3 March, 2024

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Without A Code Of Ethics & Principles Of Morality, No Meaning In Social Market Economy

By W A Wijewardena –

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

Social market economy to the fore

Both the President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa have declared that the guiding principle of their economic management is the ideal known as the social market economy. This is the economic ideology that was followed by Germany after the World War II since its leaders did not want to go by unbridled free capitalism or state-controlled communism to rebuild the war-ravaged country. It was believed that neither system cared for people who should be the beneficiaries of the economic advancement.

The free capitalism favoured the minority capital owners as against the labour owners that formed the bulk of a country. The state-controlled communism was operated by the ‘party’ and was an instrument for party leaders to exploit the masses promising the delivery of a utopian goal. Since the state exists for the welfare and prosperity of people, either rule is a violation of the first principle of the existence of a state. Hence, Germany sought to adopt the middle-path that would be a hybrid of the good features of the free-market economy and those of the smart government interventions.

The ideology that they created was the social market economy in which the people are to be served equitably by improving the efficiency and productivity through the market, on one side, and distributing the wealth fairly through government interventions, on the other. Hence, for the German leadership it offered the best option to steer the economy to prosperity.

Ordoliberalism

While economic liberalism is upheld, social market economy frowns at neoliberalism. The German way of liberalism is known as ‘ordoliberalism’, a term coined in 1950 following the concept development in the academic journal ORDO. According to ordoliberals, both economic and social dimensions should be combined to provide social justice to people. Therefore, they call for a strong role for the government to regulate the market. Their ideals which in a way were superficial played significant role in shaping the post-World War II German social market economy and its remarkable economic recovery. Hence, ordoliberalism, that does not accept neoliberalism of today seeks to strike a balance between the free-market economy and the government intervention to bring forth the optimal economic outcomes for the prosperity as well as the sustenance of the economy.

The term social market economy was coined in 1947 by Alfred Müller-Armack to describe how the economic policy of Germany differed from the policies followed by other nations. However, the ordoliberal ideas were etched into German economic policy by its main advocate, Ludwig Erhard, who was the Minister of Economic Affairs from 1949 to 1963 and then the Chancellor from 1963 to 1966.

Highly competitive social market economy

Social market economy, or in other words ordoliberalism, is not a new ideal for either of the two warring parties in Sri Lanka. Wickremesinghe, when he sought political power in 2015, promised the electorate that he would establish an economic system based on the social market economy ideology once elected to power. He made a distinction in his social market economy ideology calling it a ‘highly competitive social market economy’. This addition was necessary to take care of the important role played by the export of goods and services in creating wealth for people.

Competition brings in excellence and excellence leads to efficiency and improved productivity, the two essential elements that are needed for a country to play a successful role in international trade. Sri Lanka needs this very badly if it is to beat the frustrating economic stagnation which it has been experiencing since independence in 1948.

Premadasa’s clique is a breakaway group of Wickremesinghe’s United National Party. Its top economic advisors, specifically the Parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva, had been heavily involved in designing the social market economy ideal for the Wickremesinghe government. Hence, it is their pet concept which they had carried with them when they broke away from Wickremesinghe in 2019.

Prosperity through economic expansion

In a book titled Prosperity for All and published in 1957, Ludwig Erhard explained the basic tenets of the social market economy being followed by Germany. He said that prosperity will come from economic expansion and not from the redistribution of the wealth from the rich to the poor. The prevention of the formation of monopolies is an important task of the Government under the social market economy ideals.

He said: “The danger of the impairment of competition is a constant threat from many sides. It is, therefore, one of the most important tasks of a state based on a liberal social order to guarantee free competition. It is truly no exaggeration when I declare that a law against monopolies should be considered an indispensable economic basic law. Should the state fail in this area, it would be an early end to the “social market economy.” The principle proclaimed here means that no individual citizen may be granted the power to suppress individual freedom or, in the name of a false understanding of freedom, to restrict it. Prosperity for all and Prosperity through competition are inseparably connected; the first postulate identifies the goal, the second the path that leads to it” (available at: Ludwig Erhard, Prosperity for All (1957) | German History in Documents and Images (germanhistorydocs.org).

Individual freedom as the pillar of social market economy

Erhard emphasised on individual freedom as the pillar of the social market economy ideal. No one should have power to suppress or restrict individual freedom. This applies to governments, rulers, or social groups which are bent on suppressing human freedom in the name of a false understanding of freedom. Erhard believed in generating prosperity through competition.

In another publication in 1948 under the title Prosperity through Competition, he argued as follows: “It isn’t as if we had had any choice. What we had to do in this situation was to loosen the shackles. We had to be prepared to restore basic moral principles and to start with a purge of the economy of our society. We have done more, by turning from a State-controlled economy to a market economy, than merely introduce economic measures. We have laid new foundations for our social and economic life. We had to abjure all intolerance which, from a spiritual lack of freedom, leads to tyranny and totalitarianism. We had to strive for an order which by voluntary regrouping and a sense of responsibility would lead to a sensible organic whole.”

Rejection of intolerance

Erhard was therefore against any kind of intolerance. According to him, it leads to tyranny and totalitarianism through a lack of spiritual freedom. Society is built on the strength of voluntary regrouping and sense of responsibility. The guiding ethical value is the spiritual freedom associated with Christian humanism. In a chapter titled Christian Humanism: The Ethical Basis of the German Model of Social Market Economy in a book published in 2015 under the title Humanism in Economics and Business, writer Arnd Küppers, has argued that Christian Humanism and social market economy are inseparable complementing each other. In other words, there is no social market economy without Christian humanism.

Writers on Christian humanism have pointed that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even an intrinsic part of that doctrine. Therefore, it follows that social market economy also upholds these values as its ethical base. Hence, those who advocate for the establishment of a social market economy system in Sri Lanka should necessarily uphold these values. Sri Lanka born economist Razeen Sally has also argued that Ludwig Erhard’s social market economy was a liberal concept and not a social democratic concept in an article written in 2016 for the Institute of Economic Affairs (available at: Ludwig Erhard’s social market economy – a liberal, not a social democratic concept — Institute of Economic Affairs (iea.org.uk).

Says Sally in this article: “In Erhard’s inner circle were economists and lawyers from Freiburg University. Their central concept is Ordoliberalism. Walter Eucken, the Freiburg School’s founding economist, outlines a free-market order, constituted and regulated by a “policy of order” (Ordnungspolitik). Ordnungspolitik maintains the market economy’s framework of rules, but it does not intervene in the economic process: price-setting and resource allocation are left to market participants. To use a classical-liberal analogy, the state should be the market’s umpire, but not one of its players.”

According to this umpire’s role played by the Government, the freedom of contract and freedom to trade should be upheld by the Government. It should avoid discriminatory interventions to favour particular sectors and firms. Economic policy should be free from erratic changes that cause private economic agents to shun risk-taking and investment. This applies to restraints on trade both by the public entities and private players.

No to erratic policies

There are many economic policies that have been taken in Sri Lanka in the recent past which are erratic in nature and therefore do not sit comfortably with the ideals of the social market economy.

One policy was the importation of eggs from India when the local egg prices were settling in the market at a level to be commensurate with the increased costs. The cheap imported eggs released to the market was to ease the cost of living of the consumers but at the expense of the poultry industry in the country. With no new investments coming to the poultry sector and the closure of the some of the poultry farms, the supply fell, and the shortage could not be filled by continued import of eggs from India. Hence, the price fall was temporary providing only a short time relief to the consumers. Now egg prices have moved up again, but until the market settles again under the new conditions, there will be adverse impact on the sustenance and future growth of the industry. Another erratic policy is the sudden decision taken without adequate warning to farmers or millers that the Government entity – Paddy Marketing Board – will not buy paddy from farmers during the current Maha season. Instead, the Government will arrange the small and medium scale millers to get bank loans and buy paddy direct from farmers at the Government guaranteed prices. According to policymakers, the decision is neutral on paddy farmers or paddy marketing: the vacuum created by the withdrawal of the Paddy Marketing Board is being filled by private sector millers. But there are a number of structural issues which have been ignored by the government policymakers.

One is that those millers should have sufficient capacity to store the paddy they buy from farmers. The second is the creditworthiness of the millers concerned as assessed by lending banks. A third is the capacity of the lending banks to make available the needed resources to lend the millers to meet the government goals. A fourth is the logistic factors like the transportation facilities to transport the paddy from farms to the stores. A fifth is the issue of non-miller paddy buyers who buy paddy, keep it till they get a good price and dump the same in the market.

Without sorting these issues, the policy will not work in the field. Already, with no Paddy Marketing Board in the scene, farmgate prices have fallen below the Government guaranteed prices. It will therefore enable the moneyed millers and non-millers to form monopolies in paddy marketing and milling. It not only has frustrated the Government move but also created an unexpected consequence in the form of monopoly building by using the Government’s sudden change in policy. This monopoly building is against the social market economy ideal as presented by its main player in Germany, namely, Ludwig Erhard.

Need for a code of ethics

It is therefore essential that the promoters of the social market economy ideal should be guided by a code of ethics. That code should include the preservation and promotion of human freedoms, freedom of thought and freedom of expression, and a thorough examination of all the possible consequences before a decision is made. Sri Lanka, if one goes by the recent happenings in the country, lacks both. But without such a code, adoption of the social market economy ideal is meaningless.

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

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Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    Thank you, Dr WAW for an economic history lesson.
    Germany’s Weimar republic was also a good example for hyperinflation, in the aftermath of the World War I, which was caused by suspending the gold standard when the war broke out and then printing money after the war.

    It doesn’t matter what the economic policy a government follows from free capitalism to socialism or anything in between, the administration (government) and its bureaucrats (the implementors) should have “a Code of Ethics & Principles of morality” as you say. In SL, the economic policy switches when results of the elections swing extremely from one major party to the other. In addition to that the policy within an administration changes at the whim of the head of party (state) or his/her minions. These changes are not course corrections. Rather trying something, anything for quick results without an in-depth analysis. Importation of eggs and purchasing of paddy are two excellent examples.

    You are asking for economic (and political) stability where no erratic policy changes happen (at least within an administration) and government playing an umpire role. I think it is too much to ask from our morally bankrupt, short-sighted corrupt politicians.

  • 1
    9

    I thought the two sub-headings: “Prosperity through economic expansion”, and “Individual freedom as the pillar of social market economy”, are somewhat misleading, as they are key pillars of neoliberalism too, and that’s what makes social market economy a liberal one.
    .
    According to the author himself how the social market economy differ from neoliberal free market capitalism is by increased role of the state in the regulation of the market inorder to optimise competition and guard against monopolisation; and of course wealth redistribution as a secondary measure.
    .
    Therefore state’s conduct is paramount. It is the state that needs to adere to ethics and should have code of conduct not the people. What Ranil seems to be doing is the opposite in the guise of social market economy. It’s cronysm and leads to rent seeking, thwarts competition and is against the entrepreneural spirit.
    .
    A context where individuals like Dudley and Dilith are created and celebrated, whose successes are rooted in state sponsored cronysm not in any liberal values or principles upon which the economy is built on. Hence the reluctance of foreign investors to come in.

    • 2
      8

      Continued…
      .
      Economics isn’t rocket science yet our leaders don’t seem to be able to grasp the basic concepts and principles and act upon them!
      .
      Then their supporters attribute their fauilures to Sinhala Buddhist Chauvunism and Racism to the joy of the minorities; and corruption in bureaucrats and professionals.
      .
      *Sigh*

      • 8
        2

        Ruchira,
        “Then their supporters attribute their fauilures to Sinhala Buddhist Chauvunism”
        A few fun facts:
        1 Dudley Sirisena
        2 Dilith Jayaweera
        3 Dhammika Perera
        4 The entire senior hierarchy of the police force.
        If you cannot see the connection, you are being wilfully blind.
        Another fun fact:
        Prior to 1962, many nurses in state hospitals worked for low salaries and didn’t go on strike, because they belonged to a religious organisation.
        Now, the nurses union is under the control of another member of the clergy, of a different religion, and they are permanently on strike.

        • 1
          8

          OC – I thought under Ravi Perera’s article on Dudley, you spoke in support of him?
          .
          As for the nurses I do not know the conditions that prevailed in the 60s. But today they work amidst immense hardships. They are over worked, under paid and under appreciated.
          .
          Our economy hasn’t progressed much even in comparison to the regional counterparts.
          .
          Like I once said you keep missing the forest for the trees. You can’t fix the behaviour of smaller systems when the larger system misbehaves.
          .
          You need to fix the fundamental issues first that the author has addressed. Then you could see about the lower scale issue.
          .
          As per #1 through #4 you have highlighted – it’s the corrupt political culture therefore resulting economic one that has enabled them.
          .
          I thought you would take up the author on the matter of importing eggs since it has been one of your pet topics.

          • 9
            2

            Ruchira,
            Saying that you don’t know is not an excuse. A knowledge of recent history gives one perspective. Among the nurses in state hospitals were many Catholic nuns. Over worked, underpaid, and eventually under-appreciated. They were removed on suspicions of proselytization. If there was, I would say it was by example.
            As to Dudley, I think he is a politically connected oligarch, but I think his right to be heard overrides the right of a minority of rabble-rousers not to hear him.
            ” thought you would take up the author on the matter of importing eggs “
            I personally haven’t bought an egg since they passed the 20 rupee level. Nor do I buy cakes. That’s the best way to keep prices down.
            But you too have missed the forest. Why don’t you check out the list of senior Police officers?

            • 1
              9

              OC –
              .
              Let me bring to the following incident to your attention:.
              .
              “Subsequently, when the Department of Law, University of Jaffna had invited her to deliver a lecture ironically on judicial independence in a time of crisis, on the 31st of October, 2023, certain sections of the student population, including the Student Union, had railed against the conduct of the event. They had forced the Dean and University authorities to cancel the lecture, with threats of gheraos and barricades, barring her entry into and exit from the venue. The University authorities had caved into this pressure, and had suggested a change of venue, outside the university, which Ms. Arulingam had quite rightly said no to. “
              .
              https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/dons-protest-against-the-cancellation-of-swasthika-arulingams-lecture-at-jaffna-university/
              .
              Not sure if anyone has the right to force others to listen to people that they don’t like to hear to.

              • 7
                1

                Ruchira,
                Whoever does it, it is wrong.
                The dons (some from Colombo) were right to protest. Did the Colombo University dons protest?
                It seems to me that even dons have different standards for different people.

                • 2
                  0

                  “even dons have different standards for different people”
                  Why ‘even’ dons?

                  • 2
                    2

                    SJ,
                    Aren’t dons supposed to be a cut above the rest?

                    • 2
                      0

                      oc
                      We have all manner of expectations of various categories of people.
                      Reality militates against such hopes.
                      Are academics any better than any other category of workers wen it comes to self advancement?
                      They can be worse than others at times.

                  • 8
                    1

                    OC and Native, GMOF president Rukshan Bellana proudly claimed , apart from doctors and nurses , no one has capability to collapse the system. He belittled the recent strike saying ” we have repeatedly said that the services of health care workers (paramedical) are no longer needed in hospitals ” ??? If not for those nuns, Lankan Pseudos ( nationalist / patriots / intellectuals / non Christians ……………… ) would have delivered fake medicines / services and see to, doctors who went abroad for higher studies, not return. Even today, many of those highly reputed educational institutes and hospitals in India, are managed by missionaries including St. John medical college ( catholic, founded in 1963 ) Vellore Christian medical college founded in 1900 , Father Muller medical college founded in 1883……… .

              • 10
                1

                Ruchira,
                “Not sure if anyone has the right to force others to listen to people that they don’t like to hear to.”
                Now you’re obfuscating . Nobody was forced to listen to anyone, in either case. Those who didn’t want to listen were free to not attend. It was the speaker who was forced away from the venue.

                • 0
                  9

                  OC – It was a protest. It was political in nature. Both the attempt of the speaker and the response from the students. Not a neutral speaker. We can debate all day long and seven days a week, 365 days a year on this.

                  • 8
                    0

                    “365 days a year on this”
                    It is 366 days this year.
                    Wonder if 29 Feb will be a rest day.

                    • 0
                      8

                      OC wouldn’t easily rest. This is supposed to be a discussion of an article on social market economics. May be I should not respond to OC ?

            • 1
              9

              OC – Re: Eggs from India
              .
              I wasn’t neither aware of nor referring to your personal consumption of eggs.

              • 9
                1

                Ruchira
                There are three ways to reduce prices:
                1 Import eggs (increase the supply)
                2. Reduce consumption.
                Most people seem to think they can’t live without eggs. I don’t.
                Imports have to be limited because the government can no longer print money.

                • 0
                  8

                  OC – My attempt was to highlight your lack of initiative in taking up your position of importing eggs, among other things, from India, with the author, Dr. Jayawardena, when it is a matter that he has directly addressed in his essay.
                  .
                  Your lessons on how to control egg prices, the need for consuming eggs and your personal prefernces of food items are not the issues at debate here.
                  .
                  That said eggs are high in nutritional value and cheaper compared to other sources of the same nutrients. Easy to prepare and consume and also to digest. Probably easier to produce too. Hence their place in human diet as a widely consumed food item. Especially in a context where malnutrion among children has significantly increased.

                  • 7
                    1

                    Ruchira,
                    None of the above invalidates consumer resistance, as in the case of carrots.

                    • 0
                      5

                      OC – So why didn’t the consumers resist higher egg prices and brought it down?

                    • 4
                      0

                      oc
                      Consumer resistance in our case certainly is not a planned activity.
                      It is a result of unaffordability.
                      Carrots are unlike 60 years ago a common vegetable. High prices were due partly to bad weather and not a ‘producer conspiracy’.
                      Eggs have long been a popular alternative to meat. With milk prices too going through the roof egg prices are a burden.
                      Was not egg shortage foreseeable?

                • 8
                  0

                  old codger

                  3. Don’t import eggs.
                  4. Introduce dual rate exchange regime (Is it FEECS) Existed between 1971 and 1977. If you want to eat imported eggs then you should export non traditional items, earn foreign exchange and then import eggs.

                  By the way this was in practice under Weeping Widow’s time.

                  • 1
                    1

                    Native,
                    Being a young fellow at the time, I liked WW’s policy on cloth imports………

                    • 2
                      0

                      old codger

                      “Being a young fellow at the time, I liked WW’s policy on cloth imports………”

                      You mean 1950’s style used clothes in bales imported from UK(?).

                    • 0
                      0

                      oc
                      Was not FEECS a creation of the 1965-70 government?

                    • 2
                      1

                      Native,
                      No, the bale clothes weren’t the reason. It was the mini-skirts.

                • 1
                  0

                  oc
                  What is the third way?

                  • 2
                    1

                    SJ,
                    Actually, the third one was to increase supply but I inadvertently conflated it with imports.
                    Yes, the FEECs were introduced in 1968.
                    “In an attempt to ease the pressure on the country’s balance of payments, a Foreign Exchange. Entitlement Certificate system was introduced in. 1968”

                    • 2
                      0

                      But way#1 was to increase supply.
                      I guess you meant increase production. That was handicapped by the crippling cost of import of poultry food and of coure the lack of planning.
                      *
                      As for FEECs it may now not seem a stupid thing to some of our sages as it was not a Bandaranayake policy.

                  • 2
                    0

                    “Was not FEECS a creation of the 1965-70 government?”

                    Didn’t the stupid gang which formed government after 1970 know that was a stupid policy? They were too keen to create conflicts among the people than running the country efficiently. Had they known then they should have suspended it and opened up the economy.

                • 0
                  6

                  OC – Can the consumer resistance bring down production cost?

                  • 3
                    0

                    Ruchira,
                    The price of carrots didn’t go up due to production cost. It’s down now both due to increased production in Jaffna, and consumer resistance.
                    I believe it’s the same with eggs. The price of chicken has come down from 2000 plus to 1100 in the last 12 months. How can the price of eggs keep going up?

                  • 4
                    0

                    “As for FEECs it may now not seem a stupid thing to some of our sages as it was not a Bandaranayake policy.”

                    Everything what that Weeping Widow and her merry men did was the most stupidest thing.
                    They happily presided over Stagflation.
                    ….
                    That was the time Weeping Widow and her merry men should have restructured the economy. They were very concerned only about increasing the share of their party supporters, it was said Central banks and Planning Ministry recruited graduates of Sinhala/Pali/…. languages. The merry men and their boss the weeping widow destroyed Cooperative movement in this island.

                    The 1971 happened later Tamil Militancy started steadily grew under Weeping Widows excellent leadership.

                    We can talk about it until cows come home.

            • 1
              10

              OC –
              .
              “Saying that you don’t know is not an excuse. A knowledge of recent history gives one perspective.”
              .
              Okay give me your perspective with your knowledge in history.
              .
              “They were removed on suspicions of proselytization.”
              .
              So, what’s your suggestion? And what were nuns doing nursing? Shouldn’t nurses be qualified in nursing?

              • 9
                1

                Ruchira,
                “And what were nuns doing nursing? Shouldn’t nurses be qualified in nursing?”
                They were all trained nurses. Some were qualified doctors.
                Now, don’t ask me what degrees they had. At the time, the local nurses only needed a basic education and references.
                http://www.nhsl.health.gov.lk/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=39&catid=2&lang=si
                BTW, the website above is well-written, unusual for a government site.
                Nuns still operate in India:
                https://www.ncronline.org/news/india-salesian-nuns-bring-hope-women-addictions

                • 11
                  1

                  Ruchira,
                  “Who is responsible for the recruitment, training and promotion of police officers to senior positions?”
                  You are being rather simplistic. Officially, the recruits are selected without ethnic bias. But, in practice, there is a bias, resulting in every single DIG being a Sinhala Buddhist.
                  There are unspoken rules as to who can lead the country or fill top positions. There are untouchable persons who openly question the religious and ethnic credentials of candidates.
                  Perhaps you can explain why there were only two Tamil Navy commanders, with the last one only serving 2 months?

                  • 1
                    11

                    OC – “There are unspoken rules as to who can lead the country or fill top positions. There are untouchable persons who openly question the religious and ethnic credentials of candidates.”
                    .
                    Doesn’t look like something limited to Sinhala Buddhism.
                    .
                    “Perhaps you can explain why there were only two Tamil Navy commanders, with the last one only serving 2 months?”
                    .
                    Really? There were two Tamil Navy Commonders?
                    .
                    So no untouchables questioning the religion and ethnicities in promoting them in the Navy I guess?

                    • 11
                      1

                      Ruchira,
                      “Doesn’t look like something limited to Sinhala Buddhism.”
                      But we are talking about Sri Lankan problems
                      “Really? There were two Tamil Navy Commonders?
                      .So no untouchables questioning the religion and ethnicities in promoting them in the Navy I guess?”
                      Yes, two out of 24. And the last one only served two months. If you wish, you may pretend that there is no problem.

                  • 0
                    7

                    OC – Yes. We are. Talking about Sri Lankan problems.

                • 1
                  9

                  OC – not just nuns, the whole hospital system is rooted in christianity and evolved out of their practices. But we have come a long way since then… if you so prefer you could still get nuns trained as doctors and nurses I guess… is there a law preventing it…?

                  • 11
                    1

                    Ruchira,
                    “is there a law preventing it…?”
                    Isn’t that why they were removed ? At the very least, they never went on strike .

                    • 0
                      10

                      OC – With all due respect I think both SJ and Paul above have provided enough perspective as why the nuns were got ridden of. But if you still insist they coukd still be nurses and doctors provided they qualify through the criteria to be so according to contemporary practices!

                • 0
                  9

                  OC – “Nuns still operate in India:…”
                  .
                  And you have provided a link. I didn’t read it. But are they nurses? Looks like they are dealing with addicts. I am sure there are plenty of christian charities in Sri Lanka and if nuns want to get involved in providing various services to their clients, I am sure there won’t be any objections. I am not sure what you are trying to say. I didn’t read the other link either – the history of nhsl. Small font issue. Does it deal with nuns too? But thanks for sharing. I’ll read it on a later date once I get my laptop up and running. But what is that you are trying to say? Nursing cadre is quite big, I am not sure if all of it could be filled with nuns even back then. If your complaint is removal of nuns is racially motivated. I do not know for sure and comments made here by others suggest that they engaged in some practices that prrhaps are of concern.

                  • 2
                    0

                    Ruchira,
                    No, all the nurses weren’t nuns. But their presence kept the others in line.
                    Some nuns still do work in Indian hospitals .

              • 4
                1

                Ruchira, Why cant nuns be qualified in nursing to care for the sick.

                • 0
                  10

                  davidthegood- yes why can’t they?

                • 8
                  2

                  dtg
                  The nuns had a sense of commitment that was richer in content than any professional standard.
                  They cared, and that made a big difference to a patient. I have seen it.

            • 1
              9

              OC –
              .
              “But you too have missed the forest. Why don’t you check out the list of senior Police officers?”
              .
              I am not sure if you have followed what I have said. Who is responsible for the recruitment, training and promotion of police officers to senior positions?

            • 8
              2

              “Catholic nuns. Over worked, underpaid, and eventually under-appreciated. They were removed on suspicions of proselytization. “
              Poor women, mostly they seriously tried to save the souls of patients whose lives doctors could not save.

              • 0
                9

                OC – SJ says:
                .
                “Poor women, mostly they seriously tried to save the souls of patients whose lives doctors could not save.”
                .
                Nothing but Mother Teresa’s it seems.

                • 3
                  7

                  “Catholic nuns. Over worked, underpaid, and eventually under-appreciated. They were removed on suspicions of proselytization. “
                  .
                  It wasn’t suspicion, they had a duty to baptise any dying person whether they liked it or not. So the last minutes of a non-Christian would be filled with the nun making the sign of the cross and muttering unintelligible words in Latin. If a Buddhist or Hindu monk did anything like that, it wouldn’t be tolerated.
                  .
                  On a lighter note – A Rabbi and a Christian priest were involved in a car crash. The Rabbi lay dying but the priest was unhurt.
                  .
                  He approaches the dying man and says “Do you believe in God the Father, God the son and God the Holy Ghost? Just say ‘Yes’ “
                  .
                  Rabbi – What?
                  .
                  Priest – “Do you believe in God the Father, God the son and God the Holy Ghost? Just say ‘Yes’ “
                  .
                  Rabbi – Here I lie dying and this guy is asking me riddles.

                  • 1
                    9

                    Oh! Thank you for putting things in perspective.
                    .

                  • 9
                    0

                    Paul

                    For a moment I was worried.
                    You got to be bit careful when you crack religious Jokes.
                    Always remember Jayani Natasha Edirisuriya and the recent Online Safety Act.

              • 10
                2

                SJ,
                Can we assume they died happy? That’s something….

                • 7
                  2

                  oc
                  Thanks
                  But I cannot say much about happiness in deathbed. I have not been there yet.
                  But having someone saying caring words could be consoling to many. Even saying “I will pray for you” makes a difference even to a non-believer.
                  *
                  Sorry to say that some of us have difficulty in understanding good motives.

                  • 2
                    0

                    SJ,
                    Perhaps it was less painful than being converted to certain other religions?

                • 0
                  9

                  OC – You are showing off your biases and prejudices.

                  • 6
                    1

                    Ruchira
                    “OC – You are showing off your biases and prejudices.”
                    I have no religious prejudices. I have always taken Mahanayakas and Cardinals with a pinch of salt. Look inwards.

                    • 0
                      5

                      OC – Nothing look inward. I am open about my biases. They are well declared.

        • 9
          0

          old codger

          “Now, the nurses union is under the control of another member of the clergy, of a different religion, and they are permanently on strike.”

          How old is Muruththettuwe Ananda Nayaka
          Chancellor of Colombo Uni.?

          • 6
            1

            Native,
            Ruchira himself says old farts should retire…..

    • 10
      1

      Ruchira,
      “Hence the reluctance of foreign investors to come in.”
      Foreign investors couldn’t care less about morals. Neither Singapore, Korea, China, or Taiwan were liberal democracies when investors flooded in. Mostly, it was about stability, low wages, and a docile work force. Investors invest in our FTZ’s because there are no unions. Currently, there are noises being made in Europe about working conditions, but these can be traced back to European unions worried about being undercut by imports.

      • 1
        8

        OC – I wasn’t referring to any morals in some profound sense. I was echoing what Dr. Wijewardena has said – lack of a code of conduct of the govt, in his opinion and to which I agree, that has resulted in economic conditions that are not conducive to proper implementation of social market economic policies therefore to investment. Basically government not regulating the market to ensure there’s a healthy competition and monopolies are prevented from forming. I think he quite logically explains it. Do you disagree with his premise too? It doesn’t matter whether it is liberal democracy or not as long some system that works is in place. You can get rid of the unions. I have no personal issue. I have never been a big fan of them. But it is you who also complains about labour exploitation not me. Absence of unions is not the defining feature of FTZs. They are created to attract investment by providing special incentives when it is not advisable to liberalize the whole of economy therefor as a measure of by passing the general trade and investment related conditions that prevail in the country that may be required to protect the local industry.

      • 1
        9

        OC – “Neither Singapore, Korea, China, or Taiwan were liberal democracies when investors flooded in.”
        .
        I think you are mixing up economic and trade liberalisation with sociopolitical liberalization. They I believe are two different things. Given I am no expert in political economics I would rest my case at that.

        • 10
          1

          Ruchira,
          I have asked this question before: Name just one underdeveloped country that achieved First World status in one generation while preserving full democracy and personal liberties?
          I don’t complain about labour exploitation per se. It is about marginalisation of an entire community.

          • 2
            9

            OC – Economic liberalism has got nothing to do with political liberalism. The point being addressed here is that the UNP govt claims they are pursuing a certain type of economic principles but acts in a way that sabotage those principles from working for the betterment of the economy. Social market economy is nothing that I personally suggest. It’s their own claim.
            .
            That entire community was marginalised by the UNP, because they were politicly represented by leftist parties and the UNP found that to be problematic. It was electoral politics at its worst. But you try to paint a different picture. One that is racial.

            • 8
              2

              Ruchira,
              You don’t need to blame the UNP for everything. The UNP didn’t exist at the time this passage was written by a “national hero”:
              (Ceylon) is the only country where Buddhism exists. This noble religion is declining day by day. Our noble nation in declining day by day… The noble Sinhala nation started declining the day it started associating with barbaric non Aryan Dravidian,Arabic false believer nations who came here from foreign countries (Sinhala Bauddhaya, Jan 6
              1912)
              You tell me, is that racial or not?

              • 2
                9

                OC – I didn’t blame the UNP for everything.
                .
                “barbaric non Aryan Dravidian,Arabic false believer nations who came here from foreign countries…”
                .
                They have a point….

                • 9
                  0

                  Ruchira,
                  But is that passage racial or not?

                  • 1
                    9

                    OC,

                    Dharmapala was educated in Christian schools. He was clearly influenced by Max Mueller, Francis Galton, and others. Look at the use of the word “false believer.” There is no such thing in Buddhism. But in Christianity, a false believer is a non-Christian.

                  • 0
                    10

                    OC- “But is that passage racial or not?”
                    .
                    I have responded. You can decide based on it.

                  • 0
                    11

                    OC – In addition you may pay some attention to what Lester is saying.
                    .
                    Many religions I believe consider non-believers to be inferior as reflected by some of their literature.
                    .
                    That said Dharmapalas words should be intepreted in the context of socio-political climate that existed at the time they were uttered and the historical context that had resulted in them not based on today’s sociopolitical values. There’s a word coined by some scholar for the latter – I think it’s called Presentism. You may benefit from looking it up and reflecting upon the phenomenon that it is used to describe. Have a good day!

                    • 7
                      1

                      Ruchira,
                      So you are aware of the works of the great Dharmapala, I see.
                      “`From this deed arises no hindrance in thy way to heaven. Only one and a half human beings have been slain here by thee, O lord of men. The one had come unto the (three) refuges, the other had taken on himself the five precepts Unbelievers and men of evil life were the rest, not more to be esteemed than beasts. But as for thee, thou wilt bring glory to the doctrine of the Buddha in manifold ways; therefore cast away care from thy heart, O ruler of men!’
                      https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=30090
                      Now, don’t tell me that the above quote was based on Christian concepts.at the time it was written.
                      There is a word called sophistry. You may benefit from looking it up and reflecting upon the phenomenon that it is used to describe. Have a good day!

                    • 7
                      1

                      Ruchira,
                      So you think even Buddhists may consider other religions inferior?

                    • 5
                      0

                      Ruchira

                      “That said Dharmapalas words should be intepreted in the context of socio-political climate that existed at the time they were uttered and the historical context that had resulted in them not based on today’s sociopolitical values”

                      So every person should follow the interpretation of dump asses who are politically motivated, racists, bigots, … religious zealots, jealousy driven, …. because their utterances were based on “”context of socio-political climate that existed at the time they were uttered and the historical context that had resulted in them not based on today’s sociopolitical values.”.

                      How would you interpret the following:
                      Excerpt:
                      “…. one of the basic meditations Buddhists are expected to practice is Metta Bhavana, (Meditation of Loving Kindness to All Living Beings) “
                      in
                      Politicizing Buddhism: Violence and Religious Minorities in Sri Lanka
                      By
                      Prof K N O Dharmadasa
                      Rights of Religious Minorities in South Asia

                      How would you interpret the above in the present (Mahindapala Era) context or during the Public Racist Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala’s time?

                  • 0
                    4

                    OC – First of all I didn’t say Dharmapala’s words were based on Christian concepts. It was Lester I think who said it and I brought it to your attention.
                    .
                    Sophistry: “the use of clever but false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.”
                    .
                    What is the false argument I am making?
                    .
                    Honestly I do not know whether Buddhism teaches other religions as inferior to it. I can’t remember being taught anything like that in school or at home. But I always thought Christianity lacks any deep philosophical teachings compared to Buddhism. Like history I wasn’t much into Buddhism either. You may benefit from asking these questions from a serious scholar in Buddhism, which I am not.
                    .
                    If your argument is that Dharmapala was influenced by Mahawamsa. Just say so. Rather than beating around the bush. I do not know that, as I have neither studied Mahawamsa nor any of Dharmapala’s teachings/claims. He was like you have said taught as a National Hero to whom I didn’t pay much attention to either.

                    • 5
                      0

                      Ruchira,
                      “have neither studied Mahawamsa nor any of Dharmapala’s teachings/claims. “
                      Again, you claim “I didn’t know”.
                      Why don’t you read it up then? Perhaps it might change your opinion about whether it is Buddhism or something else that is practised here.
                      I know that perfect Buddhism doesn’t exist, any more than perfect Christianity or Islam. But we could give up knowingly being hypocrites.

                    • 0
                      2

                      Ruchira,

                      Dharmapala was in fact a Christian convert to Buddhism. Regardless, he did a lot to revive Buddhism not just in S. Lanka, but India as well, inspiring many South Indian “Dalits” to convert. At that time in (Ceylon), the British were actively using proselytization to run the country. By run the country, I refer to a class of “yessir” coolies educated at Christian schools and given cushy jobs in the civil service. Dharmapala was not a racist, he was a pragmatist. He was not the only one who came to the conclusion that Buddhism is “superior” to Christianity. German philosophers like Nietzsche and Schopenhauer said the same thing. According to OC and Native, they must be “German Buddhist” racists. Anyway, the question of “superiority” is meaningless in Buddhism. It’s essential to Christianity, since those who are not “baptized” go to “hell.”

                      Bible: “Those who are not baptized cannot enter the Kingdom of God. At the judgement, those who do not enter the Kingdom (Mt 25:34) will be condemned to hell (Mt 25:41)”

                      The “superiority” of Christianity therefore lies in its ability to spare people from going to “hell.”

                    • 2
                      0

                      Ruchira,
                      “What is the false argument I am making?”
                      For one, that the minorities are responsible for all the corruption. Do you have any names?
                      .

                  • 0
                    5

                    OC – Me reading history isn’t going to change it. You yourself claim that no religion is pure. So what difference does it make? You try to blame everything on Sinhala Buddhism – something that doesn’t resonate with me. In my experience Sinhala Buddhism is hardly the problem here. That’s my assessment of the current situation. Reading history isn’t going to change the current reality experiences by me. My opinions seem to challenge a certain narrative popularized by certain parties – that doesn’t make me a hypocrite.

                    • 0
                      4

                      *experienced

                    • 0
                      5

                      OC – And its not just me who are being insulted for not subscribing to the said narrative. SJ, Sinhala Man and even LankaScot is being insulted simply because they don’t agree with either whole or in part of the said narrative that is being pushed. And non of them I believe are Sinhala Buddhists. Indicates the kind of people who has been pushing this narrative and an equally vicious agenda behind it. Probably supported and even funded by vicious means! Yes if corruption and crime needs to be dealt with such persons and yheir networks may have be exposed and brought under the law. People who doesn’t like that idea doesn’t seem to like the NPP. Probably because they are the beneficiaries of such corruption and crime.

              • 0
                9

                OC – Actions speak louder than words. If you want to know what Tamils, Muslims and Christians, particularly Roman Catholics, have meanwhile been doing to Sinhala Buddhists, please vote for AKD and NPP in coming elections.

                • 7
                  0

                  Ruchira,
                  “If you want to know what Tamils, Muslims and Christians, ……………..vote for AKD and NPP “
                  So, what have they been doing? Have they run the country for 76 years? Will Lester vote JVP?
                  Is it JVP policy to put minorities in their place? When did they say so? SM please note.
                  You are a bunch of contradictions, aren’t you?

                  • 5
                    0

                    old codger

                    “You are a bunch of contradictions, aren’t you?”

                    Do you think Ruchira is a card carrying member of Protestant Buddhist appreciation society and a contemporary of Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala, who hasn’t learned anything properly about Buddhism in his life time?

                    It makes me Dukka.

                  • 0
                    0

                    OC, on the same note, are we allowed to ask what SB did to real Buddhist or what SB did to a nation called Ceylon ???

                  • 0
                    4

                    OC – People have contradictions.

                    • 5
                      1

                      Ruchira,
                      “OC – People have contradictions.”
                      Having contradictions is not a crime. But many people try to identify and resolve them.

                  • 0
                    5

                    OC – “Is it JVP policy to put minorities in their place?”
                    .
                    I don’t think JVP has said anything like it.
                    .
                    But they say they will address corruption.
                    .
                    If they are serious they will have to expose and bring under the law the corrupt – which will show that corruption and crime has got nothing to do with Sinhalese or Buddhism and is infact could be found across the board including among the minorities, that may include discriminations and even crimes committed against the so called majority.
                    .
                    So if anyone is interested in achieving a level playing field, democracy, ensure human rights, they should I believe vote for NPP.
                    .
                    Right now minorities, atleast some of them, seem to think they can dictate terms and intimidate the majority to submit to their demands and even inviting India to invade the country.
                    .
                    To this end they are willing to and want to sustain Ranil and the UNP regime, fully knowing their corrupt ways including how they safeguard the Rajapakses.
                    .
                    Yes such people need to be dealt with and shown there’s a law of the land that is applicable to everyone. And those who break it needs to be put in their rightful places – ie in jail.

                    • 2
                      0

                      Ruchira,
                      “will have to expose and bring under the law the corrupt – which will show that corruption and crime has got nothing to do with Sinhalese or Buddhism “…..
                      Who is Rambukwella?. Who are the two DIGs on death row? Who is the acting IGP?
                      Were any DIG’s on death row when the top ranks were not monopolized by one community? Perhaps you can tell me who was the corrupt Chief Justice that currently preaches sermons on Poya Days? Is he a Muslim? Who was that monk caught with two women in Weliveriya? Who was the Chief Incumbent of a London temple found guilty of raping a minor? All Tamils, I bet.

                  • 0
                    6

                    Oc – Continued…
                    .
                    this end they are willing to and want to sustain Ranil and the UNP regime, fully knowing their corrupt ways including how they safeguard the Rajapakses.
                    .
                    Yes such people need to be dealt with and shown there’s a law of the land that is applicable to everyone. And those who break it needs to be put in their rightful places – ie in jail. AKD clwarly said this in the Parliament when he said if I am the president all of you who shout now would be in jail, pointing at some people.
                    .
                    Being a minority is not an entitlement to break laws or enjoy priviledges

                • 5
                  0

                  oc
                  “But we could give up knowingly being hypocrites.”
                  How can one then be holier than the other?

                  • 2
                    0

                    OC,
                    Some seem to take pride in being unaware of their own scriptures.
                    BTW, I don’t think any of Dr. WAW’s other articles has attracted so many comments.

              • 10
                3

                oc
                Nationalism sucks.
                Narrow nationalism much more.

                • 9
                  1

                  “Nationalism sucks.”

                  So do Maoism, Stalinism, Leninism, Communism, Capitalism, Socialism, Libertarianism, Absolutism, Anarchism, ………..

      • 1
        9

        OC –
        .
        Let me bring to your attention the following past article by the same author on labour law reforms in relation to attracting foreign direct investment:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/proposed-labour-reforms-when-a-labour-lawyer-speaks-like-a-labour-economist/
        .
        Here’s an excerpt you may find relevant:
        .
        “Authorities claim that the foreign investors shun Sri Lanka because of its archaic labour laws. Ranaraja says that this is a misreading of the reasons for Sri Lanka’s poor performance in attracting foreign direct investments. Without addressing the more compelling reasons like the policy inconsistency, frequent policy reversals and macroeconomic factors, trying the attract investments via a set of consolidated labour laws will not help Sri Lanka.”

        • 8
          1

          Ruchira,
          If you believe Ranaraja, that may sound true. But facts on the ground show otherwise. Again we can look at our neighbourhood for lessons( of course you will say that we don’t have to follow them). There are disparities in investment climate closely linked to differing labour laws.

          • 9
            2

            old codger, You fail, not because you are not a good teacher, but because you tried to ‘educate’ the unwilling!

            • 5
              1

              old codger,
              Below is the CONFIRMATION coming from the source itself!!

            • 7
              1

              Nathan,
              I am not trying to educate. I am trying to winkle out what lies behind a mask of sweet reasonableness. Don’t you think I had some success?

          • 0
            9

            Old codger – I think you should give some serious consideration to what Nathan here is saying.
            .
            “There are disparities in investment climate closely linked to differing labour laws”
            .
            By all means change the law then!
            .
            And for Nathan’s information, no one wants to get unsolicited schooling.

            • 7
              1

              Ruchira,
              “By all means change the law then!”
              So, you think the JVP will change them?
              .

              • 0
                5

                OC – JVP I presume would do what they believe is the right thing.

                • 2
                  0

                  Ruchira

                  “OC – JVP I presume would do what they believe is the right thing.”

                  The why does the JVP expect to win over self respecting people?
                  Let JVP do what it believe is the right thing.
                  So JVP hasn’t learned anything from it’s 65 years of gory past.

              • 6
                0

                oc
                Try as hard as you may, there are occasions when you just cannot have the last word.

                • 0
                  3

                  “I am trying to winkle out what lies behind a mask of sweet reasonableness.”
                  .
                  The bitter truth is some folks don’t seem to like reasonableness, especially when it is sweet and they want to unmask to see of the other is as ugly as they are! He is succeeding it seems with or without having the last word!

          • 0
            3

            OC – You have said somewhere in reference to contradictions (and I can’t directly reply to it) – “But many people try to identify and resolve them.”
            .
            Contradictions are a way of life something that exists in nature you can’t resolve them.
            .
            For example a science teacher who also goes to temple or the church entertains two contradictory views of the world. Can he resolve them? Or does he engage and embrace the contradictions?
            .
            I was looking for a more academic example that I had come across that exemplify contradictions, but couldn’t find it, hence the above example. Will get back to you if I find it…

          • 0
            2

            OC – “Again we can look at our neighbourhood for lessons”
            .
            India is well known for its protectionism. If anyone wants to learn from them. China is perhaps way more liberal than India.

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