Sri Lanka — Explaining conflict set off by Western expectations
Posted on April 22nd, 2015

By Wendell W Solomons     

At Independence in 1948 Sri Lanka and Japan shared the highest literacy rates in Asia. And today, according to Wikipedia’s “List of countries by literacy rate” the two nations provide rates of 98.1% and 99% respectively.

Soon after Independence Singapore was sending children for schooling to the Sri Lanka. However, Singapore is now classified in the developed world. Its literacy  has risen to a rate of 95.9% .

For physical quality of life indicators such as life span, Sri Lanka ranked at Independence with developed nations but neocolonialism then subverted the island in heavy measure.

Economist Ha-Joon Chang helps explain the subverting of economic growth in Sri Lanka by Western governments, by their think-tanks and by hectoring media. This economist says —

(a) “Almost all rich countries got wealthy by protecting infant industries and limiting foreign investment. But these countries are now denying poor ones the same chance to grow by forcing free-trade rules on them before they are strong enough.”

(b) “For developing countries, free trade has rarely been a matter of choice; it was often an imposition from outside, sometimes even through military power. Most of them did very poorly under free trade; they did much better when they used protection and subsidies. The best-performing economies have been those that opened up their economies selectively and gradually. Neo-liberal free-trade free-market policy claims to sacrifice equity for growth, but in fact it achieves neither; growth has slowed down in the past two and a half decades… ”

Due to decades in Sri Lanka of tight finances, many people require family support (1) to get to their feet and (2) to proceed in careers. Multiple reliances on the family call for a reciprocal responses from those who benefit.

These responses bring up the charge of “family bandyism”

When you perform a Google search you will be astounded to find that Sri Lanka leads the world for this English phrase. The global search speaks graphically about the consequences of stalled economic growth in Sri Lanka as compared, for example, with Singapore or Japan.

Dictionaries of the West come closest to the term “family bandyism” as follows —

Nepotism “favoritism shown to relatives, esp. in appointment to high office,”

1662, from Fr. népotisme,

Two items now from a sociologist to say more about the cost of constraints —

(A) “… As is well known, politics became the biggest rent seeking activity in this country in recent years. Politicians could enjoy unprecedented privileges at public expense. In addition to various perks legally given to them, they have found various other ways to abuse public resources. They have also used public resources to offer various benefits to their friends, relatives and political supporters. It is this kind of political patronage that has also undermined good governance. For instance, political leaders have tended to appoint all kinds of people to important positions in state institutions without paying any attention to their suitability. The result is the virtual collapse of such institutions… ”

(B) “… When people come under pressure due to various problems that surround them, political stability becomes an obvious casualty leading to another inward spiral of unrest, violence and social and economic decline… ”

2 Responses to “Sri Lanka — Explaining conflict set off by Western expectations”

  1. Christie Says:

    Namaste: The Island nation like other Indian Colonies suffer due to Indian Imperialism where Indians are the High Caste and all non Indians are the low Caste. Look at Indian Businesses where hardly any non Indians are employed. When the Island nations economy is controlled by Indian interests what jobs are left for the non Indians? Situation in otherIndian Colonies are not different. Jai Hind

  2. Independent Says:


    Nepotism is ok if those appointed could perform and if the family bandits do not rob.
    For example, you can’t say it doesn’t exist in Singapore, but they perform.

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