Selling Off Our Post Offices to Amazon?
Posted on May 26th, 2024

e-Con e-News


Before you study the economics, study the economists!

e-Con e-News 19-25 May 2024

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) & Customs have been labeled as Sri Lanka’s ‘most corrupt state institutions’, by the USA’s International Monetary Fund (IMF). At the same time, the US government just took Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) employees on an official junket to the US recently, as part of their ‘Colombo Plan’.

     Merchants and their media are meanwhile salivating, nay, frothing, in a mighty mighty hurry to sell off the country’s national resources (including the so-called SoEs – state-owned enterprises). Everyone from the US government, their IMFs & their Chambers of Commerce, their thinktanks & retail economists & columnists all demand, we sell, sell, sell, insisting the ‘country’ (and not their colonial import-export plantation economy) is bankrupt.

     Capitalists – chattering incessantly about diversity, inclusivity & equality (DIE!) while waging horrific wars to tame the world and threatening to ignite new conflicts – are ‘banking on desperation’ (see ee Random Notes, Canada). They are proudly brandishing their ability to move workers across and within borders at will. This ee looks at how the private company Amazon has almost captured all the powers of the post office in the USA & Canada.

     Amazon is now the 2nd-largest employer in the world, and the most profitable. Amazon’s ostensible billionaire owner also owns the Washington Post, which gaily promotes mass murder in Asia’s West and trumpets war in Asia’s East. Celebrated as the 3rd-wealthiest man on the planet (whatever that means!), Amazon’s owner still pays his workers half the average US wage. Despite its so-called technological prowess & its intelligence, artificial & not-that artificial (AI is actually UI – Unpaid Intelligence), Amazon refuses to provide a safe workplace – it instead ‘provides free pain killers through dispensing machines scattered throughout its warehouses’! (see ee Focus)

     At such a time as this, it is important to recall that, yes, ‘capitalist culture has created large-scale production’, factories, railways, the postal service, telephones, etc. They thereby simplified the great majority of the functions of the old ‘state power’, reducing them to such exceedingly simple operations as registration, filing, and checking. However, as Vladimir Lenin in his classic State & Revolution, in September 2017 on the eve of the Russian Revolution, recalled: the postal service had been wittily described in the 19th century as an example of the socialist economic system. The postal service could be easily transformed, observed Lenin, from capitalist private ownership of the means of production into social ownership.


England once took over China’s domestic customs, postal administration, harbor and waterways management, maritime policing, setting up customs management, and postal service, controlling China’s sovereignty. After England’s first Opium War, the Imperial Maritime Customs Service (IMCS), a tax collection agency, was founded and run by European and US envoys, 1854-1950. When England’s opium-trading Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank (HSBC) was set up in 1863, the IMCS deposited all its income and revenues in HSBC.


     Imperialism has now abandoned all pretense about ‘free trade’ & ‘laissez-faire’. They are even more busy protecting and promoting their own resources and industries. Their thinktanks and economists in Sri Lanka, however, are still busy demanding we sell off all our own resources to them for a song.

     The greatest challenge now posed by the monopoly power of US giants like the IMF and Amazon, is how to collectively organize on a wide-enough scale to resist this massive selloff? This ee Focus looks at how Sri Lanka and the world could learn from the ongoing struggle to unionize the not-so-amazing monster that is Amazon. Or, we could learn more from China, who, instead of trying to ‘tame the beast’, simply outflanked and kicked out Amazon (and Google before that) from their sovereign nation.



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