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“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
e-Con e-News 12-18 April 2020
Mangos tantalize on the trees. Flowers bloom! The air turns cool. The koha heralds. Happy New Year and a great life to ee Readers!
This year, midst a miasma of fear spread by the fog machine, repeated lightning strikes reveal what the corporate media usually eclipse and mute.
Yet the wails of the Yakku haunting the nation, magnify. Their wailing is for a truer independence, through a real national economy. All the powers of the old colonial import-export flimflam have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise these ‘devils’. Yet these Yakku are not devils, but the best of our ancestors who have striven and sacrificed. They are our spirit coalesced, and their cry is for the dream, for the pride of the nation, hijacked for the last 72 years, if not for the last 5 centuries and more.
US Citibank, England’s Standard Chartered, US Caltex, England’s Unilever & CTC, US Prima, Swiss Nestle, India’s IOC, and more – the banks & multinationals (MNCs) of the colonial importers-exporters, who still monopolize our supply chains – appear mortified by these Yakku cries. Their monopoly media are turning hysterical. US-bankrolled Advocata suddenly becomes the leading capitalist stage set as English and Indian merchant houses, professors and economists, commercial chambers and employer federations, rush to save the import-export mafia, calling for more IMF bondage!
They wish to silence and demolish these Yakku, and if not, divert for the moment: our yearning for a truly modern industrial nation.
Enter then Commandante Dayan, this time from stage Extreme Centre. He salutes Left but shuffles Right. (see ee Focus, B1)
• Oil remains our largest import bill. The battle to control oil imports continues, despite attempts at nationalization. By 1961, the oil industry in Sri Lanka was still monopolized by Shell (England/Holland), Esso (US) and Caltex (US), stealing millions from the country. Caltex (also owned by Rockefeller’s Esso – now Exxon) controlled 20% of the market, while Shell had 60%. They owned all the retail outlets at strategic locations, and the bulk storage plants in Kollonnawa. They did not compete on price in their bulk products, petrol, diesel and kerosene. Competitors were restricted to service (and lubricants). It was vital for the government to import bulk oils directly, so they established a refinery to convert crude oil to petroleum, diesel and kerosene. The government took over some assets of the oil companies under legislation enacted in 1961, savings millions
The Sirimavo government policy of nationalization, and sending English and foreign capitalists away to ‘Ceylonize’ the economy, caused the inevitable backlash. After the attempts to control foreign oil companies, Sri Lankans who were fronting for the English – Chairman of Carson Cumberbatch, Basil Jesudason, Colonel F. C. de Saram of Leechman and Co., Edmund Cooray of Browns and Co., Mallory Wijesinghe of Bartleet – were prompted to overthrow the government, but failed. The government attempted to nationalize US oil companies who were behind the coup, and kicked out the remaining English bases, furthering a policy of Ceylonization. They also kicked out the US Peace Corps. However, the multinationals easily undermined those policies. Now, the US Peace Corps is back, and oil remains our largest import bill. (see ee Focus, Multinationals in National Costume)
A1. Random Notes –
• The Ululation of the Yakku Magnify • Loss of Political Sovereignty at Root of our Economic Woes • The State Must Fully Take over Distribution & Commence Rationing • Reductio Ad Abeyratnum • Private banks also want bailout! • Bank Apartheid • IMF Dead Ends • Capitalists still demand flexi work • Forget debt, IMF must Pay Reparations! • & When They No Longer Need Us • BBC & Worker Trafficking • 4 Historic Events to View the World • The Sound of Music?
A2. Reader Comments –
• What the BBC Promotes • Dayan & his Amigos • Whisky & Idiocy
A3. Quotes of the Week –
• Mangala tries to stir up anti-Chinese feeling • Import Substitution the Only Way! • Unhappiest about the abolition of private drug promotion • Isuzu lorry epitomizes • Hydroxyloroquine • War in China
B. ee Focus –
B1. The Flabbergasting Flipflops of Commandante Dayan – Thimbirivela Ranarala
B2. Notes on a National Economy
• Multinationals May Reappear in New National Costumes
• The Culture of Machinofacture – the invention of inventors, the manufacture of manufacturers.
• English Bulk Trading in their World Wars
• Long-Term Investment Needed in Fixed Capital
C. News Index
A1. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
Loss of Political Sovereignty is at the Root of our Economic Woes
Sovereignty is based on our power to choose the economic system most suitable for us. The IMF/World Bank allow certain types of investments in our countries, like labor-intensive plantations or primitive import-export manufacture, while they pursue more sophisticated industries in their countries (see Machinofacture below).
Having impoverished the majority of our people, who are cultivators, the chemical fertilizer industry in Europe and the USA directly promoted ‘green revolution’ because it expanded enormous demand for their chemical fertilizer, pesticides and insecticides, another huge import bill. Multinational companies (MNCs) such as Monsanto derive huge profits from glyphosate-based weedicides, which poison groundwater. Monsanto et al also derive huge profits from seeds, and have genetically modified (GMO) seeds to respond to their chemicals, and to prevent farmers growing their own seeds. In 2001, Sri Lanka became one of the first countries to ban GMOs, but had to rescind the ban within a month, when the US Government threatened the government, ably backed by the local import lobby
We must support modernization of the irrigation system, of rice agriculture, and protection of the rural home market as the basis for industrialization. This remains the priority for the economy. See this week’s news of for how sales of imported consumer durables have crashed due to lack of rural spending! (see ee Industry) Just as last week, we noted again, how the market in the Western Province alone is as big as of all of Thailand.
• The State Must Fully Take over Distribution & Commence Rationing
Merchants are demanding bailouts and trying to suspend labor laws and wage payments (see ee Workers). At the same time, they are working overtime to prevent the state fully taking over distribution and implementing import-substitution. Restricting imports alone will not do, without taking over distribution, and implementing rationing. Ultimately, the wasteful banking sector (76 institutions bleeding the people) must also be nationalized, and made to invest in industrialization. (see ee Finance)
• Reductio Ad Abeyratnum
Of course, what type of import substitution and how these steps should be taken requires immediate debate. Yet the media will not allow any rational conversation. Take Colombo economics Prof Srimal Abeyratne, who sniggers from his Sunday Times balcony that import substitution will take us back to bullock carts and push cycles! (see ee Economists)
From now on, ee shall refer to him as ‘Reductio ad Abeyratnum’. Attacking import substitution in their media is very popular these days – & since we endure a monopoly media, no other voices are heard. Inclusive indeed!
• Private banks also want bailout!
Economist WA Wijewardene has also come to bat for private banks. Yet, what have these banks and companies done with their profits for the last 72 years? Where have they invested or ferreted their money away to? And what will they do with the bailout money? Import cars again!
• Bank Apartheid & Flexi Work
“Our banks and our governments are not allowed to create money, and this is a feature of modern-day global apartheid”, writes one ee Reader. There may be no written law, but the capitalist media start squawking so loud if printing money is mentioned, it’s not allowed positive discussion.
Even worse, while the IMF, World Bank, G20 sweet-talk their concern for the ‘poor, daily-waged worker’, without telling us how this state of precarity came to be, they are not only still demanding flexi work and wage cuts again, they are demanding the suspension of labor laws! (see ee Workers)
• Forget debt: IMF Must Pay Reparations!
Ranil Wickremasinghe wants debts to be waived. He finally even admits: most our debt is to international (read: USA!) sovereign bonds. The IMF wants to forgive and suspend debt. (see ee Economy)
If there is going to be justice, then the IMF should pay reparations for ruining the country, undermining public health and education, and bringing us to this pass.
• “It’s very clear, financial capitalists worldwide have created a very problematic situation. On one hand, there will enable a huge demand shock (a sudden collapse of aggregate demand) deepening recession. One the other hand, they fear states entertaining fiscal expansionism will lead to states becoming stronger to the extent they will play a larger role in the economy. This is against the fundamental fiscally conservative model that IMF & WB promotes to the rest of the world. They fear states, which are publicly accountable entities, will become bigger players in their economies, over corporations, especially if states allow fiscal liquidation via bonds (eg Corona bonds). Fiscal liquidation means a financial stimulus via the state’s fiscal arm, the Treasury. State liquidation can also take place through the CB and the banking sector, which belong to the monetary arm of the state.
It would be very easy to solve this issue of financing the post-covid economy. The IMF can simply issue SDRs to buy the treasury bonds of governments. Yet the IMF, as an agent of the US Treasury, claims this would create inflation, leading to corruption, giving more power to states, which will create ‘authoritarian’ regimes. They fear state fiscal expansionism will make the state bigger and a more crucial part of the economy. The argument about inflation is correct; however, inflation will only be short-term inflation, as state liquidation will be based on underlying financial assets, and keep demand afloat. So the IMF is looking for more ‘creative’ ways of accommodating the issue. This means they want to fund the private sector without the state playing a role. This is still impossible, as in most states the CB is a state entity. (see ee Economists & Economy, for the number of business fronts, from the Chambers, etc, calling for aid from the IMF!)”
• US Twitter Wars in Asia
On the eve of the New Year, Twitter Sri Lanka decided to suspend China’s Colombo embassy account, for its criticism of the Wijeya media monopoly’s racist coverage of Covid. The US company Twitter’s punitive suspension followed right after the Trump administration decide to blame not just China but China’s Communist Party. (see ee Sovereignty, Bannon, Condoleeza). The Chinese embassy’s criticism of the pro-US Wijeya Media monopoly, then appropriately ignited a storm of anti-communist rhetoric in the Wijeya media group’s Daily Mirror and Sunday Times, etc., and Twitter suspension. Soon all the familiar NGO parrots from Gamini Viyangoda to Nalaka Gunawardene were shrilling about freedom, etc. Viyangoda even attempts to make a distinction between communism in Cuba and China! Viyangoda, an earnest supporter of the previous yahapalana government, was exposed for allegedly taking payments from Litro Gas and state-run Selacine TV. There’s nothing like a dollar to resuscitate an NGO corpse (see ee Sovereignty, People died)
One illuminating criticism of China, is our foregin-funded democracts demand that China allow foreign ‘social media’ to play the bull in China. But China has its own social media. These critics are so enslaved, they have no sense of national sovereignty at all!
• One year has passed since the April attacks on Hotels and Churches. Prior to those attacks ee noted the placing of a top terror expert into the English High Commission, and of ‘Ukrainian’ experts into the US embassy, plus transfers still unaccounted for, of materiels from US aircraft. (eesrilanka.wordpress.com/2018/11/02, eesrilanka.wordpress.com/2018/11/15)
• When They No Longer Need Us
An estimated 100,000 Sri Lankans are said to have lost their jobs overseas. Kuwait has asked all their expatriate labor population to leave the country. Other West Asian nations want employers to decide whether they should employ expat labor.
Meanwhile, doctors, educated for free, who fled to England and the USA, et al, suddenly wish to return home. After all, more Sri Lankans have died in England than in SL – – and all the NHS staff who have died are of Asian, African or Caribbean origin, although they make up only 40% of the staff.
It is a time when all countries are finding out who their friends really are. Australia who was but recently extolling how many Sri Lankans are studying there, has demanded those students leave! The most important aspect of the white mind is the ability to forget quickly. They’ll be back soon to telling us how ‘multicultural’ they are and all that white jazz. Is it not time to rebuild our own institutes of higher learning?
• BBC & Worker Trafficking
This week’s BBC told an incomplete tale of England importing Romanian workers to pluck fruit, but could not extricate it from the shadowy world of worker trafficking. It’s a b-zillion business that the BBC acts coy about, until some workers asphyxiate in a sealed bus and are then forgotten. Last month a Romanian village was up in arms about hiring Sinhala bakers. The story written in an NGO-style, told of ignorant villagers and their Church, against the workers and the boss. Romanians have long been exporting workers too, yet now amidst Covid. The English tale involves: “The Country Land & Business Association, which represents rural landowners in England and Wales… The flight, which has been chartered by an unnamed food produce company, has been booked by Air Charter Service (ACS), a company which specializes in arranging flights.” Why unnamed? Is it ABF, Booker, Sainsbury, Tesco? Who are the banks involved? Of course the BBC is not paid to link but to delink…
• 4 Historic Events to View the World:
1) 1492-1880: Division of the World between Spain and Portugal, followed by genocide in the Americas & the Pacific mainly through biowarfare, as well as invasions of Africa & Asia. 2) 1884 Berlin Conference Divides Africa between Europe’s Powers. 3) 1900: Division of the World between Europe’s Powers. 4) 1901: Invasion of China by 11 White Powers
• The Sound of Music?
What a hero he was in his pleated jodhpurs ironed by the maid he later married – & he could sing too! Well, what Hollywood’s celluloid never mentions is: Captain von Trapp was wounded invading China after the Boxer Rebellion when 11 white countries tried to carve up China: the English Empire, France, German Empire, US, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Russia, Japan… If you ever want ‘equal opportunity’ or ‘intersectional inclusion’, remember the term ‘equal opportunity’ was coined during that invasion, for the US said, if England can invade they also want, ‘equal opportunity’!
As for Von Trapp, he had no objection to fascism as such – quite happy with Engelbert Dollfuss’ repressive Austrian regime (which bombarded workers’ housing estates). He only objected to German fascism. He lived happily ever after in the white settler USA, who provide the real models for fascism!
A2. Reader Comments
• ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. To make it easier, please excerpt or summarize what is important about any article sent, or your comments, and place the e-link at the end. It’s better if you send them as email.
• What BS the BBC Promotes
“I learn what the global rulers want us to think (& not think) about other matters too, by noting what the BBC promotes. I had no clear idea of the 2 parties contesting the election in South Korea yesterday. But now, after reading BBC’s report on the election result, I suspect the current ruling party must be more oriented towards serving the people in general – including the poorer segments – rather than the interests of ruling global cabal. Why do I veer that way? Because BBC downplays the result so grossly. It did give strong coverage to the election – because of how the country went ahead despite Covid. Then, when results were out, the report on BBC news’ main page puts the spotlight on an opposition member who won a seat (cos he was a defector from North Korea –bbc.com/news/world-asia-52304781. It shows only this man’s picture (arms raised in victory) but not the winners. And the victory of the overall national election is downplayed in the headline as well as in the opening sentence: The party of S Korean President Moon Jae-in has won a decisive victory in parliamentary elections, with voters backing the govt’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. See that’s why this party won! Soon, that victorious opposition MP’s story is posted as a separate story with equal billing to the national result. (bbc.com/news/world-asia-52305447)
My prediction is, this is the only story that will remain on the main page of the BBC about that election. BBC is for me the best indicator of what the cabal wants.
• Dayan & his Amigos – “One Dayan on&off Colombo Telegraph/Financial Times ally is Tisaranee Gunasekera. Gunasekera, and Dayan’s other CT-FT ally Sarath de Alwis, love to quote Locke on ‘liberalism”, but totally misunderstand this ‘Father of Liberalism’. Locke was a major investor through England’s Royal African Company in the slave trade. Liberalism, for those still in its thrall, assumes a ‘Master Race’, which involves the right to own property (humans included) and the right to kill (especially original & Black people) for it. If you don’t believe, read the recently deceased Domenico Losurdo’s classic: Liberalism, a Counter-History.
Dayan Jayatilleka rightly quotes the need for us to be on the right side of history, of the importance of our alliance with the Russians, who at great sacrifice defeated Hitler’s Nazis. Yet his other journalistic CT-FT ally in arms, Sarath de Alwis, likes to quote dubious dead white people. He once ended yet another self-righteous screed against wannabe-Colombo’s poster-yaka Gota, by quoting of all people, theocratic trogolodyte & white Russian Solzhenitsyn of ‘Gulag Archipelago’ ignominy. Solzhenitsyn was made a poster-boy during the anti-communist tirades of the 20thC for his opposition to godless communism a& the USSR. Alwis’ yearning for rationality appears all the more irrational then because he also loves to quote Marx – a Marx extracted from his sensuality in the living world.
Would Alwis also insist, as Solzhenitsyn said of Russian culture, that Sinhala culture was more repressed than any other culture, since the colonial regime was always more afraid of uprisings among Sinhala Buddhists than among any other community? Then again, to the so-inclusive Alwis, arch-patriarchal Russian nuts are preferable to our therapeutic theras. As for those who invoke Hitler, for good and bad, it’s important to remember the Nazis looked upon successful white settler colonies like the US & Canada, as their elder brothers. The Nazis too, just like the US when invading China, were simply – & literally Liberally – demanding ‘equal opportunity’.”
• Whisky & Idiocy
“I was sent a notice about ‘Johnny Walker Black Label’ being offered over the internet for home delivery at a high price – 2 ads were placed in Lanka-ads page yesterday. They say they can deliver during curfew hours. Funny timing, no? Distributing stuff that most drinkers don’t want to drink alone! (other than for messaging to others, they took their tot, even if they didn’t) So why offer during Covid curfew? A: To continue the advertising image building, that people are ‘enjoying’ these things. Only addicts need to order alcohol these days, and for them the chemical is all that matters, not the label or price. So why market this expensive brand today? A: To show our wannabe-posh set, ‘See how big shots enjoy themselves’” (Vendor: Cargills)
A3. Quotes of the Week_
• “Mangala tries to stir up anti-Chinese feeling by tweet, asking why China doesn’t use Chinese airlines to airlift home Chinese expatriates in Sri Lanka. His bum-boy “Starboy” replies, on cue, it is because SL is now a “Chinese Colony”. The Chinese embassy replies, it is a commercial flight. That is, the Chinese are paying SriLankan for the airlift, rather than one of their own airlines, an act of generosity on their part. However, it is not the Chinese embassy’s reply which will be repeated ad nauseum by the moronic colombot supporters of Mangala, but his original tweet.
The UNP has an anti-govt strategy which it used successfully in 2015, and is trying again now: accuse the Rajapaksas of making Sri Lanka a Chinese colony. The nuance this time is, they repeat in a Goebbelesque fashion:
1. Gota is incompetent, he should have put the country in lockdown from the first – and he shouldn’t lockdown. 2. Gota is a Chinese stooge who has subordinated the country to the Chinese. 3. China originated the Sars-2 virus in order to control the world. Even non-related memes somehow manage to include at least one of these 3 slogans. This way, they kill 2 birds with one stone: attack the govt and at the same time please their white colonial masters. They hope their anti-China campaign will also force the government to go begging to the IMF, which will haemorrage support for the govt.”
• Import Substitution is the Only Way! (ee Dec 2019): “Today, import substitution is the only development method available to the Government. Tourism, touted to bring income, only helps [low-skilled] employment creation. Tourism does not bring in foreign exchange as most tourists cash dollars at private dealers and the intake of dollars does not get into government coffers. Only bank intakes get into government coffers. Further hotel bookings are mainly done through the internet where the hotelier is paid in Rupees but has to pay at least 15% and this goes out through a bank in foreign exchange. Under FDI too we incur a loss of foreign exchange as they (Pizza Hut, Uber etc) trade in Rupees but repatriate their profits in foreign exchange. Then there are the investors in water, power etc who trade in Rupees… but take away profits in foreign exchange. All this leaves Import Substitution as the only method to rejuvenate SL.” (Garvin Karunaratne, eesrilanka.wordpress.com/2019/12/28)
• “The people in Sri Lanka who are unhappiest about the abolition of private drug promotion have been the local detailmen [salesmen] and importers, for whom it had provided a comfortable livelihood. Many private practitioners are not happy about the loss of free samples and glossy, easily digestible literature on new drugs. However, it is not an issue which can be publicly aired – diverting their annoyance into complaints about drug quality…” – Lall & Bibile, The Political Economy of Controlling Transnationals: the Pharmaceutical Industry in Sri Lanka (1972-76)
• ‘The Isuzu lorry epitomizes the era of the socialist economy of Sirima Bandaranaike’s government spearheaded by the likes of NM Perera, Colvin R de Silva. Anil Moonesinghe imported the Isuzu chassis from Japan in order to break the Tata/Ashok Leyland duopoly. Isuzu gave the chassis at a concessionary rate. The Isuzu chassis was imported and distributed by Sathosa at a cost of around Rs 20,000. The typical wood and steel body was built locally. It used to transport locally produced goods around the country with a driver and a “cleaner”. “Samagi” occasionally filled in as family transport as well. It remained road worthy for over 30 years.” [ee: Yet we must learn to make engines!] –sltbbus.blogspot.com/2018/02/ctb-bodied-isuzu-bf-50-bus-from-slctb.html
• “Hydroxyloroquine maker CIPLA was founded by Khwaja Abdul Hameid, a brilliant Chemist from Bombay in 1935, not to make profit, but to save lives of millions of poor worldwide by producing low-cost drugs in direct defiance of US diktat. In 1975 when the US wanted to shut down CIPLA for patent violation in BP drugs, Mrs Gandhi called on Hameid. Hameid suggested to enact new Indian patent law excluding the final product but includes the process of manufacture of a particular life saving drug. Gandhi listened & did exactly that. US got furious. But then CIPLA went ahead & produced all life saving drugs – malaria bp diabetes HIV… u name it. India supplied these drugs to poor countries worldwide & saved millions & millions of lives around the world. Today the same west which once tried to shut down CIPLA is requesting India to supply HCQ.”
• ‘Now the European capitalists have placed their rapacious paws upon China, and almost the first to do so was the Russian Govt, which now so loudly proclaims its “disinterestedness”. It “disinterestedly” took Port Arthur away from China and began to build a railway to Manchuria under the protection of Russian troops. One after another the European governments began feverishly to loot, or, as they put it, to “rent,” Chinese territory, giving good grounds for the talk of the partition of China. If we are to call things by their right names, we must say that the European govts (Russian among the very first) have already started to partition China. However, they have not begun this partitioning openly, but stealthily, like thieves. They began to rob China as ghouls rob corpses, and when the seeming corpse attempted to resist, they flung themselves upon it like savage beasts, burning down whole villages, shooting, bayonetting, and drowning in the Amur River unarmed inhabitants, their wives, children. And all these Christian exploits are accompanied by howls against the Chinese barbarians who dared to raise their hands against the civilised Europeans.’ – Vladimir Lenin, The War in China
B. Special Focus____
B1. The Flabbergasting Flipflops of Commandante Dayan – Thimbirivela Ranarala
We have always thoroughly enjoyed the writings of Dayan Jayatilleka for almost 40 years now. DJ continues to surprise. His balletomanic flair to place his broad reading of the celebrated texts of scientific socialism, and of world history, before the twitchy toes of whichever power, bloodstained or beatific, he feels he must cravenly genuflect at, whether it be Fulbright or dim-bulb, continues to astound. And all through his somersaults, he affects the puffed-up decorated chest of a tocque macaque (rilau) acting out a liberationist homo-erectus.
We do not mean to insult monkeys or liberators here. So let us explain.
Yellow Peril, Red Menace, & the Wijewardene Monopoly
Commandante Dayan’s latest calling down of the haute tonalities, elegant silks and bewigged millinery of white “Democracy and Reason” decries the economic policies of the present President & government. They are again inscribed in the ample pulp of the Financial Times. (see ft.lk/columns/Coronomics-and-the-mutating-coronavirus-of-the-mind/4-698668)
FT belongs to the Wijeyawardene media monopoly (Lakehouse Printers & Publishers, LHPP), whose shining prince, the former PM Ranil Wickremasinghe, is presumably DJ’s perennial bête noire.
That this Wijeya Group, aka LLHP, has been indulging in the most repulsive anti-Chinese venom, appears not to staunch the drip of Dayan’s wavering pen propping up the supposedly grand but visibly crumbling tenets of liberalism, of which RW is the principal proponent.
While there is reason for the comprador Wijeyawardene monopoly to attack China, not just as the local foghorn of Yankee gunboat diplomacy, but also because China supports the Rajapakse-led ruling party, Jayatilleka’s fealty to them appears more curious.
None of this prevents Jayatilleka from propounding on not just “wrong ideas” and “xenophobic racist Fascism”, but on ‘growth rates’ sustained “only because of the resilience and dynamism of the Open Economy”, promulgated by another Wijewardene spawn, JR Jayawardene.
JR & Dayan’s Golden Eggs
Here are DJ’s own words now: “The new policy will slit the throat of the goose that laid the golden eggs, the Open Economy of 1977.” Golden eggs! Wow! Laid by the Open Economy’s chief architect JRJ who airily declared, ‘Health is one’s own business!’ So apropos for this Covid hour! And what government policy is Dayan most concerned about?
The policy of restricting imports. Why? Local demand cannot be met “by a policy guillotine on imports”. Whoa! The former Jacobin abjures his weapon of choice to turn common liberal as he glorifies the rule of import merchants – the real criminals who have prevented the true independence of the country, through industrialization. How tragic!
As for “growth rates”! Under colonialism, growth rates, exports and FDI were always high! Apparently, the adept DJ knows not that such indices, much like GDP and per-capita income, are dissimulations between thieves (until they fall out!)
Yet what amazes even more, beyond his clearly ill-informed if not downright disinformational attack on the policies attempted to effect economic independence from 1956 to 1977, are his vagabond ecstasies about the open-economy policies effected by JR Jayawardene, perhaps the greatest of destroyers the country has experienced since the Malay Kalinga dynasty invader Magha.
See how far this former leader of the Vikalpa groupuscule has traveled, who attempted to enact Che’s foco theory, in rebellion against what he saw as JR’s incipient fascism. This was before another volte-face – when he embraced the politics of JR’s equally repressive successor Ranasinghe Premadasa. Both JR & RP, along with the ‘open economy’, are eerily coterminous with all the “civil wars, revolutions & counterrevolutions, assassinations, terrorism & foreign intervention” he claims to decry.
Far from Havana
Thus it hath come to pass, he who gathered alphabetic academic accolades to rear-end his name by extolling the Cuban & Nicaraguan revolutions, must now recant those revolutions that precisely sought to free them from the coffee & sugar barons of New York, as we wish to do from the tea export & car import mafia. Then again, he is now a master recanter, who says he is “no longer a Marxist”.
Social-media Tectonics to Prevent State Distribution
Commandante DJ trembles and rumbles, quivers and quakes about the state’s rather limited restriction on imports, that has not even fully taken over distribution yet. He asks: ”Why this tectonic shift? There could be one of 2 reasons, or both. The first is there’s a looming foreign-exchange crunch. If this is the reason, just say it, instead of hailing the virtues of boosting local production through an imports quasi-lockdown.” From guillotine to geology to lockdown! What a comedown! The man has even lost control of his metaphors!
He has clearly been spending too much time on social media and not enough time in reality. The Central Bank is literally begging Sri Lankans and “well-wishers” to send foreign currency. CB Governor WD Lakshman was broadcast across all major channels at primetime talking about the difficulties the economy faces.
Cheating on the Level
Dayan proclaims the great democracy and elections the English bestowed upon us! A Tammany Hall game precisely designed to prevent economic democracy, stalling a united resolve to escape from the damnosa hereditas of an import-export economy. He claims, “The Sinhala middle bourgeoisie felt that with its controlling interest in the State through arithmetical-electoral preponderance, a State-run ‘closed economy’ was more advantageous vis-a-vis their ethnic minority economic competitors than the relatively level playing field of the Open Economy.”
A “relatively level playing field!” Let us be clear to him, and even to his critics, that no merchant economy can be level, or build a nation! No matter who does it, commerce is cheating! (Marx said this, and if you don’t like him, he was just quoting Benjamin Franklin!)
Even that Utopia of our mercantilists, Singapore, built its wealth on the basis of state-sponsored industry, not trade. Does Dayan wish us to embark on colonial crusades to gather loot, like his English and European antecedents who brought their variety of ‘enlightenment’ crashing down on our heads?
Sugar Tea & Coke
DJ loves to set up straw pambabayo! He sees behind a national economy, the hidden hand of ultra nationalists! (We can almost hear the cash registers of Unilever’s Grandpass, Ceylon Tobacco’s Ramanathan & Pettah’s Moor Street ring to throw him some loose change!)
DJ claims: “It is in the service of this ideology that the student unions of the radical Right (with “Nalin Sir” as guru) launched a coercive campaign in the early 1990s against CocaCola on campuses.”
Yet there have been mass campaigns across the world against the control of national food policy by Atlanta’s sugar barons, to whom millions of dollars flow from here every day via Singapore. Can we not make good nutritious drinks for our people? Are we destined to remain idiots?
Dayan’s glowing tributes to English legacies, appear more and more nauseating. The English bequeathed on Lanka at “Independence”, the most impoverished peasantry in Asia. And English banks continued to openly rob the economy! Something the journalism of our supposed brilliant scribes (including the Tarzies & Mervyns) simply failed to expose, or had to shy away from! Andayo indeed!
English Impose Bulk-buying & Rationing
DJ’s attempt to link opposition to the “open economy”, to Sinhalese ultra-nationalism, is hogwash. An open economy is a tool of strength in a strong economy; a weakness in a weak one. Can this supporter of the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions honestly say, a “closed” economy is not necessary at certain times, at least? Such as when the country is fearfully short of foreign exchange, as it is now?
Is he not aware of what the colonial English did during WW2? Has he ever heard of their bulk-buying and internal purchase policies (see ee Focus, B2)? The English also imposed rationing policies that were extended until the mid-1950s. Would he say this Covid situation we face is as bad if not worse than WW2? Is it not fundamental and vital for the state to take over distribution?
Independence & Imbalance
In anticipation of nominal independence, England accelerated the bleeding of the economy, from the end of WW2 to 1947. The country’s balance of payments fell consistently from 1945. A huge sterling surplus in 1945 was turned into a massive deficit in 1947. With the country forced to live by foreign trade, critical economic indices show falling national income and a 100-yard dash towards greater impoverishment and insecurity. Foreign income, which directly or indirectly constituted the bulk of the national income, began to fall rapidly. Foreign expenditure, which formed the bulk of the country’s essential expenditure, began to rise. The whole economy therefore plummeted downwards.
Any fool (but not DJ) will tell you that the new economic policy of 1956 was forced on the government by the shortage of foreign exchange due to the UNP’s profligate “open economy” of 1948-56. Any import-substitution economics of that era had very little to do with ‘ethnicity’, but everything to do with survival.
Import Substitution Began Under Dudley, ’65-70
The kalusuddha comprador class sought, throughout by assassination and coup and bribery, to return to the naked, unprotected trade of the pre-1956 “golden age”, when they were able to make huge profits by selling imported goods to locals. The UNP attempted to turn back the clock in 1965-70, but was unable to, probably because it would have had to override Philip Gunawardena.
The Dudley Senanayake UNP government made amiable plutocrat Gamani Corea, Permanent Secretary of a new Ministry of Financial Planning, 1965-70. By 1969, the economy was bankrupt, and witnessed a massive slew of strikes as workers tried to maintain living standards.”
Import substitution was introduced in agriculture, during that Dudley era by Gamani Corea. Corea once told economist SBD de Silva in the Central Bank dining-room: “If we cut the import of potatoes we can save Rs20mn”. Austin Fernando at a funeral told SBD, “Whether we like it or not we will have to be a closed economy.” Dudley’s Cabinet Minister MD Banda met Sri Lankans in Bangkok, where Banda foretold, “If we lose the next election it would be because of inflation and unemployment.”
Dayan Gathers the Old Rogues:
Dayan wants an “Emergency Economic Roundtable of Experts, imperatively including the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS)” of Razeen Sally infamy. He wishes to bring together “stellar economists, the corporate sector, state economic managers, trade unions and leaders of all political parties for a virtual Emergency Economic Summit”?
Now Sri Lanka was one of the first Asian countries to globalize. Yet after the 40 years since 1977, these Sri Lankan “corporates” have brought absolutely no new industry or production to the country.
In the 1970s, the IMF et al, promoted dirty, low-tech, labor-intensive industries, which would not directly compete with those highly valued in white economies, involving the latest science and technology. Meanwhile, the import-substitution industries we created in the early 1970s,were foreign-exchange driven, only manufacturing products of a non-essential type.
State must Control Distribution
In the early 1970s, price controls, foreign exchange and import controls alone, only created a particular market, including an underground market for imported goods which were smuggled into the country. Privileged classes in these conditions make money out of the serious shortages of such goods. That is why the government, like England during WW2, not only introduced price controls, but also controlled distribution of these goods!
The very scarcity of goods (there was both a severe food & oil crisis by 1974) created a very high demand for imported goods. And goods which were imported as raw materials or input for industries were distributed by the government for consumption, treating them as final goods. This allowed the bourgeoisie – with their special connections to the state – to enrich themselves further as they had never done during the previous government because the circumstances were not there. They created an economy, a scarcity economy, without enforcing that economy in a stringent way.
JR then enabled them to do legally, what they were doing underground.
Dayan, Premadasa Senior & the Juki Fiasco
Then there was the Dayan who with Tisaranee Gunasekera, the born-again human rights activist, who turned big fanboys of the reign of R Premadasa. Premadasa’s industrial policy came about because he needed a program to prevent the alienation of rural youth, which had provided fertile ground for the JVP insurrection of 1987-89. Austin Perera at the Ministry of Industries, drew up a program for rural industrial growth. Bank credit and other inducements were offered for industries moving into rural areas, utilizing locally available raw materials and resources as much as possible.
However, this did not capture RP’s imagination. Nor did DJ & TG, who were busy atop the boardroom table of the CB, laying out the National Economic Review, convince him otherwise.
What did arrest RP’s imagination was a suggestion by Kumarasiri Rambukpotha of the People’s Bank. The easiest way to shift industry to the countryside, KR claimed, was to provide funds and garment quotas to garment manufacturers relocating in rural areas. Thus was born the 100/500 garment factory program. The raw materials and machine goods & parts would all come from overseas. The importers were thrilled. Japan’s Juki was thrilled. Germany’s Groz-Beckert, the world’s biggest manufacturer of needles, was thrilled. English Hong Kong elated. Taiwan exhilarated. All of empire’s dupes now moved in on Sri Lanka’s internationally allotted quotas!
Hitting the Government from All Sides
So what exactly is DJ attempting to do at this point? It is abundantly clear. Perhaps he is suffering from post-eminence syndrome, a viperish post-VIP viral megalomania, having been gracefully offered a tropical sabbatical after being saved from another Moscow winter.
It is simple. As ever, he is summoned for a mission. And with every St-Paul reversal, he can only fall down on his knees beside his ass, and cry, “Yes! Lord!” For all the whites’ forces and all whites’ thinktanks are frightened by the rising call for a national economy, and he’s ready to serve!
Serve multinationals and their import merchant satraps who are supposedly frightened such moves as import restrictions will permanently harbinger the removal of their fangs from our veins! How sad that such a mind has grown so decadent. Those who he chooses to part with are those who endured through the last 5 years of disaster, and for 500 before that.
He instead finally and blatantly joins in the imperialist project to hit the present government from all sides. Ex-Left NGOs, the TNA & SMLC, red-cloaked entities like the JVP, and of course his favored ultra-rightists, will soon start to wail to drown out the cry of the Yakku.
And this is also what the anti-China campaign of the Wijewardena monopoly, who amplifies Dayan’s muddling, aims to do. By calling Lanka a ‘colony of China’, they wish to alienate the SLPP from China, forcing the SLPP to go to the IMF, thereby alienating them from their nationalist base.
General Dayan, as the empire’s pigeon, wishes to inform us (as well as the army, interestingly), we await the fate of a Serbia, Iraq, Libya or Iran. Yet sovereignty is also based on our ability to choose the economic system most suitable for us. And our loss of political sovereignty is at the root of our economic problems.
B2. Notes on a National Economy – Multinationals May Reappear in New National Costumes
The cry is rising across the country for a national economy. We must now ensure the agents of multinationals, who still monopolize our supply chains, do not reappear in new guises to hijack the attempt at a national economy, albeit wearing national or religious ‘costumes’
Some may claim to be national businesses, yet do not source local supplies or invest in building modern machinery! We must not fool ourselves again by claiming mere assembly & manufacture as modern national industry, protecting merchants who’ll now reappear clothed in national/religious garb.
• Fake Nationalization
After the attempted coup against Sirimavo Bandaranaike government, Royal Dutch Shell first set up Lankem Ceylon in 1964 as an agro chemical business. When Sri Lanka started encouraging local ownership, the company acquired local investors and listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange. In 1969, again under Dudley Senanayake, the Import Controller had informed England’s Shell Company that in order to be recognized “as a truly Ceylonese company”, “it should have its own staff… its own office and be free of control by Shell”. The Shell Company of Ceylon Ltd. then tried to use ‘Ceylonization’ to terminate other workers. In 1970, workers at the Oil Companies (Shell, Caltex and Esso) struck work in sympathy with the Lankem workers. The Labour Commissioner rendered the strike illegal by referring the dispute to Compulsory Arbitration. Unions noted that “The setting up of Lankem Ceylon Ltd., illustrated the fake character of so-called Ceylonisation in the import trade, in respect of Imperialist Companies like Shell.”
• Industrialization is not just for Resolving Balance of Payments
Those who do know, or may say, we need industry, say we need it to resolve our balance-of-payments crisis, that industrialization is also needed for foreign exchange. So we can get FDI by selling young women & men to other countries out west, increasing gambling & prostitution, selling heroin.
The industrial revolution in England was not carried out to enable balance of accounts, but due to its self-expanding character and quality. Modern industrialization has to be distinguished from pre-capitalist and capitalist forms of production, from domestic and factory industries. Our ‘stellar’ economists classify garments as industry but they are pre-industrial revolution.
An industrial policy must be devised not just to resolve balance of payments. Industrialization is far more complex than that. Import substitution must also be carried out, not as a response to a balance-of-payments problem, or to gain FDI, or export markets, but as part of a holistic political, economic and military industrial policy.
• Long-Term Investment Needed in Fixed Capital
Transformation takes place when investment is first made in fixed capital. Trading capital never invests in fixed capital, only in vehicles & warehouses that can be gotten rid of quickly! They can’t dispose industrial investments in fixed capital & fixed equipment quickly, and workers have to be treated better.
Industrialization is not just about capital with workers, housing, roads, transport and so on, but about increasing the productivity of labor. To increase the productivity of labor, fixed capital involves plant and machinery. It has to become a process of making machines.
We need to mobilize the surplus, and we have an enormous surplus. People have 2 to 3 cars, with children sent to international schools. There is a huge surplus of accumulated capital, but it is not capital in the form of producer goods, it is capital mostly in the form of money.
An industrial economy, by definition has a high productivity of labor, has a high rate of capital accumulation. Without capital accumulation, nothing can be done or hoped for. So we need capital, in the form of producer goods.
There is production capital, like making furniture, or garments, and production capital that is more complex, needing a high level of technology and of risk with special kind of investment of capital. We need fixed capital, and fixed capital where plant & machinery predominate instead of capital of the purely infrastructure type. Highway & railway don’t create new goods, but merely help a larger process.
• The Culture of Machinofacture – the invention of inventors, the manufacture of manufacturers.
People are increasingly advocating making our own goods. Sustaining such industry, requires not just the making of consumer goods but the making of the machines (the capital goods) that make consumer goods. This is where the real wealth and the power lies. There are three eras of production. Manufacture, machinofacture and systemofacture. The next highest culture is the making of machines – machinofacture –
Machinofacture is the process of manufacturing machines using machines, progressively separating mental labour from manual labour, and subordinating labour to the requirements of commodity production. Systemofacture is manufacture using systemic, electronics-based automation technologies, leading to the disappearance of specialised, highly-skilled occupations, such as welding – a further development of the separation of mental from manual labour.
What is the culture of machinofacture? Machinofacture is based on the culture of the making of one commodity leading to another: eg growing sugar cane to make sugar, & its pulp used for biofuel, paper, packaging & building materials. It’s not just about developing local resources & supply chains, but of the making of machines, based on efficiency (vs waste), planning, elegance, simplicity, with new combinations of knowledge & skill. It involves measurement processes of fixing, sliding, turning & relocating, of true flat & cylindrical surfaces, and of screw threads, which together create a system of standardization, precision, and interchangeability, enabling a culture of professionalism & expertise. We must reject the narrow ideas of art & culture promoted for slaves – superstars & celebrities.
A Short History of Producer Culture: From the capitalist division of labour, that broke up what one worker did into several different actions by different workers (like in the making of a pin), with the making of interchangeable parts (for guns and watches) and precision machine tools to measure and make parts (through lathes, drilling and boring, with improved ways of cutting, bending and punching) leading to devaluing workers into skilled and unskilled, and to the mechanization of tool making, and then to Taylorization, where brain work was removed from the shopfloor, which was redesigned, leading to Fordism, with the assembly line of moving production lines, then automation with use of mechanical cams leading to electrical relay switches, and then electronic equipment and now robots…
• Bulk Trading
SBD de Silva’s Master’s thesis, published in Melbourne, 1954, Long-term Contracts and Bulk Trading, recalls a most invaluable lesson for us today. Despite all the media rhetoric opposing state involvement in the economy, it shows how the English government always intervenes to ‘rescue’ themselves & capitalism.
And not just in 1939.Whenever the English face even a short-term severe crisis (tho we’ve been in such crisis for decades, especially since ‘in/dependence’) they abandon the facade of ‘free trade’ and ‘laissez faire’, as the bank & corporate bailouts since 2008 show. Even earlier, they protected their economy, through such schemes as “Allied Food Council” in 1918, “Imperial Preference” after the 1930s slump, etc. Their ‘Internal Purchase Scheme’ here, during their WWII, guaranteed wages and prices, plus severe import controls and rationing. Now let’s examine this bulk trading business:
The English during their WWII, and for years after, conducted the trade of our major export commodities on the basis of long-term bulk contracts with London, and retained a centralized State Trading on a government-to-government basis rather than through private trade channels. It enabled stable prices for both producers and consumers; and was means to control imports, guarantee supplies through efficient storage and transport, and ensure food rations.
C. News Index___
• ee’s new format provides headlines and links. It’s strongly recommended readers scan carefully the ee News Index to gain a sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’.
(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.
• Malwatu Oya Soya (in Search of Malwatu Oya)
‘A Journey to the Heart of Civilization of Lanka Dedicated to the Children of the Irrigation Civilization’
• Who is politicizing the Covid-19 crisis, for whose benefit?
‘Weerawansa demanded that Deshapriya first stop Hoole politicizing the Corona crisis, which the latter was unashamedly still doing. Hoole had told the BBC, quite falsely as usual with him, that under Gotabhaya the country was moving towards a dictatorship.’
• Normalcy not far off, the question is how long
‘The President noted “this is not a time to follow the traditions as required by a religion or race. This is a time to think about the country. We must remember that we can jump over this grave only if we think collectively as human beings.”
• Indian Communities in SL Spreading Anti-China Hate Condemned
‘China-bashing has raised its ugly head again. A section of Lankans display their anti-China hatred at any given moment. The twitter account of the Chinese embassy in Colombo was not functioning for some time and it was made into a China-bashing event. To their misfortune and for the fortune of most Sri Lankans, it soon came back live. The same group demonizes China for helping SL financially… Their sympathisers also join them in bashing China. The majority community loves China.’
• US threatened us when I nationalized the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation – Sirimavo
• Canines & the moving caravan
‘The USA tried to prematurely pin the label of perpetrator on China… The USA’s apparent prescience was a clear giveaway on their part.’
• China lied, people died: media platforms rage against Covid cover-up – Wijeya Media
• Twitter restores Chinese Embassy’s account
‘The Twitter handle of the Chinese Embassy in SL which was suspended on April 13, has been restored by the social media platform today. The official account…(@ChinaEmbSL) said Twitter ‘apologized for the mistake and reopened’ the account. Meanwhile, an Embassy spokesperson said the account was suspended without informing any specific reason.’
• War communism – Slavoj Zizek
‘When the state does not do its job and either the mafia take over distribution or where street committees look after the weakened’
• China between the World Wars
An interesting series, somewhat objective…
• Bolivia Coup is Rooted in White Racist Backlash
Last year’s “coup has to do with the racist backlash against President Evo Morales and the whole process of indigenous revalorization and empowerment,” said Dr Tathagatan Ravindran, a Colombia-based prof of anthropology & sociology. After 500 years of white supremacy, “in the 21stC indigenous people took over the leadership of social movements against neoliberal policies” and “brought the first indigenous president to power…this created a major backlash on the part of the white & mestizo elite.”
• The Hungarian Revolution 1919
• Crimea in the Great Patriotic War
‘On April 15-16 Soviet troops reached the outskirts of Sevastopol and began preparations for the assault on the city.’
• Canada is part of US Military Complex
‘Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland gives away the game! “By US law, Canada is part of the US military-industrial complex,” Freeland said Fri… a US State Dept memo dug up by our co-coordinator and reported on by The Grayzone revealed, the US State Dept was of the opinion that by naming Freeland Foreign Affairs Minister, Canada had adopted an “America First foreign policy.”
(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 legitimate 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 as the basis of a turlu independent nation.
• SLAF conducts surveillance operations to monitor illegal entry by sea
• Smoking Cessation in SL: a Silver Lining in the Covid Crisis?
• GMOA complains to DGHS about not sharing data with them
• Security forces discover cash worth Rs140mn linked to terrorists (2019)
‘PM Ranil Wickremesinghe abolished the former Foreign Exchange Control Act and introduced the new Foreign Exchange Act to SL… The new act was introduced disregarding warnings of economic experts. Former chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chandra Jayaratne raised his concerns, stressing that the new act paves the way for foreign currency inflow, without any scrutiny.’
• US Secret Service advisory on cyber threat
‘According to the US Secret Service advisory, attackers are using 2-decade old Microsoft Office memory corruption vulnerability (CVE-2017-11882), for which MS released a security patch Nov/17.’
• Could Existing Vaccines Help?
Interesting new BCG vaccine issue – if born in SL, China, SE Asia etc, we’re all immunized vs TB (that scar on shoulder), while in N America, Italy, Spain etc, no mass immunization. BCG could be immediately used to protect health workers…
• Mafia Aid May Come at a Steep Price in S Italy
‘Food deliveries in Naples also give mafiosi cover for drug dealing and other illicit activities… Some 3.3 million people work off-the-books jobs in Italy, about 5% of the country’s total population.’
(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.
• Covid-19 meets catch-22: the election conundrum – Dayan Jayatilleka
‘In the face of a global Great Depression, humanity will need, if it is to survive & recover, a new, New Deal, Rooseveltian-Keynesian, at national, regional/continental & global levels; a new humanist international order suffused by social democracy, universal welfarism & demand stimulation through a minimum wage. That translates in SL into a new, social democratic ‘3rd Vector’ that is neither UNP neoliberalism nor Sirimavo-NM austerity & involuted ‘de-coupling’ from the world market/economy.’
• Weak immunity – Abeyratne
‘I thought to myself, if necessary, we can limit even pharmaceuticals and fuel imports. For the former, we need to divert our people into indigenous medicine and healthcare – ayurveda. For the latter, we can get back to bullock carts & push cycles… new import controls are hailed by those who think we should go back to a “non-globalizing” economic system with controls over interactions & transactions with the rest of the world.’
• Post-Covid reconstruction: Banks alone cannot bail out the economy – Wijewardene
‘A section of politicians & civil society leaders has been critical of banks for not being of help, maybe sufficiently, to people for resuscitating the economy now virtually dead… the year has been extremely profitable to financial industry… made an after-tax profit of close to Rs150bn in 2019.’
• New Year hopes expectations & hard realities – Sanderatne
‘Informal daily paid workers constitute an estimated 59% of non-agricultural workers, and they have no employment & income. Most of them do not have savings to tide over a period of unemployment… they could be saved only by the efforts of the Govt to deliver free food & charitable community actions… on most occasions, the truly deserving do not get these benefits of food & money, unintended beneficiaries do, when such Govt interventions take place.’
• So, now we are all Marxists!
‘Kapital-II is where the ground for a crisis-theory of finance-capital is found… But global financial crises do not transpire at barricades & in insurrections, nor even in technology or productivity. They mature in the circuits of capital – finance, debt, investment, disinvestment, disruption of chains of supply in finance & goods, in balance of payment skirmishes. Think of the depression we are sleep-walking into; the villains are debt, deficit, QE, interest rates, asset-prices, trade balances & trade wars’
• Economic impact of Covid & future challenges
‘When considering the technology sector, China is the leading exporter of electronic components, with nearly 30% of the global export market. Disruptions in deliveries are particularly harmful for countries highly dependent on electronic supplies from China.’
• Coronomics & the mutating coronavirus of the mind – Dayan Jayatilaka
‘The new policy (resticting imports) will slit the throat of the goose that laid the golden eggs, the Open Economy of 1977.’
• Is Covid a path towards the philosophy of Karl Marx?
‘One billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty’
• Pathfinder sets up eminent panel to prepare post-Covid economic strategy
‘Pathfinder Foundation has set up a study group chaired by Pf Senior Fellow & former CB Gov Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy, to prepare a set of action-oriented recommendations… Dr Sisira Pinnawala, Dept of Sociology University of Peradeniya, and Dr Ganeshan Wiganaraja, ED Lakshsman Kadirgamar Institute, will serve as principal authors… The Study Group…20 leaders from academia, research & private sector, include Profs Sirimal Abeyratne, Saroj Jayasinghe, Rohan Samarajiva & Muttukrishna Sarvanthan, Ashroff Omar, Dr Hans Wijayasuriya, Krishan Balendra, M Mushin.’
• Post-Republic “Weimar America”, Here We Come! Virus Hysteria Adds $10trn to National Debt
‘It took less than a week to get the pushover congress to ram through a massive $2.2trillion boondoggle without even one lousy congressman offering a peep of protest. That’s got to be some kind of record. In 2008, at the peak of the financial crisis, Congress voted “No” to the $700bn TARP bill. Some readers might recall how a number of GOP congressmen bravely banded together and flipped Wall Street “the bird”. That didn’t happen this time around. Even though the bill is 3 times bigger than the TARP ($2.2trn), no one lifted a finger to stop it. Why? Fear, that’s why.’
(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.
• Strategy for economic revival to be launched this weekend – Pres
• SL should consider loan waivers – Ranil Wickremesinghe
‘”We can ask China, but whether it is China or any other country, they will all have to take a policy decision. If you give one, you have to give the others… But our problem is that the bulk of our foreign loans, about 50% of our debt is international sovereign bonds. SL has to pay a billion $s in a few months time. We take it off our reserves and our reserves will come down. I can’t see any new money coming in. Earlier we balanced it out and we are on the path to repayment. I think the govt is now talking with the IMF and they have restored the revenue to the levels that the IMF wanted, but it is going to be difficult. We will somehow pay this money I feel, but our reserves will go down further and there is no way of meeting that gap. So, we are all going to be in trouble, if not by this year then by next year. The creditor countries must look favourably on the debtor countries, ” he said.’
• Ceylon Chamber proposes public-private shared vision for accelerated economic recovery
‘Engagement with multilateral institutions such as the IMF, ADB and World Bank with a view to securing immediate excepting funding support. ‘
• CBSL reduces Bank Rate to 10% to help expand economy
‘The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of SL on 15 April… A Bank Rate is the interest rate at which the CB lends money to commercial banks in the form of short-term loans. Managing the Bank Rate is a method by which the CB affects economic activity. Lower bank rate can help expand the economy by lowering the cost of funds for borrowers. The move is also expected to enhance the commercial banks’ liquidity position.’
• President explores possibility of restarting economy
‘Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Secretary to the President PB Jayasundara, Principal Advisor to the Pres Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary Defence Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Bhadrani Jayawardena, Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva, Commander of SL Navy, Rear Admiral Piyal de Silva, Commander of Air Force, Air Marshal Sumangala Dias, Acting IGP CD Wickremaratne & Director Gen of Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe attended this meeting.’
• Covid could alter SL’s strategic economic focus to food security & agriculture: Report
‘Murtaza Jafferjee, Managing Director at JB Securities Ltd, Colombo-based stockbrokerage… most worried about foreign investors fleeing the international sovereign bonds issued by SL, excoriated the govt for its decisions to ban non-essential imports, suspension of purchase of ISBs by licensed banks and easing of forex rules to attract foreign currency.’
• Central Bank further reduces interest rates
• Cutting imports to ease pressure on falling Rupee – CB governor
‘Govt measures to suspend all non-essential imports in a desperate bid to halt foreign exchange outflows and stabilise the rupee will result in a forex saving of US$923.1mn per month, official provisional data revealed. The savings from the suspension of motor vehicles imports alone would vary between $48-65mn per month, with some months higher than the other. The loss in tax revenue (from vehicle imports) will be in the region of $20.8mn (Rs4bn) per month and $249.6mn (~Rs48bn) per annum… This data indicated the cost of vehicle imports is more than double the vehicle tax revenue per month and more than treble the annual vehicle imports to annual tax revenue… But some of the leading franchise vehicle dealers have already placed orders to import around 1000 vehicles within the next 3 months and this will create an issue during the opening of Letters of Credit. There will be a shortage of vehicle spare parts as result of the govt’s decision to suspend non essential imports… As of Apr2… net capital outflows of ~$363mn (0.4% of GDP) since mid Feb, mostly from the domestic treasury securities market, official data showed… If a country’s import cost is more than export revenue… leads to a trade deficit compelling it to resort to foreign borrowings to pay for extra imports, officials said.’
• SL unlikely to meet FDI targets for 2020
‘Sri Lanka has received around $370mn worth of FDI this year which includes a massive $250mn mixed development project by Shangri-La to build an apartment & shopping complex in Colombo.’
• IMF to delay the final bailout tranche
‘The disbursement of the final tranche of the IMF’s US$1.5bn bailout to help SL avert a balance of payments crisis will be delayed by at least 3-4 months…The 7th and final review under the EFF arrangement was scheduled to take place after mid-April… given the forthcoming elections and the pandemic, it remains to be seen whether conditions will be in place with sufficient time left for a review to be concluded before the expiration of the arrangement in June”…the disbursement of the final tranche of the EFF is likely to be delayed for several months after June, other official sources said.
• How SL can survive the upcoming recession & come out stronger: 2-year to-do list
‘Global Foreign Direct Investment is on track to decline by 40% this year… Any future support from the IMF will likely come with its previously bowtied string of a Monetary Law Act… Also, this is the time to do everything in our power to salvage and expedite the MCC grant; a $480mn investment in the next 5 years will be a godsend… This is a good time to build a network of perishables warehouses around the country; starting with the completion of the Dambulla warehouse currently under construction. Previous studies on the matter have identified Katunayake, Keppetipolla, Jaffna, Embilipitiya, Welimada &Trincomalee as potential locations for warehouses. It will also help to provide tax relief to the logistics industry to import logistics equipment (freezer trucks, pallettes, sorters, etc). The Govt has previously had discussions with the industry leaders including John Keells Logistics, Finlays, Dilmah, and even platforms such as PickMe Food regarding this’
• WB forecasts recession in SL
• WB warns of dismal economic outlook for S Asia
“South Asia alone harbors nearly 1.9 billion people and some of the world’s most densely-populated cities. The ramifications of the pandemic — dwindling tourism, consumer spending, and investments, as well as disruptions in the supply chain — have all detrimentally impacted South Asia’s economic growth forecast”..The most deeply-impacted economy will be the Maldives, whose main industry of high-end tourism could see output slashed by up to 13%. India, which experienced a 5% economic growth the previous year, may only grow as much as 1.5%.’
• IMF Executive Board approves immediate debt relief for 25 countries
• IMF reviewing SL’s request for a Rapid Credit Facility
• WB sees ‘huge willingness’ to suspend debt for poorest countries
‘World Bank Managing Director Axel van Trotsenburg said the Group of 20 major economies and the G7 had been largely supportive of a call by the WB & IMF for a temporary halt in debt payments.’
• Japan offers $930 virus stimulus payment to all residents
(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
• Employers & their ability to pay post-Covid – Former EFC Chair
‘1. Giving assistance to SMEs is not the total solution. The jobs of any quality are supplied by the larger business houses. It is not only the direct employees but all those who figure in supply chains.
…5. Enforcement of laws now would kill not only current employment but prevent labor-intensive employment in the future. Our laws are not conducive to investment when looked at regionally…
7. The President should summon all the leading unions & leaders, esp Anton Marcus, who speaks for garment sector workers & have some national consensus on suspending the enforcement of laws for a period of 3 months at least & with a view to review the situation then. Desperate times need innovative thinking & strong leadership which the President could give…We need political will to help the business community out of this situation which is aggravated by labor laws which were meant for a socialist economy which is good so long as there is flexibility given to business to survive. This is consistent with “free trade with a human face…”
• Managing the labor crisis post-Covid
‘2) Immediate reforms to Labor Laws to permit staggered/flexi working hours, online work, shorter day weeks, flexible work arrangements and job sharing that suit employers & employees… 3) Put in place a moratorium for penalties for delayed EPF and ETF payments.’
• Worker falls to death at Kolonnawa Fuel Storage Terminal
• Softlogic Group announces across-the-board pay cuts
‘Softlogic Group, which has over 10,000 staff, has announced a pay cut as a result of the Covid crisis for most categories of staff rising up to 30% for those who earn above Rs1million.’
• CFL salutes frontline C-19 warriors, shoots 20% EPF refund proposal
‘“The kite-flying on the proposal to release 20% of the balance lying to the credit of EPF members is an insidious attempt to get at the over 2trillion rupee Fund of over 2.5mn members for purposes other than worker welfare. This move has to be defeated by the wage earners who own the fund in their own long term interests. Too many pre-retirement withdrawals are bound to affect the fund-holders and render them paupers at the end of their working life.”’
• Belt Tightening
‘Several leading companies in SL, eg Brandix, John Keells Group, Softlogic Group, & national carrier SL Airlines, have informed employees of a reduction in pay & allowances with immediate effect.’
• Post Covid-19 recovery plan
‘Due to the closure of the Colombo airport and also airports in West Asia, the country may have lost about 25,000 to 35,000 jobs – which is the average number of those going abroad on employment per month. Industry sources say that with 1.7 million Sri Lankan workers abroad, the industry supports at least 5 million people. The sector also provides benefits to a substantial segment of businesses like medical centres, transportation, immigration office, photo shops, hotels, travel agents, duty free shops, cargo services and courier companies etc.’
• Foreign Minister discusses impact of Covid on Lankan migrant workers
‘Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labor Relations Dinesh Gunawardena met with the secretaries and senior officials of the Ministry… & the SL Bureau of Foreign Employment…referring to approximately over one million Sri Lankan migrant workers, who are employed largely in the Middle East, SE Asia, East Asia, Europe, and Africa regions.’
• SLBFE extends resources of Workers’ Welfare Fund to all Lankan migrant workers
‘SL Bureau of Foreign Employment to make available resources from the Workers’ Welfare Fund, originally confined to those registered with the Bureau, to all migrant workers, irrespective of their registration status’
• Answering the Call of Duty: Medical Professionals of SL
‘The nearly 20,000 doctors and over 30,000 nurses of Sri Lanka have all the same problems we do in their households… Sri Lanka is also a net exporter of medical doctors.’
• Why comeback by UK doctors?
‘It is obvious why these doctors want to return all of a sudden. Surely because they are not safe in England and do not trust the NHS in the UK. One consultant has already died. I wonder what the GMOA has got to say to this.’
• SLI’s free insurance cover for state workers
‘extended to all health care employees in the state sector – Health Ministry officials, Drs, Nurses, Attendants, Drivers, Minor workers, Public Health Inspectors, Regional Health officials etc, members of the Armed Forces, members of the Divisional Secretariats including field officers, members of the District Secretariat and members of the Postal Dept.”
• Editorial Wish for a healthy New Year
‘Medical specialists and anaesthetists, nurses and minor staff especially from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Welikanda, Mulleriyawa, and Homagama hospitals, at ground level, the medical officers and Public Health Inspectors, Military Intelligence and local police and last but not least the 1990 ambulance service personnel who have shouldered the responsibility and been in the forefront’
• Is downsizing the right thing – National Chamber of Exporters
‘When downsizing is a knee-jerk reaction, it has long-term costs. Employees are more likely to be the source of innovation and renewal during tough times.’
• ADB: Keeping supply lines open to protect frontline health workers
• Western Union money transfers now delivered to home
• ICT sector presents proposals to Pres to revive sector
‘Federation of Information Technology Industry said the ICT industry represents a workforce of over 100,000 with a vision to uphold its contribution to 200,000 direct employment and US$5bon exports and enabling the launch of 1,000 start-ups by 2022.’
• Venezuela announces 6-month rent suspension, guarantees workers’ wages, bans lay-offs
• Germany calls on migrant medics to help tackle coronavirus
‘Country has 14,000 Syrian refugee doctors waiting for qualifications to be approved…’
• Farmworkers being flown into UK from Romania to help meet demand for food
‘More than 100 fruit and vegetable pickers are being flown to the UK from eastern Europe to work on farms in Lincolnshire… facing increased demand from supermarkets amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Despite large numbers of people losing their jobs in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, a number of farm jobs remain vacant…Many of the jobs are often filled by migrant workers, but Country Land & Business Association, which represents rural land owners in England and Wales, says travel restrictions have made it difficult to fill them this year. A special flight has now been chartered to bring around 180 workers from Bucharest …be taken by bus to farms across the South East of England and Lincolnshire where they will harvest crops… The flight, which has been chartered by an unnamed food produce company, has been booked by Air Charter Service, a company which specialises in arranging flights.
• Liberals’ Covid Support Measures Reveal Crisis in Canada’s Low-Wage Job Market
‘Along with US, Canada has one of the highest share of low-paid workers in the OECD. In the name of ‘flexibility’, reforms in the 1990-2000s established a labor market in which a succession of McJobs was expected to serve as the primary shock absorber for working-class families. In turn, the role of Employment Insurance (EI) was to underwrite the low-wage economy.’
• Southern Labour is Key to Change in US, hence Canada & the World
‘The southern economy has vastly changed since the 1930-40s. Coal has virtually disappeared and is not coming back. Textile production is gone. Basic steel is also gone, although certain types of steel fabrication remain. Yet, the South has a far greater economic dynamism than it ever had. It has a large number of economically vital cities, including Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Charlotte, Memphis, and many others. It is an expanding arena for auto production (especially among foreign transplants) as well as a growing center for auto parts production. Oil and other energy production are important, while new industries from catfish farms, chicken and pork growing and processing, and other food production, to aerospace have emerged.
(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.
• 2nd phase of procuring vegetable & fruit harvest from farmers commences
‘During the first phase of this program, carried out on April 11-12, a total of 10mn kilos of vegetables were procured and distributed across the country, according to the Presidential Task Force. The procurement process is continuing in a transparent manner without the intermediaries as the harvest is directly purchased from the farmers, the Task Force said further.’
• Paddy sector declared essential service; troops given powers to ensure fair price
‘Another measure that the Task Force will adopt is to ask Grama Niladharis to monitor prices at which rice in particular is being sold by vendors who bring stocks in lorries. This is a prelude to direct the Police to arrest such vendors, the sources said.’
• Post harvest losses & Open vs Closed economy
‘Almost a thirds of the fruit and vegetables worth billions of rupees are wasted in post-harvest losses…. Although the state-owned Cooperative Wholesale Establishment that operates several outlets is present in the country, often giving a better deal price-wise to consumers than their private sector counterparts, they do not have the same reach as the co-ops of the past that operated almost everywhere in the days when people of this country were entitled to a ration of subsidized rice.’
• Distribute vegetables by train
• JVP affiliated ACPF calls on govt to use trains to distribute farm produce
• Planters’ Association assures full steam ahead on estates with all necessary precautions
• SL plantation sector presses forward amidst tightened safety precautions, unprecedented drought
‘Higher prices were primarily a result of lower production, where weekly auction volumes were approximately 40% lower than in a normal cropping month, and sharp currency depreciation.’
• SL seafood exports swimming against Covid tide to keep economy afloat
‘Key seafood exports from Sri Lanka include fresh and frozen yellow fin tuna, shrimp, prawns and crabs. The industry is a valued around 300mn$. The main markets SL are in Europe, US and Japan… SL’s seafood industry is heavily dependent on airfreight. The balance goes by reefer containers… Cathay Pacific had been flying all cargo aircraft and Qatar and Sri Lankan ferry flights to take passengers out. “Historically our markets have been the US, Europe, Japan mainly, but now the markets which are closer to us have been important such as Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia because demand for food has been quite strong… SL’s seafood exporters are working with smaller wholesalers who supply to retail chains such as Sainsbury, Tesco, Marks & Spencer who have been in operation.”
• COSMI says Covid rare opportunity for lagging SMEs
‘The agri-business sectors that the local SMEs are in spices, teas including specialty teas, herbal medicinal and beverage supplements, coconut and oils, short-eats, and fruits and vegetables. Aquaculture sectors where local SMEs are in are ornamental fish and ocean fisheries including fishery cooperatives and processing.’
• Weekly Food Commodities Bulletin
• An Analysis of the Paddy/Rice Value Chains in SL
(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.
• COVID-19 a wakeup call for increased manufacture of pharmaceuticals locally
‘Sri Lanka imports over US$500mn of pharmaceuticals, annually, and nearly half of this comes from India. Last month, India restricted the export of 26 pharmaceutical ingredients and the medicines made from them, including paracetamol…’
• PM instructs to facilitate production of ’monitoring bracelet’
• Request technical support from Russia: GMOA writes to President
• Mixed bag for export industry from Covid crisis – Advocata
‘China – which accounts for roughly 40% of Sri Lanka’s textile imports – shutting down trade resulted in Sri Lankan factories shutting down, as they were unable to import raw material…In the short to medium term, what this means is that there will be “massive” job losses in the sector, with Omar predicting an industry-wide demand contraction of about 40% across 2020, though he believes the period from April through June could see as much as an 80% drop….Sri Lanka accommodates about 40% of the traffic from the Far East to Europe; Sri Lanka, as David put it, is “slap-bang in the middle of Asia-Europe trade”… This is was then exacerbated for by India’s shutdown; about 55-60% of Sri Lanka’s total transshipment volumes come from India and Bangladesh…“We are too reliant on our traditional markets – Iraq and parts of the Middle East – too reliant on bulk tea….Sri Lanka is currently the largest manufacturer of solid tyres in the world, something which has been given a boost after the Government named it an essential service…Seafood accounts for just under $300 million worth of exports annually, with the EU, US, and Japan its primary market…“Our export industry needs a structural change. We’ve been too dependent on agriculture and apparel,” stated Subasinghe.
• Developed nations seek anti-Covid clothing from SL, but priority for our requirements
‘Some developed nations are canvassing SL manufacturers to sell them personal protection equipment (PPE), including the full-body polythene gown, despite SL also being desperately short of the gear’
• Corona puts consumer durables under duress
‘The consumer durables industry can be broadly classified into two segments: Consumer Electronics and Consumer Appliances. As it is, consumers aren’t interested in either…The agricultural community accounts for the bulk of the sales of consumer durables and right now their incomes are also bleak.’
• Ceylon Chamber recommendations on managing public transport during Covid
‘Encourage buses and trains to operate at marginal cost recovery. ‘
• SL to allow export inputs despite import ban amid Covid crisis: EDB Chief
• Curfew, Lockdown & Economic Livelihoods
‘Key sectors under tremendous pressure are the Tourism, Apparel Industry, Food services & Transport sectors. Apparel industry executives are estimating an impact of around USD1.5bn with a loss of revenue from March-June period resulting in about 30% lay-offs. Apparel industry accounts for 6% of GDP and 40% of total exports.’
• Apparel businesses near liquidation
‘Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association has requested the government to allow them to suspend payment of EPF/ETF for a period of 6 months; provide at least 30% of the apparel industry workforce with 3 months’ salary as a means of sustenance for April-June… they requested authorities to allow for a temporary laying off of workers for a period of 3 months until business picks up… The industry wants the government to allow 30% of their workforce amounting to around 50,000 employees be provided at least the Rs5000 hand-out from the state.’
• Covid: Emerging Questions, Testing Times
‘The govt should also forcefully nix lamebrained ideas emanating from within its ranks. Two have surfaced so far – one on (ab)using the EPF savings as a stimulus source, and the other to bring back import substitution from the long-ago dead. Neither seems to have found any traction…’
• SL’s Colombo port swamped in 40,000 import boxes over Covid
‘“Typically the 3 terminals have about 10,000-12,000 TEUs (20ft equivalent units) at a time. “This has now tripled and there are close to 40,000 TEUs, which has caused massive difficulties inside the port. In reality it is the most expensive space in the world.”’
• LPG Tanker ‘Gas Courage’ docks at Hambantota
• Dankotuwa Porcelain creates customised Steam Inhalers
‘The Ambeon Group is pleased to be able to contribute… said Murali Prakash, Group Managing Director Ambeon Capital PLC and Ambeon Holdings PLC.’
• Left-ruled State in India Leading the Battle Against Covid
‘The govt came out with an effective working plan to combine the efforts of other depts as well, to produce the necessary materials. The Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd, a public sector undertaking of the govt, ascertained that they would produce enough sanitizers for the state. Kerala’s Social Justice Department put forward the idea to the Prisons Dept for engaging the prisoners in the state to manufacture masks, as they churned out 6,000 masks within a short time span of 2 days.’
• “Take Back the App!
• Abolish Silicon Valley: How to Liberate Technology from Capitalism
‘Former insider turned critic Wendy Liu busts the myths of the tech industry, and offers a galvanising argument for why and how we must reclaim technology’s potential for the public good.’
• Deforestation & Toilet Paper
‘Global toilet paper demand uses nearly 30,000 trees every day. And rising.’
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.
• SL Rupee stronger against greenback in one week market
‘The rupee is under pressure due to excess liquidity. With export and import volumes falling, the proportion of excess liquidity compared to forex volumes are now much higher than before, putting further pressure’
• CB ready to provide liquidity support to finance companies
‘In a fresh move to provide further support to the licensed finance companies, which are engaged in passing down the relief to their borrowers affected by the pandemic, the Monetary Board has decided to provide them with liquidity from the Sri Lanka Deposit Insurance and Liquidity Support Scheme… The SLDILSS was set up in 2010, in response to the collapse of the Ceylinco group…Around 76 banks and finance companies contribute annually to the fund… Meanwhile, the Central Bank urged the finance companies to become leaner by cutting operational costs.
• CBSL announces measures to enable NBFIs to support clients affected by Covid
‘The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of SL decided to introduce number of measures to provide flexibility to NBFIs namely Licensed Finance Companies & Specialised Leasing Companies facilitating… relaxation of regulatory requirements and granting liquidity support for needy LFCs.’
• Curfew, lockdown & economic livelihoods
‘Several of the fiscal measures announced directly impact the banking sector. Whilst the efforts to get the banking sector to share the pain is sensible, attempts to use the banking sector as a first line of defence by absorbing a large portion of the full economic impact is fraught with dangers. This sector is already struggling with non-performing loans and is poorly equipped to take a full hit.’
• LOLC concludes US$603mn worth sale of Cambodian venture
‘LOLC Holdings PLC has announced that it has received 422mn$ as the first tranche by selling its 70% stake from Cambodia’s largest Microfinance Company, PRASAC, to the world’s sixth largest Commercial Bank and Korea’s biggest Commercial Bank, Kookmin.’
• Venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya stuns
‘The US govt should let hedge funds and billionaire CEOs “get wiped out” by the coronavirus-induced economic collapse and instead focus its attention on rescuing Main Street.’
• Fitch affirms Standard Chartered Bank, SL branch at ‘AAA(lka)’; Outlook Stable
• Moody’s group member prognosis on SL tells the obvious
‘Agrochemicals would experience a supply chain disruption as the main agrochemical markets, such as US and Japan, have also been affected by the global pandemic.’
(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’
• Builders request for release of outstanding payments for construction co’s
‘Ceylon Institute of Builders President Dr Rohan Karunaratne… noted the govt should introduce a policy where a 30-40 % stake from foreign-funded projects should be shared with the local construction industry.’
• Private Cinema owners cry foul
‘National Film Corporation’s decision to grant monthly financial assistance of R100,000 each, to cinema’s in the state operated Rithma Circuit was unfair… The privately owned circuits, which run a total of around 200 cinema’s in various parts of the country are Rithma, Lanka Films & Distributors Ltd, EAP Movies & Theaters Ltd, Movie Productions & Importers Ltd, and Entertainment Ltd.
• Let’s not take supply chains for granted
‘Because credit card use is quite low in SL (only 1.79mn cards active in 2019 Q3, with the actual number of users even lower), it is understandable that only 11% of the few who had made purchases had paid using credit cards. Cash on delivery (31%) and debit cards (30%) were more popular….Only 37% of the 15-65 population had smartphones in 2018, according to the LIRNEasia survey.’
• Proposals to the Pres to resurrect economy – Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs
“For Phase 1, we would like to propose the following: Financial and tax moratorium relief program that would help regain and revive the economy for small, medium, large and extra-large enterprises…’
• Over 300 Tamil Nadu textile merchants stranded here
‘Every year, small and marginal merchants from Chinnalapatti, Nilakottai, Kundalapatti, Anaipatti and other small towns visit Sri Lanka, during the Katchatheevu festival, in March, to sell sarees. The silk and kandangi sarees from Chinnalapatti are much sought-after in the neighbouring country. The merchants travel to different parts of SL, including Colombo, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Kandy and a few other cities. “We stay there for around 2 months and then return home,” said Rajendran… It is unclear how many Indian tourists, or business people, are currently in SL, and are unable to return to India. India is among SL’s top tourism source markets. In Feb 2020, the country accounted for the highest number of international tourists to SL. As many as 35,309 Indian tourists arrived in the island nation during the month, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.’
• Are cheese & marijuana essential?
BBC’s usual role of incessantly promoting what the tobacco and alcohol industries want has not paused during Covid.
(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.
• SLPP alleges divided Opp scared of poll hiding behind pandemic, cites S Korean national poll as eg to the world
• General Election: Averting Cònstitutional crisis in President’s hand – Hoole
‘Averting a Constitutional crisis is in the hands of the President…’
• Mangala refutes PM’s statement
‘There is uncertainty about the authorization to raise funds following 30 April. This cavalier attitude, combined with the myopic tax-cuts earlier this year, are key reasons why the interest rate on govt debt rose to over 100% last week’
• SLMC steps up pressure on EC to delay 2020 general election
• An election held in the midst of a pandemic will cause a catastrophe – Mangala
• JVP leader threatens to lead people against govt
“It is clear that President and the govt are at loggerheads with the Elections Commission for it postponed the election. Now the elections are to be held for the need of a single group. The government should not hold elections and we will lead people against the government arbitrary decision.”
• JVP ask govt not to go for polls at this juncture
• NGOs pressure govt to resolve polls issue urgently
‘Rohana Hettiarachchi of PAFFREL, Manjula Gajanayake, national coordinator of Centre for Monitoring Election Violence, Asoka Obeysekara of Transparency International, Makeen Mannas, executive director of Campaign for Free & Fair Elections, Rasanga Harischandra, ED national organizer of National Polling Observation Centre, Prabodha Rathnayake, coordinator of Movement for Free and Fair Elections, and Padmini Weerasuriya, coordinator of Mothers and Daughters of Lakbima have signed the joint statement.’
(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.
• Politicians and diplomats, get your priorities right
‘Top-lofty Chinese officials in Colombo’s mission are tilting at windmills in regard to perfectly harmless publications from this newspaper group, including one report which had informed that a SL consumer group was deliberating filing legal action against China for negligence’
• China embassy in SL’s call for ‘freedom of speech’ sets twitter on fire amid Covid tragedy
• Google announces Journalism Emergency Relief Fund for local newsrooms
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