e-Con e-News 24-30 November 2019
“Foisting the blame for the catastrophic defeat of the UNP-led alliance at the Nov 16 polls to elect Sri Lanka’s 7th Executive President, on ‘Sinhala Buddhist nationalism’ and a panicked security mindset consequent to Easter Sunday’s jihadist attacks is a convenient fairytale” – http://www.sundaytimes.lk/191124/columns/the-november-polls-revenge-of-sri-lankas-enraged-electorate-379017.html
“Convenient fairytales” just about sums up the depths the white powers and their brown sahibs are plumbing to destabilize democracy they do not like. Even the word ‘majority’ in its adjectival form (majoritarian) has become repulsive to ‘liberals’. This week’s ‘Swiss Cracker’ takes their destabilization game to another level. A policeman gets a Swiss visa (in what must surely be an Olympic-record time for a dark man to get a Euro visa!) on a Sunday and leaves with family, and next, the Swiss officially object to a local embassy employee’s brief ‘abduction’. Then they say the said employee is in deteriorating health, cannot be questioned, and must be airlifted out of the country. Meanwhile the Swiss ambassador (apparently an authority on ‘armed non-state actors’) has been implicated in previous undiplomatic practices. (see ee Sovereignty, What is Colombo’s Swiss Embassy trying to hide?)
Modi’s charms • Rajiv Killer Released • Maldivian Leader Jailed • Train Derailed • Geneva as Eelam North • Swiss Jilmaat • Minoritarian Democrats • Human Rights Businessmen
What a week it’s been: Modi beckons GR to Delhi, and overloads him with loans to buy Indian industrial products and experts, while an LTTE assassin of Rajiv G is released, and a pro-China Maldives leader jailed. The dead of the (once India-funded & -trained) LTTE feted at Jaffna University. A train to Jaffna derailed. The TNA insists we appease Geneva, which is Eelam’s capital-in-exile for now. Switzerland, who won’t divulge how much illegal Sri Lankan booty is in secret Swiss bank accounts (JR’s clan said to be among the biggest SL depositors), claim one of their embassy’s Tamil-speaking employees was abducted, but now say they can’t divulge the accuser who produced international headlines and memes claiming the return of ‘white vans’ (not Pajeros, as the whites had hoped for). The Swiss Embassy in Colombo was implicated in the abduction and sale of Sri Lankan babies to Europe throughout the 1980s.
So did the alleged abduction even take place? The pro-SLPP Lanka C News website reports the Police have been unable to find any CCTV footage of the incident, which allegedly took place in the vicinity of the Japanese and Australian embassies. Although the Swiss Embassy says it is cooperating with SL foreign minister Dinesh Gunawardena, they have not allowed investigating officers to interview the alleged abductee.
Analysts comment it’s highly unlikely, were the abduction story true, that the government would use a ‘white van’ to carry it out, seeing the extent to which both UNP and JVP used alleged ‘white van’ abductions in their propaganda. Suspicions are, likewise, aroused by the fact that detailed news of the alleged abduction appeared almost immediately in the New York Times – the white media vehicle used in disseminating falsehoods about Hambantota Port. Swiss Ambassador Hanspeter Mock was one of a bevy of Western diplomats seen to be interfering in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs during last year’s political crisis.
Some suggested the Swiss are setting the stage for a US-style jilmaat like in Bolivia. The “convenient fairytale” keeps intensifying, that the recent election reflected, not an anti-capitalist vote, but a divisive ‘ethnicized’ vote. Meanwhile the election morning story of Muslim votes being fired upon, failed to follow through: how those 220 CTB buses carrying voters was an illegal act to begin with. The two stories, the bus voter story and the Swiss news, if they lead to nowhere, show white disinformation tactics entering another hysterical level.
Also this week: the English (along with their US nuclear base) refuse to vacate the Chagos, as demanded by the UN. The English instead ominously returned a few skulls to us, saying they’ve got further 14,000 bodyparts to return (if we are good?), even as the English Labor Party plays its ‘ethnic’ vote-banking games against Sri Lanka.
The US also asserted they have secret foreknowledge – the ‘MCC will be passed’ despite ministerial declarations otherwise. The US also passed a bill on Hong Kong’s “freedom” and “human rights” (which they ignored when the English were in charge for 150 years). Perhaps England and the US better get ready for more ‘boat people’…
• Note how the term, ‘majoritarian’ has become ‘ethnicized’, as used by supposed democrats who claim to oppose dictatorship (see ee Sovereignty, Kadirgamar). Is this, perchance, in the ‘liberal’ tradition of the ‘Master Race’ of Locke and Stuart-Mill, the latter opposing majority rule in India, on grounds the white minority would be subject to the whims of the majority Blacks? ‘Ethnicity’ has become a convenient fairytale – ee here recalls the African National Congress fought Apartheid under the slogan “Majority rule and a unitary state”.
• The Swiss jilmaat seems part of a long-term plan to corner Sri Lanka in Geneva in March, using ex-policemen who the Swiss are now sheltering. The white Human Rights merchants are gathering troops “because next year Sri Lanka will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee, which will assess the country’s performance with regard to civil and political rights (such as the right to life, prohibition of torture & ill-treatment, fair trial, etc)”. They want “civil society” to submit information for use “by the Committee as a basis for the review”. Some wish to focus “on the negative impacts of drug policy on human rights in Sri Lanka (including death penalty for drugs, compulsory detention & treatment, criminalization; lack of access to essential harm reduction services)”. But do they oppose privatization of education & health, so fundamental to “harm reduction”? Isn’t NATO the biggest threat to “Harm Reduction” in the world!? Note: They wish to reduce harm, not eliminate it, at its source!
All these jilmaats are directed at one object and one object alone: the continued underdevelopment of the country, which is why many say: GR must outdo and undo JR!
A1. Random Notes –
GR must undo & outdo JR? • One Way to Win Upcoming Elections • Noritake Takeout • Misdefining Entrepreneurs • Those Fired-upon Buses • A Convenient Fairytale for Manhattan Jacobins
A2. Reader Comments –
Fishy mine clearing • Swiss-Bolivian Setup • UNHRC Telegraphy • “The Business community Accepts…”
A3.Quotes of the Week
Cost of Living is the Major Election Issue • JR’s Cowardice • Convenient Fairytale • Nationalism & Inferiority Complex • Frisking Bloomberg’s Underwear • Victories over Nature
B. ee Focus
B1. Building up Industries and Creating Employment: Perfume Making – Garvin Karunaratne
B2. eeWord of the Week – Lossmaking
B3. • Why do Newspapers have Business sections?
C. News Index
A1. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_________________
GR must undo & outdo JR?
GR must declare a dazzling policy of modern industrialization to energize the working class whose common sense and sinews are integral to defeating those bent on undermining the country.
A modern industrial policy would champion the great tradition and vision of Anagarika Dharmapala & SWRD Bandaranaike, whose nationalism was undergirded by the vital importance of industrialization (see ee 17 Aug, The Pride of the Nation – 20thC Industrialization in SL; ee 6 Oct, Exposing the Real Assassins of SWRD Bandaranaike)
JR Jayawardena from 1977 destroyed the fledgling attempts at industrialization after independence, with the pubescent vigor of an anarchist and nihilist. His regime fostered terrorism and war, promoting the present domination of a merchant oligarchy. He called up the viciousness of Dharmapala’s tormentors, SWRD’s assassins, the coup-plotters against Sirimavo, the infantilism of the JVP and the separatism of the LTTE, fully backed by white power and their media, who steadfastly ignored his thuggery (mass sackings against unions, stoning Supreme Court judges, postponing elections, etc).
• Having failed to prevent the election of GR, these merchant tricksters now seek to cramp GR’s ability to deliver, to hobble his giving leadership to the national forces behind him. Then again, this is their duty as merchants of underdevelopment. They have to be put in their place.
The thinly veiled warnings to GR by the plantation and commerce spokesmen, echoing their sponsors in Washington, London, Delhi, make clear they will try to prevent the transformation of the economy. They demand the import-export orgy, which chains us to imperialist centres, must continue, or else… (see last week’s ee, “Business Community Accepts”, also this ee’s Economists, “Biz community: Getting back on track”).
Their feeble cries for ‘manufacturing’, skilled labor, modernizing agriculture (without, e.g., calling for protection of the home market), show these merchants are not serious. Not just ‘manufacturing’ (usually meaning low-waged, labor-intensive assembly of imported products, using imported machinery), we need investment in capital-intensive modern machine-making, releasing instead of repressing rural energy towards that goal.
The merchant gospel is almost word for word from the bible of multinational-dominated financial capitalism (see ee 10 Nov, Facelift). They bewail ‘populism’ while proclaiming the capitalist whitewash of ‘inclusiveness’, ‘sustainability’, and ‘development’, hiding behind their fissiparous allies, local and multinational. It is curious how the pronouncements of local business organizations (from Planters’ Association to Chamber of Commerce, from Verite to Advocata) all mimic the demands of the multinational banks and corporations , demanding the selloff of public goods. (see ee Focus, B2)
• Attempts to appease businessmen through tax cuts or to humor Colombo through beautification will just not work. They will laugh all the way to a Swiss bank. They will not be appeased, but undermine GR at the first opportunity. They are an ungrateful lot… (see last ee, Merchant Oligarchy’s “Boundless Ingenuity” at Derailing Independence)
One Way to Win Upcoming Elections
Yet, one way for the new government to win the next elections is to dramatically pronounce the steps and timetable to attaining the dream of a modern industrial economy, which offers the clearest way to energize an independent country. The steps to be taken must strike the heart and mind, body, eyes, and elbows, to show short-term and long-term benefits while exposing the challenges.
The unflinching steps towards an independent country would also send a message to the core of those who wish to further divide the country in more radical ways – the import-export mafia. Those who wish to maintain the sale of our resources in exchange for imported goods. For it is they who foment the divisions so as to disable us from embarking on a path of a producer economy.
Much like the cleaning up of the garbage, this has to be initiated by government officials themselves, but ultimately owned by communities and workplaces. In fact, the examination of the sources of all the garbage, will lay bare the roots of our discontent.
Unilever, one of the main producers of garbage, as well as a profiteer in the ‘recycling’ business, proudly declares itself as the country’s biggest provider of FMCGs (fast-moving consumer goods), all imported. It also claims it’s fostering ‘leadership’. Yet the demand for local modern manufacturing content should be primarily addressed to such multinationals. If they do not comply, they should be nationalized! Highly centralized and concentrated – ripe for socialization!
The breakdown of nation into splintering fragments of ego, will see no end unless it replaced by a collective call to the rural and urban working classes – who have instead experienced prolonged repression to enable this state of underdevelopment – to lead the struggle for true Independence.
• Garvin Karunaratne, former govt agent, describes his experiences in building up industries. Note how he says the private sector simply will not do it. Also, ee’s question to Karunaratne: why can’t we make the machines that make the machines to produce such goods? (see ee Focus, B1)
• Noritake is crying about our great clay resources, while the media ignores the fact Noritake is behind the hijacking and destruction of the Ceylon Ceramics Corporations. (see ee Industry)
• The claim “Enterprise Sri Lanka” is going to create 100,000 entrepreneurs by 2020, seems like another sad joke, or that the economic jilmaat will continue. For it’s clear the media and the economists seem to have no idea what an ‘entrepreneur’ is. Making money needs no ‘entrepreneurs’, in that case, drug dealers and pimps should be No. 1! Entrepreneurs make new machines, products, new ideas!
Then there’s Unilever SL recently signing an MoU with the Marketing Dept of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura, who gushes, “We are truly elated to partner with the country’s largest FMCG company: Unilever SL…” Apparently, their mission is “to empower the nation’s future business leaders”. May our 330 million deities help us!
• That curious election day incident becomes curiouser after reports a Minister (Bathiudeen? Hisbullah?) was illegally using 220 SLTB buses to transport voters. Rather than report on its illegality, the so-called election monitors and white media only claimed an attack on Muslim voters. Who were those gunmen who could not shoot straight, except blast out international headlines? (see, ee Security).
• A Convenient Fairytale for Manhattan Jacobins
Blaming the election outcome on “ethnicity” has been called a “Convenient Fairytale” by a leading news columnist, who is usually and ardently in the anti-Rajapakse camp. (see ee Quotes)
Then there is the analysis of a so-called leftist magazine Jacobin, based in financialized Manhattan, clinging to the Eelamist narrative, calling Sri Lanka an “ethnocracy”. Jacobin is on record as supporting the NATO war on Syria, Libya, etc.
Over the years ee has yearned to suggest an update on the different types of ‘socialists’ – Utopians, Romantics, etc – listed by Marx & Engels in The Communist Manifesto of 1848. ee’s contribution is “NATO socialist”, a subset of the NATOpolitan, like Transit-lounge Socialist, who even though firmly resident, anchored and tenured in the imperialist countries, acts as a judge of what is or is not socialism in the wider world, etc.
• How about an eeWord section? – taking a media-favored hack word or oft-repeated expression and following its consequences. This week’s hack word: “lossmaking”, as in ‘lossmaking state enterprises’. Also: Why do newspapers have Business sections? Should they be listed and taxed as advertisements? (see ee Focus, B1 & B2)
A2. Reader Comments
• “Something fishy about endless mine clearing in strategic coastal areas of Sri Lanka by Japan
and Canada ?” (see, eeSovereignty)
• “Received last ee and shared with joy. Stunned by power of opening salvo itself – “the business community accepts…”
• “The Swiss incident looks like a setup. The police are not being allowed to interview the alleged abductee. Is this the first step in Bolivia-style destabilization?” (see Random Notes)
• “When the empire’s agents want to get an issue high on people’s agendas, they create ‘incidents’. This is what we have seen in Sri Lanka. So you always find an ‘extremist’ Sinhala person/group attacking a Tamil person/group the week before the UNHRC takes up SL for annual review. These attackers are plants, induced to do this, so as to reinforce a given image. The coincidences here are too numerous for this perception to be paranoia. They’re doing it in England too – see, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-50533617 – ‘anti-semitism’ as an issue gets a good boost; somehow keeps such issues on the front burner, with negative fallout on Corbyn.”
• Assault on SL loses over 100,000 votes for Labour – “Mr Corbyn, You and your Deputy Leader’s unwarranted and intentional defamation of the Sri Lankan State and the Sinhala people, as some kind of monsters intent on genocide of the Tamil people, has cost your party over 100,000 votes in the UK; and quite rightly so. We can only take so much of your false allegations and intentional politically motivated spin doctoring done to appease the LTTE diaspora. The Sinhala people have now communicated on social media and decided we can no longer vote for a Party which tells blatant lies about us and our roots. I need not write a lengthy letter of facts and figures as you and your party henchmen know all that but willingly apportion blame on the innocent Sinhala people. Why you would tell lies for Tamil votes is something the Labour Party will repent henceforth. I used to be a Polling Agent for the Labour Party since 1978. But enough is enough. All my family and friends have no choice but to vote against those who spread lies and empower themselves through false slanders of innocent Asian people.” – Ivan Amarasinghe, Northampton
A3.Quotes of the Week_____________________________________
• “The data very clearly explains the burning issue in the marketplace – cost of living. This has to be addressed by the political candidates in the next 3 months.”
• “India has always opposed terrorism in all its forms and also expected action from the international community against other forms of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism.” – PM Modi on meeting President GR (see, eeSovereignty)
• “JR joined the band of my political heroes when he salvaged the socialist-bungled economy in 1977. But my eyes opened on that fateful day, 29 July 1987, when the very same JR, who lacked the courage of Naval Rating Vijitha Rohana, signed the so-called ‘Indo-Sri Lanka Accord’ with a humiliated but defiant Rajiv Gandhi, who was later rewarded with a suicide-bomb by the Tigers! JR’s explanation: ‘It was better than the threatened Indian invasion’. It is a great shame that the ageing brain of JR, though once brilliant, failed to comprehend that there is no shame in being invaded. After all, we have been invaded many a time but have always risen from the abyss. The great shame, however, was subjugating our sovereignty, a process JR started, which the UNP has shamelessly continued up to now; JR to India and Yahapalanaya to USA!” – – http://island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=214510
• “Leaving development in the hands of the Private Sector, the recommendation of the IMF means we will never develop our industries. The Private Sector’s aim is to make a fast buck like venturing on establishing Supermarkets. It is the public sector that has to take on the difficult task of establishing an import substitution type of industries. Let this fact be engrained into the thinking of our leaders. It is my finding that the aim of the IMF is not the development of our countries. Instead, their task is to restructure our economies to contribute to the economies of the developed countries. It is our 3rd World economies that run the Developed Economies by sending our foreign exchange to them in various forms like imports, funds for university education – many Universities in the UK depend on the funds charged from foreign students. Most of our experts do not have the capacity to understand how the IMF ruined our economies… With one masterstroke, the IMF dictate of making us follow the Structural Adjustment Program in 1977 abolished all public sector efforts at employment creation.” (see ee Focus, B1)
• “One cannot but be struck by the tone of smug self-satisfaction that pervades this report, that India was the origin of most great ideas including the Pythagoras theorem and the Fibonacci series, that Indian universities like Nalanda and Taxila were unique and unparalleled institutions, and that Sanskrit has a literature that is larger than Latin and Classical Greek combined, and so on. In fact the report recommends the setting up of a Mission Nalanda and Mission Taxila to revive old glory. The point is not whether the claims are true or not; the point is the crass inferiority complex that informs the report, where past Indian glories have to be revived, without any reference to the context of common achievements of mankind in which India too had its own contributions. – On the Draft National Policy on Education, Prabhat Patnaik– https://peoplesdemocracy.in/2019/0721_pd/draft-national-policy-education
• “While he was Mayor of New York, Bloomberg-News owner Michael Bloomberg was the author and chief defender of one of the single most white supremacist practices in the history of the city. It was called ‘Stop & Frisk’… where over 1 million Black & Latino New Yorkers would be randomly stopped and searched every single year. Every single day, over 25,000 NYers, who had not committed a crime, but were just Black or Brown, would be stopped, and inspected from head to toe, by the NYPD. It was humiliating, degrading, and relentless. Some people testified they had been stopped and searched by the NYPD over 25 times. It made NY into something akin to an Apartheid State where white NYers lived one type of existence and everybody else was constantly stopped, harassed, and searched by police.”
• “Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, in the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel out the first… Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature – but that we, with flesh, blood, and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly.” – Happy Birthday Friedrich Engels!
B. Special Focus____________________________________________
B1. Building up Industries & Creating Employment: Perfume Making – Garvin Karunaratne
“On my recent travel to Snowdonia in Wales, I happened to visit the Corris Industrial Unit. What was most interesting was a ‘Mini Distillery’ using many ingredients, including an array of spices, turning out special alcoholic drinks
I kept wondering what I could have done if I had known about this ‘Mini Distillery’ equipment when I was the Govt Agent at Matara, in 1971, charged with creating employment for our youth. Those were the days of the Divisional Development Councils Program for which Dr NM Perera, Minister for Finance, had high hopes of developing employment for the youth.
Once I was traveling in North India and I was charged with the task of buying some perfumes from Sugandhika in Lucknow. From Lucknow we were due to proceed to Sravasti on pilgrimage and I told our driver to take us to Sugandhika. It was a small sales outlet selling a special variety of perfumes, doted on by Indian damsels. What was most interesting was that the perfumes were all made in India itself. After buying some perfumes, I approached the staff and requested that I may be allowed to see their distillery – where the flowers will be distilled into perfumes. Out came an answer that defied me. Theirs was a mini distillery, portable, taken to the places where flowers available and at that time the flowers were not in bloom. India developed its perfume-making industries on a grand scale.
At Corris in Machynlleth, in Wales, I saw the two mini distillery machines functioning in one large room. Of course they were not making perfumes which would have required more space. But that distillation equipment could have been utilized to make perfumes… the DYFI Distillery, led by Pete Cameron (dyfidistillery.com- telephone 01654761551.)
I quote from a report I wrote for the Chief Minister of the Central Province, Hon PC Imbulana back in 1993, A Programme for Self Employment Creation & Poverty Alleviation in Central Province of SL:
‘A Perfume-making Industry can only be established in the Central Province as this is the ideal climate area for planting flowers. In my stay of a year at Nuwara Eliya I got a good income from flowers that grew wild in my garden. After identification of small-scale machinery and a study of its feasibility the plans drawn for local production can also include flowers to be processed into perfumes. This can be established immediately with the flowers offered at Dalada Maligawa’ (How the IMF Ruined SL & Alternative Programs of Success, Godage). My Report was accepted by the Chief Minister who immediately commenced implementing it at two Divisional Secretary areas, but the Program was shelved with the UNP losing the General Election.
My find of the machinery for a small-scale distillery in Wales is significant and holds a great deal of hope to establish a perfume industry in Sri Lanka. If I had known of this machinery when I was GA… I would have commenced a perfume-making industry based on the flowers offered at the Matara Bodhi. I could have found employment for easily 20 youths. The plan is extremely feasible and I urge the Govt to take immediate steps to get going with establishing perfume industries. In Kandy, with flowers offered at the Dalada Maligawa (can easily find employment for 50 or more), at Anuradhapura with flowers offered at Sri Maba Bodhiya & Ruwanveliseya (employment for 30 or more).
Once the perfumes are made, the second step will be to encourage people to plant flowers and for a collection arrangement to be made.
On my worldwide travel since leaving the Administrative Service in 1973 I have trailed behind lorry-loads of sugarcane and manioc in India and Thailand, lorry-loads of flowers in southern France. Flowers are collected and transported to perfume-making factories. France has developed a massive perfume-making industry.
It beats me why we cannot establish a perfume-making industry with the flowers offered at various temples. …just the other day a Pichha mal ceremony… at the Sri Maha Bodhiya at Anuradhapura.
Often one hears that people are caught trying to take away Sandalwood and Walapatta from SL.
It needs to be emphatically stated that a perfume-making industry cannot be established in a piecemeal manner, with a stray perfume-making unit being established. There is an essential infrastructure necessary. Firstly the Government must seriously take steps to curtail the import of perfumes by charging a high tax on all imports, but this has to be done after good quality perfumes are made locally. If Sugandhika can establish a perfume industry in Lucknow without a permanent distillery, working on a makeshift temporary factory and developing a worldwide trade we can easily achieve it at two places, in Kandy and Anuradhapura because flowers are available in plenty.
Secondly, the Govt must establish a unit to attend to research and guide the factories that make perfumes in the Districts. My mind travels back to my days when I served in Kegalla in 1968-69 and Matara in 1971-73. The GA was held in charge of the Powerlooms in the area and if I remember right there were 5 Powerlooms in each District and this offered employment to hundreds of youths, This was possible because the Small Industries Dept had a Research & Helping Unit at Velona, Moratuwa, to provide the necessary expertise to the Powerlooms all over the island. With one masterstroke, the IMF dictate of making us follow the Structural Adjustment Program in 1977 abolished all public sector efforts at employment creation. And with that one decision out went Velona and our Powerlooms. And sad to say with that a country that was self-sufficient with fabric and textile manufacture became a country that imported all textiles. No one then realized that the IMF was playing the sinister role of making all our 3rd World Countries indebted so that the countries to which we are indebted can call the shots and dictate to us.
Making perfumes is a far easier industry than the Crayon Factory that we established in Deniyaya in 1971. We did not know how to make crayons, but the craze in me to establish a manufacturing industry from scratch made me direct the Planning staff to conduct experiments. This commenced initially in my Residency and when we required sophisticated equipment we took over the science laboratory at Rahula College from around 6pm to midnight when our scientists, the Planning Officer in the kacheri, Vetus Fernando, aided by the science teachers at Rahula, did a myriad of experiments for close upon two months till we finalized the art of making crayons. It was easily comparable in quality to Crayola Crayons. The only difference was that each crayon was handmade, like most industries in China. The Minister of Industries Subasinghe was surprised when I showed him a crayon and readily agreed to preside over the sales commencing ceremony. TB Illangaratne the Minister for Trade too was mesmerized by its quality and authorized an allocation of foreign exchange to enable the industry to import essential colouring… from the funds earmarked for the import of crayons. He had the capacity to understand that our making crayons meant we can immediately reduce imports – saving valuable foreign exchange. It was a great industry run by the Morawaka Cooperatives under the leadership of Sumanapala Dahanayake, the MP who was also President of the Cooperative Union. This Crayon Industry became the flagship industry of the Divisional Development Councils Program and the crayons were sold islandwide till 1977… when the IMF took control of our country and dictated us to abolish national planning, stop all public sector run industries, abolish the infrastructure already established for development, allow all imports and allow the free use of foreign exchange and dictated us to live on loans, which has paved the path for our country to become indebted. Making …countries indebted was the method by which the 3rd World countries were subjugated. This is the sad story unfolded in my book: How the IMF Ruined Sri Lanka.
The history of establishing the Crayon Industry has been highlighted to show the difficulty of establishing an industry. The other day I was searching to buy a step ladder at Nawala and found that we make only a small percentage of step ladders. The rest is imported from Thailand and China. A country that cannot make its own step ladders can never establish its own perfume industry. At times I think I am wasting my time writing these ideas of mine.
If we successfully established the Crayon Industry, I do not see how we can go wrong with establishing a perfume-making industry. We only need some foreign exchange to pay for the mini distillery equipment… easily be recouped from the sales generated within the very first year.
Leaving development in the hands of the Private Sector, the recommendation of the IMF means that we will never develop our industries. The Private Sector’s aim is to make a fast buck like venturing on establishing Supermarkets. It is the public sector that has to take on the difficult task of establishing import substitution type of industries. Let this fact be engrained into the thinking of our leaders. It is my finding that the aim of the IMF is not the development of our countries. Instead, their task is to restructure our economies to contribute to the economies of the developed countries. It’s our 3rd World economies that run the Developed Economies by sending our foreign exchange to them in various forms like imports, funds for university education – many Universities in the UK depend on the funds charged from foreign students. Most of our experts do not have the capacity to understand how the IMF ruined our economies.
Let me hope that the ideas in this paper will be read by people of worth, those who have the authority to do something to build up our lost industries and create employment for our own youth.
– Garvin Karunaratne – former GA, Matara District
“Response to ‘A Perfume-making Industry at Anuradhapura & Kandy’
–I hope we have seen the birth of a new culture in governance. A country will be as good as its leader.
I too have a few similar ideas. Necessity is the mother of invention.
When I was working in an organization…RCDC… established under RDA for construction and maintenance of state roads, there was a need for Bituminous Emulsions used in roads construction and maintenance due to a campaign that we initiated to popularize its use. We had one plant supplied by a Swedish company. The spares and chemicals were also supplied by them. The demand was twice the production which I can remember to be about 20 tanker loads. When I had a closer look at the facility I found that it could be duplicated if only we could find someone to integrate the pumps etc with the computer which controlled it. There was a guy who had electronics training in some EU country staying near the place I stayed close to Sethsiripaya and he charged only Rs12,000 for the job. It was done by the local operational crew within about a month. When the Swede visited next he was surprised to see another identical plant to the one they supplied for…about Rs15mn. This was in mid80s.
These days I look after a digital printing office which uses fairly expensive printers (~Rs4mn each) made in Japan. When one broke down recently we got down a guy… trained in a facility in New Delhi on the same machines. While discussing… I found that similar machines could be easily assembled in SL, with certain precision parts imported from Germany and others like casings made locally and initially importing printed circuit boards from China which later could be made in places like TOS Lanka at Katunayake FTZ. As Garvin mentioned these need resources an individual can’t provide.
Many others like Fish Scanners (for 360/Horizontal, not the type in the market that can only scan beneath the boat) can be made locally extending the same technology that a university colleague of mine invented for oil exploration in the US. He has become a millionaire with that.
However I hope the current ministers will not be allowed to import Thibbotu and Black Pepper from overseas for commissions like the previous government did for the last 4 and half years that ran our country down to the ground.
The Emulsion production was about 20 tanker loads per day. I believe they are still being used.”
B2. eeWord of the Week – Lossmaking
This week’s ee buzzer is: “lossmaking”, as in ‘lossmaking state enterprises’.
Not as in ‘lossmaking capitalist bloodsuckers who have sunk the country further into bondage’ by accelerating underdevelopment. But, as in lossmaking government-owned industrial or service enterprises, which bankrupt capitalist classes have feasted on especially in the last 50 years.
The recent richest billionaires from our parts of the world have come from stealing of public goods. Carlos Slims grabbed Mexico’s telecom industry for US finance, becoming briefly “the richest man in the world” (as idiotic a title as any, & clearly a temporary assignation, like a bestseller listing). He is publicly the “biggest shareholder” of the NYTimes, which pontificates aloud about SL. Even if Slims has the most shares, the truth is he doesn’t control the NYT– the Ochs-Sulzeberger family & their banking friends still do! as do the Grahams of Washington Post. Many of the richest oligarchs in SL became enriched from privatization of public goods, e.g. the WB-promoted Mahaweli project, etc.
There is ample evidence to show the many ways in which ‘public goods’ have been stolen, legally (under such names as privatization, ‘peoplization’); this includes by fire & water, by drought & flood, by preventing dedicated workers from functioning (in many cases thugging them away), by preventing machinization and adequate investment, or by pouring in all their voters who help pillage it, and drive it into the ground.
Under the rule of the US Treasury (aka IMF/WorldBank), the last 50 years at least has seen the escalating destruction of what are now sterile/ominously called ‘state-owned enterprises’ (SOEs), yet under some English as public utilities/‘crown corporations’, or as in India, ‘public sector undertakings’.
Yet the state must support and undergird modern industry. These so-called SOEs can be the rational basis for recovering an invaded or underdeveloped economy, particularly through a program of modern industrialization, as articulated by the most advanced organizations of our times across the world.
Despite the clamor of those most icky of NGOS – Advocata, Verite, Pathfinder, LKI, etc – which in their separatist way, demand the hollowing of public endeavor. Here’s a simple refutation of those views regarding the running of public enterprises –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzxuzGLNLoU
Meanwhile, note:“A 4-member committee on SoEs has been named – former presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga, former Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman Dr Nalaka Godahewa, former John Keells Holdings Chairman Susantha Ratnayake, MAS Holding’s Director Dian Gomes – to screen chairpersons or directors of state bodies… the President had ruled that the appointments of heads to State corporations, boards & other institutions would be made through this Selection Board”
Re: Gomes, see an Echelon / MAS hackjob on him: – https://echelon.lk/what-happened-at-hela/
B3. Why do Newspapers have Business Sections?
It’s not news, so they must be getting paid off. Is this corruption, too? They are mostly advertisements, aka infomercials sans info. They should be taxed as ads! Trumpeting some imported product, boasting some imported high tech-ery, new showroom or appointment, or bullish balance sheet, they are either unashamedly self-congratulatory, proud of having won some dubious award, or promising to do some good works, helping the disabled, children, environment, etc.
One suspects even the companies themselves do not read them – nor their PR departments after sending them off. Or if they do, mainly to check if newspapers published them, and how many suckers may have wasted their time reading. They usually have photos of ‘executives’, so perhaps these ‘executives’ save the sections to show their children or their next employers.
The newspaper merely ‘cuts & pastes’ these corporate press releases. Many typos can be found in them – mind you, this is true of the news too! Newspapers clearly have cut back on hiring subeditors let alone proofreaders. They don’t seem to care. So why do these business sections exist at all? Why newspapers at all, if they no longer deliver anything new? Have newspapers become mere fashion statements to appear democratic, even as they offer nothing new or true?
Their economists are no different, repeating the same sermons over and over again. They themselves either openly or covertly are shareholders, or on the boards of directors, or the payroll of banks and corporations. ee has listed their usual priorities, from upholding the incorporation of the economy into further colonial thrall via unproductive imports and exports, to demanding the selling off of the country’s precious resources and severely hobbled state corporations, all under the name of greenwash and ‘sustainability’ (of unsustainable capitalism) and ‘corporate social responsibility’.
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.
• Yal Devi derailed: Train services to north disrupted
• Mahaveerar Day observed at Jaffna Uni despite ban
• Tamils have a right to commemorate the dead – Wiggy
• Did SL Presidential Election Bring Back a Polarizing Wartime Figure?
“General Sarath Fonseka (now Field Marshal) who commanded the army during the final phase of the conflict and contested the presidency in 2010, in spite of being routed in the South, comfortably won all the Tamil-speaking majority electoral districts in the North & East. Obviously, the electorate did not think of him as a killer of Tamil civilians.”
• No MCC agreement under our regime: Wimal
• MCC to be launched in SL soon – US
• MCC Compact to be launched in SL soon: State Dept official
“’We have another MCC that we’re launching soon in Sri Lanka that will undertake the same kind of nitty-gritty reforms in land registration and motorway harmonisation that will, we determine, you help unlock economic development,’ the US Principal Deputy Assistant Sec’y of State for South & Central Asia, Alice Wells, said in Washington DC last week.”
• TNA warns govt against reviewing Geneva resolution co-sponsored by previous regime
• Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict Robert Payas out on parole
• President GR’s visit to New Delhi – some questions he may have to face
“April 2017, PM Ranil met PM Modi in New Delhi and entered into MOUs on several topics including energy, petroleum, ports, airports, railways, highways, housing and agriculture. …PM Modi was particularly interested in 2 projects… building of a 500 MW gas-fired power plant and the controversial handing over of the British-built oil tank farm at Trincomalee, on which an initial agreement was entered into with India in 2003.”
• ECT to be fast-tracked
“The long-delayed East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port will be fast-tracked under the new administration… according to newly appointed Roads, Highways, Ports & Shipping Minister Johnston Fernando. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Govts of SL & India, Japan,& China in May. …the project will increase Colombo Port’s container volume.”
• Modi announces $450mn line of credit to Sri Lanka
“After meeting with Modi for bilateral talks, Rajapaksa also announced the release of all Indian fishermen boats currently in SL custody and vice versa. Meanwhile the Indian PM stated $400mn line of credit is to be extended to SL to strengthen its economy and another $50mn to fight terrorism.”
• Gotabaya’s Delhi visit and SL’s environmental & constitutional concerns
“1)…50 coal-burning power stations along the southern shores of Tamil Nadu. In fact, the pollution levels even in Colombo correlate with those in the Indian subcontinent when the prevailing winds carry them south… 2) Lack of even observer status and agreed upon joint safety procedures regarding the Kundankulam Nuclear Reactor just across the Palk straits. 3) Indian fishermen using sea-floor dredging and other methods extremely harmful to marine ecology and destined to rapidly diminish and destroy available fish stocks. They also constantly encroach on SL territorial waters and deprive Northern Fishermen of their legitimate catch. 4) Illegal traffic in goods, people & narcotics across the Palk strait”
• DMK urges Modi to raise Tamils’ issue with Gotabaya; Vaiko to protest
“DMK president MK Stalin has opposed the alleged deployment of additional armed forces in the Tamil areas of SL and requested Indian PM Modi to take up the issue with the newly elected President.”
• Deep Throats behind Blackening Campaigns: The Chinese Dragon and Gotabaya
• Use of offensive terms: Estate workers protest against Athaulla
• Presidential swearing in at Ruwanveli Maha Saeya, Anuradhapura: Lest its symbolism is misread by rabid antinationalist racists – Wasala
• Reaction of a downtrodden majority – Chandraprema
“We once had a past that was exemplary. Each Tamil and Muslim living in this country will have to make an individual decision as to whether we are going to go back to the rational past or to continue with the irrational present.”
• First STOP Tamil Racism in Sri Lanka
• Why Sajith, Gota lost H’tota and Colombo Respectively?
“Tamils and Muslims have to re-draft their political strategy afresh especially because the election result with Gotabaya winning by a good margin has made Sinhalese constituency strong”
• G Rajapaksa, & the woke reality of a landslide – Abeynayake
“The people wanted the assurance of a functioning economy and the firewall of security, and a sense of pride based on their identity as Sri Lankan citizens, over the fog of despair that enveloped them in all aspects of life…”
• Sinhala Nidikumbas stun the pundits with their victory (2)
• Why is UK Labor Corbyn & McDonnell taking side of Tamils & not Jews?
• China a trade partner, India a relative, says SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa
• “PM Rajapaksa was at President Rajapaksa’s Mirihana residence when the results of the presidential election were finally announced. One of the visitors was Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner for India in SL. After wishing President Gotabaya, he dialled his mobile phone to get his PM, Narendra Modi in New Delhi so he may speak to him in person. The move showed that New Delhi was keen to foster good relations with the new regime without loss of time. After the exchange of greetings, Modi said he was sending his External Affairs Minister, Subhramaniyam Jaishankar, to Colombo. EAM Jaishankar was hosting Bhutanese Foreign Minister Tandi Jorgi. Soon after he hosted a lunch in his honour, he boarded an Air India flight to Colombo. Besides inviting President Rajapaksa to visit India (the date agreed was Nov 29), they also discussed a range of other issues. Matters relating to reconciliation, for which talks with Tamil leaders were necessary were also discussed.”
• UK Labour takes up cudgels for minority rights in SL in the wake of GR triumph
• 300-year-old skeletal remains returns to SL from University of Edinburgh
“They also told me that there were 14,000 more skulls and bones and they would take steps to return them as well…”
• Church of Ceylon congratulates…
“The election results demonstrate once again the way in which the country has been and continues to be polarized.”
• President Gotabaya spearheads return of Ruhunu Rajapaksas – Jeyaraj
“Assessments made by Sinhala media provincial journos have proved to be correct… He laughed derisively: ‘So you think those “Yakkos” know more than the finest political commentators of this country?’ Now that the results are out, it is clear that the so-called Yakko Sinhala media personnel from the outstations have a better grasp and understanding of contemporary Sri Lankan politics than the elitist know-alls from Colombo. I too have been vindicated in my effort to assess the political mood of the Sinhala polity by drawing on the collective wisdom of provincial Sinhala scribes.”
• President GR: Worst Fears & Best Expectations – Philips
“A big job even if it is in a small island”
• Presidential Election Sharpens Ethnic Divide
• In Gotabaya’s Lanka: Many fear the rise of majoritarian sentiment – Kadirgamar
“Sri Lanka’s trickling economic growth, rising foreign debt, disregard for domestic production and neglect of the rural economy, are going to be major challenges. Neither the President’s technocratic champions nor the Prime Minister’s populist measures are going to solve these problems…”
• UK’s Conservative Party touches on SL
England’s Conservative Party “will continue to support international initiatives to achieve reconciliation, stability and justice across the world, and in current or former conflict zones such as Cyprus, Sri Lanka and the Middle East, where we maintain our support for a 2-state solution. Once we leave the EU, we will champion these values even more strongly…”
• Amarapura – Is it a bridge too far?
“…to retain power, they must capture Hambantota, Mirissa, Weligama, Unawatunne, Galle, Hikkaduwa, Ambalangoda, Panadura, well known bastions of the Amarapura Sect… GR’s first task after being elected President was to travel again to the main temple, to kneel and pay his respects and to give a promise to the Mahanayake to rebuild Amarapura.”
• In Sri Lanka’s Ethnocracy, Tamils Will Always Lose
• Former Maldives leader jailed for money laundering
• HSBC Never Left the Dope Trade nor the Crown: Why HSBC Is No ‘Victim Institution’ in the Huawei Case
“As the story goes, Meng Wanzhou was arrested at the Vancouver (Canada) airport Dec 1, 2018, on her way from Hong Kong to Mexico City and ultimately Buenos Aires. Her arrest was based off of the accusation that she had lied to the HSBC executive at a 2013 meeting meant to reassure the bank that Huawei was not violating US sanctions against Iran…”
• Hong Kong Citizens Take Back Their City – David
• 13 French troops killed in Mali operation against militants
• US threatens to arrest ICC judges if they pursue Americans for Afghan war crimes
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.
• New plan to disseminate security related info to media
“After the disbanding of the Police media unit… the armed forces with the police [will] jointly issue press releases or conduct press conferences…”
• Who paid more than Rs9mn to transport voters from Puttalam to Mannar?
“There was controversy over transporting voters from Puttalam to Mannar on the day of the presidential election. In the centre of the controversy was Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. He denied involvement in the move. However this week it came to light that an institution which came under the then Rehabilitation and Resettlement Minister Bathiudeen had paid for the transportation of voters. It was revealed that some 220 Sri Lanka Transport Board buses were used for this purpose and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Ministry Secretary had paid the SLTB through a Bank of Ceylon cheque to the value of Rs9,529,060.”
• Navy condemns alleged comments made by Jagoda
“The Navy stressed they were not maintaining any kind of tourist resorts in Silawathura, Mullikulam and Gangewadiya where naval establishments are in existence, as highlighted by Mr Jagoda in his statements.”
• India does not respect the air, sea, or land borders of small nations – Jayaweera
• India-SL joint military exercise to begin in Dec
“The 7th edition of the India–Sri Lanka joint training exercise, Mitra Shakti 2019, will be conducted at the Foreign Training Node in Pune, India, from December 1 to 14.”
• Swiss embassy worker kidnapped & threatened in Colombo – Swiss Embassy Colombo
• Alleged abduction: Swiss embassy denies SL access to its employee
• Swiss Embassy says its employee in ‘deteriorating health’
“Due to the deteriorating health condition, the victim is currently not in a state to testify…”
• What is the Swiss Embassy Colombo trying to hide?
“A Navy officer who provided a statement implicating Chief of Defense Staff Admiral Ravi Wijegunaratne went to Switzerland ahead of Nishantha Silva. Then we have disclosure by another police officer who says he was told to implicate the Rajapakses in the death of Thajudeen and he & his family would be given asylum in Canada. http://www.facebook.com/VoteMahinda/videos/559884671469187 (a must listen) CI Nishantha Silva, his wife & 3 children could not have all gone to Switzerland WITHOUT the assistance of the highest authorities in the Swiss embassy – why did they help an entire family to get asylum in Switzerland? Why did the Swiss also facilitate the asylum of a Naval officer who incriminated Admiral Wijegunaratne? When high ranking military officers are denied visas how can entire families of junior policemen be given visas & asylum in record time & to travel on a Sunday too!”
• Air ambulance to move embassy employee, govt insists on immigration formalities
• Japan provides Rs110mn for Demining in Mannar & Vavuniya Districts
“Japan has been a major donor in the area of mine clearance in Sri Lanka since 2003… More than US$36mn in assistance was rendered towards this cause through its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project.”
• Canada pledges $2mn for landmine clearance in SL
“…in northern Sri Lanka, with women comprising close to half of the de-mining workforce…”
• Former cop alleges Sharnie et al, pressured him to implicate GR, Namal
“Former Inspector Sumith Perera yesterday alleged that SP Sharnie Abeysekera of the CID, the then Director, CID, Nagahamulla, and ASPs Tissera and Weerasekera had pressured him to implicate former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Namal Rajapaksa in the alleged killing of rugger player Wasim Thajudeen.”
• Ex-Law&Order Minister makes plea on behalf of CID sleuths under a cloud
“Maddumabandara said by submitting a list of names of 704 CID officers to the Immigration and Emigration Dept, the government had breached the privacy of those officers.”
• Travel restriction imposed on 704 CID officials
• MP Rajapakse said high-ranking military officers had been denied visas whereas relatively junior policeman and his family had received visas in record time. The former Minister said the way the West intervened on the Chief Inspector’s behalf proved his complaint to President Sirisena that he worked closely with the foreign missions. MP Rajapakse said Nishantha de Silva’s case would be a challenge to the new govt. “Western powers are certainly testing SL’s readiness to take a stand,” Rajapakse said, adding the officer could turn up in Geneva at the next sessions in March 2020.
• Ban all MahaVir Days & arrest all those responsible.
• Maj Gen Egodawela appointed as President’s Chief-of-Staff
…once served as Director of the Land Reclamation Authority. In addition, Maj Gen (Rtd) Egodawela had also served as the Chief Executive Officer of Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd 2007-15.
• Two sentenced to 27 years RI over Maharagama armed robbery
• “An extraordinary spectacle”: The military in the colonial era
“The Sinhala military in pre-colonial society was never as primitive as some might think. Until the 15th century, pistols, muskets, rockets and cannon power were virtually unknown and unheard of, but once soldiers learnt how to operate them they were able to manoeuvre them nimbly.”
• Newest Instrument of Bond Scam Cover-up Saga: The Forensic Audit
“Former Deputy Governor P Samarasiri was arbitrarily appointed as the Senior Deputy Governor and entrusted with the responsibility of ‘covering-up’ the first Bond Scam by Governor Mahendran. There is also evidence that the former PM and the former Minister of Finance attempted to absorb Samarasiri into the Ministry of Finance when he retired from the CBSL even though the latter’s involvement in the bond scams was public knowledge.”
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.
• Nivard Cabraal appointed senior advisor to SL PM
Gotanomics: Can It Turn around the Ailing SL Economy? – Wijewardena
“The main feature of Gotanomics is the central role which the government is going to assume in directing the economy. A National Policy & Planning Commission or NPPC is to be established under the President. Most probably, it will be headed by the veteran economist Dr PB Jayasundera or simply PB, Secretary to the President. As Finance Secretary earlier, he has proved himself to be an able policy manager and an on-time deliveryman.”
• Challenges ahead: Forging a nation, building an economy – Moonesinghe
“Even today, Sinhala Buddhist representation in the ruling elite is relatively small. Rajapaksa’s bedrock of support came from the Sinhalese Buddhist lower classes, the farmers, workers and self-employed.”
• Sri Lanka’s debt problem isn’t made in China – Weerakoon & Jayasuriya
• Economic reconstruction & development imperative – Sanderatne
“A number of economic and non-economic conditions have to be fulfilled for a robust economic performance. These include peaceful conditions among the plural ethnic and religious communities, reduction of corruption, enhancing administrative efficiency, pursuing pragmatic economic policies, strengthening macroeconomic fundamentals and boosting investor confidence.”
• ‘Removing the burden of SOEs on our people’ – Pathfinder economic disruptor
“The Mid-Year Fiscal Position Report – 2019 issued by the Minister of Finance suggests that there are 422 State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), while the a research based on data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act undertaken by a think tank found that there could be as many 527.”
• Sri Lanka’s first 10 years: The economy
“H A de S. Gunasekara had conjectured that at least 75% of ordinary expenditure was being spent on imports. With an average of 7% of national income left for gross capital formation in developing countries (Das Gupta estimated the figure for Sri Lanka in 1948 to be about 3% or 4%), this meant there was no real room for investment.”
• A Nobel-winning economist says it’s time to kill the GDP
“The problem, he says, is that politicians see positive GDP figures and continue with the status quo. GDP gives no hint of environmental degradation or resource depletion, nor inequality, middle-class suffering, or lower standards of living.”
• Biz community: Getting back on track
“The new administration with populist tendencies could affect the economy, if the new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and bureaucrats fail to keep a watchful eye on the mounting debt, the budget deficit and mitigate external shocks, several leading business leaders in the country said. The Chamber of Commerce, while congratulating the new President, in a statement expressed the hope that “he will, in steering the future of our nation, deliver on his vision to accelerate inclusive economic growth while also finding sustainable solutions to the most significant challenges before us”. President Asela de Livera said the short and medium priorities of the new President are to harness new technologies to increase value addition in exports and manufacturing, focusing on skilled labour, and create a knowledge-based and technology-focused economy. The President should also pay special attention on modernising agriculture, private sector & SME development, promoting innovation, research & development, attracting local & foreign investments, removal of red tape, better management of state resources.”
• The Rajapaksas as Pillars of Populism & Authoritarianism
“There has been the emergence of a new assertive bourgeoisie that has benefited from authoritarian politics. This is a bourgeoisie that developed on the back of neoliberal policies implemented by successive Sri Lankan governments since 1977 that was until then a rare example of a third-world welfare state. It is often forgotten that Sri Lanka was one of the first experiments of the rapid introduction of market reform, with former president JR Jayewardene overseeing the shift from being a third-world welfare state. Over time, these reforms led to the emergence of a bourgeoisie that had diverging interests to the old mercantile groups. This business class was strongly supportive of market-oriented policies and was facilitated and supported by access to state resources and projects, including property development and infrastructure projects such as the Port of Colombo.”
• ‘The UK in a China-centric World’ – Martin Jacques
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.
• Limited policy space for fiscal stimulus: CB
“Economic growth is predicted to be modest during the remainder of the year, with likely subpar growth in Industry and Services activities as implied by leading indicators.”
• Sri Lankan household sinking: HH consumption drops 4.7%
“Leading research agency Kantar, reveals that from Q1-2018 the Sri Lankan household consumption of products like soap, toothpaste, milk powder, etc has been declining even though there was an upward movement on reported GDP growth… The data very clearly explains the burning issue in the market place – cost of living. This has to be addressed by the political candidates in the next three months.”
• Interest rates left unchanged by Central Bank, after latest policy review
“The Sri Lankan rupee displayed increased volatility, following a notable appreciation against the US dollar in the immediate aftermath of the Presidential election. Headline inflation accelerated recently due to increased food prices driven by domestic supply disruptions.”
• SL tax cuts to boost economy, 5% of GDP deficit in 2020: Treasury Secretary
“The government will also control non-essential expenditures in 2020, to keep the deficit down.”
• VAT reduced, PAYE tax abolished – Prez implements polls manifesto
“The cumulative value of VAT and the Nation Building Tax (NBT) on household goods, which stood at 17% would be reduced to 8%… the debit tax and withholding tax on interest, too, would be abolished. The government held its inaugural Cabinet media briefing at the Information Dept soon after President Rajapaksa had chaired the Cabinet meeting after swearing in 35 State Ministers and 3 Deputy Ministers at the Presidential Secretariat… President Rajapaksa left for India, accompanied by presidential Secretary Dr PB Jayasundera, Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, Treasury Secretary Sajith Attygalle, presidential advisor Lalith Weeratunga and Sugeeswara Bandara, private secretary to the President. Flanked by Co-cabinet spokesman Minister Dr Romesh Pathirana, Minister Gunawardena said that economic service charges, Capital Gain Taxes and VAT imposed on condominiums, had also been scrapped. In addition, taxes imposed on export of tea, rubber and minor export crops, too, had been lifted with effect from Dec 1… adding that steps would be taken to ban imports of those crops to protect the local industry as 4 million persons were dependent on the export income from those crops… steps would be taken to reduce prices of rice following complaints that the rice prices had gone up… all taxes imposed on foreign remittances by expat workers would also be removed while places of religious worship would be exempted from all taxes. The telecommunications levy has been reduced by 25%… Construction Industry would be placed on a 14% income tax instead of 28%; IT & enabling services would be free from all taxes; tax free threshold for turnover for VAT would be raised from Rs1mn per month to Rs25mn per month; VAT on banking, financial services and insurance would be maintained at 15% and NBT on farm income from agriculture would be removed and fishing and livestock would be exempted from income tax.”
• State agencies ordered to cut spending
“All state agencies have been directed to confine spending to compulsory payments further curtailing their capital expenditure, one of the first post-election decisions by new Treasury Sec’y SR Attygalle. Ministries, provincial councils departments, corporations and statutory boards have been directed by the Treasury to utilise available cash account balances to pay for small and, routine expenses only.”
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
• SL to make laws to clear state workers from prosecution: PM
“He was accompanied by PM Secretary Gamini Senarath, President’s Secretary PB Jayasundera and Treasury Secretary Sajith Attygalle…”
• Teachers’ union accuses Akila of dereliction of duty
‘”The ministry officials had not called for tenders, either to provide uniform material or print vouchers. This is an annual fixture and the money for this had been allocated from the budget,” General Secretary of the CTU, Joseph Stalin… the students from lower income families would be affected by the delay.’
• Gig Workers Are Forming the World’s First Food Delivery App Unions
“In less than two weeks, Uber Eats and Foodora couriers in Japan and Norway have formed the first unions representing delivery app workers.”
• An economy for the 99%
“It’s time to build a human economy that benefits everyone, not just the privileged few. New estimates show that just eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world. As growth benefits the richest, the rest of society – especially the poorest – suffers.”
• These 8 Men Have as Much Money as Half the World
“New Oxfam report finds income inequality benefiting a few billionaires with “biblical” fortunes.
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.
• Rice to be sold at MRP rates during festive season
Paddy had been purchased from farmers during the ‘Maha’ season between Sept 2018 and March this year and had been stocked in the storage facilities owned by the Paddy Marketing Board. Accordingly, it was decided to mill the paddy stocks into rice grains and to sell them at wholesale rates to the state-owned Sathosa outlets by next week.
• Cabinet decides to stop oil palm cultivation
“There were protests in several parts of the island in the past, demanding the Government ban palm oil cultivation. The people claim that due to the cultivation of palm oil, the springs in their areas have dried up.”
• Water Contamination – Kelani River
“Water in the Kelani River is contaminated with fecal matter and the level of the coliform found in the water exceeds 100 times over the maximum limit. It further states that most of the fecal matter and waste discharges are profoundly made by tourist hotels that are operated on the bank of the Kelani river, mostly in Kithulgala area.”
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.
• A Perfume-making Industry at Anuradhapura & Kandy
• New technology developed by Ruhuna University in boat building sector
• Lanka clay products could meet huge demand in EU
“He said Sri Lanka has over 50, 000 unutilized irrigation tanks which have excess clay. Due to clay and other materials these tanks are rendered redundant… Noritake Lanka Porcelain (Pvt) Ltd, Chairman/Managing Director Hidenori Tanaka said that Sri Lanka also has other rare raw materials required for the manufacture of ceramic products, which has high demand in the global market…. Staggering amounts is being spent each month on the import of raw material such as kaolin from Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand and UK too is a concern for them. The industry imports around 100 tons of kaolin each month which is a huge cost to manufacturers who are already saddled with the high cost of production,” SLCGC President Anura Warnakulasooriya said.
• Govt. to invest Rs90-100bn on new power generation capita
“The Government is expected to spend Rs90bn-100bn a year in the next two years as capital expenditure mainly on new power generation capacity, according to Fitch Ratings.”
• Fitch Affirms Ceylon Electricity Board at ‘AA+(lka)’; Outlook Stable
• Preferential loan schemes to be revised & realigned with key sectors: Fin. Min.
“Enterprise Sri Lanka, a Budget proposal eventually rolled out in March 2018 by the Finance Ministry … was to create 100,000 new entrepreneurs by 2020.”
• Uphill task in settling highway contractors’ bills
“Progress of the many foreign-funded projects implemented during 2018 under review by the Ministry of Highways had remained behind the targets.”
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.
• Sri Lanka Samurai bond pushed to Jan: CB Governor
“The Samurai bond sale may be pushed back to January from a earlier plan to go to market in Dec, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said as the new government is reviewing the financing program… Sri Lanka is hoping to raise around 500mnUS$ from a yen denominated bond which will have a credit enhancement from the Japan Bank for International Co-operation. Mizuho Securities Company Ltd, SMBC Nikko Securities Inc and Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co Ltd, have been appointed to lead manage the bond.”
• Is Sri Lanka Really a Victim of China’s ‘Debt Trap’?
“Sri Lanka faced a severe shortage of foreign reserves in light of the upcoming debt servicing payments, due to the maturity of international sovereign bonds. Therefore, the country had to look for various avenues to obtain foreign currency inflows. Leasing out Hambantota port was one of the ways to increase the country’s foreign reserves.”
• Sri Lankan banking sector feels the distress amidst rising NPLs
By the end of 2018, the banking sector consisted of 26 Licensed Commercial Banks and 7 Licensed Specialised Banks. There were 13 foreign banks within the total number of LCBs… The banking sector’s NPLs continued to rise rapidly, up 39% in first half of 2019 (64% in 2018) and 46% for the first 8 months of 2019.”
• “The total external debt in Sri Lanka increased to $55.47billion in the second quarter of 2019 from $54.22bn in the first quarter of 2019. Interest payments alone cost Rs852bn in 2018, amounting to 42% of Govt revenue and 6% of the GDP in 2018. The total interest burden for 2019 is Rs913bn and Rs1,000billion for 2020.
• Wide-ranging tax relief positively impacting stock market
“The above proposals could result in an increase in the budget deficit (especially for 2020). Observers assume an increase in consumption, given the anticipated increase in disposable income. This would partly offset the negative impact on the fiscal deficit.”
• Director of Foreign Exchange debars trouncing of foreign currencies
“This practice of drawing foreign currency via ATM cards by Sri Lankan migrants and international students have been curbed…”
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’
• Unilever SL signs MoU with University of Sri Jayawardenapura
“In line with its notable objective of nurturing and empowering a generation of future corporate leaders, Unilever Sri Lanka recently signed an MoU with the Marketing Department of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura…., ‘We are truly elated to partner with the country’s largest FMCG company: Unilever Sri Lanka…’ With a mission to empower the nation’s future business leaders, Unilever has also partnered with NSBM University, SLITT, University of Kelaniya as well as AISEC, and has supported hundreds of young individuals…”
• SL-born Wignaraja next UNDP Asia & Pacific Director
• Re-inventing the self-contained urban living experience
“The resale value of 2-bedroom apartments, especially those on the outskirts of major urban cities and areas like Colombo, will increase in the years… Two-bedroom apartments in Colombo range between Rs30-40million and above and are some of the most affordable in the market today.”
• India’s Vistara starts flights to Sri Lanka as tourism recovers
• China’s BRI is a Multi-Polar Win-Win Trading Network
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.
• UNP Needs a 100-Day Revival Plan Before Parliamentary Polls
“It is already abundantly clear that the new govt is failing to meet the expectations of the urban & suburban middle class, which also voted overwhelmingly for Rajapaksa. The UNP’s prospects at the Parliamentary election will hinge on the party’s ability to channel this general disappointment into the UNP-led campaign.”
• General Election Tensions
“Political tensions could resurface ahead of elections to Parliament, where the UNP is the largest party. These are expected early next year. The new President’s constitutional reform plans could resurrect controversial proposals to enhance the executive’s powers, the rating agency said.”
• Gotabaya Rajapaksa can go for ‘Yahapalanaya Plus’
“Nationalization was not necessarily a bad idea, but this too was scuttled by politicization.”
• The Fundamental Oppositions: Lakshman Gunasekara challenges Jayaweera & Roberts
“The hard voting statistics clearly indicate that many rich, educated, property-owning (and, culturally westernised) urbanites voted for Gotabaya. In fact, I dare say that a very significant number of the ‘urban elite’ (in Colombo, but also in Kandy, Galle, Kurunegala, etc) voted for the Flower Bud. Just look at the detailed vote map and it is very obvious. We have long transcended the urban/rural divide because ‘ethnicity’ has been playing a critical role (in addition to a remnant of urban/rural demarcation) in electoral politics for decades (if not a century).”
• Was the Presidential Election Free & Fair When Colombo Returning Officer Called Sajith Premadasa the Son of A Donkey, Asks Prof Hoole
• TISL launches online database on Politically Exposed Persons
“TISL believes that this database, which will be updated periodically, will serve as an important tool in mapping out the network of political power in the country.”
• Assessing Modern China Today
• Fascism – the Other F-Word – & Trump
“Trump is a racist and demagogic capitalist Chief of State, but the US is not fascist – yet. The principal contradiction in US society remains in the alienation between labor and capital.”
C11. Media (Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science and 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.
• The Sword, the Pen and the Law – On Julian Assange
“The more I pursued the question of why Assange has so little public support, the more disturbing the story became.” “The campaign of demonisation and dehumanisation… whose success drives the lack of public support means… he can be slowly killed in public sight.”
• For an educated society: A national library system using post offices in SL
• Ministry of Arts & Culture: A nation rich in heritage – Dhammika Perera
• RASSL lecture: Emergence of Bhikkhuni Sasana in ancient Lanka
“According to the Chinese records in the 5th century CE the Sri Lankan Bhikkhunis headed by Bhikkhuni Devasara are said to have bestowed higher ordination to the Bhikkhunis in China. During the period of strife at the end of the 10th century, caused by the Chola invasion, the Bhikkhuni Sasana disappeared from Sri Lanka.”
• Outlines of education – A very English education
“Aubrey Collette’s unflattering depictions of students from lowly backgrounds as apes or deformed human beings underscored the very point which served as a justification for nationalisation: that without it, the gulf, between the 5% who operated in English and the 95% who could not, would have thrived.”
• An history of education in Sri Lanka
“A child’s education in ancient Sinhala society began at the age of 5; according to the Muhurttacintanani and the Saddharmalankaraya, it was supposed to.”
• The Kandyan kingdom out of the periphery
“The rise of Kandy as a political sub-unit in the country can be attributed to 3 factors: the shift from Kurunegala to Gampola as the capital city, the onslaughts made on the Udarata by the Aryachakravartis from the north, and the rise to power of nobles and chief ministers during the Gampola & Kotte kings.”
• Review of Yasmine Rajapakse’s “The Odyssey & Living Legacy of sieur de la Nérolle”
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