Priorities for a New Lanka
e-Con e-News 29 September – 05 October 2019
1834 Lanka in the World
• English officials sent a police sergeant disguised as opium-seller to investigate Sinhale chieftain, First Adigar Molligoda’s involvement in plot to poison the English Governor and principal officials at a banquet.
• Another ‘treasonable conspiracy’ of Bhikkhus and chiefs in Lanka, uncovered by the English, to “seduce” and “corrupt the Malay troops”, “destroy the European garrison”, and “re-establish the independence of Kandy”. The rebels were acquitted by a jury (with local majority), “in direct opposition” to the judge. They were also accused of seeking foreign assistance from Siam (Thailand) and France. French connection was through Bhikkhu Ihagama (who spoke French), with contacts in Isle of France (Mauritius), who had slipped back into Lanka as a layman. One of the leaders, Dunuville was said to have newspapers with “Rammohun Roy’s name”.
• Kandyan prisoners of Sinhale were held in Mauritius, 1819-34.
• “Crown Colony of Ceylon” set up by the English when Kandyan and Maritime Provinces united into uniform administration of the whole island. • English rules of evidence enforced in Lanka.
• After sudden abolition of government monopoly in cinnamon, over 2,000 acres of abandoned cinnamon lands were sold, 1834-39, and soon converted to coconut and coffee. Most local capitalists turned to coconut & coffee cultivation. Coconut supported rural small industries and domestic needs. Copra and oil extraction generated employment and capital trade in coil fibre and oil. The oil was used as lubricant, for soap making, dressing cloths, candle making, lighting. Palmyra trees – lifespan of over 300 years – of northern and the eastern regions, provides food and timber.
• Colonel Henry C Byrde’s son, Lt Colonel HC Byrde of the Ceylon Rifle Regiment, set up one of the first agency houses in Kandy. • His uncle George Bird set up in Pussellawa – Black Forest, with first crop of coffee (167 cwt) sent to Price & Son (later Price & Boustead).
• A School Commission set up a class-based education system in Lanka. Colonial Government was sponsoring 39 English schools and 5 Tamil schools.
• Cassim Lebbe Marikar Mudaliyar appointed Chief Mudaliyar of Eastern Province by Gov. Horton. (continued in ee Section D below)
– Excerpts from A Very Personal Ingrisi History of the World, Krisantha Sri Bhaggiyadatta
A1. Random Notes – Railworkers under siege, National Transport Policy hijacked, Military rule, Studied ignorance of the Central Bank, Graphite Miners…
A2. Reader Comments
A3. Quotes of the Week
B. ee Focus
B1. Priorities for a New Lanka – Avocado Collective
B2. Policy-oriented Banking for Industrial Development – Kasun Thilina Kariyawasam
B3. The Powers Remaining with the President – Vichara
C. News Index
D. 1834 Lanka in the World
A1. Random Notes (On Seeing Number in Chaos)
• What more judicial and extrajudicial processes might now be resorted by the whites to prevent elections? The capitalist media, mass producers of the daily fictions, will not tell us, but what about all this ‘airport’ activity? Is it yet another resort to prevent a vote? (see ee Sovereignty, Cardinal).
• The government has ordered railway workers back to work. Even the army commander has said they are ready to get the trains running. As ee Quotes (Sept 8) recalled, for our countries to advance, the person with the gun must first protect the person with the tool.
• & since the mass producers of the daily fictions won’t tell us, perhaps the military could find out and tell us, why our most skilled industrial workers have been degraded by handing over national transport policy to the Caltexes, Leylands, Marutis and Tatas of this world? Why, if we wish a productive economy, do workers enter their workplaces each morning half tired from the perilous, rocky and rough ride getting there?
• SBD de Silva used to recall a speech made by General Sarath Fonseka in Kundasale, just before the war was ended: “We are going to end the war, so politicians will not have an excuse for failing to develop the country.” SB also recalled the war was quickly brought to an end, after Finance Minister GL Pieris warned the merchants, the economy of the country would have to be put on a war footing.
• So is military rule in Sri Lanka as inevitable as rain in October? How long can this orgy of consumption of unproductive imports last before some kind of military rule is imposed? Reimposed! For isn’t it repression we have endured, from 1505 onwards?
• Certainly when the Japanese were about to replace bacon & eggs and introduce sushi to our daily diet during their World War 2, the English reasserted more repressive military rule, banning the socialist parties, strikes, ‘pacifying’ peasants & workers, controlling wages & prices, etc.
• The English had to curtail imports (Singapore & the Suez were preoccupied!). They turned Colombo tennis courts into vegetables gardens, and if driving a car you had to explain where you were going, why, etc. And why not? The English wished to preserve “colonial democracy”, such an oxymoron being moronic, since what people could vote for was limited in many ways.
• Elections, unless postponed by the present governors of goodness, are always hailed by capitalist media as holy exercises in expressing the divine will of the people. And sacred it is for the capitalist media, who make earthly mints off electoral advertising campaigns, off the pious splashing of ink, the saintly imprinting of paper, the devout deafening by radio decibels, the virtuous dazzling by digital pixels, all imported of course, all hailing the limited choices afforded by this democracy of the floating rupee. As is said of white democracy, they have the best candidates that money can buy!
But what exactly does all this slush money buy other than a multi-barrelism of mass distraction to ignore the real challenge: to transform this merchant/usurer economy!
• This is why, ee is honored to reproduce Priorities for a New Lanka, a draft program with a wishlist of economic demands for voters to consider, and query candidates, composed by the Avocado Collective (see ee Focus, B1). AC wishes this document to be shared widely with all people and parties who wish to truly transform the economy of the country. AC was formed to counter the expensively broadcast natterings of US/Euro-funded thinktanks like Advocata, Verite, Pathfinder, etc. And AC usually does so with verve and style. These Priorities, however, require some deeper thought and critique… and reworking, so reader feedback is most welcome.
• What does ‘Sovereignty’ mean? when our economy is commanded by the IMF/WB (aka US Treasury) to lie prone under the financial jackboot of JP Morgan & Chase Manhattan (see ee 22 Sept 2019). While the ratings agencies – Fitch, Moody’s, etc – play the wailing banshees, of how adequate we are to the task of serving such financial masters in Manhattan (see ee Finance).
• Can this state of the economy be blamed on the bankers’ banker – the Central Bank? Why has the CB been prevented from ensuring investment in a modern industrial economy (see ee Focus, B2). Does it have to do with political interference, as the media-promoted economists like to claim (see ee Economists), or is it the merchant-usurer stranglehold on the CBSL? Check out KT Kariyawasam’s take of how ignorant our bankers are on what banks do in the ‘real’ (i.e. industrialized) world.
Those who oppose military rule, should ask where exactly old officers go. Yes, we do not mean privates. How many have the multinationals hired? How does Caltex distribute its oils and largesse? Unilever? How many old generals join socialist parties? Lots actually.
Take young Deshal de Mel (see ee Finance). We don’t know if he is one of those De Mels. The ones that own both sides of quite a bit of the road from Kurunegala to Dambulla. Is he related to that General Diogo De Mello, the Portuguese invader who destroyed the Kelaniya Temple? Well, this De Mel goes from private bank and corporate NGOs to the SEC, to advisor to the Finance Minister, and then back to Verite and Sampath. Apparently this is not a conflict of interest, nor corruption, just the old capitalist revolving door, with no grease rubbing off from the state.
• There is media fog claiming the crude 19th Amendment has taken away the power of the President. Vichara (see ee Focus, B3) argues this is just not so. The President has the power e.g. to appoint strong secretaries to the ministries – called Ministry Secretaries, because they are accountable to the ministry, and not just the minister. These Ministry Secretaries, must take direction from policies set by the Cabinet, which is controlled by the President. SBD de Silva recalled an anecdote about a visiting Chinese delegation inquiring about the notion of “Permanent Secretary”. He was told, under the English system, the secretary was permanent, while the minister kept changing. The Chinese delegate then chuckled, “In our country, the minister is permanent!” Indeed, it was SWRD who first challenged the mentality of a still entrenched colonial civil service, by appointing a secretary from outside the system. In other countries (e.g. US) the minister is called a Secretary…
• We end our Random Notes, with a graphite miners’ song from Dumbara. While the multinationals are still robbing the fabulous mines and selling us batteries, let us think about them every time we charge a phone! (see ee Quotes) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUGBg2sAORs
A2. Reader Comments
• “Re: the last ee, much thanks. Beginning, so poetic…”
• “Reading last week’s ee I see why RW was keen to remove ‘history’ teaching altogether – especially in schools – during his previous premiership.”
• “Re: the Bookfair (international? barely), did ee visit the Chinese or Iranian stalls? The latter was mostly religion but I bought a 200pp book, Ayatollah Khomeini on Palestine. Quite interesting, & only rs300.”
• “Many thanks, good stuff, great work, keep it up… one suggestion go slow on ‘white’?”
• “News recalling SWRD insists he was killed by a monk, but ee insists otherwise?” (Await next ee!)
A3. Quotes of the Week_____________________________________
• “The weakening of the economic base of the villager as a result of the decline in agricultural productivity and the death blow to textile, metal and many other cottage industries by the import of cheap consumer goods led to stagnation in most villages and increased peasant indebtedness.”
• “Officially Sri Lanka does not import waste. That is what the Central Environment Authority says… But despite such claims, SL continues to import plastic waste from all over the world. There are also reports about E-waste imports from Australia. Are these imports a part of the BOI’s Commercial Hub operations? Or possibly, our trade negotiators, customs and the BOI do not consider the garbage as garbage but believe ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’.
• “In Sri Lanka, since the opening up of the economy, the orthodox approach to encouraging private sector investment has been tax breaks, privatization and austerity. However, none of this has been successful in meaningfully transforming the economy on an industrial path. With policy-guidance, the state can use credit rather than tax breaks as a leveraging tool to guide private enterprises onto a path of industrial growth. Combined with a progressive taxation policy, this method can also ensure the continued funding and expansion of the country’s treasured welfare net.” – Kasun Thilina Kariyawasam (see ee Focus B2)
• “In plumbago mining a relatively large Sinhala labour force was employed from the 1880s. ‘There are as many Kandyans as low country men in the pits.’! At the Dodantalawa mine on the Kandy road, in 1885, ‘the digging and carrying of plumbago gave employment to large numbers of men and women’. Women workers removed refuse from the pits and also carried the ore to the road. Some mines were worked on a 24-hour basis. The pits were very deep and water was emptied by hand. The mine-owners neglected the safety and health of the workers. The miners had to go 60 to 80 fathoms down the sides of the timber shafts relying chiefly on their toes: ‘The steps of the ladder or timbers are as slippery as glass with the plumbago grease and there is nothing – no rope to save a man if he slips’. It says a good deal for the prehensile toe of the Oriental that more accidents do not occur. Accommodation for coolies is extremely bad. In one mine, no extra wage was paid for night work; it is always night on the pits!’ Despite the hazardous and exhausting conditions in the mines… ” (SBD de Silva, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment)
• “The first to criticize the HK legislation were businesspeople, who asked for the exemption of white-collar crimes. Many of them resented Carrie Lam because the government had initiated a public housing project [on Fanling golf course]. The 2,600 members of the Golf Club belong to HK’s elite. Then the top US business network in Hong Kong, the American Chamber of Commerce, denounced the proposed bill. It was more than a month after the proposal of the legislation that public demonstrations against it began.” – https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3003381/gruesome-taiwan-murder-lies-behind-hong-kong-leader-carrie
• “Cadres must be vigilant to any wind of change. They must know a deer passing by the rustle of grass and leaves, they must know the coming of a tiger by feeling the wind, they must know the arrival of autumn by the colour of one leaf.” – China’s leader Xi Jinping speaking to CP members, knowing “where the risks are and what forms they will take” for officials to ready themselves so they can “win in any struggle”.
B. Special Focus____________________________________________
B1. Priorities for a New Lanka – Avocado Collective
Let us Together Create an Economy & Society to Put People First!
For too long, merchants and foreign powers have held our economy hostage, inhibiting the flowering of our industries, squandering daily sweat on an orgy of luxury consumption, weakening and deskilling our people, scattering too many across the world in search of work and economic security.
Priorities for a New Lanka addresses all people and parties wishing to transform this economy. Let us advance the country towards our own modernization, industrialization, and true independence.
This wish list of demands does not pretend to prescribe any foolproof blueprint, but points towards vital policies for a better society and independent economy, to get beyond our current impasse. Building a prosperous independent country, after 500 years of colonial interference, and decades of divisive conflict, can only be accomplished by a people united. Innovative youth working together with experienced elders can step by step bring together the underutilized skills of our people and the resources of this land to develop toward true independence.
Just as the international economic system now stands exposed as exploitative and corrupt, the local private sector too has also been far more ‘corrupt’ than the state sector, sabotaging state functions from within, through patronage/criminal networks. The state has been undermined, not just by terrorism, but also by agents of mercantilism and financialization, who promote ‘free trade’, laissez-faire, privatization, and deregulation.
These private ‘advocates’ oppose import substitution, and promote an export-led economy (like in colonial days), while handing over the vital home market to – as well as basing export-industry inputs on – a tsunami of imports. Deeper by the day in IMF-led debt, we are now paying interest on interest, in bondage to Manhattan bankers.
A strong state must direct modern industrialization, since the private sector, making easy short-term profits instead – through private trading and inflated internal pricing (for marketing, etc.) – has shown little inclination to invest in modern machine industry.
The private sector wallows in and profits from unproductive consumption (real-estate, private transport, leisure, pawning – making money off of money) by monopolizing strategic national resources. Transformation of the economy requires unclasping this merchant/usurer – and continuing colonial – stranglehold at the root of our underdevelopment. Any real elections would highlight these crucial questions.
We invite all to share, contribute to and critique these national priorities:
1. Paddy Sector:
• The average paddy farmer’s land is too small, minus modernization, to go beyond subsistence. The government must better organize landholdings by exchanging land, leasing out state land, and taking over and reallocating unutilized paddy land in the paddy sector. This will provide farmers with sufficient economic holdings as the base needed to increase productivity through mechanization; • Democratize farmer committees (as envisioned under the Paddy Lands Act), giving villages more control over the release of irrigation water, and reintroduce the traditional 3 yearly growing seasons;
• Reactivate the Paddy Marketing Board, and empower cooperative mills, reducing the power of mill owners and usurers;
• Prioritize heritage rice production, to protect traditional, nutritional and medicinal seed varieties, rather than relying on imported seed which also depends heavily on foreign artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
2. Fruit & Vegetable Sector:
• The government should provide cool rooms, refrigerators and processing machinery closer to the producers, enabling longer-term storage and processing (drying, dehydrating, freezing, bottling and canning) to mitigate the effects of gluts;
• Re-establish the Marketing Department to provide floor prices for produce, and reduce the power of middlemen and usurers.
• The privatization of plantations in Regional Plantation Companies has been a failure. The government should therefore take back control of the plantations, and specifically nationalize plantation exports.
• Replant tea to enable mechanization, greater labour productivity and higher wages;
• Employ agronomy graduates as planters.
• The government must prohibit the exploitation of fishers by usurers and middlemen;
• Expand the fisheries corporation and the fisheries harbour corporation, providing the latest technology possible;
• Halt imports of tinned fish, while setting up canneries near fisheries harbours. The state should control exports, earmarking a greater proportion of local catch for local consumption.
• Look into methods to preserve fish stocks by moving towards fish farms and offshore aquaculture.
• The fisheries industry must be linked to a renaissance of the boat and ship building, lumber, woodworking and furniture industries, freeing them from merchant exploitation.
• The state should establish factories to revive the tea & rubber machinery industry;
• Support development of the machinery and parts needed by the agricultural sector, instead of relying on imports to fulfil these needs;
• Develop fisheries-related industries, particularly building trawlers and manufacturing ancillary equipment;
• Develop industries to process agricultural and fisheries produce, particularly modern canneries and packaging plants.
6. Industrial Machinery:
• The government should establish factories to produce machinery & parts needed for manufacturing and other industries, e.g. sewing machines & needles; lathes, milling machines & drills; welding plants; electric motors; plus electronic measuring & control equipment.
7. Natural Resources:
• The state should set up local corporations to mine and process available natural resources, e.g. mineral sands, iron ore, graphite.
8. Rural Development:
• The government must take positive steps to move urban facilities & industries into rural areas, ensuring an expanded rural home market to promote rural industrialization;
• Village centres (Gammeddas) providing government offices, stores for
agricultural produce and fertilizer, clinics, community centres, etc, have already proved successful, so they should be expanded as nodes for rural development;
• Move industry, particularly agro-machinery & agro-processing, to rural areas to take up surplus labour in slack times during the agricultural cycle, and reduce migration to the cities. Greater outsourcing of labour-intensive aspects to farmers could also employ underemployed labour.
9. New & Renewable Energy:
• Devote public funds to creating a smart grid, while developing local technology.
• Establish solar-thermal generating plants to operate in peak energy hours. Promote geo-thermal & ocean thermal energy.
• Pass legislation enforcing use of energy conservation measures in large buildings & projects.
• Use solar-cooling methods for air-conditioning, ice plants and rural cool rooms
• Accelerate use of natural gas resources in the Gulf of Mannar, through a state corporation.
10. Public Transport:
• To reduce traffic & excessive road infrastructure, triple the size of the SLTB fleet & SLR rolling stock, establishing joint services, with Railway Stations serving as hubs (as in the past). Increased public transport means less fuel consumed and fewer emissions.
• The private bus services have failed to provide necessary levels of service, so commuters should be allowed to travel in comfort on a true public transport network, prioritized for service rather than profit. Comfortable commuters mean a more productive workforce.
• Prioritize container & fuel transportation by rail, especially container traffic from the Colombo Port;
• Locally manufacture Motor Vehicles & Rolling Stock, and related parts;
• Prioritize building railways & rural roads, rather than new expressways;
• Provide bicycle lanes on all roads with heavy traffic;
• Pedestrian zebra crossings should be well marked and lit.
• The government should reform education, to prevent children from failing to properly learn, using newer effective methods as developed in other countries;
• Children should be allowed to learn & develop at a natural pace, with time for play, free from the pressure & expense of extra tuition classes;
• Devote more resources to schools outside the main urban centres;
• Expand the universities, and boost the tertiary education system for working people;
• Make education more relevant to modern society, with greater emphasis on technical subjects. At least 6% of GDP should be devoted to education.
• Increase healthcare outreach into communities, establishing clinics with state-employed or state-sponsored general practitioners and healthcare staff, reducing the load on hospitals.
• Ensure the proper use of drugs, ensuring no overprescription of branded pharmaceuticals, with generic names included on all drug prescriptions.
• Increase domestic production of vital & indigenous pharmaceuticals.
• Hospitals should offer patients the choice of indigenous medicine.
• Impose strict guidelines on all eateries and fast-food outlets, properly label all food & beverage products: to ensure nutritious and healthy local food is offered to people;
• Ensure more daycare facilities at workplaces, enabling mothers to return to work early.
• Double expenditure on public & community healthcare.
13. Science & Technology:
• Establish a National Research & Development Corporation, to promote local inventions and bring them to market;
• Expand existing scientific & technology research facilities, and gear universities for more research & development work;
• Ensure qualified technical personnel remain in the country;
• Utilize at least 3% of GDP for research & development (R&D);
• Develop technology based on Sri Lanka’s specific needs – e.g. mechanizing coconut plucking, processing cinnamon branches;
• Ensure more research into traditional remedies, as well as into western medicine;
• Encourage local IT & robotics industries, to concentrate on developing hardware rather than just software.
14. Management of Enterprises:
• Reintroduce Employees’ Councils, which proved successful in the state sector in the 1970s – especially in the plantation sector;
• Enhance Workers’ participation in managing the private sector, by enforcing existing legislation.
• Impose non-tariff barriers on imports of luxury goods (e.g. cars over 1500 cc), and stiff tariffs on items competing with local manufactures;
• Impose quality-control standards at ports and airports;
• Content Laws – at least 50% of imported manufactured products should be made here;
• Reduce commodity prices by increasing direct imports between our countries, bypassing developed monopoly centres, controlled by colonial economies.
• Revive the State Trading (Co-operative) Wholesale Company, for the originally intended purpose, to import essentials at best possible prices, using big data to forecast demand & supply.
• Set up export corporations (copying former Consolexpo) to compete with the private sector in exports, in order to minimize under-invoicing;
• Set up joint ventures to market exports in destination countries, especially Tea, Cashew, Cinnamon, etc, with brand value overseas; require strict quality control to maintain brand quality;
• Positively and proactively explore new markets, especially among our countries, to break out of dependency on developed markets;
• Allow state and public enterprises to control most, if not all, export activity, while prohibiting private capitalists from exporting and gaining direct access to foreign currency, to ensure they serve the home market first.
17. Ports & Airports:
• Establish industries in the hinterland of new ports & airports, in order to generate traffic; e.g. ships will try to take on fuel & water while loading or unloading cargo, to save time, so a rural industrial base provides excellent opportunity for developing port traffic.
• Develop international & regional airports outside Colombo, for direct flights to work destinations for migrant workers, e.g. to West & East Asia, Italy.
• Set up strong planning agencies using big data & other new resources, with powers to establish goals for production and investment. The industrial private sector has asked the government for forward planning, to estimate future demand for commodities & services, and to plan how to provide these.
• Employ university graduates, to identify talents and resources, & establish requirements, at local (district, divisional) levels, in consultation with democratically elected local bodies, e.g. Pradeshiya Sabhas, neighbourhood committees, MPCS boards, farmers’ committees, trade unions, employees’ councils. This could lead to a truly democratic national budget-making process.
19. Town & Country Planning:
• Implement strict rent ceilings to curb real estate speculation & make housing more affordable;
• Ensure public transit infrastructure at various scales – within and between cities, with efficient connections to rural areas – are designed according to long-term national planning aimed at equitable service to all citizens and increasing our independence from fossil fuels.
• Ensure urban development projects are conceived and executed with the needs of our entire population, instead of addressing the needs of local and global elites, and that the impoverished are not removed entirely, or shunted into ghettos.
• Ensure plantation workers are provided with adequate housing to replace line-rooms;
• Ensure low-cost housing is at least 60 m2 (600 sq.ft) per unit.
• Reclaim the Central Bank for the national interest and guide credit allocation towards productive industrial activity;
• Let Public Banks take the lead in providing long-term credit to set up small & medium manufacturing enterprises;
• Allocate credit for consumption, and severely curb merchant activity & real estate speculation.
21. Capital Flows:
• Strengthen regulations on foreign bank borrowing, foreign direct investment & portfolio investment.
• Direct foreign capital inflows towards manufacturing, and provide scope for training & technology transfer.
• Reduce capital flight of domestic and foreign capitalists through capital controls.
• Establish financial instruments to tap, for the needs of industrialization, the savings of expatriate workers, which have been the main motor for economic growth in trade & services, particularly at the village level.
• First prioritize public enterprises (& then domestic private enterprises), for the procurement of goods and services for all state offices, departments, institutions, etc.
• Procure weapons, munitions & equipment, where possible, from national defence factories, which should attempt progressively to increase self-reliance in security needs.
• Ensure maintenance & spare parts of purchased equipment in security procurement are not subject to embargo.
• The government must make efforts to collect income taxes, to reduce consumption tax rates;
• Eliminate tax holidays & concessions that have proved detrimental to the economy.
• Establish a growth ecology for the manufacturing sector, whichwill attract more real investment than tax holidays;
• Act on under-invoicing & other means of illegal money transfer, with resulting growth in tax revenues enabling reduction of debt.
B2. Policy-Oriented Banking for Industrial Development – Kasun Thilina Kariyawasam
Credit plays a fundamental role in capitalism, more so than in any economic system that preceded it. In feudalism, means of production, such as land, are immovably fixed to a certain class. In capitalism however, credit can entitle an individual to owning means of production. Therefore, under capitalism, systems of credit-provision are fundamental to lubricating the process of capital accumulation.
This process may seem more democratic, since we tend to assume that credit is equally accessible to all. However, the etymology of the word ‘credit’ – which comes from the latin credere, meaning to believe or trust – reveals the asymmetrical requirement of being ‘credit worthy’, that underpins the system. Who or what is deemed credit-worthy is a political question.
Through historical evidence and contemporary banking practices, there are two broadly identifiable systems of banking, based on how each system provides credit: 1. the market-guided banking system, and 2. the policy-guided banking system.
This categorization is, for the most part, ideologically neutral and not too dependent on the existing state’s institutional base. For example, historical evidence shows that both monarchies and liberal representative democracies have used both methods of banking under different contexts.
Market-guided banking – In market-guided banking systems, credit is provided based on the viability of higher capital gains – in most cases short-term. In such systems, credit is often provided for socially harmful economic activities such as speculation, rent seeking, and the creation of financial instruments. One high-profile example is the case of HSBC, which came under the spotlight for financing deforestation (ie. creation of new land markets) and was later fined.
In the last few decades, corporations in market-guided economies have become financialized. This means that corporations that primarily did manufacturing or services have evolved into financial firms, following a path of short-term value maximization over long-term business sustainability. These corporations have developed rent-seeking behaviours due to their easy access to credit for short-term gains. They borrow to reinforce economic rent through patents, advertising, public relations, and the buying back of shares rather than increasing productivity via research & development. Combined with lobbying power to suppress industrial disruption, these financialized corporations inhibit productive growth. Market-guided banking systems therefore have an innate tendency to create economic bubbles – the 2008 financial crisis is perhaps the classic example of market-guided banking systems’ self-destructive tendencies.
In developing countries like Sri Lanka, where banking is market-guided, industrial development is difficult to advance. In such situations, two outcomes are commonly seen. First, is the creation of asset bubbles (as seen Colombo). Second, is the rise to credit consumption (as seen in the micro-credit bubble in the north & east), which ultimately serves as a subsidy to the merchant economy, which widens the trade deficit and eventually causes inflation.
Policy-guided banking – Policy-guided banking is a system where credit is provisioned according to policy criterion set out by a Central Bank. In most cases, countries pursue a mixed policy with certain percentages of credit allocated for policy-guidance and market-guidance. Within the allocations for policy-guidance, credit volumes can be prioritized for certain sectors and regions based on the capital composition of a country and its industrial development needs. Policy-guided banking is an effective method to kickstart infant industries, as well as to tackle the diminishing returns of older industries.
The idea of policy-guided banking was first developed in Germany’s Reichbank (Central Bank, now Deutsche Bundesbank) in 1913, as a means to develop productive industries and expand the German economy. Germany in particular was motivated to pursue this credit-facilitation policy in order to compete with countries with larger colonial surpluses. In the early 1900s, Germany’s rate of profit in its industrial sector was falling compared to other industrial empires such as the UK, and especially the USA. With the rise of the USA as an industrial power, Germany had to develop its industrial cutting-edge, and was pushed to find new methods of expanding its manufacturing sector. Furthermore, Germany’s surpluses in agriculture were not sufficient to refinance the industrial sector, even though agriculture was one of its main sources of its credit.
Imperialist Japan borrowed from the example that was set by the Reichsbank. In Imperial Japan credit policy was set by the Emperor, in consultation with state advisors, in a method called Fukoku Kyōhei (Enrich the Country & Strengthen the Armed Forces). In a nutshell, the Japanese had a policy goal of expanding industrialization and military power via credit guidance.
By the 1920s, the model set by Germany’s Reichbank, and later Sweden’s Kreditpolitik (credit policy), gained increasing space in international debates on credit provision. In the policy-guided model, central banks had to play a key role and many abandoned ‘neutrality’ to pursue an ‘interventionist’ policy. In some countries, ‘neutrality’ remained as a historical residue of colonial rule, which was designed to protect foreign economic interests. Sri Lanka is a good example, where credit for industries is sparse and banks favour pre-existing merchant capital (real estate, imports, tourism etc).
Many countries that have pursued a path of industrial development have resorted to variations of the policy-guided banking system with different nomenclature. In post-war Japan, this system was called windows guidance; in India, it is called the credit authorization scheme; in Thailand, the credit planning scheme (see Richard Werner); and in Latin America, it was known as directed credit.
Implementing policy-guidance – For policy-guidance to be successful, strong institutional arms are required. This can be challenging as national economies contain a multitude of interests. Any policy-guided system needs to be equipped with industrial insights which in turn requires highly skilled labour. This is why most successful industrial economies, such as those in Scandinavia, still have a strong publicly funded education system. Developing countries like Sri Lanka, however, have been unable to mobilize such labour capacities due to privatization and/or underfunded institutions.
One of the first steps in implementation is to categorize credit by sector, by amount, by the size of the industry, by market capitalization, by locality, and so on. Therefore, to create a rational institutional pipeline to accommodate the dynamics of total lending, a level of decentralization is needed. When banking systems are overly centralized, they often deviate from social needs and derail industrial growth. One such example is the Bank of Japan, which in the 1980s provided excessive credit for superficial consumption and speculation, leading to a devastating recession in the 1990s.
In most decentralized models, central banks are equipped with a set of satellite institutions. This can most clearly be seen in the case of China’s central bank, known as the People’s Bank of China, which has several institutional arms, such as a Research Bureau which studies Chinese industries and, in 2015, published a landmark report on green finance which was praised by the UN Environment Authority.
Decentralization can be structured based on regional units (e.g. provinces, districts, villages, etc), or particular economic functions (e,g, manufacturing, agriculture etc). Regional decentralization is useful as the economic interests of localities can vary based on their geography, climate, demographic composition, and so on. Regional decentralization can help promote relatively even regional development and rural industrialization. One good model for regional decentralization is the German communal banking system known as Sparkassan which is nearly 170 years and has never needed to be bailed out. Sparkassan is known to be committed to local growth, is profitable (though not profit-oriented) and reinvests profits on local education and cultural activities.
Functional decentralization is useful as it enables a smooth pipeline of credit to particular economic sectors. For example, loans for the agricultural sector should be guided by the corresponding institutions (e.g. the Ministry of Agriculture), which in turn should have its own research & development arms. A strong contemporary model for functional decentralization is China, which has a range of banks dedicated to particular economic sectors, such as the Agricultural Bank of China, the China Construction Bank, and the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China.
In practice, regional and functional decentralization are not two contradictory models, but systems that must be interwoven based on the implementing country’s particular developmental needs. For example, banks based on economic function could have regional units and/or banks based on region could have functional units. Regardless of the particular institutional set up, credit lending units and policy research units of banks should be separated to maintain secularity and transparency in the lending process.
Finally, one of the most important parts of the policy-guiding process is auditing. As an exception to the earlier preference for decentralization, auditing should be done by a centralized and independent body to avoid conflicts of interest. The process of such audits, alongside their findings, should be publicly available information, as only then can policy outcomes be fairly debated and adjusted.
Emphasizing manufacture & exports – Most policy-guided banking systems have a common set of administrative tools to evaluate how credit should be guided. One of the main criteria is to look into how much a prospective borrower will contribute to the GDP of the manufacturing sector. In market-guided banking systems, manufacturing tends to receive less credit as it is a long-term investment that only generates profit in the long-run.
Since a country’s economic development is dependent on its capacity to accumulate capital, it is vital to promote manufacturing over services. The service sector contributes very little to capital accumulation since its value addition comes from exchange, not production. In industrialized economies, the service sector emerged as value addition to the existing manufacturing sector and so policy should guide credit towards the latter. However, this doesn’t mean that policy-guided banking should ignore the service sector completely. During the 1970s and 1980s in South Korea, the manufacturing sector received 46% and 54% of credit respectively, whereas the service sector received 29% and 24% respectively.
Policy-guided banking can help develop not only the consumer goods manufacturing sector, but also the capital goods manufacturing sector, which is a key indicator of industrial development. A major difference between consumer goods and capital goods manufacturing is that the latter requires highly skilled labour, extensive industrial insights and much more long-term financing. However, capital goods much more massive surpluses, and the state can eventually regain its investments via taxation. The manufacturing of capital goods needs to be guided to help domestic industries reduce production cost and increase productivity.
A second criteria to consider is whether the prospective borrower is investing in production for export. Exports are important for policy-makers to emphasise since the foreign currency earned can be used to finance sovereign debt and necessary industrial inputs. However, caution must be exercised when emphasizing exports, as export-guided business models can disrupt local industries, impoverish the home market, and lead to export dependency.
Guiding businesses towards productive industries requires a degree of consultation and intervention. For example, to incentivize the private sector to invest in strategically important industries, some of which require long gestation periods and therefore entail a degree of risk, public banks must provide risk-partnership. In other cases, borrowers from infant industries may need consultation and ‘mentoring’ to identify their industrial capacity and market niche. Sweden, which has the second largest startup hub in the world, provides a good model for the ‘mentoring’ of infant industries by public institutions.
Emphasizing SMEs & employment – When a firm is in at a level where it can raise its own funds based on market principles, it should be given the opportunity to do so. Mature and well-established industries have the freedom to take risks and maintain credibility in financial markets. Larger enterprises also often require larger amounts of credit. Therefore it can be most effective for policy-guided banking systems to focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as these have more room to innovate as well as a tendency to create more jobs as a ratio of the credit they receive. In the EU and Japan, 70-80% of total employment was in SMEs in 2017. Due to their small size, SMEs can also provide better labour conditions, such as a share option for employees.
Since SMEs cant enter capital markets they often depend on developmental loan packages. Under market-guidance systems, large-scale banks do not typically lend to SMEs since they expect high returns. Smaller banks may be more likely to lend to SMEs but they tend to be limited to their localities. This is why a decentralized developmental banking system is beneficial to stimulating industrial growth and employment opportunities, particularly in SMEs…
…Why Sri Lanka should adopt policy-guided banking – In recent years, Sri Lanka has adopted the exact opposite of policy-guided banking, as seen most evidently in the exponential growth of micro-credit in Northern and Eastern provinces after the end of the armed conflict in 2009. With a relative lack of pre-existing funds to invest in the industrial development of the north and east, credit was logically needed to kickstart the capital accumulation process. However, the private financial institutions that performed this task operated with little to no public oversight and policy-guidance – creating a vicious cycle of debt in the region.
While debt traps are not unique to the north and east, it should be noted that the south has a much stronger presence of regional development banks. Though these banks are now dysfunctional due to institutional neglect, they are much more democratically organized and accountable to the community compared to their private sector counterparts. This partially explains why the north and east has been so viciously ravaged by micro-credit compared to other provinces.
More recent initiatives like Enterprise Sri Lanka have sought to trigger entrepreneurial activity through loans. However, many of the loan packages outlined have been directed towards superficial consumption, import-dependent services, and real estate speculation. Nearly every loan package in this scheme breaks the fundamental rule of credit which is to kickstart productive industries and capital accumulation. If Sri Lanka is to learn from the industrial development of the ‘Asian tiger’ economies, learning from the lessons of their policy-guided banking systems is an easy start.
In Sri Lanka, since the opening up of the economy, the orthodox approach to encouraging private sector investment has been tax breaks, privatization and austerity. However, none of this has been successful in meaningfully transforming the economy on an industrial path. With policy-guidance, the state can use credit rather than tax breaks as a leveraging tool to guide private enterprises onto a path of industrial growth. Combined with a progressive taxation policy, this method can also ensure the continued funding and expansion of the country’s treasured welfare net.
B3. The Powers Remaining with the President – Vichara
1. Under Article 4(b) of the Constitution, the executive power of the People including the defense of Sri Lanka, shall be exercised by the President of the Republic elected by the People. This implies that the subject of Defense should be under the President.
2. Article 30. (1) States that there shall be a President of the Republic of Sri Lanka, who is the Head of the State, the Head of the Executive and of the Government, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
3. In terms of Article 42 (3) The President shall be a member of the Cabinet of Ministers and shall be the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers.
4.Under subsection (4) The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament who, in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament.
5. Under Article 43(1) The President shall, in consultation with the Prime Minister, where he considers such consultation to be necessary, determine the number of Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministries and the assignment of their subjects and functions.
It should be noted, the President is not obliged to consult the Prime Minister on the number of Ministers and their subjects. Moreover, under subsection (3) The President may at any time change the assignment of subjects and functions and the composition of the Cabinet of Ministers.
5. Under subsection (2) of this Article the President has to follow the advice of the Prime Minister on the appointment of Ministers who are not members of the Cabinet of Ministers. However, under Article 44 subsection (3) The President may at any time change any assignment made to Non-Cabinet Ministers.
6. Under Article 50(1), it is the President who appoints the Secretary to the Cabinet and under 51 (1) the Secretary to the Prime Minister. In addition, under Article 52 (1) the President also appoints the Secretaries to the Ministries. Under Article 61E. (1) The President appoints the Heads of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force;
7. Article 70 “(1) continues to vest the President with the power by proclamation, summon and prorogue Parliament. It is the composition of the Constitutional Council (CC), which, vested with wide powers to nominate or recommend candidates to Commissions and high posts, is the major stumbling block, and hinders the smooth working of the EP in making appointments to high posts. Until the appointment of the Opposition leader to the CC, the government dominated it. The triumvirate of Speaker, Prime Minister and the leader of the then-Opposition and the PM’s nominee held the trump cards and could swing the decisions in their favor. The independent representatives would have been hesitant to dissent. One good example of a poor majority decision was the appointment of the Inspector General, strongly opposed by Wijedasa Rajapaksa. It has been reported that the CC is yet to formulate selection criteria for each post. This gives wide discretion to the CC, which is virtually an extension of the ruling party apparatus…”
C. News Index______________________________________________
C1. Sovereignty (ee is pro-politics, pro-politician, pro-nation-state, anti-corporatist, anti-expert, anti-NGO)
ee Sovereignty news emphasizes sovereignty as economic sovereignty – a strong nation is built on modern industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• Suspicious CIA plane lands in Katunayake – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vW2BfOqh1xY
• “We will get You…” US Threat at the UNHRC in Geneva in Sept 2011
• Cardinal asks for security, following fresh concerns
“Some interested parties might create some incident to get political mileage as an election is around the corner and also to get the elections postponed again for political reasons.”
• The Gash Files & Beyond
Naseby’s assiduous effort to extract the reports sent by the British Defence Attache in Colombo in 2009, one Lt Col. Gash, did not commence till Nov 2013…
• “Sri Lanka is running out of time to agree on MCC compact”: MCC Country Director
Millennium Challenge Corporation Country Director Jenner Edelman said, in their 15-year history, they had never faced a situation where an eligible partner country that had requested a grant (in 2015) had not approved it as yet… – https://www.newsfirst.lk/2019/09/29/sri-lanka-is-running-out-of-time-to-agree-on-mcc-compact-mcc-country-director/
• MCC – failure of public diplomacy? – Dr Sarala Fernando
“One article by a well-known academic who had worked in the MCC as its only Sri Lankan resource person, had even gone so far as to suggest a US link with the April 21 attacks aimed at targeting the Chinese presence in Sri Lanka.”
• Sri Lanka close to ending land restrictions on foreign-invested listed firms
• ICG says Lanka going down a dangerous path
International Crisis Group report ‘After Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings: Reducing Risks for future violence,’ says the situation in Sri Lanka has only become more dangerous following the April attacks.
• UK pledges £10mn for Sri Lanka rule of law, peacebuilding
…”to support long-term stability in Sri Lanka” (Ha! Ha!)
• Mixing guns with roses! – Questions about ‘civil society’ selecting a military person?
• Unlike father, unlike son!
“We do remember your father avoided being in the country when JR signed the Indo-Lanka Accord. So, what will you do about the devolution of power?”
• Wiggy praises Sajith
“The former Northern Chief Minister said, ‘However it is not known whether Sajith has realised the difference between the Buddhist teachings and the institutionalised Buddhism. I have repeatedly stated that giving priority to institutionalised Buddhism is wrong. Institutionalised Buddhism is different from the teachings of the Buddha.’”
• TNA lays down conditions for backing Premadasa
• Northern Tamil politicians evoke the name of the LTTE for votes…
… organized a remembrance for former LTTE cadre Rasaiah Parthipan well known by his nom de guerre Thileepan [who] died after a 12-day fast campaign in 1987… demanding withdrawal of the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) from the country. His LTTE military rank of ‘Lieutenant Colonel’ [was] seen in the mega size banner put up near his memorial site in Nallur.
• “The country has lost its sovereignty and freedom”: Gotabaya Rajapakse
“The sovereignty and the freedom that the country enjoyed before has been lost since strategic economic locations have been sold off to foreign countries.”
• PK Balachandran: Sajith vs Gota and the Implications
“Sajith is expected to toe a pro-Western line as his key supporters like Malik Samarawickrema, Mangala Samaraweera, and Harsha de Silva are pro-West. He might be forced to sign the controversial Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement with the US to make land given by the government to peasants on lease saleable…
• Curiouser and curiouser!
The government has urged the public to ensure its presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa’s victory, in November, to enact a new Constitution, among other things. One is puzzled. It had a two-thirds majority in Parliament, besides having the Executive President on its side, from January 2015 to October 2018, but failed to fulfil its pledge to introduce a new Constitution.
• Maritime dispute between Maldives and Mauritius: Special chamber to decide
Lanka’s southwestern neighbour, Maldives is locked in a dispute with Mauritius over each other’s maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean. They have submitted a special agreement and notification to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, with judges from South Korea (President), Cabo Verde, France, Japan, Algeria, Iceland and India…
• DEW poses vital question as to what world would be today if China not an economic power
Today, China is the largest manufacturing nation in the world. It is the biggest importer and exporter. It has the largest reserve of foreign exchange amounting $4trillion. Its GDP is in the region of $15trillion, just behind US’s GDP of $20trillion. It has the largest rate of 50% national savings.
• JRJ 1978 Constitution – a seriously flawed piece of paper
“I grant JR the credit for opening up a free-market capitalist-style market-based economy. A market-based capitalist economy based on human greed for making money is the greatest engine of economic and job growth the world has seen.”
• Rockefeller Pathfinder Foundation Lecture on Free & Open Indo-Pacific Vision and Belt & Road Initiative, by Tokyo professor Akio Takahara at University of Colombo
• “World at a Crossroads” – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
“Paradoxically, countries that portray themselves as paragons of democracy actually care about it only as they demand from other countries to ‘put their house in order’ on a West-inspired pattern. But as soon as the need arises for democracy in intergovernmental relations, they immediately evade honest talk or attempt to interpret international legal norms at their own discretion.”
• Separatist goal of Hong Kong protesters
• HK Golf Drives Criticism?
“The business heavyweights’ rare open criticism… was also fuelled by anger over the Hong Kong government’s decision to build houses on a historic golf course in Fanling, whose 2,600 club members include many of the city’s political and business elite. “
• US Congress wants Democracy in HK
“The US Congress keeps on giving. The “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019” is working its way through the US Congress. Here is a progressive class-based analysis of Hong Kong:
• “October 1 is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The reactionary thugs of democracy, the anarchists and provocateurs will be using this occasion to do more of their smash and burn of Hong Kong: Canadian tourist gets threats over vlog about HK chaos”
• Nothing can change the fact that Hong Kong is part of China
• ‘Partner in democracy’: US takes note of Peru crisis after president & parliament wipe out
• 3 Saudi Brigades Annihilated in Devastating Houthi Offensive in Saudi Arabia
• Untold facts: Iranian Gen. Soleimani on the 33-day War with Israel
• Remembering Burkina Faso’s Thomas Sankara on the 30th Anniversary of His Assassination
• Death toll from double attack in Mali rises to 38
As white troops from Europe and North America invade the country…
C2. Security (the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of violence)
ee Security section focuses on the state (a pair of handcuffs, which sposedly has the monopoly of violence), and how the ‘national security’ doctrine is undermined by private interests, with no interest in divulging or fighting the real enemy, whose chief aim is to prevent an industrial renaissance.
• Sri Lanka to allow foreign airlines to operate domestic flights
“Why the pre-election rush to ‘liberalize’ airspace and given the security implications of the Easter Terrorist attacks where foreign hands are implicated?”
• ‘Make or break the law’ Dilrukshi’s indiscretion
• On rude political satires and the (possible) upending of an old order
“The recent scandal over the taping of a phone conversation by the second most senior law officer of the Department of the Attorney General… saying that she can both ‘make the law & break the law.’
• Cop or thug?
“The blame for the appointment of the incumbent IGP should go to the Constitutional Council, which picked him at the expense of a better qualified officer.”
• Four police officers interdicted over Kirinda clash
• The Aerodrome the Japanese knew nothing about
• Yemen’s Houthi rebels release Saudi attack video
C3. Economists (Study the Economists before you study the Economics)
ee Economists shows how paid capitalist/academic ‘professionals’ confuse (misdefinitions, etc) and divert (with false indices, etc) from the steps needed to achieve an industrial country.
• Sri Lanka Central Bank bought property in Brazil, New York – Mangala
Top economist Razeen Sally, has called the setting up a money-printing central bank, with sweeping discretionary powers, and ending a rule-based currency board, an early ‘birth defect’ of independent SL.
• Impossible Possibilities – Abeyratne
South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong became the “fastest” countries to become rich, it took only about 10 years to raise their per capita income levels from $4,000 to $12,000. Malaysia raised its per capita income from $4,000 to $10,000 in 10 years, in spite of its recent slowing down. China, which surpassed $4,000 per capita income in 2010 has also reached to over $9,000 by 2018.
• The Column soars, while sores bleed the economy – Usvatte-aratchi
“As for the public of Sri Lanka who will pay for the project, they have been ill-served and, in fact, cheated by their own government.”
• ‘Continuing political tensions hamper economic growth’ – Yogaraj
Although some Central Bank officials show a positive picture about BoP (Balance of Payment – narrowing trend), but in fact it is not so. The ground situation is different. Meanwhile, imports had been ballooning creating a high trade deficit in the region of $9-10bn annually. This was cushioned partially by the remittances sent to the country by Sri Lankans working abroad; but that also became saturated at around $ 7 billion in the recent past compelling SL to borrow abroad to fill the gap.
• Dr Anura Ekanayake: Journey from top bureaucrat to Unilever – Wijewardena
After being the Director of Planning at the Ministry of Plantations Industry in 1989… “In 1998, Anura left the public sector to join the private sector as Director cum Human Resource Man at Unilever in Colombo.” He then joined the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, and was elected to be its Chair. “That is the highest position which a private sector entrepreneur can aspire to get.”
• Eminent economist Wijewardena advocates CB’s independence devoid of political influence
The Central Bank’s independence is independence of citizens from undue interference from politicians who desire the bank to print money and help them finance budgets…for unproductive purposes in the absence of a mechanism to decide on priorities in the economy.
• Foreign debt & external financial vulnerability – Sanderatne
“…foreign debt is over 60% of the country’s GDP….The country could be extricated from this debt trap only by a reduction of the trade deficit, improvement in the balance of payments and prudent foreign borrowing…. by reducing unessential imports. Monetary and fiscal policy must ensure this. Exports must be enhanced by higher exports of tea and other agricultural exports and by an acceleration of the growth momentum in manufactured exports.”
• Ideas for economic policies of the election manifestos
• World Bank urges Sri Lanka to invest in human capital
The WB report, “Realizing the Promise and Potential of Human Capital” said, in 2019, Sri Lanka performed moderately well globally…And while Sri Lanka is the best performing country in South Asia, it lags behind East Asian countries in terms of human capital, the report revealed.
• WB places Lanka among 28 priority countries, for professionals to apply for Fellowships
• Structure Of 21st Century Capitalism – David
The post-2008 global economy has been restructured, intentionally or otherwise, to transfer wealth created in the productive economy to finance capital as bonds and funds, or through asset-price inflation (real-estate, bonds and equities) and a surge in unpayable compound-interest.
• Sri Lanka’s democracy at crossroads – SWR de A Samarasinghe
“listening to…critics of the system might think that Sri Lanka has made virtually no economic or social progress in the last several decades. This simply is not true…Almost every major indicator that measures social development has improved in the past seven decades…thanks largely to government social welfare program ranging from free education and health to subsidized rice ration…
• “We Have Nothing to Lose but Our Debts” – Yanis Varoufakis
“The reason we lost the window of opportunity wasn’t the troika’s treatment of Greece. We shouldn’t blame our enemies for our defeats, just as we don’t blame the scorpion for stinging us…The blame lies with those who decided to trade the anti-austerity agenda on which they were elected in exchange for a few years in office – all the while having their backs patted by the enemy.”
C4. Economy (usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how the economy is usually measured by false indices like GDP, etc, and in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, while calling for privatization and deregulation, etc.
• Remove trade barriers for better economic ties, Sri Lanka tells India
“India banned export of onions in the last few weeks, perhaps you may not realise it but in small countries like ours, it has major impact on prices”
• We have plans to resuscitate economic tyranny now in tatters: Gota
Addressing the special convention of Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP)…
• Mahesh Senanayake enters the fray
“‘Made-in-Sri Lanka’ export-oriented product and services sector to be revived…”
• PAFFREL parts with Sarvodaya over latter promoting ex-army commander’s candidacy
• 8 candidates agree to live debate before 4,000 civil society activists
Should they transparently disclose whose funds make them civil?
C5. Workers (Inadequate Stats, Wasteful Transport, Unmodern Plantations, Services)
ee Workers attempts to correct the massive gaps and disinformation about workers, urban and rural and their representatives (trade unions, etc), and to highlight the need for organized worker power
• Extraordinary Gazette declaring railways an Essential Service issued
• Army Chief concerned about ongoing strikes
Lt. Gen. Silva said army personnel were ready to do whatever was required to ensure public security and help maintain order in the public services… the Army could intervene in various sectors on short term basis to maintain the operation of public services disrupted by the ongoing strikes.
• Govt-TUs wage war paralyses public sector
• Rail strike to continue
• Cabinet sub-committee & trade unions on strike to meet today (September 30)
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera chairs the committee which also includes Ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and State Minister of Transport Ashoka Abeysinghe.
• Inter Company Employees Union protest outside Lanka Sathosa Headquarters
• University non-academic staff Unions warn of intensified TU action
16, 000 non-academic staff members belonging to 27 Unions are on strike at 15 State Universities and 15 State-run Higher Education Institutions, which entered its 18th day on Friday (27).
• Deshapriya confident all TU issues will be sorted out before nominations
“The Chairman said that to make demands and resort to trade union action was the right of workers and it was the duty of the relevant ministers to discuss and resolve the issues.”I am positive that the trade unions will not allow their actions to deprive the people’s right to vote”, he said.
• Salaries of public servants to be increased from Jan 2020: Finance Ministry
“75,000 new employees have been recruited to the Public Service over the last four years.”
• Immigration officers threaten TU action within 48 hours
• Threat of university non-academic staff strike snowballing with other unions joining in
“16, 000 non-academic staff members belonging to 27 unions were currently on strike at 15 State Universities and 15 State-run Higher Education Institutions, for the 21st day yesterday”
• Street wars
“Protests and demonstrations are largely carried out by undergraduates making various demands, railway workers, university academic and non-academic staff, disabled soldiers, teachers and principals, nurses, state workers of many other categories and medical officers, among others. Some are politically motivated, the others have genuine grievances.”
• Striking railway workers to be fired from posts: GMR
• Moragoda wants presidential candidates to consider 5-year ban on university politics
• National Chamber of Commerce seminar on EPF and ETF
… on Tuesday, 15 October 2019 from 1.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. at the National Chamber Auditorium..
Resource persons are Lalith Perera, Commissioner of EPF and AJMS Jayasundara, Deputy General Manager (Collection and Employer Relations) of ETF.
• Societal role in ending suicide
Q Most people at lower socio-economic status opt to commit suicide due to reasons such as indebtedness, low income, high expenditures etc.
• Gomi blows whistle on govt turning blind eye on plastic waste imports by simply denying it
One-time top trade official Gomi Senadhira yesterday claimed that several thousand tonnes of plastic waste (HS number 3915) had been cleared through the customs during the past two years.
• Navy clears clogged undersides of two important bridges to prevent flooding
• Flood waters recede, but health officials warn of threat of disease
flooding has affected nearly 140,000 people could result in the spread of respiratory illnesses, infectious diseases including water borne diseases and dermatological issues…
• EFC’s ‘Compliance +’ enables companies to project as exemplary businesses
The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) ‘Compliance +’ , assisted by International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Organization of Employers (IOE) encourages member companies “to champion voluntary standards pertaining to labour, occupational safety and health and other environment related matters”
• Strikes, elections and a country in dire straits
“Trade unions are using the upcoming election as leverage and a government that claims to have no money but is prepared to spend state funds lavishly ignoring all warnings when the occasion suits it?
• Cabinet approves measures aimed at ending spate of strikes
• Prisoners Welfare Association marks 20th Annual National Prisoners Day
.. presided over by Prisoners Welfare Association Chairman Milinda Moragoda…
• Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada Departmental Plan 2018-19
ee noted before Canadian investment of pension funds in 14 nuclear weapons makers. This Canadian website shows that their ‘white settler’ economy rests on the labour exploitation of talented/skilled people from our nations, which bear the costs of education, health, etc.
• What Apple Steals from Workers: The iPhone Rate of Exploitation
“If the iPhone were made in the United States, it would cost at least $30,000 per phone.”
• How Socialist is Vietnam?
The Vietnamese government subsidizes 80% of hospital fees for the poor and near-poor, as well as 100% for poor people and ethnic minorities living in disadvantaged areas, and 30% for workers who have average living conditions. The Vietnamese capitalist class does not receive government subsidies for healthcare.
• Is the United States on the brink of a revolution?
The New York Times writes about the “broken economy,” The Atlantic notes the “toxic class divide” that is “fast becoming unbridgeable,” and the Intelligencer calls recent data released by the Federal Reserve “a damning indictment of capitalism.”
• Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward?
The US state provided assistance to those with a negative attitude to Maoism (and communism in general)… e.g., veteran historian of Maoism Roderick MacFarquhar edited The China Quarterly in the 1960s. This magazine published allegations about massive famine deaths that have been quoted ever since. It later emerged that this journal received money from a CIA-front organization, as MacFarquhar admitted in a recent letter…
• The Conservative Black Nationalism of Clarence Thomas
Thomas thinks these ‘liberal’ institutions… refuse to give up their selectivity and elitism. And yet, they also want diversity… White people want a kind of patina. They want the class to look right, because white people – and he’s thinking of the professional managerial class – want to think of themselves as cosmopolitan and multicultural. Openness and comfort in multicultural spaces is part of the self-understanding of the American ruling class. So, the combination of elitist exclusivity and a racial aesthetic, he says, leads to affirmative action.
• Poulantzas Revisited: State, Classes & Socialist Transition
According to Poulantzas, state apparatuses are the “materialization and condensation of class relations.”
C6. Agriculture (Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize on an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to protect the rural home market. Also, importation of agricultural machinery, lack of rural monetization and commercialization, etc.
• From Crisis to Crisis through Presidential Elections
“It has almost dismantled the Welfare State allowing the private sector to takeover most responsibilities for profit. The private sector doesn’t invest in service and production and in rural areas that don’t provide profits. Within this rural economy, the State and private investment have no interest, there were no employment generation for youth.”
• 18 Sri Lankan fishermen apprehended for poaching in Indian Waters
The apprehended boats and the crew were taken to Karaikal harbour in Puducherry. The Indian Coast Guard is on constant vigil on the Eastern Seaboard to monitor “suspicious activities” at ea.
• Sathosa Forced to pay Rs549mn to Rice Importer Liverpool Navigation
Former Chairman of Lanka Sathosa, Kiran Atapattu yesterday said that Minister Rishad Bathiudeen & public relations officer Abdullah pressurised him to make illegal payment…
• Farmers savour sweet success with thumba karawila
Thumba Karawila may taste slightly bitter for some people, but this medicinal vegetable has brought sweet success to some 100 farmers in Anamaduwa and Mahakumbukkadawala.
• Individual foreign liquor quota increased to 80 litres
• Govt. suffers 20bn revenue loss due to illicit alcohol and tobacco trade – Minister
Heavy taxes on legal products to be blamed…Panel: Roshan Madawela, Economist Lalinda Sugathadasa, Minister Harsha de Silva, COO, Advacata, Dhanath Fernando, former head of HDFC, Dr. Priyanka Beddevithanna, CEO, Lion Brewery and past Chairman, CCC, Suresh Shah.
• Japanese company wins bid to supply meals for SriLankan flights
• 22nd Century is an Interesting Tobacco/Cannabis Biotech Play
This shows the importance of the state promoting bio-chemistry / bio-tech research to control multinational corporate tricks… messing with people’s health…
C7. Industry (false definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry section notes the ignorance about industrialization, the buying of foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound.
• India’s Mahindra-Ideal Motors “looking to use more ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ auto parts”
Ideal Motors Chairman Nalin Welgama said that a more robust local car manufacturing base in Sri Lanka would attract many patriotic Sri Lankans to invest in such a national car.
• Sri Lanka rupee undervalued, good for producers: CB Governor
Sri Lanka’s rupee is undervalued based on a real effective exchange rate (REER) index which is good for owners of export and import substituting businesses, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy has said.
• The Variation in the Diffusion of Electrical Power
The relative deprivation of north outside the Jaffna Peninsula is striking but not surprising. Sparse population, poverty and the war are key explanatory factors… The solution is a government subsidy for the CEB. My understanding is that such a subsidization has been government policy for a long time. The social benefits are substantial and in the long term it pays off economically as well….”
• ITF trade union leaders extend support towards growth of SL’s maritime industry
Around 400 trade unionists from across the globe gathered in Colombo for two major maritime conferences, including ITF’s Maritime Roundtable on September 16-19 and ITF’s Worldwide Inspectors’ Seminar or Sept 22-25.
• Sri Lanka’ trails Asia in human capital index:
13-year education equals eight in Singapore…A child born in Singapore can expect to achieve 88 percent of its potential productivity compared to 58 for Sri Lanka.
• What’s with Greta Thunberg?
The Swedish state and its corporations have patented non-fossil-fuel energy patents and Greta is the thin edge of the wedge…
• Swedish steelmaker SSAB is building a fossil-fuel free HYBRIT steelmaking pilot plant at Luleå, Sweden
– Decarbonizing industry – How to get the carbon out of industry
What led to the idea of “making Sweden a pioneer of “green steel”.
• Ada Lovelace is often referred to as ‘the first programmer’
• Jacquard’s punched cards program patterns on a weaving loom
C8. Finance (Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, pointing to the curious role of ratings agencies, again false indices, etc.
• Market ignores macro-economic and political developments
Yet the story contradicts the headline: “Markets in the week ahead are likely to take cues from developments on the political stage, Acuity projected.”
• Political uncertainty weighing on stocks
Foreign outflows from government securities, one of the major reasons behind the rupee’s recent weakness, may not see a respite till the end of parliament elections in 2020…
• Dr. Harsha Cabral joins HNB Board
As a member of the Advisory Commission on Company Law, Dr. Cabral was one of the architects of the Companies Act No. 7 of 2007, the current Act. He serves as the Chairman of the Tokyo Cement Group, which commands the largest market share for cement in Sri Lanka. He was the immediate past Chairman of LOLC Finance PLC, one of the largest Finance Companies in Sri Lanka. He was a senior Director of the Union Bank of Sri Lanka. Dr. Cabral also serves as Independent Non-Executive Director of DIMO PLC, Hayleys PLC and Alumex PLC among others. With the latest appointment the HNB Board comprises Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody, Managing Director and CEO Jonathan Alles, L.R. Karunaratne, R.S. Captain, A. Cabraal, P. Pelpola, D. Soosaipillai, A.N. De Silva, W.M.M.D. Ratnayake, L.U.D. Fernando, H.A. Pieris, T.K.D.A.P. Samarasinghe and H. Cabral.
• Deshal rejoins Sampath Bank Board
He is a Commission Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and member of the Board at SriLankan Airlines. He is a Research Director at Verite Research. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA). At Hayleys, he served as Senior Economist, and worked for the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka. Sampath Bank Board comprises of Chairman Prof. Malik Ranasinghe, Deputy Chairperson Saumya Amarasekera, D.S. Wijayatilake, S.K.G. Senanayake, A.H.W. Senanayake, R.P. Pathirana, Y.S.H.R.S. Silva, D.K.D.S. Wijeratne, A. Nanayakkara, J.T.V.S. Weerawarana and W.D.P. De Mel.
• Daniel Alphonsus replaces Deshal de Mel as Advisor to Finance Minister
Alphonsus is a Fulbright scholar, with a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and stints as an analyst at Verite Research, and as Press Secretary to the Foreign Minister.
• Commercial banks impose service charge on ATM users
• Contrary to Moody’s stance, Central Bank says lending caps credit positive for banks
• Sri Lanka loan price controls to hurt banks: Moody’s
• Fitch affirms Sri Lanka at ‘B’; Outlook Stable
Sri Lanka’s ‘B’ rating balances high government debt and contingent liabilities, a challenging external financing profile and subdued economic growth against higher human development standards and per capita income levels compared with peer medians…
• Fitch rating of Standard Chartered Bank, Sri Lanka unit at ‘AAA(lka)’
“The affirmation reflects Fitch’s expectation of extremely high probability of support from parent
Standard Chartered Bank if required, subject to any regulatory constraints on remitting money into SL”
• Fitch places Ideal Finance on Rating Watch positive
This follows announcement that India’s Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited will progressively invest LKR2 billion (approximately USD11 million) to acquire a 58.2% stake in Ideal.
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business aka ee Rentier focuses on diversions of the oligarchy, making money from unproductive land selling, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Access Motors expects Jaguar Land Rover sales in Sri Lanka to rebound in 2020
Sri Lanka’s auto dealerships have been hit trade restrictions slapped by the central bank which triggered a collapse of the currency by operating a soft-pegged exchange regime with dual anchors.
• NIC smart card white-collar scam exposed
• While challenges exist… The reality of real estate financing
• The bubble may burst: Will the collapse of Thomas Cook trigger another global recession?
The crash of Thomas sparked the biggest peacetime repatriation effort as around 600,000 holidaymakers remained stranded around the globe.
• Thomas Cook bankruptcy
One of the world’s oldest travel companies, in business since 1841, failed last week, stranding more than 150,000 passengers worldwide. At the time of failure, Thomas Cook had over $ 2 billion in debt. The need to bridge the loans with a $250 million line of credit, which they were unable to secure…
C10. Politics (Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant media diversions and the mercantile and financial forces behind the political actors, of policy taken over by private interests minus public oversight.
• Who is afraid of Gota? The law of the land is not
“Besides Premadasa’s unconventional methods in dealing with terrorism, he was also a great proponent of a free market economy. He sold off 42 State corporations but his intentions to pass down the benefits through a trickledown theory had not worked and the rich had got richer and the poor had got poorer.”
• Sajith supremely confident: Sirisena stranded, Ranil passes the ball – Times Political Editor
“The larger portion of the people’s power is with the SLFP and the parties that support leftist ideologies and the SLPP.”
• All Are UNP Candidates! – Julie Andrews
The only credible candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake just lost a big part of his credibility with the backstabber Jayampathy Wickramaratne who just got on board to collect indirect votes for Sajith Premadasa. Save yourself, Anura. Or did Anura ask Jayampathy Wickramaratne to say that? Who is working for whom? The next 50 days will reveal the truth.
• Sajith’s presidential candidacy – Chandraprema
“Throughout all the outrages committed by the yahapalana government, Sajith has at best been a passive spectator… he never intervened to stop or at least criticize some of the most egregious depredations such as the jailing of monks and members of the armed services.”
• ULF to back JVP Leader in presidential poll
National List MP and United Left Front (ULF) National Organiser Jayampathy Wickramaratne says while his Party will support JVP Leader Anura Dissanayake of the ‘Jathika Jana Balavegaya’ …He also denied that the ULF has decided to leave the Government. “No decision was taken to leave the Government. On the other hand, the Party decided unanimously that I should continue to sit on the Government benches…”
• NPM presidential candidate Mahesh Senanayake
Former Army Commander General Mahesh Senanayake was yesterday named presidential candidate of the National People’s Movement and People’s Forum Organisation… introduced by former Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe and former Deputy Director of State Intelligence, Dr Ajith Colonne.
• Two Reports: The English Political Crisis and the Labour Party
… the hard right takeover of the Tory Party and government that began with the Brexit referendum in 2016 is now leading to the development of a potentially mass neo-fascist movement….
C11. Media (Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science & art)
ee Media shows how corporate media monopoly determines what is news, art, culture, etc. The media is part of the public relations (corporate propaganda) industry. The failure to highlight our priorities, the need to read between the lines. To set new perspectives and priorities.
• Oldest miniaturized stone toolkits in Eurasia
New study reveals the earliest microliths (small stone tools <40mm) in South Asia and in any rainforest environment worldwide, alongside tree-dwelling monkeys, other small mammals, and tropical plants in a Sri Lankan Cave…
• Close look at British colonial impact on SL – Guns, Taverns and Tea Shops
The imposition of a tax in cash on paddy in place of the tax collected in kind earlier, resulted in opprobrium towards British rule particularly in the context of exemption of taxes for coffee, coconut and foreign owned plantations. Besides, clearance of forests led to drying up of water resources, soil erosion, landslides and floods. Wilful deforestation also resulted in large scale slaughter of wild life and spread of the use of guns. The spread of guns and encouragement of the consumption of liquor increased violence… The most frustrating was land-grabbing and cattle stealing.
• Sankranthi Samayaka (In a Period of Planetary Transition)
Going beyond the white liberal realist tradition, Gunadasa Amarasekera offers a futuristic prophecy that would provide a ray of hope to us living in these times.
• Govt struggling to cope up with RTI process 3 years after enactment of law
“The Island asked as to why the SLPI panel was so surprised by state institutions not responding to RTI requests when questions posed to the Prime Minister and members of the cabinet go unanswered…”
• Gloves on and the bell sounded
The so-called neutrality of the media was nonexistent even at the time of D.S. Senanayake when the first post-Independence parliamentary election was conducted. Lake House, then dominating the media field, backed the UNP with little pretense of neutrality.
• Party Leaders & Presidential Candidates: Twists & turns in Sri Lankan politics
“Private TV media organizations dominate viewership in Sri Lanka, and have aggressively pushed for the selection of Sajith Premadasa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa as presidential candidates…”
• Reporters under threat for accurate reporting?
Reporter T. Sobithan of the Virakesary has been asked by the CID to report to the Fourth Floor. What was his offence?
• Half-Buried Books: The Forgotten Anti-Imperialism of Popular-Front Modernism
…the US Communists’ experience in the 1950s of burying incriminating books…
D. 1834 Lanka in the World Continued…______________________________________________
1834: • Start of the coffee boom: ~337 acres opened up (1841: Expanded to 78,658 acres). Most early coffee plantation owners were of a class known as “Galle Face Planters.” They passed their time “cantering about the Colombo racecourse.” The coffee boom began in 1837, after Tytler introduced West-Indian slave plantation systems to Sri Lanka – plantations tended to fail before then.
• 49 acres of Crown Land sold. (1840: Average sold annually rose to 42, 880 acres, 1840-45.
• Ceylon’s population –1,167,700. Revenues: 1,145,340. 1906: Population – 3,984,985. Revenues: 112,516,914.
• Observer became Colombo Observer. Dr Chris Elliot sent to Colombo as Colonial Assistant Surgeon, became editor in 1835. The Colombo Observer & The Commercial Advertiser were published by the Merchants of Colombo. Observer editor Winter acquitted of libel. First meeting of Legislative Council was held in Colombo on October 25. Mudaliyar Simon Cassie Chetty published Ceylon Gazetteer
• US surgeon William Chester Minor (1834-1920), son of Congregationalist Church missionaries from New England, born in Sri Lanka – biggest contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary. (1902: He cut off his own penis.)
• Thomas Spring Rice, 1st Baron Monteagle made Secretary of State for War & Colonies, then replaced by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, and replaced by 4th Earl of Aberdeen: 1834-35.
• Madras Sappers and Miners (formerly Pioneers) relocated headquarters to Bangalore, to help construct Civilian and Military buildings in Bangalore. 1857: Madras Sappers was the only regiment to survive the post-1857 reorganizations unscathed.
• August: First batch of “39 free workers” from Bombay to Mauritius under “private importation scheme.” From Calcutta: 13,243: 12,994 men; 198 women, 51 children, 1834-38. Then GC Arbuthnot, representative of Hunter Arbuthnot & Co of Mauritius, signed 5-year contract with 36 “Hill Coolies” before Chief Magistrate D McFarlan at Calcutta Police Office. The first batch of indentured labour to Mauritius was despatched under Lord Bentinck. With no Colonial Emigration Acts to control movement of indentured workers, private agents, authorized by Mauritius planters came to India to recruit workers. • Indian indentured workers were mainly taken from Presidencies of Bengal, Madras and Bombay, 1834-1910.
• Bengal Chamber of Commerce set up.
• English East India Company (EIC)’s 13 committees disbanded, except for Secret Committee, and three new committees set up: Finance and Home, Political & Military, Revenue Judicial & Legislative.
• US opium traders allowed to bid at Calcutta auctions and abandoned trip around Africa. New fast, armed clipper ships providing escort, initiated by Jardine Matheson, led to new distribution system.
• English agency houses in India now handled more than 50% of China-English trade.
• After Chinese protested the opium trade, the EIC started to use certain selected Indian companies as proxies. Dwarkanath Tagore (grandfather of poet Rabrindranath) resigned as dewan, as he and William Carr set up Carr, Tagore & Co in Calcutta to export opium. Carr insisted on employing friend William Prinsep, brother of Brahmi script co-decipherer James Prinsep, and of Colebrooke-Cameron commissioner CH Cameron’s brother-in-law Henry Thoby Prisep; William later served as secretary to Britain’s Great West Railway.
• Debate over compulsory teaching of English at Arabic College of Calcutta.
• Camellia sinensis tea plants supposedly found in Assam. Lord Bentinck memorandum to English East India Company Directors on potential tea industry in India, to break China’s tea industry. • England set up Tea Committee to investigate introduction into India of a new plantation industry. The Committee declared tea could be grown in Assam, and sent its secretary James Gordon (linked to opium trader Jardine Matheson) to Canton to gather information on cultivation of tea , to bring back seeds, plants, and tea makers. William Prinsep, of Carr, Tagore & Co, founded the Bengal Tea Association five years later; the biggest shareholders included himself, Tagore, William Carr, Mutilal Seal, and Thoby Prinsep, his father-in-law James Pattle, and his brother-in-law Cameron.
• Bangalore made capital of Mysore.
• German Basel Mission sent missionaries to India.
• The EIC monopoly of the English-Asia trade was ended, including their tea monopoly in China. The company felt undermined by the development of Singapore as a port, by its inefficiency and by increasing pressure from English ‘free trade’ merchants who wanted government support (for carrying out attacks) but not control. After the abolition of the EIC monopoly, opium traffic increased rapidly. The number of English opium merchants resident in Asia rose dramatically.
• After ending East India Company monopoly in China, Jardine, Matheson & Co sent first private shipments of Chinese tea & silk to England, trading Indian opium to China, when first ‘free ship’, Jardine’s Sarah, left Whampoa with cargo of tea for London. Jardine transformed from major commercial agent of EIC to become largest English trading hong (firm) in Asia. When China’s emperor banned it, Jardine, Matheson & Co had England (1840) invade China.
• English East India Company monopoly trade to China officially ended. Lord Napier arrived in Macao and, thwarted by the Viceroy, died there. James Matheson set up Canton Chamber of Commerce, and sent petition to London demanding English military to force reparations for China’s insult to Napier. Magniac, Smith & Co set up in London.
• 24 Parsis signed a letter to William John Napier, Chief Superintendent of Trade at Canton, and Parsi Dadabhai Rustamji Banaji became member of new Chamber of Commerce Committee set up at Canton.
• Joseph Coolidge IV (forbear of US President Calvin Coolidge) and Warren Delano (in China as agent of NL & G Griswold) became partners in opium trader Russell & Co. Delano was great-uncle of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (later US president).
• Robert Bennet Forbes (related to Thomas Handasyd Perkins) of opium smuggler Russell & Co became foreign affairs manager for Howqua 2 (Wu Bingjian, richest Hong merchant, responsible for all of China’s foreign relations with foreign traders by the Chinese Emperor.) Wu Bingjian (1769-1843, third son of Wu Guorong aka ‘Howqua I’, 1731-1810, the founder of the firm) was claimed as the richest man on earth (before Nathan Rothschild). As the richest Hong merchant in the 13 Factories, and head of the Canton Cohong, one of the select authorized to trade silk and porcelain with foreigners, ‘Howqua 2’ developed close ties to opium smugglers James Matheson, William Jardine, Samuel Russell and Abiel Abbot Low; investing US$26 million with John Forbes in Boston. (European financier Nathan Rothschild held US$5.3mn in 1828).
• Owners of the English vessels engaged in the opium trade through the East India Company: Jardine Matheson (the Scottish Keswick family), Dent & Co, Pybus Bros, Russell & Co, Cama Bros, Duchess of Atholl; the Earl of Balcarras; King George IV (earlier Prince Regent), the Marquis of Camden, and Lady Melville. Anglo-American families involved were the Sutherlands, Barings, and Lehmans (cousins of the Rothschilds). The Sutherlands, one of the US south’s biggest cotton and opium traders, were cousins of the Mathesons. The Barings banking family later set up the Peninsular and Orient Steam Navigation Co (the famous English ferry company P&0) to transport opium.
• New Zealand Co helped colonize South Australia to recreate ‘a perfect English society.’
• George Hibbert barque, used to transport ‘convicts’ to Australia, built for Jamaican slave trader George Hibbert in London, and used to import sugar, rum, cotton, coffee, and tropical hardwoods from the Caribbean. Hibbert also owned the largest ship, 610 tons, in the West India trade.
• Commercial Banking Company of Sydney (now NAB) set up.
• Nikolay Voskoboynikov invented special distilling machine to produce kerosene from black and white oil in Baku oil fields.
• The Xhosa resisted the English army in the eastern Cape.
• India Act passed control of St Helena from English East India Company to the English Crown. 1834: After English government took over island from English EIC, majority of Chinese workers sent back to China but ended up in Cape Town.
• Indentured workers brought to Guiana from ‘Portugal’ to work on sugar plantations.
• Following abolition of slavery, West India Committee began encouraging migrant labor from India, China and Africa (to replace emancipated labor). They also opposed removal of preferential sugar duties for West Indian sugar. • After end of official slavery, West Indian sugar colonies used emancipated slaves and families from Ireland, Germany and Malta as well as Portuguese from Madeira. These efforts failed to satisfy labor needs of colonies due to high mortality of new arrivals and their reluctance to continue working after their indenture ended. Then dragooning of Indian labor bloomed.
• Booker Brothers & Co. set up in Liverpool to join in rum and sugar trade in British Guiana.
• The Gleaner Co. publisher of the Daily Gleaner in Jamaica, set up by Joshua and Jacob De Cordova, sons of Jewish Jamaican coffee plantation owner, and president of Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia, US. (1836: They shipped cargoes of staples to Texas to support white settler fight against Mexico. 1848: They set up one of the largest settler land agencies in the US Southwest, compiled the Map of the State of Texas, publishing the Texas Herald (aka De Cordova’s Herald & Immigrant’s Guide) of Houston and Southwestern American of Austin, also setting up town of Waco.)
• Genocidal policies by the government of Canada and the churches towards indigenous people, included the deadly Indian residential schools set up and run jointly by the Vatican and the Crown of England, 1834-1996. Nearly half the 150,000 children in these schools died.
• Depression in Nova Scotia deepened. In Halifax there were “600 houses for rent, shops glutted with produce, and cash locked up in the banks.” As the General Mining Association monopoly was resented by local capitalists, the GMA appointed Samuel Cunard as their local business agent and a director of the corporation. When Samuel Cunard became GMA agent, the company owed the Bank of Nova Scotia over £16,000. • Cunard ship Susan and Sarah went on whaling voyages. • Cunard elected president of the Chamber of Commerce. • Cunard made a charter members of the Halifax Athenaeum.
• US Congress passed “An Act to Regulate Trade & Intercourse with the Indian Tribes and to Preserve Peace on the Frontiers.” (west of Mississippi river to be “Indian country,” no whites permitted to settle). Yet settlers ‘created’ Wisconsin & Iowa. (In Delaware, aristocratic refugees from French & Haitian revolutions created the ‘Dupont’ family empire; Napoleon’s PM Talleyrand, to help them off, gave them a military contract to produce munitions for France.)
• Military forts built along rivers of Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Red & in Louisiana, to keep ‘Reds & Whites’ apart. Wampanoag, Chesapeake, and Potomac of the Powhattan confederacy were genocided. Scattered and reduced were the Pequots, Montauks, Nanticokes, Machapungas, Catawbas, Cheraws, Miamis, Hurons, Eries, Mohawks, Senecas, Mohegans.
• US gave Seminoles one year to move west of the Mississippi. Fort King reopened in Florida. This lead to 2nd Seminole War, aka Florida War, 1835-42: The ‘most expensive Indian war’ fought by US, and longest until the mid-20thC Vietnam War.
• Settlers under Ewing Young’ (later of Willamette Cattle Co) in Oregon in murdered several Indian people, which led to retaliation in 1835 against fur trappers.
• Whites rioted in Philadelphia, claiming employers preferred Blacks.
• Lowell, Massachusetts Mill Women’s Strike. Manayunk, Pennsylvania Textile Protest.
• US newspaper editor Horace Greeley launched weekly literary and news journal, the New Yorker. 1850s: Karl Marx (as well as Friedrich Engels) became European New York Tribune correspondent.
• US inventor Cyrus McCormick patented the first successful reaping machine pulled by horses to automatically cut, thresh, and bundle grain, transformed milling.
• Henry Burden patented machine for manufacturing wrought countersunk railroad-spikes for flat rails used by railroads. Burden’s Iron Works on the Hudson River and Wynantskill Creek in Troy, New York, manufactured the first ship spikes, the first hook-headed spikes, and first machine-made horseshoes in the world. 1835: Burden’s Horseshoe Machine made 60 shoes a minute: 51,000,000 annually. 1,400 workers employed, paid $500,000 annually in wages, making 600,000 kegs of horseshoes and 42,000 tons of iron, exclusive of pig – powered by 50 horses, and 90,000 tons of coal. Yearly horseshoe sales averaged ~ $2,000,000.
• Jeremiah O. Arnold set up first press in Pawtucket for making nuts. (Later William Field & Co.)
• Levi Lincoln started Phoenix Iron Works (later George S. Lincoln & Co., Charles L. Lincoln & Co., The Lincoln Co., The Taylor & Fenn Co.) Lincoln invented first successful hook-and-eye machine for Henry North of England. Lincoln & Co. built machine tools, architectural iron work and vaults.
• Henry and James F Pitkin made the old “American lever” watches, and many workmen who went to Waltham were trained by them.
• Abolitionist Silas Lamson invented curved scythe snath allowing the worker to stand fully erect, making it easier on the back.
• Ames Manufacturing Co. set up. Linked to the US government to supply military goods, swords, bayonets, guns, cannon, and cavalry. They cast bronze statuary, and the famous doors of the Capitol in Washington, rivalling Robbins & Lawrence in gun machinery and shared England’s order for Enfield Armory (1853). Their gun-stock machinery went to nearly every government in Europe. They also built famous Boydon waterwheel, mill machinery, and standard machine tools.
• Israel Holmes, with Joseph Coe, Anson Phelps and John Hungerford, started Wolcottville Brass Co in Wolcottville (later Torrington), Connecticut to make sheet-brass kettles.
• Matthias Baldwin’s Baldwin Locomotive Works built 5 locomotives.
• Religious orders expelled from Portugal.
• Civil War in Spain, between Isabella (1834-68, daughter of Ferdinand VII, who declared kingdom no longer bound by Salic Law, excluding women from the throne), and Ferdinand’s brother Don Carlos.
• Belgium railway network set up to circumvent Dutch blockade of river Scheldt, with Cockerill workshops delivering rails, engines & railway material. 1838: John Cockerill set up industrial complex near coal mines & port, with blast furnace & foundry, to make iron, furnaces, rolling & forging mills.
• The Prussian state set up Zollverein, a customs union to unify the currencies, weights and measures of the previously independent 39 German states
• Zoetrope, using rotating drum, gives illusion of movement. • Louis Braille created raised-point code to aid blind to read.
• After Treasury Tallies abolished (1826), redundant wooden tallies stored in House of Commons were thrown into heating stoves. They burned down the Houses of Parliament. Robert Peel formed Conservative Party, with the Tamworth Manifesto; made Prime Minister of England to 1835.
•William Fairbairn Co. turned out equipped mill for any price, trade, site, or motive power. Machines made with other machines increased in the 1820s, with the invention of new tools and better screws.
• 6 farm workers in Tolpuddle, Dorset, arrested for forming a branch of a labor Union & administering an oath contrary to 1797 Act, deported to Australia.
• Poor Law Amendment in England, to enable mobility of labor, set up the Central Poor Law Department, restrict the right to be relieved in the dignity of one’s own home, and only provided help to ‘poor’ if they entered ‘workhouses,’ which were made to be “uninviting places of wholesome restraint,” and caused widespread opposition. The law distinguished “the indigent” entitled to relief from the ranks of the poor.
• With East India Company (EIC)’s monopoly rescinded, John Bibby sent ships east. Bibby fleet of ~18 vessels worked Mediterranean ports, sometimes Bombay and Canton.
• Inventor Johann Georg Bodmer patented the mechanical stoker.
• After the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, Sharp, Roberts, and Co began the manufacture of locomotives on a large scale. Roberts also invented the Jacquard punching machine – a self-acting tool used for punching holes in bridge or boiler plates.
• Charles Babbage conceived the analytical engine, forerunner of computer.
• Wire for musical instruments, made either from iron or brass, were replaced when Webster and Horsfall of Birmingham introduced steel wire. • Blind tuner Claude Montal published “How to Tune your Piano yourself” and opened his own workshop.
– Excerpts from A Very Personal Ingrisi History of the World, Krisantha Sri Bhaggiyadatta _________________________________________________
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