Wither Sri Lanka?
Posted on December 23rd, 2011

By Garvin Karunaratne, Ph.D. former SLAS

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In 1956, .ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Hon SWRDƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Bandaranayake won the day and ushered in the day of the common man. Hon Philip GunawardenaƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  came up with his Paddy Lands Act, ushering the dawn of a new era for the peasants of Sri Lanka. At that time I was an Assistant Commissioner for Development of Agricultural Marketing. The Ministry was searching for young officers to be at the helm of implementing a new piece of legislation and they had to be dare devil, officers who worked from even under trees, knew no hours of work and those who could work undeterred.. A new Department of Agrarian Services was created and a band ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  work hardened youngsters under a young maverick civil servant, M.S.Perera got down to establish Cultivation Committees, putting the tenant cultivators in charge of paddy cultivation.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We worked in the teeth of opposition and the movement was led by G.V.S de Silva, once aƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Lecturer in Economics at the University of Peradeniya who was the Private Secretary to the Hon Minister.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
Then it was not the students that marched on the streets in protest. It was a group of ParliamentariansƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  the likes of Minister Vimala Wijeywardena and political big wigs of the rightistƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  faction that marched in protest. Minister Philip Gunawardena was thrown out and there ended his attempt at reforming and developing paddy farming. We continued on our own trying to implement the Paddy Lands Act- the officers were all leftist oriented, followers of the teachings of Philip, Dr. NM, Dr Colvin and Dr Wicks. We needed no plodding. We worked wonders despite the fact that our head had been wantonly removed.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We tried hard, revolutionized paddy farming but unfortunately in two decades the Paddy Lands Act became a fact of history. The grandiose plans of Philip and GVS ended in the dust.
Hon. SWRD Bandaranayake also ushered in the time of the common man. It was Sinhala only and a sharp break away from colonial capitalism. That attempt ended when he was assassinated.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The movement of the Common Man lost ground.
Today in 2011 we are living in the throes of development, after, as legend has it, Diyasena Kumaraya emerged from nowhere to liberate the people.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The last three decades was marred by the ruthless LTTE under the leadership of brigand Prabhakaran holdingƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  the entire people of Sri Lanka at bay in his attempt to establish an independent Tamil State in the very heartland of Sri Lanka, the area where historical inscriptions in granite tell of the thriving glory of Sinhala kingdoms.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Not a day passed without the killing of innocent civilians at times hundreds and there was no one that could sort them out till we had President Mahinda Rajapaksa taking charge. We have to be thankful for his able lieutenant , his brother coming back to take charge of defence, instead of living a carefree life of luxury in the salubrious climate of Los Angeles.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  They faced the enemy day in day out and when action was needed they were at hand and not sojourning in far off China when the time came for action at Mavil Aru and Nandikadal.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
However one wonders whether the ignominious end of SWRD and Philip is to be repeated.
The fist barrage across the bows has been sounded by The Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremasinghe when he hinted that the Rajapaksa Government has been derailed and that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…- a business cartel is trying to control the GovernmentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Though Ranil WickremasingheƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  mostly talks nonsense, this utterance has some sense when one goes into detail.
Though President Rajapaksa has said that it is a great budget and that it sounds development there are indications that an attempt is being made to take our saviour away from the Common Man.
ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The vast majority in our country unfortunately is yet lingering within poverty. AccordingƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  to the Department of Census and Statistics the household expenditure for a family of four isƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Rs. 31,331.00 per month andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  even with this amount a family can hardly live.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This income makes a family scrape the barrel.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The lowest earners are the drivers of cars and the three wheelers. A car driver in the CityƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  a chap who drove my car at times confided that his salary wasƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Rupees fourteen thousand a month and with that he had to support a family of two children in his village while he slept the nights somewhere in the City.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Retired teachers have also to subsist on fourteen thousand a month.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In the city daily wage wokers get paid anything from five hundred to a thousand a day and they will be lucky to find twenty days work a month.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The rural areas are worse because there is hardly any casual work. According to the Central Bank Report of 2008 the income of 1.9 million families( 18.4 million people)ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  was as low as Rs 10,800 a month. Recently I met aƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  disabled war veteran from Dikwella who had two brothers in lawƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  graduates all unemployed living on what he earns. One was contemplating to be a monk. Perhaps that would find him food! .
If only inflation can be controlled the day can be won. Imported goods are unofficially controlled in price because the Government has established Lak Sathosa Retail Sales Depots in many areas.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Many more units of Lak Sathosa are required. However the Government has miserably failed the people by not establishing the Marketing Department, a tried and tested scheme that helped both the producer as well as the consumer.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This wasƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  the method by which inflation was controlled in Sri Lanka from the Fifties till the IMF decided that it was a method that did not allow the Private Sector to get fantastic profits. Now we have producers who cannot sell red pumpkin ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ at Rs twenty a kilo while I myself bought it at Rupees one hundred and forty a kilo, a massive 600% profit. When I was in charge of the Marketing Department vegetable marketing scheme at Tripoli Market in 1957 I kept a margin of only ten percent. My boss Commissioner BLW Fernando would have pulled down my stripes if I had charged fifteen percent. Commissioner Fernando only drew a Head of Department salary- not the Rupees three million a month that the Private sector big wigs draw today.
Perhaps the fact that the Government is unableƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  to re establish the well tried vegetable marketing scheme of the Marketing Department tells us the bare fact that the Government is controlled by the Corporate Sector today. I hope this is not true.
In the last year we have seen the rich being awarded golden gifts of over a million rupees each, when they purchased luxury cars. The Private Sector officialdom have seen theirƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  earningsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  increased boundful. A mid grade private sector official known to me confided that he has had an increase ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  sixteen thousand five hundred rupees a month, while the retired teacher who scrapes the barrel with fourteen thousand a month got no increase.. We are yet living where the corporate sector, the Private Sector earns bountiful- like the Deputy Chairmen of the crashed Golden Key earningƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  salaries of three million plus perks a month. The Secretary to the Treasury has had to moan several times that the Private SectorƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  has not stood up to make their contribution to the economy though given ,many l tax concessions. Let me tell the Secretary to the Treasury that he is hoping for the the moon.
One must not forget that the Corporate Sector and the smaller Private Sector are all bound by the profit motive and service to the people is of no concern to them.
As I have pointed out again and again the PrivateƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  and Corporate Sector will be onlyƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  opening up Supermarkets and get involved in Importing and Selling.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  History tells us repeatedly that giving land for development results in clearing, selling off the timber, making a quick chena crop and ultimately giving up having made a good profit.
While the present Government has achieved for the country peace which is a great achievement, something to celebrate,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  it is necessary that the Government should get away and not be taken away by statistics pulled out from the Central BankƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s hat.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Let me quote the leading world economist Paul Krugman who once said the truth that the oft quoted statistics areƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  nothing but a fabrication.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Let me point out that if only two to three motorways are built in a year,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  with the expenditure getting into the GDP calculations then we will not only have a growth rate but also have a high per capita income level!. Yet the people, the masses will be within the bounds of poverty while the rich live in the lap of luxury.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
KrugmanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢sƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  following statement is very relevant to todayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s context where we are bending backwards and licking the boots of foreigners.
ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The idea of a countryƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  that for some reason becomes a favourite of investors and as a result experiences a temporary boom that is not grounded in fundamental productive success is by no means hypothetical. Mexico in the late 1970s again in the early 1990s, Russia in 1995 to 1998 all were places that experienced a feverish consumption boom driven by foreign investment for a few years, only to crash when those same foreign investors concluded that the real economy to justify their investmentsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  simply wasnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t there.(The Return olf Development Economics)
As I added to that, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-the above comments will explain what happened in Sri lanka in the post 1977 period. ForeignƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  investors came inƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  enjoyed the bliss of low wages turned it into profit and ran away. None of them contributed to the State Coffers as they came in on tax free havens.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚( FromHow the IMF Ruined Sri Lan ka, Godages)
Let us make a turn to development in actual practice. Let our leaders have a hard look at the back ground of the main players who advise us. Have any of them ever established an enterprise and worked it to get a profit? Have any of them designed and implemented a development program or been a part to a successful program? One can find many authorities that spell out economic jargonƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  like the IMF mandarins. One finds a sharp difference with the utterances ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  our advisors at the past elections and their actions today. They have become captives within the Central Bank the epitome of IMF teachings. They are trying to find out solutions for our poverty from within IMF teachings. This they never will.
It was the IMF that led all world countries astray in the Seventies by allowing them and even enticing them to borrow foreign exchange in order to enable the rich people in the country to live a life of luxury.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Hell with the rest- they are of no concern! One has to understand that the IMF advice is to make our economies bankrupt for us to get into debt because it is then that the IMF can control us. The IMF has in the case of Sri Lanka made a country that was not indebted to have a foreign debt of $ 20 billionƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  today, all created due to following their advice.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
Let me get back to what is actually happening today. A small rivulet that flows from Atabage, near Gampola will illustrate. My uncle owned a tea factory worked on this rivulet and it provided electricity for his factory and bungalow. I admired this and have walked every inch of it. My overtures to him to develop it did not ring in his ears. I was no engineer. Came the Electricity Board and convinced him of a constant supply. He dismantled his hydro power unit and purchased energy from the Electricty Board. That was in the Sixties.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The Electricity Board then increased the charges and my uncle was upset. He could do nothing. Meantime the water did flow in the rivulet untapped. Today my uncle is no more and a German national has leased out the hydro power rivulet and is developing it with a few German Marks that has enticed our Treasury. In a few years time the people in the area will be paying to that German investor in dollars to reach him in Germany for ever.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This phenomenonƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  is not new. It is the IMF teaching at work. As I pointed out re foreign investment in water:
ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Imagine a foreign company being in charge of Kala Weva, where the foreign company will charge the farmers for the supply of water. Like in Bolivia and Argentina Multinationals will take charge of the labugama Reservoir. In the process the profits go to the company owners overseas. It is like the plantations of the colonial periodƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In the Forties there was the Pinkanda Group of Nivitigala with 10,000 acres of rubber and from every rubber treeƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  a profit went out to the owners in the UKƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ (From How the IMF Ruined Sri Lanka, Godages)
I am certain that the programmes of development of the present government are a success. But let me make some suggestions for consideration.
Let me hope that an attempt will be made to makeƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  everything that can be made locally. This requires strengthening the Small Industries Department. This was scaled down by the IMF. Let there be a few science graduates and engineers in each District and let them rack their brains to make what is being imported today.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  My mind raves at how under my direction one chemistry graduate with the help of science trained teachers did master the art of making crayons and how I persuaded the Member of Parliament Sumanapala Dahanayake for him as the President of the Deniyaya Cooperative Union to finance theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ industry. Within one month we produced a tenth of the crayons for Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It is not like the local crayons one finds today where the palms of the user, all his clothes and the floor is all daubed with the colour of the crayon.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The UNP closed down this Crayon Factory, a factory that provided employment for twenty youths in production and another twenty in marketing. This was all achieved at the science lab at Rahula College. Matara.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We were making history in local production. That was the showpiece industry of the Divisional Development Councils Programme of 1970-1977.
Hidden in our schools and Colleges there is an untapped resource that can spearheadƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  our economic development.
We have to develop our industries-to make everything and the Government has to stop imports. Let us hope that the Government will have the nerve to do it. That is the apt reply to Ran il Wickremasinghe
Let me hope that our Government can get down to a course of action which will disprove Ranil Wickremasinghe. Firstly let me hope that the Government will re establish the Marketing Department and control inflation . Let me hope that the Government will stop imports and get down to develop the Small Industries Department to get down to create industries. That is the only way to alleviatew poverty.
Today the university students are up in arms. If they are found employment they will get down to their studies. Remember that one graduate trainee under me became a Secretary of a Senior Ministry and another ended as a Deputy Director of Planning. The Civil Servant M.S.Perera who worked wonders in administration was a graduate in history.
. I was surprised to hear from Vijaya Dahanayake, Member of Parliament for Deniyaya that there is yet no livestock training center at Deniyaya, an area where I once vouched to develop milk production, ending with a cheese and butter factory. I yet state that this can be done. Three month courses on training in livestock development is essential for developing milk production and should be established in every area where there is scope for livestock development . In Bangladesh where I had the chance to design and implement the Youth Self Employment Programme, which has by now guided two million youths to become self employed the basis was a few months vocational training and guidance to become self employed.. There I trained all Youth Workers in economics to identify areas where employment creation can be done and the art of guiding the youths when they tried to establish their own enterprises. Our Grama Sevakas and other officialdom have to be trained in basic economics to identify areas where there is a scope and potential for employment creation and guide the entrepreneurs till they are a success. These are all anathema to the IMF. But theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  IMF lobby will not allow our Government to take such action. The IMF never directly talks but they pay others to talk and act, in their interest. Often a number of officials who mess up our economies are later rewarded with jobs. That is their ignominious modus operandi.
Let us not sit on our laurels hoping that the IMF teachings will deliver us from poverty. It is the IMF itself that has created our poverty. We have to shake ourselves from the shackles of the IMF if we are to develop our country and emerge as the wonder of Asia.
May I take the liberty to point out that it is time for Diyasena Kumaraya to take charge of the economy. change its course to alleviate poverty from our beloved Motherland.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  If he fails I will be a sad man. I know of no one else who can do that task.
Garvin Karunaratne, former SLAS

24 th December 2011

39 Responses to “Wither Sri Lanka?”

  1. Ariya Says:

    Garvin, what can you tell us about the modern methods of cultivating vegetables, potatoes, etc without digging the earth and trying to fertilizing the earth and damaging it? Would you believe that crops can be raised in contaminated land, and still bring out healthy returns?

  2. Christie Says:

    I hope this posting will not get deleted.

    Let us look at things in a different angle

    ” In 1956, . Hon SWRD Bandaranayake won the day and ushered in the day of the common man. Hon Philip Gunawardena came up with his Paddy Lands Act, ushering the dawn of a new era for the peasants ”

    There are and were no pessants in the Island nation. The pessants were in Europe and Central Asia.

    ” followers of the teachings of Philip, Dr. NM, Dr Colvin and Dr Wicks”

    Whose teachings were Philip, Dr. NM, Dr Colvin and Dr Wicks following? These 4 were educsted in the West

    These great leader SWRD, Phillip, NM, Colvin, Wicks and others like Illanharatne, CP, Maitripal had enough time to lay the foundations for the common man to achive what the writer wanted and to keep the IMF and others away.

    But it looks leike These Great leaders who ushered dawn to “pesants” of the Island nation have failed. If they succeeded , IMF will not be there.

    Definitely these great leaders ushered the dawn, but failed to keep the sun shining for the local “pesants”.

    So who basked in the sun shine after the dawn. It is not the Sinhala rich as their properties were nationalised foe the nations good.

    I will give you two examples of people who benefited from this dawn ushered and the sun shine that followed.

    An Indian who was a reccycling merchant (goni karaya) at Thummodera, a village among rubber plantations has ended up as one of the richest men in the Island and in South Asia.
    Goni karayas on the side did some drug deals (abinkaraya). When ever this great enterprenuar started an industry, the government stopped imports of that item.

    Can the writer explains how did this happen?

    The other story is about another Indian merchant group in Main Street, Colombo whose family had retail businesses in Sigapore and in Malasia.

    There were masive import restrictions and it was the days of Sirima’s bread ques (Sirimage pan polim). A friend of mine asked one of the members of the group “how is the Tade Minister treationg you”. The reply was ” I paying for his novels and films”.

    This group of merchants are one the leading private conglomerates in the Island and their businesses in Malasia and Singapore has almost dissapeared.

    These business people from India has been sending the Island nations riches to India and overseas since 1792.

    If we stop this outflow of money to India and overseas the sun will shine on the local “pesants” and IMF will go away and we will be able to contribute to the IMF, not borrow..

  3. Naram Says:

    Thanks Garvin for reminding us of the sad and suicidal workof the CEB of yesteryear to monopolise Electricity generation offering incentives close their units.

    Opposite is the view today world over. I know here in UK housewives are enticed to install solar panels in their old roofs not counting the massive effort it will take to keep a solar panel free of dust for the few Watts. I know because I had a hard struggle to provethefacts in my own household. Investments in wind or wave power too do not look promising for ahard headed businessman unless government step in with massive subsidies.

    I hope there will be quantum leaps in Nanotechnology to get over the enrgy crisis. You can see a Royal Society Lecture by Prof Ravi Silva in the internet.

    Looking at the Sri Lanka scene now Jaffna district seemed to me to be the best place for children to grow- traffic free roads enable them to go to school in cycles and grow healthily. High invertment in education in the past must mean that even after the massive exodus of the past decades would still leave the localities, schools with plenty of teachers. I hope army personnel stationed there will bring theirkids too and what is more they will learn Tamil assuring the amity for the next generation.

  4. Geeth Says:

    Dear Gervin,
    For some reason, it seems Sri Lankans are living in illusions. Living in illusion is much easier and comfortable than facing bare facts of reality.

    The Lowada-Sangarawa has a very good poem which illustrates the truth.

    ලිප ගිනි මොළවන තෙක් දිය සැළියේ
    සැපයක් යයි කකුළුව දිය කෙළියේ
    එපවත් තොප සිතතොත් නොහැකිළියේ
    සැපයක් නම් නැත කම් රස කෙළියේ

    Thanks Gervin. As you said, we all hope to see some change in the country’s course of economics, to alleviate poverty from our beloved mother land.

  5. douglas Says:

    These are all in “Good List to Do”. But what we have to select are “What NEED to Do”. We have 20 million to “Feed. Clothed, Housed and Sustained” for the present well being and to continue for the growth of the future. No doubt, a massive investment on infrastructure and related developement work has been undertaken, all directed towards achieving what we NEED to do. The question is how much of this investment is addeded to the national value. If at least 65 to 70 % can be addeded to national value, it could be rated big and appreciable. I say this, because in any large scale investment activities, there is bound to be a waste of 30 to 40 % due to corruption, lack of stratagies, incompetence etc, and this specially is very visible in our region.

    If we look at the picture from the above point of view, where do we stand. Do we get the desired 65 to 70% return on our investment? I do not think. The elements of waste, corruption, inefficiency,etc, are presently at a very high level. The Government statistics indicate a present growth of 8% in the development aspects, but the real value added indices could only be gauged by the “satisfaction derived and enjoyed” by the producers and the consumers of that development. If we look at it from this point of view, what do we see and observe? Here we see a growing disparity and a gap, between the “have” and “Have not”. This is why it is pointed out in the above presentation that even Rs. 30,000.00 per month income is insufficient to meet the needs of an average family of four persons. It is true to say they “scrape the barrel”.

    On the other hand, the country has to service the “Debt” load too. How much each person owe on account of “national debt”? Are we getting information on this aspect? Hardly. This too should be accounted for.

    Coming back to the “waste. corruption, inefficiency” factors the picture is very dismal. To give an example, just see how the Highest Executive of the Country – HE the President had to get involve in sorting out simple problems relating to transportation of vegitables and fruits. Then today, it was headline news of the SLBC stating that the President had to give directions on the release of the GCE(A) Level results. Just imagine the mayhem created when the Government tried to bring in a very important social change with the introduction of the Private Sector Employees Pension Legislation, which ended up with the death of a poor worker. Lack of cordination among the Govt. departments involved in the development work are very visible and innumerable and that results in colossal waste and corruption. If we go to give examples of these, it will be necessary to write volumes and volumes of books. The COPE recently authored a report on the Govt. Institutions that are not producing the desired results and recommended immediate action to rectify the colossal waste, mismanagement etc. What are we seeing happening on these recommendations?. Quite rightly the Opposition proposed the appointment of a Select Committee to go into some of these Institutions like Mihin Air, Sri Lankan Air that are making billions of losses and mismanagement at peak levels. What happened. The proposal was defeated by the Government majority vote in Parliament.


  6. nandimitra Says:

    Quite contrary to the general concensus the hidden hand behind the present stratergies are the IMF and World Bank. Their plan Regaining Sri Lanka is what is practiced. We are in the process of getting onto greater debt,destruction of our enviorment, social instability, Rampant corruption and creating a society that is unjust. All this for the benefit of a few at the expence of the many. God Save Sri Lanka!

  7. Dilrook Says:

    Expanding Lak Sathosa is the right thing to do.

    Government should replace all Pettah businesses with state investments or government cronies.

    These anti-nationals run most wholesale businesses and control inflation.

    It has political benefits too.

    Quote: According to the Central Bank Report of 2008 the income of 1.9 million families( 18.4 million people) was as low as Rs 10,800 a month.

    There is something wrong here. 1.9 million families cannot be 18.4 million people.

    I disagree on the statement IMF is controlling the government at the moment. IMF did control the government in the past. The last thing IMF would have allowed is the Take Over Bill which is certainly a step in the right direction. What ails Sri Lanka is the lack of a nationalist economic policy.

    For industries there must be
    1 Land
    2 Labour
    3 Capital
    4 Entrepreneurship

    Number 2, 3 and 4 can be obtained but not number 1.

    Land is unfairly distributed/available among various ethnic groups. Sinhalese are essentially prevented from buying land in the north and the east. Whatever the naive arguments are, this is the reality. Muslims are prevented from buying land in the north.

    This is one major impediment to developing a nationalist economy.

    If the JVP is planning another insurrection, which is unfortunately very likely if things go this way, they should target the real culprits who prevent Sinhala peasants from getting land instead of targeting innocents. Surely it is better not to go for violence but it seems wide spread unrest is once again on the rise in the island. More than two years have passed after winning the war but the majority has not received their due economic dividend despite making most sacrifices to win the war.

  8. Geeth Says:

    Control can be direct and indirect. At present, IMF is controlling the government economic policies indirectly. When we have IMF stooges in the helm of economic policy planning, IMF doesn’t have to appoint their own official to directly control our economy. Why they must be exposed when they have their local stooges doing the job for them creditably.

  9. Andare Says:

    The whole question is whether to take the purely capitalistic route or a communist route. In my opinion both are equally bad. USA is a prime example of capitalism gone amok. There is no democracy since the media and the congressman and the senators are controlled by corporations. The middle class has been wiped out and there are only the very rich and the 99% who are very poor. There are 147 million people below the official poverty line. The private sector in Sri Lanka if given a free hand will take Sri Lanka along that path. As it is it may be too late. There are the very rich who control the politicians and then there are the rest. Here is an interesting article published in Lankaweb which may be of interest to this group. http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2010/07/23/development-needs-of-sri-lanka-lessons-we-can-learn-from-other-countries/

  10. Dilrook Says:


    The only reason why this country doesn’t have a nationalist economy (the solution) is not the IMF/IBRD.

    The main reason is the lack of a nationalist (or at least an equitably beneficial to all ethnic groups) economic policy.

    That is the vacuum that allows IMF, EU, US, India, LTTE Diaspora, etc. to mess up the economy.

    Equal to the IMF economic threat is the Indian invasion threat which another writer enumerated very well in Lankaweb. Many profitable ventures are Indian owned. If CEPA is implemented, that will wipe out local industries and even professions. This is a bigger threat than the IMF threat.

    The LTTE Diaspora is investing heavily in the island. They don’t buy weapons any more. Instead the US$ 300 million is now used for economic terrorism. It is worse than the IMF.

    The point is we face multiple threats where the IMF threat is just one. The way out is to positively have a nationalist economic policy. Bring it from the top. At the grass roots level it will be very well received. It must be based on the capitalist economic model with state owned profit seeking entities competing with private investments.

    There are IMF stooges but the economic policy is of the government. It is the responsibility of the government to implement Mahinda Chinthanaya or better and have the controls to ensure it is done. Certain top economic bigwigs were retained by the government with the full knowledge of who they are.

    However, the take over act that took over more than 30 previously maliciously sold off entities under IMF instructions is a clear contradiction of IMF demands. Therefore we cannot say the government is wholly or mostly driven by IMF demands now.

    Another issue is the conditions of the first and second tranches of the US$ 2.6 billion loan. The government refused all political conditions including human rights issues. IMF initially refused the loan but when China prepared to offer the facility they quickly approved it with less conditions. Having options (in the past we didn’t have options) is a good way of deflecting IMF influence which is happening.

    But without a nationalist economic policy, this country is not going anywhere. Even the Mahinda Chinthanaya pathetically lacks a nationalist economic vision.

  11. Geeth Says:

    The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin . . . Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them but leave them the power to create money, and, with a flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again . . . Take this great power away from them, and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. . . . But, if you want to continue to be the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit.[38]
    (- Sir Josiah Stamp, Director of the Bank of England, 1927)

    IMF and WB are just two arms of many other arms of this global banking octopus seeking control and raking opportunities for multinational corporations to extract riches from poor nations of the entire third world. If anyone believes that IMF and WB are there to develop the third world and alleviate poverty, then they definitely must check their brains for good.

  12. Dilrook Says:


    But more important is the need for a nationalist economic policy that can liberate the country from them and drive out IMF/IBRD for good.

    Until then mere lip service will keep the nation in debt and subjugation not just from the IMF but from many other threats facing the nation.

  13. Geeth Says:

    Sorry I didn’t see your second posting before I posted the quotation of Sir Josiah Stamp. Yes I agree with you. IMF is not the only threat and there are many more. And also I agree with you about the absence of a nationalist economic policy. The critique of the IMF is based on their policy of opening the domestic markets, shrinking state sector and deregulation of economic activities irrespective of negative consequences. They are preaching these policy alternatives while fully regulating all their western economies. Those policies are the bedrock of WB IMF doctrine. That is the gap that all other factions especially India takes the advantage of creating havoc in the economy. Many feel that the GOSL officials have been completely succumbed to IMF policies and they are working for them.

    But a developmental state (if there is any) cannot function without economic regulations in parallel to a national development agenda. If we do not have any development/economic policy, then we have to accept the fact that the current administration is not a developmental state as Prof. Laksiri Fernando of Colombo University had hailed immediately after the election. Sad, but that is the truth.

    So what we can do now? We created a gigantic government believing that this government will deliver people’s economic aspirations. When the 18th amendment was introduced, it was justified that the executive branch needed unbridled power to handle the affairs in economic development, implying that revolutionary economic plans are around the corner. But nothing revolutionized. But the power is still in the hands of the executive branch. Many wonder now, if this power is not going to be used to revolutionize the economy, then what is the use of having this enormous power?

    Human rights are not a practical demand for the GOSL to accept as a loan condition any way. So accepting that loan condition never proves that the government is not completely submitted to IMF.
    But I also assume that the government is not fully subdued by IMF yet. At least I like to see it that way. That is the only hope we have and that is why all are trying to convince the GOSL of their concerns.
    IMF may have not fully gained the control yet, but most probably the GOSL might end up there if the people wouldn’t raise their voices.

  14. nandimitra Says:

    It was none other than Basil R who said that they have carried out all what the IMF told them to do in the USA.One does not need to talk any further. We know where we are heading.
    Beneficiaries of corruption are the people with capital, a hall mark of this system.l. They are the borahs ,Muslims,Tamils and the christians.Loans taken in the name of the majority is transfered to the minorities! Sinhalese Buddhists are revisiting Colonialism enslaved by debt for ever.

  15. Dilrook Says:



    That is in addition to not selling off any public assets by the government from 2005 to now. That is remarkable considering the fact that all previous governments from 1977 sold off public assets to fund their incompetence.

    We have to give credit to the present government for standing up to the IMF as never before from 2005 onwards.

    Human rights and other nonsense were indeed part of not just IMF/IBRD loans in the past but also of loans from the donor group! Co chairs took it to ridiculous heights when they promised US$ 4 billion in 2003 if GOSL have LTTE what they asked for.

    Direct finance facilities from bonds is a better way to finance than IMF which started in 2009. A very good step. This way GOSL has many options unlike in the past when IMF could dictate anything. When we have options we can bargain with the IMF as did in 2010. We have to build on this to eventually get rid of IMF/IBRD.

    However, we badly need a nationalist economic policy so that we have an aim.

    The economy of nationalists should be uplifted as a matter of priority.

  16. Dilrook Says:


    It is not Sinhalese Buddhists. It is applicable to all Sri Lankans. On both receiving money and being liable for it. One big time IMF slave was R Paskaralingam.

    However, I agree it is Sinhalese Buddhists who have least gained from the victories (mainly) they scored against terrorists and imperialists alike in 2009.

    Unless the government delivers them a lion’s share of economic benefits which they deserve, the future of the nation is bleak.

  17. Geeth Says:

    Okay, now we have come to a very good point. I hope you would accept the fact that there is a paradox in the entire argument. The contradiction is that you complain about the absence of a nationalist economic policy and also stress the vitality of such policy in place for our development. But at the same time you try to convince that the GOSL is independent and firm, never have bowed down to IMF WB demands. Then the question is why GOSL is reluctant to address the burning issues head on? Are you suggesting that GOSL is incompetent? Doesn’t know what’s to be done? The entire parliament, the cabinet, the central bank and the treasury are living in the darkness due to incompetency of their job? If not, then what is the impediment? If the GOSL has two third in parliament and executive power in hand, what else they want? People have given the mandate they asked to do any thing suitable to rescue the country out of poverty.

    The entire argument of the critique of current policy is that we are heading toward bankruptcy through the current development path. Currently what you said is correct in regard to national assets. But how long they can safeguard these assets is the moot point. The reason is because without having decisive intervention into real economics of industrial and agricultural development, we will end up in bankruptcy and default, and it is in the horizon.

    Under current rate of capital expenditure of borrowed money that has been diverted completely into programs such as highway development, knowing very well that these programs have no substantial returns, we definitely will end up in default. When many other nations have being defaulted under current global economic recession, we cannot expect that SL will be an exception. So how long we can safeguard these assets?

    The administration need to be more realistic. I agree with you; yes, even after two years, we still haven’t been able to formulate a solid development policy. Who is pulling their leg? Who are the culprits? Dilrook, if you think that Paskaralingam was the last and the only stooge of IMF and WB in our bureaucracy, then you must update you information. If we think IMF and WB will rolled back their blue prints, that is also a complete illusion.

    As economic hit man says, if the financial trickery doesn’t work, then they will send the assassins. If that also fails, then they will send the military. That is why I say that third world development is warfare. If our leaders unaware of this fact, and if they are not ready to face that challenge, then they must quit politics.

  18. Dilrook Says:


    If the Colombo-Kandy train is not in Colombo at this moment where is it?


    Not necessarily.

    It is not just Colombo or Kandy. There are many places in between.

    Quote: But at the same time you try to convince that the GOSL is independent and firm, never have bowed down to IMF WB demands.

    I never said that. Current government has been miles ahead of previous governments in not giving into IMF demands comparatively. So it is a good starting point. But there is a very long way to go.

    Paskaralingam was only an example I gave. Of course there were/are many more. Again the train example.

    Quote: That is why I say that third world development is warfare.

    Absolutely. The book by John Perkings gives remarkable insights into this. I mentioned this very same fact in an article in Lankaweb. Rohan Gunaratna said Sri Lanka now needs an economic Gotabhaya. Its the same thing. It is almost a battle to get over one (not the only) of the main impediments to real development. Glad you agree on this.

    I also agree borrowed money should be used for projects that earn more than the total investment and the interest thereon. Otherwise it creates negative economic value. However, in the public sector the return of a project is not only the direct returns. They also include synergies achieved elsewhere.

    Eg: The Southern Highway’s return is not the amount of money collected minus running costs, environmental costs and borrowing costs, etc. Income is money collected plus the increased economic activities thanks to the highway direct and indirect, cost savings on time saving (it is huge), learnings from the project that can go into future developments, etc.

    I think the Southern Express-way for instance is a very good project that will return more economic return than all the associated costs if it lasts for a few years. Independent economic research has found that infrastructure development would add a certain percentage to the GDP growth rate and reduce income disparity.

    Scraping the provincial councils is a major cost saving. PC recurrent cost is almost equal to the defence expenditure. Would you believe that? And that is excluding the billions wasted on elections and the needless murders, assaults, environmental damage and other undesirables associated with it!

    Not a cent has been added to the nation by the PCs. Had we not established PCs, we would have invested US$ 20-30 billion in today’s terms into the economy. In other words PCs destroyed more than half the GDP in today’s terms. Or we could have paid off the external debt! It is a national crime.

    So many other wasteful structural issues.

    If we have a nationalist economic policy in place, none of these could last.

    Quote: If our leaders unaware of this fact, and if they are not ready to face that challenge, then they must quit politics.

    We cannot expect that. It never happens. We have to find ways to work through the system to overcome these threats gradually. But I don’t see our leaders getting there. Without being idealistic, what can we realistically do about it?

  19. Christie Says:

    If we really wont progress and up lift of poor of the majority let us boycott and avoid Indian goods and Indian businesses. India ns take our money and sen to India and over seas.

    I seldom eat parippu, instead soya or mung beans.No sarees in my house.The same applies to other goods I always check who imports and sell what I buy.

    Remeber Tamil Nadu politicians called for boycotting Sri Lankan goods.Let us follow their call and boycott their goods and their relation’s goods and services.

    What ever money (IMF, WB, Asian Dvelopment Bank, foreign Investments) comes to the Island nationn is siphned by these Indians to India and overseas.

    Patronise the Sinhala, Muslim, Burgher and Malay businesses. The country will prosper as the money will stay in the country and local politicians will depend on locals for funds.

    Please think logically without gettiong in to petty arguments and looking through socialist, capitalist and other coloured glasses.

  20. Fran Diaz Says:

    A quick take on some points to think about :

    * Aim for Self Sufficiency in all the basic necessities, in Food, Clothing & Shelter.

    * Take care of and look after the Farmer and thereby look after the Nation. Whatever sector the Farmer comes from, ensure that the Farmer is looked after, is paid fairly for his products and clean water provided for the crops, with minimal use of artificial fertilizer and insecticides. Encourage growing of Organic produce for which there is a world wide demand now. To achieve these objectives as envisioned by the GoSL, the Marketing Dept. (MD) should be re-instated. The Food Supply of the Nation must be handled through an entity like the MD to ensure lower prices to the consumer (Cost of Living automatically reduced), plus reduce wastage and provide employment to the younger generation in a plan, methodical way.

    * Do not allow illegal migrants into the country as ‘labor’ in the name of the Economy (tea especially). The Tea industry should start using plucking machines as done in several other countries. Open up hte Tea industry to other ethnicities. (Must tea plucker live in line rooms ? We have witnessed tea plantation workers living outside the estates and come in from their homes).
    Illegal migrants end up depending with the wrong type of politicos to carry them through to citizenship in Lanka, and also create conditions for separatism.

    * If we do things the right way within the country, then there is no room for outside interference.

  21. Fran Diaz Says:

    * Also, within communities, a Bartering System can used. For instance, rice for tutoring a child, or car rides to work for vegetables from the garden, and so on. In this system, no money is exchanged. It is still used within small communities within America.

    Think ‘out of the box’. We can win through.

  22. Naram Says:

    THis thought provoking article ledme to recordanotherobservation.

    Sri Lanka acan expand employment in the rural sector withgood health education. I have seeen how much extra rice people eat. In most cases half the amount is more than sufficient. At the same timehow little green vegetables- Mukunuwenna, Gotukola, Kankun, Pathola, Wattakka, Manioc, Kos, Del, Bathala. Health education to double the intake of vegetables everymeal – withminimum cooking goodwashing and little steaming would do- can create much employment avenues. Vegetablw productionis concetratedtoo muchin Nuwaraeliya – I amsureDeniyaya andRakwanatoo can produce Carrots, Beetroot, Cauliflower or Cabbages equally well. What happenedto the the system once set up giving away allotments, i.e., renting out plots to office workers to grow their own vwgetables in the government owned flood prone, marshy lands.

  23. Ben_silva Says:

    The wealth gap and the income gap appear ro be dangerously high .Is it survival of the fittest in operation ?

  24. Geeth Says:

    You have brought a very good analogy, and the symbolism of it tells it all.

    (Beginning quote) “If Colombo Kandy train is not in Colombo at this moment, where is it?”
    “Not necessarily.”
    “It is not just Colombo or Kandy. There are many places in between.” (End quote)

    This reveals that the entire logic is based on your rock solid premise to believe that there is a Kandy train. How did you come to that conclusion so comfortably? Did you see any agenda? No! But like we all did, you also living in hope and faith.

    I didn’t see any agenda of any train going to Kandy, so I doubt of the existence of any Kandy train. There it disqualifies the second question. Therefore asking the current location of the train does not arise.

    I never think that the train necessarily should be in Kandy just because it is not in Colombo at the moment. But even though you never know for certain, still you assume that the train must be somewhere in-between Colombo and Kandy just because its absence in Colombo.

    But how if there is no train at all to go to Kandy?
    How if it is completely an illusion to think of a train to Kandy?
    Is there any train to go to Kandy at all? We all are waiting on the platform for two years now, expecting the promised train that can take us to Kandy, or at least to see the agenda that shows the road-map to Kandy.
    How if it is entirely our misconception to think of a Kandy train?
    How if this Kandy route created other problems to the General Manager of the railway department, hence he being forced to trash the entire agenda of Kandy train due to the pressure??????
    How if the trashing of the Kandy route was a result of an exchange in the face of other issues looming in the horizon?

    Don’t forget reinstating Kandy route requires enormous courage to reverse or at least take decisive changes in the entire railway map functioning in the land since 1977. This change definitely invites so many powerful enemies. But comparing to these powerful enemies, the poor masses of rural Lanka are easily expendable. We are very concerned if that has been the case today.

    Then you have said… “Current government has been miles ahead of previous governments in not giving into IMF demands comparatively. So it is a good starting point. But there is a very long way to go.”

    Dilrook, people knew the journey was difficult. And they also knew that they needed a powerful stallion to pull the cart in this difficult terrain to take us to the target. So we bestowed our stallion with all the powers that can imagine of. Now you are asking us to be satisfied by the performance of our stallion in comparison with piggish performance of previous regimes. When we expected a stallion, it is very unfair for you to ask us to be satisfied with the current performance of the beast, just because it has been performing better than a pig, (in your words, miles ahead of previous governments). Come-on Dilrook, our beast never becomes classier just because it has become better than a pig. We want it to act like a stallion. That is the exact reason why people of Sri Lanka gave such mammoth powers into its hands. It is very unfair to see our stallion is piggybacking failed policies of previous regimes and wasting time in this crucial hour of our history. If it cannot deliver its promises, at least we hope the current administration would never play the ugliest trick when people take charge into their hands to go against the current neo-liberal economic policies –if they do, it would be like our traditional folk saying goes…”cutting pork on the pig back” ඌරගෙ මාළු ඌරගෙ අඟේම තියල කැපීම using the selfsame power that has been bestowed upon it by masses.

    However both we have agreed with many issues. But I need an answer for my question Dilrook. People have given the mandate that the GOSL asked from them– to do anything and everything suitable to rescue the country from poverty. Why are they waiting for? Hasn’t that been too long?

    I like to live in hope and faith, but our prudence forces us to think otherwise. Time will tell us if we have being tricked. But time is too short and every administration never receives the type of mandate that Pres. Rajapaksa has received. However, there was no nationalistic agenda since 1977. JR turned the table other way around and took the path of restructuring the entire economy to accommodate neo-liberalism. The RP and CBK followed the same policy. The lives of rural Lanka deteriorated ever since.

    When Pres. Rajapaksa requested overwhelming powers from the electorate, what he implied was that he needs extraordinary powers if he is to turn this tide into a nationalistic agenda. People were apprehensive to turn down this request because they knew the vulnerabilities of parliamentary democracy that can derail any productive move; and the rationale behind the argument of this power arrangement was that “one needs two third to counter a system that had been enforced upon masses by another two third majority received by JR. in plain words, “let us create a devil to defeat a devil.” So they gave two third to Pres. Rajapakse. Is our President ready to use his powers to fulfill this noble task without wasting his powers?

    Dilrook let us see this realistically. What you are implying is that GOSL is slow but they will be there. Dilrook, I also want to think like you do. All I want to see is that our administration to take the reins and take us to the Promised Land. The day they begin that journey, I will be in the forefront to support them.

    Dilrook, let me write an article to answer your final question. By the way, I wish you a happy new year.

  25. Christie Says:

    Tamil terrorists, the Indian sponsored terrorists were wiped out by the political and leaders of the defence forces.

    The economic war against Indians and Tamils cannot be carried out by those leaders as Tamils and Indians are citizens of the country.

    But the majority masses can do this with very little effort.

    If we stop patronising Tamil and Indian busineses and stop buying Indian goods it will uplift the poor Sinhala, muslim, Burgher and Malay masses.

  26. Dilrook Says:


    You have gone to town with the example but not with it’s meaning!

    We have to be realistic and avoid extremes.

    Quote: Now you are asking us to be satisfied by the performance of our stallion in comparison with piggish performance of previous regimes.

    Once again I never said this. We cannot be satisfied with the current performance though it is better than before. We have to build upon this. There is a very long way to go. But there is no other alternative than to get it from the donkeys we have. I believe in an evolutionary process than a revolutionary process.

    I fully understand your frustrations. I share them too. I didn’t say the government will get there. I only said they are better than all previous governments in not bowing down to IMF/IBRD, co-chairs, India (yes, even India. The highly economically destructive 13 amendment and CFA were Indian impositions), EU threats and the LTTE Diaspora. However, the government lacks the main ingredient – a nationalist economic policy.

    Quote: Is our President ready to use his powers to fulfill this noble task without wasting his powers?

    I believe he is ready but he may not. I have not seen a clear direction apart from isolated good deeds like expanding Lak Sathosa, the take over act, not selling off national assets, not giving into EU, co-chairs, IMF threats as previous governments did. However, the government lacks the main ingredient – a nationalist economic policy.

    I disagree that the lives of rural folk in general deteriorated ever since 1977. The income gap widened but the real income levels measured in terms of buying power increased, quality of life increased (subject to some reversals). We should not forget that poverty was wide spread before 1977 too. The way out is through appropriate capitalism. We cannot go back to feudal, socialist, communist or any other totally failed economic system. A socialist state and a capitalist private sector is not sufficient. The state should invest in profit seeking entities. Rural entrepreneurial skills should be enhanced.

    As I mentioned before, if we scrap the provincial councils, that releases enough money than can replace IMF lending!

    One problem solved. Then we need not borrow and do infrastructure work. We can invest from what we have.

    I believe in such evolutionary ways than in any revolutions. Once again the government is not seem to be interested in it.

  27. Dilrook Says:

    I look forward to reading Geeth’s article. Happy new year.

  28. Dilrook Says:

    Fran Diaz and Naram

    Fran’s first two points and Naram’s suggestions can only work sustainably within a good economic system.

    Farmers must be motivated (by profit of course) to produce more. Otherwise it does not happen. Just increasing the production is not going to work. We have to ensure farmers and consumers are looked after by the system. The value is there in the system but is not distributed properly. Developing entrepreneurship of rural folk to tap into this value is the way forward. When farming families get a bigger share of this value, they produce more. Another way is for the state to invest more on Lak Sathosa and for its to run for profit ensuring both the farmer and the consumer are looked after in the long run. Most of the current set of intermediaries are blood suckers and mostly anti-nationalists. However, certain listed companies in the trade are doing well with the vegetable trade.

    The problem of illegal migrants is much worse than you can imagine. You will be shell shocked to know the real disastrous impact of illegal immigrants. These records exist.

    I agree with the suggestion of bypassing the system whenever possible. That way the extremes of market forces can be avoided. However, it happens only in personal circumstances.

    We have to think outside the box. I agree. Look at another major problem facing the country. Protein malnutrition. It is unwise to suggest vegan foods alone can resolve this. Today Sri Lanka is world’s second largest importer of lentils. One solution is local cultivation if it works profitably. Another is to expand protein choices. In this regard, expanding the beef, buffalo and pig meat industries can play a big role. Unlike lentils, chicken or fish, due to various religious and cultural issues some sections of the society do not eat these. That reduces the demand for these making them available to the others. Promoting it among these others can award a wide choice making food available to all. Otherwise when it comes to protein sources, it is the law of the jungle; survival of the fittest. There is a super massive demand for popular protein sources driving prices up leaving a very large section of the society without protein. If there is wide variety of choices, prices are naturally controlled. It also cushions out seasonal effects affecting certain food sources.

  29. Fran Diaz Says:

    Thanks for your comments, Dilrook. All the concerned people plus all those who care in the GoSL have to delve into the why and the wherefores of what ails growing of our staple foods.

    Take growing of lentils: Why are we importing lentils (mysoor dhal, I presume) ? Why isn’t it grown more here in Lanka ?
    It is not a difficult crop to grow here. Some research must be done by GoSL and do what must be done to encourage growing of lentils till the required amount is grown locally.
    As Dilrook (and I recall Ben previously) says, the fishing industry has to take off too and provide more protein to the population here. Lanka has generally been a fish eating nation, (more so than beef/pork etc.), along with the vegetarian sector. The seas and fish around Sri Lanka are part of ‘public property’ like the forests of Lanka, and belongs to the People of Lanka. If fishing is done on a very large scale, this point has to be borne in mind, I think.

    For any interested others, here is a website on the growing of lentils.

  30. nandimitra Says:

    For economic development you need good governance. What we see is Thuggery, Blatant corruption,sycophance , Lack of accountability and a faliure of the rule of law.
    Whilst this is going on the biggest thug of the region India is gradualy taking over our economy. Their attempts to control our energy sector should concern us all.
    The need of the hour is Accountabilty from our rulers.

  31. Christie Says:

    Go for a drive around Awissawella the Phillip’s or Attanagalle SWRD’s you knoe what and look at the streches of paddy fields (welyayawal). What you see is the final result of the writers so called agrarian reforms (kumburu panatha) of 1956.

    Before that all those welyayas were producing two crpos at least a year. During the ploughing times thaos able helped the farmers. Planting time every one joined in a “wapmagula”. In Awissawella Cloda Jayasuria the then UMP candidate could be seen at wapmagula paddy planting.Harvesting time everyone joined. It was a pleasant experiience for the chidren, paddy planting and harvesting times. Growing rice was an economic as well as a social activity that brought everyone together, the land owners, farmers, and other artisans and professions. All that was destroyed by Kumburu Panatha. the barren paddy fields accros Awissawella and Attanagalle displays results of this great Socialist reform.

    Time to understand the Lentil Empire, the Indian Empire built on non-violent aggression and oppression on the back of violent British Empire.

    Lentils from India and rice grown in Burma in land owned by Indians were the staple food of the subjects of the British Indian Empire (Indians owned more than 75% of the rice plantations in Burma). In the island nation those Sinhalese who ate lentils were called Parippuwas. You say that today you will be in the minority.

    When Indian Foreign Secretary wanted the war stopped, MR and GR told him whether you invade us or drop lentil bombs we will continue the war against the LTTE.

    Let us not fill our tummies with Parippu.


  32. Ben_silva Says:

    Many useful contributions. Dilrook has given 4 factors for production, Land, Labour and so on. I would like to add, we need a few more essential factors- motivation and a suitable economic and legal environment. Motivation is created by desires, such as desire to profit, desire to win, desire to get rich, desire to succeed, ambition, greed etc. In the majority community, this desire appear to lacking. This lack of desire in the part of Sinhala Buddhists may be the influence of religion. As for the Chinese and Indians, they made rapid progress since dumping religion. There is some truth in the saying that religion is a mind virus and clouds thinking. Ability to think clearly is essential for survival and development.
    In my view, will to survive, succeed and develop need to be promoted, more than the fools paradise of extinction, in an organised manner. I support a Capitalist system, but tighter control and regulation is needed so that there is a fairer wealth distribution and a reduced wealth gap.

    I remember the days before SWRD, there were some clubs in Colombo that had a ‘Whites only’ policy. SWRD and some politicians with him reduced the injustice to the Sinhala majority, who were second class citizens in their own country. We need to develop competitiveness, so that we have the skills and spirit to compete with any one else in the world, rather than aim for extinction (Nirvana)

  33. LasanthaPethiyagoda Says:

    A very insightful and wise account of the status of our social system and national economy by Dr Karunaratne. Full marks to him… I noticed that a reader remarked that he hoped this article would not be deleted! Why and who would delete an article? What criteria will be used to “delete” (a polite term for censorship?). The website should then have a list of criteria that are being used to rate whether an article or comment is not good enough to remain in the public eye. Anyway, millions of rupees in rewards to purchasers of luxury cars, drivers getting paid a few thousand a month, family of four expenditure of about Rs 33k a month, company CEOs getting million rupees a per month salaries etc etc… The rich got richer while the poor got much poorer..capitalism under JRJ in 78 was very ill-advised, and has proven disastrous. A socialist democratic system (as our country is still called BTW) would be better, wouldn’t it?

  34. Fran Diaz Says:

    It is now said that “Economics is the Handmaiden of Politics”. In that case, it is in the interests of every politician & Democratic govt., including GoSL Lanka, to see to it that Basic Needs of the People are met well. At least, let Basic Needs (Food, Clothing, Shelter) be produced/controlled by the government, keeping prices lower than the private sector may set, and see to it that there is no wastage, work is done properly, good work is rewarded, etc.. GoSL will have to SET THE STANDARDS. In other needs, the private sector can compete and also set good standards within the rules & law.

    Governments holds state land, plus sea around the country in the name of the People, for the benefit of the People.
    Govt. held parts of the country, land & sea, must be controlled entirely by the govt. Areas to be leased out must be done with great care. The Chinese leased out Hong Kong to the British for 99 yrs and took back HK after the lease expired. Do we have the laws in place to handle this type of venture ? If not, better not to do it.

  35. douglas Says:

    I notice that a number of readers did not see my observations in the correct way. What I was trying to say was that the waste, corruptions and mismanagement are all “manipulations”in the present context of things that are taking place

    I mentioned the intervention of HE the President in various matters of day to day afffairs that must be handled by the various Ministers and Gpvt. Departments. Please think why this is happenning today. Either they are getting the HE involved and try to make him the “laughigng stock” deliberately or these institutions entrusted with the work are not performing to their expectations in full capacity. Just think of one among many things I mentioned viz. the rlease of the A Level results. What a mess it has created but most importantly the doubts crearted among the studetnts. We all know that HE summoned a meeting of the authorities connected with the release of the results and immediately thereafter the results were announced. The Govt. media boasted that with the intervention of the HE this matter was immediately attended to. Now who gets the blame – it is the Government.

    So don’t you see that an invisible hand is working behind the doors. This we have seen during the past and unfortunately it is been repeated and the Presidents are falling a prey to these tactics.

    I pray that this is not the beginning of an end.

  36. Christie Says:

    Yes, there is an invisible hand! It is not a hand the process is called brain washing.Brain washed by Indians through our so called great leaders that brought “Dawn” to the island nation as the writer claims.

    The folly of these great achivements is exposed by some examples gven by the writer. The production of writing chalk mentioned as crayons.

    The Sinhala kids had a great black board paint developed locally. It was a great time for the primary school kids to collect ingriedients to make this paint. After school they went around with a cleaned coconut shell (pol cutta) to collect Endaru tree sap that is a locala palnt that gave a clear sap when the stem of the leaf is removed from the tree branches.As the night falls (after writers DAWN at the end of the day) the kids collect soot from the keroscene lamp (lampu kuppiya) by holding another pocutta over the flame. They will take these to school and mix them and paint the old black board with a brush made with a polmudda or some other bristles.

    The crayons as they used to be called as chalk was made by these great inventors using plaster of paris imported from overseas probably mainly from India by Indian or Tamil importers.

    What this SOCIALIST GANG did was turned everything upside down or neglected the basic but strong foundations laid by the governments before 1956.

    Obama wants one billion dollars for his second coming but the actual budget is more than four billion. Who contribute will set the policies and there are a lot rich Indians in the US.

    In the Island nation the “others money democracy” started with the SWRD gang in 1951. Before that it was the politicians and their supportes who paid for the cost and the cost was very small. The propaganda budget ran in to millions of rupees and blatant lies were spread. I remember one popular religious leader went around saying that. Sir John Kotalawal barbecued a newborn calf after its first feed from the mother. (This has been reported recently in a www Sinhala news paper called Sannasa. I undersatand it is printed and distributed in the West). I have been still looking for the receipe since the first uttering of this propaganda. The Defence Academy in Ratmalana is on land given to the Defence forces by him.

    What has these leaders who brought DAWN to the island nation have given to the majority people the Sinhalese.

    Misery, poverty and hopelessness.

  37. Fran Diaz Says:

    We think it is time to get beyond the past events of colonialism, cold wars, east/west divide, political ‘circuses’,and look to the future. Creating a base of a safe environment for the production of our Basic Needs in Sri Lanka should be on the top priorities list.
    To this end, I like to propose the formation of Co-operatives (as opposed to Corporations) for the Farming community, as well as for other enterprises that any sector producing goods or services deems fit.

    By definition, a Co-operative is a legal entity. It has the following characteristics :
    Co-operatives are based on the co-operative values of “self-help, self-responsibility, democracy and equality, equity and solidarity, and the seven co-operative principles.
    Voluntary and Open Membership
    Democratic Member Control
    Member Economic Participation
    Autonomy and Independence
    Education, Training and Information
    Cooperation among Cooperatives
    Concern for Community
    Cooperatives are dedicated to the values of openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Such legal entities have a range of social characteristics. It is pertinent to state that there are corporations based on co-operative values.
    As an example of a co-operative, a farmers Co-operative Movement for Rice production in Galle can organise themselves so that clean water is available for the crops, proper amounts of fertiliser is used (preferably derived from clean organic matter), and mostly natural methods of pest control used through exchange of information & help among themselves. If they produce Organically grown brown rice, such an item will fetch more money to the farmer not only locally but also as exports, as there is a demand anywhere in the world for organically grown food. Such a Co-op Movement can tie up with other Co-op movements in other areas in Lanka for exchange of ideas and sale of rice direct to the public/GoSL/export. They can also ask for any necessary help from GoSL much more effectively as a group, advertise their products as a group, etc.

    This type of idea for Co-ops can be repeated for other enterprises, even small hospitals, care for elders (elders homes), schools, etc. In USA, Co-ops form more than 15% of the private sector.

    Considering our need today for the nations safety and the needs of the people, Co-operatives seem the best way to go for people based ventures. What do the readers think ?

  38. Christie Says:

    The Co_Operatves in the island nation has done a lot for more than 70 years. It saved the the poor vilagers from hunger under the British by being distributors of rice on ration coupons. That was the days of the WWII and later. But again SWRD’s Socialist gang and their acadamised sociallist public servants.

    The manager of the Co_Op bcame the most important person in thhe village after SWRD & gang took power with false propaganda and cunning polocies.

    The coop system of the island nation saved the poor from the Pettah mechants during and after the WWii, under the British.

  39. Fran Diaz Says:

    In my younger days, I personally witnessed how the co-op system worked for my family in Lanka. It was usually to the co-op that we went to buy daily necessities at reasonable prices, all the ‘sillara badu’ for the home. If it worked 50 yrs ago, it should work now.

    The idea is to expand the concept of the co-op shop/store for daily necessities, to other areas as well. Go wider and better and we can’t lose. Expand the concept to cover supermarkets. I have seen worker owned supermarkets in USA. These places are flourishing.

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