of the commanding heights of the economy so that it can have a free hand. Private capital and private ownership should be kept to a minimum and market forces should be under control. Collective enterprise is preferred under socialism to privately- owned enterprise. In some socialist rhetoric owners of private business and capita are derided as blood suckers.

This line of reasoning is today increasingly regarded as being impractical and adverse in impact leading as it does to a constriction of the national economy and not growth.The ideology of socialism is against the principles of human behaviour. Human beings work on incentive. You and I are not going to work our butts out simply for an abstract cause of a collectively owned enterprise-be it a collective farm or other. The Kibbutz idea flopped in Israeli. On the other hand, we will labour hard if we are to be paid well and given other incentives.The latter can happen in either an enterprise owned by us or by another. In a privately owned enterprise owners will be be incentivised by profits while workers will be incentivised by pay. Workers can still be incentivised in a public enterprise but there is no incentive to a live body of owners in such an undertaking; the owner being the abstract state.The human being is fundamentally a selfish entity. We like to grab for ourselves. That is our instinctive nature. The capitalist West developed so vastly from the time of the Industrial Revolution due to incentive-based private entrepreneurship. Private Companies became engines of growth in those economies.

Those who understand the working of the price mechanism under a capitalist economy will grasp how smoothly and invisibly it does the job of distribution of resources and increasing national income.The price system in a capitalist economy guides the economy invisibly but efficiently. Under government regulatory mechanisms in place the aberrations and evils of such he a system can be kept to a minimum.There isn’t an alternative to that. The socialist ideology of central planning pushes for price determination by a central planner. This goes against the grain of supply and demand and results in people queuing up for essentials. Sri Lankans experienced these in the socialist days of Sirima Bandaranaike. The point is that,at bottom ,market forces represent consumer (people) choice and is thus democratic,too.

Many former state-controlled economies have now abandoned their socialism and moved toward the Western model of incentive-based capitalism. Strangely, the old lure of statism and socialism still hankers in the public imagination of Sri Lankans, leaving space in that fancy for statism and socialism.The discerning observer notices that even the JVP isn’t diehard about an old style socialism or Marxism. The red party seems to be in a hazier ideological territory being more in the role of a hesitant Marxist party. Its preference for statism,nevertheless, seems more apparent. The results of the General Election of August 2015 seems to suggest the electorate’s lack of enthusiasm for such ideologies.

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Latest comments

  • 8
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    Well, the issue with JVP highlights a problem with left-ism. Where do they do now that Socialism has become a flop? What is THE new niche for the left?

    The left movement in developed nations are now identical to their right-oriented counterparts. The only thing left for them is trade unionism which is also fading.

    The left movements in non-developed nations experimented with crony capitalism. Putin and Mahinda Rajapakse belong to this section.

    Regulated capitalism is here to stay. The only ideological differentiation between parties will be whether they choose to be conservative or liberal.

    Unique and innovative policies will be where the competition will be.

    • 4
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      Shyamon Jayasinghe

      RE: The Miscarriage Of The JVP Signals The End Of The Socialist Idea In Sri Lanka

      “A fundamental ideological flaw haunts Leftism today. It is the failure of socialism itself.”

      Well Put. Why?

      1. In socialism, the difference in remuneration between the most productive, innovative and inventive person and the least productive, innovative and inventive person is very small. In Capitalism and Capitalistic Socialism, these differences are large, and increases the overall productivity, innovation and inventiveness of the general population.

      These fundamental flaws in socialism cannot be corrected by JVP, AKD, Castro, Soviets and the Chinese Mao Tse Tung.

      Two classic examples are West Germany and east Germany. Another is south Korea and North Korea.

      The Ancients and the Church could not make the sun go around the Earth either.

      2. “Anura Kumara Dissanayake does his homework and is thorough with the facts and figures. He is intelligent, well educated, forceful and honest and can fling himself aggressively to make a dent in any powerful government.”

      Aristotle and the Catholic Church did that too. However, they were wrong. The Earth does spin and go around the Sun as shown by the Copernican Revolution.

      AKD need to embrace Capitalistic Socialism, the middle ground between Capitalism and socialism, just like the Scandinavian countries.

      AKD has another problem in Sri Lanka, the low average IQ of 79.

      The average IQ of those who voted for UPFA is probably closer to 65. Remember Wimal Buruwansa of 2/2 =0 Fame? He got over 300,000 preferential votes in Colombo District.

      These Modayas, Mootals and Fools do not have the IQ to understand AKD.

      • 4
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        Moral of the JVP defeat is that The Sinhala moda voter is stupid and has been made stupid by their leaders – Jarapassa, Ranil and Sirisena.

        Until this generation of corrupt politicians is buried Sri Lanka will remain a country that is rotten at the top with a putrid political culture of 45 rotten clowns as members of the cabinet who wine and dine on Parliamentary Privileges and Tax payers monies at the Diyawenna Parliament of corrupt clowns.

    • 0
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      I simply believe JVPers are not practical and that was the reason them not tohave gotten enough votes.
      It is not easy them to outreach the masses since may be people feel they need to learn a lot to feel it to the skin. See, all the voices against the corruption were made by JVPrs – unless they did not do the job, nothing would have worked for the snap change of brutal dictatorship run by MR et al until last January. Even MR et al failed to see it right the way how quicker they could be cornered by people s power. But the fact is it happened. WHOM to be grateful if not for JVP and other strong personalities that stood against. UNP being in the opposition failed to stand against any big issues that brought threats to the nation – looking back the way THE VERY few of JVPers behaved in the parliament – going thorugh hanzard, every right thinking would agree with that they were the big men on the oppostion. However, people not to have pulsed it, may be possible, they still dont feel that corruptin and misconduct of anything shold be fully out of the system of the country in order ot turn this a civlized society. I believe, almost anyone everyone is somehow corrupted in this island nation – that is the reason JVPers not othave been elected as the 3rd force of the parliament this time.

  • 12
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    People are reading too much into the poor performance of the JVP (and the Democratic Party). It is very clear that many Sri Lankans who support democracy voted tactically and put their cross against the UNF. They did this not because they supported the UNF but to keep MR out. It was in that sense a replay of the presidential election when many people voted for Sirisena not because they supported him but because they opposed Rajapaksa.

    • 10
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      Andy

      ” It was in that sense a replay of the presidential election when many people voted for Sirisena not because they supported him but because they opposed Rajapaksa.”

      Put another way effectively Mahinda won the elections for Maithiri.

  • 4
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    Sound analysis Shyamon. I think you are right. Frontline Socialists have got to the point where JVP started in 1971. It will end the same way-hopefully without sacrificing as many lives of youth

  • 2
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    OMG.This guy looks as if he has been decorated for the Esala Perahera. Only difference is that the elephant looks better.

  • 9
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    There are many factors that to the fall of the JVP. I hoped and wished that they got 10 seats
    The reasons
    1. Described by the previous comments of Andy. It was feared a vote for JVP would be a vote for MR or anti Ranil and we vote for a government and not for the opposition.
    2, Socialism has lost its glamour. This article highlights this factor.

    3. People fear the JVP as they never forgot what they did particularly in the rural areas in 89/90, Murders of innocent persons for the mere fact that they were UNPers and there wasn’t a great apology.

    I had the impression that they were secular, like all other parties they also went to see the Mahanayaks and the Catholic Church. Personally that disillusioned me to a great extent. I thought they were secular. This may not have cost them votes but there are many of us who were surprised at this move.

    • 2
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      If they had got more than 10 seats they may have asked for some key ministries and joined the UPFA, citing their ideological incompatibility with the UNP, and that they they (the JVP) will keep the corrupt elements in the governing UPFA in check etc.

      After about a month or so they would want to split from the alliance and sit in the opposition, claiming some trivial excuse. By then MR would have engineered a few crossovers from the UNP and secured a majority.

      I think it was very fortunate for the country that the JVP got wiped out.

  • 3
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    Looking at the results, I am reminded of the ” Status quo Bias “in Behavioral Research. In the SL context, in the South, there will be the two main parties UNP and SLFP who will have the cake and eat it. All other party’s must free ride on them.

    The North will be delivered to the TNA.

    The JVP’s time will come. They did the heavy lifting this time while people voted the UNP to keep away Rajapaksa Cronyism. A time sans Rajapaksa will be a time for the JVP to emerge as an alternate.

    Perhaps the JVP paid a price for backing Rajapaksa in previous times, only to enhance the Rajapaksa brand to the detriment of the JVP brand.

    Btw, I too thought, the chaps will get 20+ seats.

  • 1
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    Onna Menna Dissawe that is a good observation. Hilarious. congrats

  • 0
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    This election was not a fight between “Socialism” or “Capitalism”. It was nothing but a fight to “Bring back Mahinnda” or “Sirisena led Yahapalanaya”. The exposure made by the JVP since the days of Presidential election culminating on January 8th 2015, helped “Sirisena camp that received blessings of UNF led by Ranil. Yet it was not definitely a sole campaign led by Ranil. If Ranil led a campaign by himself definitely “Bring back Mahinda” would have been victorious. The people wanted to defeat “Bring back Mahinda” campaign and chose the best option for it, i.e UNF with the backing of Sirisena.

    It was also very clearly demonstrated by JVP that they have changed the course from strictest “Socialism” to a mixed system that embraces capital driven market economy. That is why they had so many round of discussions with the “Private Investor Groups” in presenting their manifesto and openly supported the development of Industry based economy with private participation. Their meetings with religious groups (temples, church, kovil) also showed that change from the pure socialistic dogma of “Religion is the opium” of the society to an amendable situation with the local social structure of Sri Lanka. Also they were very open with their policy of a Unitary State devoid of ethnic considerations and openly attacked the divisive policies of TNA. So as far as a political party that must be present in Sri Lanka, JVP this time presented a “changed platform” to the people.

    However, JVP was also conscious of the “Bring back Mahinda” campaign and perhaps on realization of that strong factor, they decided to take a “back stage” in asking the people to make them a strong “Opposition” in the Legislature. They knew, from the trends that “Ranil & Sirisena” combination of UNP (UNF) and SLF faction of Sirisena would definitely form a Government and the time was opportune for them to be that strong opposition.

    The voter was so confused at the last general election. They were dragged from one corner to the other. They hardly had time to breath from the January 8th Presidential election. Those who voted Mahinda were licking their wounds and determined to punish anyone who stood against him. That is why they completely “FORGOT” some of those alleged to have committed corruption, murders, rapes and other crimes and voted with majorities that were unthinkable. That voting pattern and sending some of such people to Parliament would show the “hatred” that they had and the determination to “Bring back Mahinda”. Then on the other hand the opposing camp who wanted “Mahinda Out” decided to choose the “Strongest Team” to confront “Bring back Mahinda” camp. so there was no time for the voter to “concentrate” on social,economic and political strategies presented to them by various political parties. They simply wanted “Mahinda Out” by the “Strongest Team” mainly backed by the President Sirisena camp. This election was simply that for the voter. I feel JVP will have the rest of the remaining five years to “BUILD” and an “OPPORTUNITY” will come on their way if they do decide and maintain the momentum of the MIDDLE PATH that has been chosen for Sri Lanka.

  • 2
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    Was’nt this same Shaymon Jayasinghe who once suggested that AKD of the JVP for Premiership ???????????????

    Why the change of heart ?

  • 1
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    We are a ‘democratic socialist republic’.
    Democracy and Socialism are not compatible.
    Therein lies the problem.

  • 0
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    I think the concept of a equitable, egalitarian society devoid of class barriers no longer appeals to the youth (aged 25 and below).

    Instead, the idea that in this capitalist setting, obtaining a job with a high salary is the only requirement needed to be a success, such as the case with many US-based celebrities and entrepreneurs, has sunk in.

  • 2
    0

    “Anura Kumara Dissanayake does his homework and is thorough with the facts and figures. He is intelligent, well educated, forceful and honest….”

    Unfortunately Shyamon, the SL Voting Public has not been educated to look for these qualities in their choice of candidate.

    In fact they are encouraged to vote for the unintelligent, uneducated, dishonest, and corrupt individuals!

  • 1
    0

    The biggest Stalinist organization in existence today is in the Capitalist UK. The Tory government is at great pains to pledge it’s allegiance to the NHS, though not to the 1.5 million of it’s employees. The British people are critical of it’s alleged failures BUT would not tolerate any talk of it’s dismemberment for obvious reasons.

    Slavery worked very well in the not too distant past, when “labour” was nearly all manual. “Labour” of course had to be protected from the elements and provided with sustenance. The difference today is that “labour” is not wholly manual. The concept of a ‘service industry’ and competition for marketable skills evolved, where a salary is paid instead for that purpose to ‘free’ men and women who are expected to vie for the jobs at the lowest possible cost to the employer.

  • 1
    4

    Shyamon Jayasinghe,

    How on earth could JVP ever raise the red flag of victory in this election, when they alliance/coalesced themselves with ultra-capitalist UNP. The ideas were so clashing; polity did not know where to turn.

    They envisioned a whole heap of money and investments coming in from India, and them being whipped up to work to the bone, in 1917 communist style, to fulfill the Indian capitalistic market! UNP by itself meant that at least they could have had some opportune moment to the capitalistic wealth. Even if it was a far shot, when people are suffering, they go into daydreams.

    Now if JNP alliance/coalesced themselves with Rajapaksa, they would have stood a better chance, Communist Weerawansa, for example, scored third highest in preferential votes.

    For in Rajapaksa’s case, the country would have had a vast wealth of capitalistic resources merely on some shipping routes and a few casinos. The wealth would have been spread out for polity of indulge in as much socialism as they would thus inspire to, without the need to damage the Lankan environment and heritage into a beehive of communist manufacturing to indulge the Indian markets.

    Yes, capitalism worked in many capitalistic countries of the Western world (of course at the degradation of environment and society). Legislation and regulatory mechanisms in the West that successfully curbed many of the felt evils of the old capitalist order, was/is/will-always-be, an impossibility to implement in Sri Lanka.

    If they were ever implemented, it took on the sectionalizing of urban and rural sectors of Sri Lanka. Regulatory mechanisms were implemented off the backs of the farmer, fisherman, middle-east maids and hard-labour men, and so on, for their section alone.

    But for the urban/rural elite (that got their money off the backs of the masses), theirs was a different social group of which “regulatory-mechanisms” had little or no call. That minority segment did as they pleased with their money (especially indulging in the Western experience). Anything to curb them and they had the West coming in to declare the evils of the death of free-enterprise and trade (especially as the West were the beneficiaries of that “free-enterprise and trade”).

    Frontline Socialist Party at least encourages, and shows a way forwards, for those that are initiated or inherent in better ways, to give back to the community what they gain from it. With FSP technique, we needn’t go ultra-anything. Just honorable traditional linkages between different strata’s of society (urban and rural; elite and poor), like they do in many another Asian county like Malaysia, Thailand or even Burma, and Sri Lanka will show and a noble and binding prosperity, and a golden way forwards based on inherent Buddhist values.

    Ps. Kibbutz idea flopped in Israel because West needed an ally in the region against the burgeoning oil-wealth of the Arabs.

  • 0
    1

    Cuba is not the only socialist country left in the world. The world is socialist. The US is socialist. The UK and the West are all socialist. Most of Africa is socialist. China is socialist but less so than the West. India is socialist. Sri Lanka is socialist. The UNP is socialist.

    Socialism always will fail in the long run. So best prepare!

  • 2
    1

    Did JVP talk ‘socialism’ in this election? It only asked people to send honest / non corrupt etc parliamentarians to the parliament. That was their battle cry. People have not listened to that, but instead have voted for two main parties. This could have been regarded as a rejection of socialism if JVP highlighted socialism as their election battle cry. On the contrary JVP abandoned socialism and if you give a closer look at their manifesto you may find that they were keen to adopt neo liberal policies for a large extent. Therefore this reading on JVP’s electoral performance is fundamentally flawed.

    Shyaman Jayasinghe should look at recent developments in Latin american / European politics before He comes to a conclusion about free market and socialism. Free market orthodoxy itself has failed. Left parties and leaders are on rise today in Europe, Jeremy Corbyn’s success within the labor is the recent example. I guess Shyaman should do some of his homework before jumping in to such conclusions.

  • 5
    0

    Socialism/Communism the Great Equalizer?

    An economic Professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

    The Professor then said, ‘OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan’. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an ‘A’.

    After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a ‘B’. The students who studied hard were disappointed and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test completed, the students who studied little had studied even less and the students who studied hard decided they also wanted a free ride, so they too studied little.

    The second test average was a ‘D’. No one was happy. When the 3rd test completed the average was an ‘F’.

    As the tests proceeded, the scores never improved as bickering, blame and name calling resulted in hard feelings and no one studied for the benefit of anyone else.

    To their great surprise, All Failed and the Professor told them that Socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is also great, but when the Govt. takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. This is the naked truth about Socialism/Communism.

    Based on above the following five situations will not be possible.

    1. You can not Legislate the Poor into Prosperity by legislating the Wealthy, out of Prosperity.
    2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for, without receiving.
    3. The Govt can not give to anybody, anything that the govt does not first take from somebody else.
    4. You can not multiply wealth by deviding it.
    5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

    • 2
      3

      gamini,

      Your professor’s analogy is so very simplistic and confined to too few a set of factors.

      It’s like all the fellows taking the test and competing with each other who had servants running around for them to bring them their most nutritious food from babyhood, parents to pay for their exercise and text books and servants running around to buy it for them, chauffeurs to drive them to US-SAT/GED/GRE centers, top-of-the-range Montessori education when they were youngsters. On top of that, his parents and his parent’s parents had the same privileged deal as he had.

      Imagine the poor rural student then trying to compete with the above lot on the same test. Imagine the poor rural student, after managing to achieve some scores from the local government school, travelling by bus far from his home-village, standing in queues for basic necessities,and eating anything he can afford, then taking the test. Sad and sorry situation, isn’t it. And his parents had no education at all.

      Socialism has innumerable social factors that the professor does not take into account.

      • 0
        0

        Read Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law”.

        • 1
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          Rizwan,

          Guess France at the time of Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law” was wallowing in the wealth of Napoleon’s conquests. All the treasure Of Europe plundered during the Napoleonic wars, lay in the treasuries of Paris.

          Socialism is more like the Proportional-Representation voting system. When a candidate reaches a certain number, excess votes are distributed to other candidate to top them up.

          So, all you have to do is pay your taxes.

          • 0
            0

            If you have read the essay you will understand that the explanations given are not restricted to a period in time or history.

            This is because Bastiat talks about the nature of humanity at its core. “Life, liberty and property – this is man” he says. The preservation of any one being completely dependent on the other two.

            A government may tax “for the greater good” and redistribute wealth. This may sound like the right thing to do. However according to Bastiat taxation is the forcible violation of an individual’s right to property and fundamentally, therefore, it is theft!

            Worse, since the preservation of life, liberty and property are inextricably linked, by condoning higher taxation you may in fact be encouraging slavery. Something to chew on!

            • 0
              1

              Rizwan,

              Truth is, wealth is usually begotten off the backs of the masses. Money and wealth, and each individual’s right to property, do not come out of thin air.

              For example, when entrepreneur sells rice on the global exchange, a poor hardworking paddy–farmer has to toil in the fields as a virtual slave. For a gem merchant to make his money selling off precious stones, someone has to dig into the earth as a virtual slave to get the stones out of the ground.

              If adequate taxation was in place (like in the US and other western nations- such that Sri Lanka still is unable to implement adequately), the paddy-farmer and gem-digger will not be quite the slave, but have decent employment with acceptable wages and social services.

              When Bastiat wrote his book, France had plenty of money that could have been indulged in any way they liked, that they acquired after the Napoleonic wars. Bastiat developed a rather fallacious ideology, of one that was bent on development and creation of money within his circles, rather than the development and caring of human needs.

              • 0
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                I have already stated that Bastiat’s essay regards the fundamental nature of man. This is independent of the times and context.

                All your response is but conjecture. You have not read the essay therefore you do not know!

                • 0
                  0

                  Rizwan,

                  Bastiat’s essay is not of universal axiom. It is the conjecture of just one man. If the world had accepted his theses as axioms, he would have been a god or saint or major prophet by now.

                  It is better to use the axiom of Buddha who said that moderation of livelihood is the way to Nirvana.

                  • 0
                    0

                    If you have not read the essay then opinions about the times of his life are unwarranted.

                    Acceptance by the world is not a prerequisite for truth. However Bastiat is in fact famous. He is the anti-socialist and communist. His works are integral to the Austrian school of economics (the only form of Economics that has accurately predicted present day crises consistently).

                    • 0
                      0

                      Rizwan,

                      Nothing is accepted as truth unless one gains awareness for it himself( Buddha’s words). If Bastiat is for you, then that is your prerogative. But many, many more people see the truth in Buddha and his social values of leading a life of moderation.

                      Present day crisis is not due to Socialism, but is a Capitalistic one – Capitalistic West clashing with Capitalistic China. And Karl Marx’s works most properly address the modern day crisis.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Besides Rizwan, even his eminence Pope Francis speaks against the excesses of Capitalism.

                      I have since read some of Bastiat’s essay, and I find that he is dealing with a country’s plundered wealth that everyone was claiming a share of because it was so easily accessible. France, not wanting to return to the times of the pre-revolution, where the aristocrats held 99.99% of the wealth, were every ready to give socialism a place.

                      If your conjuctures are universal axioms irrespective of time and circumstance, then the French aristocracy was very correct in holding on to its wealth and priviledge, making beggars and slaves of the masses.

                      You must read and understand more of Marx. In fact many of Marx’s idelolgies were incorporated into modern Capitalism, as regulatory mechanisms, such which Sri Lanka has never been able to implement adequately.

                      E

                  • 0
                    0

                    You say: “the excesses of capitalism” is the cause of all problems.

                    If you knew what capitalism is truly then you would not be so quick to claim it exists in the world. Just because the media says so does not mean it is true. As I’ve said before capitalism exists nowhere.

                    It is an extinct philosophy. Whereas socialism is everywhere – in healthcare, in education, in government subsidies, even in MONEY – for money printing causes wealth to be redistributed to the rich and IS in fact socialism.

                    You do not understand what capitalism is therefore you cannot distinguish it from other philosophies.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Rizwan,

                      Whenever did you say Capitalism exists nowhere? However, you seem to see it in the same philosophical realms of Love, Beauty and Peace.

                      Well, it did exist in its almost purified form that you desire, in Victorian England, and in this day and age, in India. After the world wars, Marx’s philosophies were incorporated into Capitalistic trends to prevent the regression of society into those depraved times.

                      In India, it will take many generations and centuries before a Western type of tempered Capitalism is installed (if ever). In Sri Lanka’s case, any attempt to incorporate proper legislature for Socialized Capitalism is seen as nationalistic and fascist.

                      Is Sri Lanka going to follow the times of Victorian England, or caste-driven India? Shouldn’t we become like the West, and have some decency for our masses?

                      Ps. I said “the excesses of capitalism” is the cause of all problems, because Capitalism is always a trigger of excesses, unless tendered by Socialism.

                      ps. I use your name in every comment, because my comments to you might get lost amongst all the other comments.

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        Ramona Therese Fernando,

        Your rhetoric against the haves have been the same theme song of all those Socialists whose hearts bled for the poor in society, misguided or for personal benefit. You all are under the misconception that the Poor had no place in society and believed that by taking from the Rich and doling it to the Poor, could make them also rich. The analysis that I have forwarded is not mine, but sure encompass the whole gamut of Socialism that destroys the very society and the Professor’s analogy is not simplistic as you believe but covers fully what Socialism connotes.

        Let us take our case. When we gained Independence, the poor constituted almost an 85% of our society. For the Poor Health and Education was provided FREE and Transport was subsidized with so many other facilities to boot. In addition land parcels of around 8 acres(five acres of paddy and three acres of highland, a two roomed house) per family unit was not provided for the rich but for the landless poor in the country that were settled by hundreds of thousands families in the newly opened Colonies in the NCP. These Colonies were provided with Co-operatives to purchase their essentials to be paid back with their produce. Education was broad based and offered to the poor free, long before the Socialist Politicians took the reins. So where is your claim the poor were suppressed and their rights were denied. It is just that some of those corrupt Politicians from the poorer classes, claimed that they knew the plight of the poor better and came up to have robbed the country to feather their own nests who are the Neo-Capitalists of today. This is not only true in our case but it is displayed very clearly in China and Russia where Socialism and Communism was the role models.

        The truth is the Poor have benefited better under the old Capitalist more than under the Pseudo type who acted as their saviours.

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          gamini,

          My “rhetoric” is exactly what the capitalistic Western countries do to take care of their citizens. This is something that Sri Lanka needs more of, i.e. a robust taxation system, which she had never been able to implement after independence.

          The time the Lankan poor were looked after by SLFP in the 50’s and 60’s, was a time right after independence, and the country still had a relative amount of wealth bequeathed to us by the colonists, who created their money from our lands and the toil of our Natives, at the expense of the livelihood of our masses.

          After that was spent, the UNP tried to re-create a new set of wealth by incorporating capitalism into our society. However, “legislation that successfully curbed many of the felt evils of the old capitalist order, and Regulatory mechanisms” were not implemented adequately. Lankan capitalists became rich overnight, and created severe imbalances among the masses. Hence the many bloody uprisings, including the rise of the LTTE.

          Let’s hope the UNP gets it right this time. But it’s not going to be easy for the administration because rich Lankans have got spoilt for many a generation, living in their own illusory circles, away from honoring country solidarity.

          For such misconstructions of society, as seen in the societies of pre-communist Russia and China, communism is the best precursor before capitalism can ever be considered.

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            ramona mother therese fernando

            Could you pen your own Manifesto of the mother therese Party’s Communist programme and publish it here on CT so as to educate the ignorant working masses.

            I wish ignorant of this island unite and rally around the 21st century Marx mother therese.

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            @Ramona, idiot stick to the title and the contents. Stop bringing the LTTE into everything.

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            ramona therese fernando,

            If as you claim that Socialism/Communism has been the great equalizer, then why are you reaping the fruits of Capitalism living in the West? like all other humbugs who preach to do so. Why not take abode in the Communist/Socialist countries and work for the poor there. Why has Socialism/Communism failed in the cradles that nurtured them? Further in the few countries that Socialism/Communism still are forced down the throats of the masses is done so with an iron fist in the absence of Democracy or the will of the people. The masses have rejected this Tyranny of rule all over the world and have opted for Democracy and a Capitalist structure. The strength of a strong economy of a country depends on the number of rich in a country where money flows to the poor of that society and not by the number of Beggars forced to, under a Socialist/Communist system where the unscrupulous leaders only enjoy life.

            Come, come ramona therese fernando give up your BLUFF living it up in the Capitalist West and trying to promote Socialism/Communism back home in Sri Lanka where your heart bleed for the poor(just put on), but the masses have rightly rejected Socialism and have voted for Freedom and Capitalism. Today the country has come a long way and the poor then, have also improved their life styles. A telephone, a Radio, a Refrigerator, a car that was a status symbol of the rich then in the ’50s, is common place in society today. This is in spite of the poor Politicians of the Left Parties and the SLFP who espoused Socialism/Communism and took to politics have robbed the country whole sale. Thanks to the UNP with all it’s faults, the masses have been liberated from the shackles of Socialism/Communism rejecting the Bluffs like you who pretend to be the Saviours.

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              gamini,

              Me, living in the Capitalistic West, has little bearing on the issue at hand. One has to live in the Capitalistic world to understand such a society, and then compare and contrast it with what one has undergone at a time in a more Socialist setting. If one lives and works purely in Socialist setting, one would not understand the other side of things and not have a more broader understanding and analysis on the Lankan situation, and on situations in general.

              I am not trying to promote any one ideology- Socialism or Communism or Capitalism (although I generally prefer a Buddhistic type of Socialism that will flow well with our innate abilities, and will safeguard against environmental and social degradation, especially at this time of greater Capitalistic precariousness and debacle…..one wonders if those telephones, Radios, Refrigerators, and cars were anything of worthy substance compared to healthy, traditional lifestyle pegged to a sustainable money system).

              But I am telling you that if you prefer the Capitalistic system, That you PAY YOU TAXES like all good people do in the Capitalistic West. If you it is not incumbent upon you to do that, then a Socialist/Communist system is more apt for Sri Lanka.

              One cannot BLUFF one’s way through Capitalism without the good regulatory mechanisms that the West has. Taking the money One makes off the backs of the masses, and not putting it back into the Lankan economy is a truly dishonorable thing. One cannot use it to migrate or indulge in the Western experience, and then howl about all the different types of ideologies, trying to work them to One’s advantage. In the absence of ONE NOT PAYING ONE’s TAXES, the country will have no other way than to resort to yet another set of Communist uprising and communal unrest.

              In this election, the masses never rejected Socialism by voting for UNP over UPFA. For, especially the UPFA was promoting Capitalism via China (they however, would have left the hinterland alone, and encouraged tradition heritage, which would have served us well in the event of a global Capitalistic meltdown).

              On the contrary, what they voted was against the set of relentless accusations by UNP against the Rajapaksas’, who were perceived as being corrupt. The masses did not understand the workings of capitalism, and saw the Rajapaksa’s as holding all the money for their personal purposes. Never did they realize that Rajapaksa’s “personal purposes” built many a road, railway, clean-cities, housing for disadvantaged and so many other Capitalistic good things, and the rest of the fiat money was to be used in further currency creation.

              There was also some fear of Western retaliation and a Libyan/Syrian situation- these of course are very real threats.

              Therefore, the only thing left to be done was to accept the UNP Western Capitalism, which unfortunately will build a land bridge to India, if Balance of Repayments are at a negative, due to persons not PAYING THEIR FAIR TAXES like the way good people ofthe West do.

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                ramona therese fernando,

                You say, ‘Me, living in the Capitalistic West, has little bearing on the issue at hand. One has to live in the Capitalistic world to understand such a society, and then compare and contrast it with what one has undergone at a time in a more Socialist setting.’

                What a HYPOCRITE you are Ramona. As all other great Socialist advocates they all take refuge in the Capitalist West and not the Socialist/Communist countries. These great advocates of Socialism including yourself reap all benefits of the Capitalist world but you all preach Socialism to the rest. Not only enjoy Capitalism but run it down also, to bluff the masses at home. Funny kind of Socialists indeed.

                This reminds me of the best definition of a Politician. A politician is a person who will do just anything to the downtrodden except become one. You are a typical roll model for the above description. I’ll leave it to the readership to judge who is right.

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                  gamini,

                  Your idea of Capitalistic US is based on a 1910 model. US has progressed far from that model since, and is always striving to improve upon her system based on what is right for her nationals.

                  Persons like you are trying to promote that long outdated form of Western Capitalism in Sri Lanka. You have little understanding of these things, and do not know that the US has a wide area of learning expertise that they are always trying to understand and learn from, so they can do what is best for their society and the world in general.

                  Western society needs the money, brains and brawn, of other countries on earth, to keep topping up their Capitalist system. Hence they take in immigrants. Socialist countries do not open up their arms to immigrants. They live within their monetary structures and National ability, and encourage others to live within their societies and support the Socialist cause.

                  I have said it many times on this forum, and I have to say it again: I left Sri Lanka in infancy, but my Motherland has stayed close to my heart ever since. When I first came here, I had no idea of these higher concepts, but have learned much from this country since, and also from the other places I have resided in.

                  The place I live in, in the US, is of a very socialistic setting. In fact the US promotes greater socialism, within what they consider an unfortunate Capitalist system their country was based upon. If I was living at the same level in Sri Lanka as here, I would be using public transport, and going to government schools. I would be buying made in Sri Lanka clothing, Bata sandals, and locally made Eau de Cologne.

                  Compared to what ill-formed persons like you are trying to promote in my Motherland, American people truly have a very expansive and noble quality to them, very much like the Buddhist society that pre-dated colonialism. It is persons like you, who gives them the breathing room to implement that unfortunate form of Capitalism in my Motherland, so Americans can rest easy within a more idyllic Socialist setting in their own land.

                  A Socialist presidential contender like Bernie Sanders has a good chance of becoming next US president. There are so many others who actively promote socialist society like Ron Paul, who has been a long advocator of Socialism and has spoken for a long time about the evils of the Capitalistic society US was based upon.

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                ramona therese fernando,

                You say, ‘In this election, the masses never rejected Socialism by voting for UNP over UPFA.’

                Open your eyes and try to understand if not why the JVP was rejected in Toto. Where Socialism/Communism have been rejected almost every where in the world, these fools like ramona therese fernando live in their dreams thinking they can still bluff the masses. Keep on dreaming!

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                  gamini,

                  Not to many people voted for JVP because it was not honorably socialist at all, but piggy-backing on ultra-capitalistic UNP. Polity was confused, and that automatically negated JVP’s credibility.

                  But JVP was not rejected outright. But due to some kind of weird gerrymandering, TNA scored far higher seats in parliament that JVP, although the JVP scored an overall higher party vote than TNA. It is good if this is looked at more closer.

                  You see Socialism/Communism as the 1971 Russian type. Socialism/Communism has come a long way since, and is fact, incorporated into the political and commercial structure of many advanced Capitalistic countries.

                  People like you however, are giving the West the golden chance to develop their political and corporate structure correctly, within very equalizing qualities, while my Motherland is screwed off her land, heritage and civilization because person like you do not have the capacity to think for the greater good, and are therefore beyond any decent patriotism towards my Motherland.

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                    *1917 Russian type

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          gamini

          Please also note when JVP couldn’t stand the heat of army/police assault back in 1987 – 90, it made a deal with Hindians and many members (including Somawansa) took Kallthonies back to Tamil Nadu first and then to Europe.

          Obviously they didn’t go to Marxist/Socialist countries such as Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Albania, China, Cuba, Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, Benin, Zimbabwe, ………. and claim political asylum.

          Do you know why?

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            Yeah Native Vedda,……..because those socialist countries are at the bitter end of the world’s capitalistic excesses. After all the glossiness of capitalism, the capitalistic world needs a few boggy marshes to regulate their state.

            And so the capitalistic world so very “benevolently” took the results of our failed capitalistic adventurism, to further consectate the apex of their Western civilization.

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              *consecrate

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    JVP cannot go it alone. If they hang on to any of the big parties they will be swallowed up. See what happened to the old leftist jokers like Tissa Vitharna, Vasu, Dew, Atahuda. Even Phillip got ruined by joining the MEP

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    The leftist parties in Sri Lanka today are rather like the slow-moving loris’s that are found in the dense jungles of our blessed island. Extinction beckons but they they hang on grimly.

    Notwithstanding the talents of AKD, and a handful of others, the fact is that old leftist ideology needs a proper kick up the backside if it is going to be of use in this fast changing world. Old fashion socialism is now just a losers option.

    The poor and downtrodden of today may be in the gutter but they are looking at the stars, and they want to be something, without necessarily bringing down those who have climbed ahead.

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    In Cuba school girls do prostitution in order to help their families fund their education

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      In old Sigiriya, the bints did it for fun! Luckily, we still have much of evidence to show the foreigners (for filthy lucre, of course) that our ancient civilisation was well developed, enough to enjoy a higher standard of pornography too. Kaz must have had the mother of all knocking shops at his beck and call.

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    “AKD need to embrace Capitalistic Socialism, the middle ground between Capitalism and socialism, just like the Scandinavian countries” says Amarasiri. How can there ever be a socialist capitalism?.

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    Vis a vis the debate between Ramona and Gamini I must point out that capitalism has eradicated a lot of poverty in the world. In countries like Sri Lanka it has liberated the vassal of feudalism and given birth to the newer and richer generations of people. Bandaranaike’s socialist experiment put the clock back

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      Casiechetty,

      I’m not too sure…….poverty merely shifted to other reigions of the world like Africa,India and South America. Slums in these countries have increased by hundredfold. Oh sure, their cities look glossy on the outside, but never are the villagers who are forced to cities, given much, or any focus.

      Capitalism is an ever increasing circle, that can only fulfill itself by moving to the next wider level. Of course much of it includes environmental and social disintergration.

      Even with all the regulatory mechanisms in place for social justice that the West incorporates into thier capitalism (socialized capitalism), the whole concept requires creation and generation of wealth out of an illusiory system of fiat currency. The world is saturated with creations, mechanizations, and manufacturings of the human ability that keeps of self-perpectuating itself to no avail.

      In a unique place like Sri Lanka, somehow the previous feudal system kept people comfortable within the regulated temperatures of their forests and villages ( without e.g, the need to have air conditioned concrete buildings to further fuel hotter climate change), and that sounds a good, humanistic, honorable thing.

      All this came about when the West, especially US, destroyed much of thier natural resourses when they hacked the land away from the Native Indians. Now they have no other way of getting back to any semblence of natural human and national solidarity other than to spread their technique far and wide. Even they are apprehensive of their precarious position. Comes in China copying theiir same system minus Western leadership, and the whole position goes out of whack.

      Bandaranayaka’s socialist experiment created opportunity for poor people to get rehabilitated with some dignity, otherwise we would have been like some South American junta, where the the Spanish and Spanish mixed people made slaves of the Native ones. Now at least, the more Native Lankans can have some equality of claim to the money the cosmopolitans generate over their backs, although very soon, we’d have to include caste-driven Indians to help perpetuate the ever-increasing and unnatural circle of uneasy money propagation.

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    Ramona Therese all Western countries were poor until capitalism did its work of incentive-based investment. Today, they are enjoying affluence and are able to adopt welfare measures for the handicapped and vulnerable of the population. One cannot deny this.Things are never perfect because people are never perfect but this is the only sensible model

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      casiechetty, Canada,

      Western countries were poor because they destroyed their farmland and forest out of greed due to lack of introspective noble philosophy, and hence needed to create all kinds of unnatural structures to uphold their failing states. This unnatural structure did they use to destroy many a prosperous, upright and happy nation like Sri Lanka (during colonialism), and this system keeps on perpetuating itself in all kinds of stealthy ways.

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    They should take away the term ‘socialism’ from the constitution. JR-the naked capitalist- cunningly put it in to deceive the foolish people

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    Ramona have you read Buddhism? There is no mention of a socialist order in Buddhism

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    bramputra,

    Not in the words of “socialist order”, but the general implicit and explicit concept is one of Socialism, as per Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path.

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    Ramona can you give examples? Socialism represents an economy based on public ownership. Buddha never talked of that

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      bramputra,

      Buddha’s Sanga was a corporative; it became one naturally. It came naturally from those who followed the Noble Eightfold Path.

      When Bikkhu Mahinda preached to King Devanampiatissa, the whole realm became socialistic, with Kings in Sri Lanka after that, going down even, to the fields to work amongst the peasants. Money and lands were distributed to peasants and monasteries, so Noble-Eightfold-Path could be fulfilled. Before that, King Devanampiyatissa lived in magnificent dwellings, with slaves around him to do his Capitalistic bidding.

      When Asoka was preached to, he stopped all his Capitalistic wars, and gave money and lands to the polity, and Capitalistic caste-system was eradicated, or at least for a short time as long as he was alive.

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