“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
From Soulbury Independence to Geneva Governance
e-Con e-News 31 January – 06 February 2021
“Everything needs to be fixed in the context of international standards,
in terms of human rights and labor law too”
– League of Multinational Corporations in Sri Lanka
Swiss Nestlé should be hosting and feting the Sri Lankan delegations to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. They should be getting their Swiss milk maids and manservants in lederhosen to yodel the praises of the SL government in Geneva. Their cuckoo clocks should be cooing.
Successive Sri Lankan governments have allowed Nestlé, ‘largest food company in the world’ to hold dairy farmers and the milk industry in Sri Lanka hostage to their monopoly?
Nestlé has never been charged in a Sri Lankan court of law for lying that their formulas are better than breast milk? Instead Nestlé have penalized health officials who have spoken out, as in the Dr. Priyani Soysa case. (For instance, the first link that google provides to her name, is the trial against her, even though she is considered a trendsetter in promoting breast feeding and maternity leave, which Unilever opposes!).
Then there’s all the Nestlé machineries and parts, whether for chilling, bottling, capping, packaging, vending, sold to us by Nestles. They will never allow us to make that machinery here. That’s where the money is.
But it is not only Nestlé. We can ask the same from Anglo-Dutch Unilever, who with Nestlé’s, go together like tinkiri thay. Same for Swiss Baur & Co, who has profited off the sales of toxic fertilizers and pharma to Sri Lanka.
Multinationals control the “commanding heights of the economy.” It is they who control 80% of world trade. It is they who insist “human rights’ must not include “economic rights”. Meanwhile, both Nestlé and Unilever are big donors to the UNHRC.
This then explains why US, England, EU and their settler banks & MNCs making billions off Sri Lanka, are so quiet. Silent as lambs (or is it the silence of butchers?) – on this more slimy than snowy road to Geneva’s finger-wagging ski resorts.
Where is the CTC-led League of Multinational Corporations in Sri Lanka? – formed with 7 MNCs: Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC, ie, British American Tobacco), Baur & Co, Heineken, HSBC, Lanka IOC, Mastercard, Unilever, in 2018. Why are they so quiet? These powerful multinationals with war chests bigger than many countries’ budgets, whose side are they on? A silly question, of course.
This is the reason: The LMNC demands ‘everything needs to be fixed in the context of international standards, in terms of human rights & labor law too’ (see ee 2020 Feb14, July 18) Everything? Fixed? International Standards? Who decides? The constituent nations of the UN or…?
This explains a lot, no? It’s these multinational banks and corporations, their fund managers, their ‘aid’ agencies, their iNGOs and their ‘social’ media that constitute the ongoing imperialist invasion.
What is their agenda? To set up a supranational level of governance, far above Colombo, let alone Hambantota or Jaffna, where we’ll all be ruled by MNC-controlled corporates, robots and their algorithms.
The MNCs count on gaining more concessions from the government as they weaken the state, post-Geneva. Unilever has captured our home market, while making fake claims of manufacturing their products here, preventing any modern industrialization (ee Sovereignty, Unmasked).
• The EU, with Germany in the lead, said this week, it’s going to take the SL government to the WTO over import restrictions! Fancy that! (ee Sovereignty, WTO)
At the same time, we’re told there’s a divergence of opinion between good ole England, our old enslaver, and Germany, about the punishment the UNHRC should inflict on us for contravening their narrow capitalist version of ‘human rights’.
Of course we know about all these good-cop/bad-cop routines. Canada plays that game – when PM Sirimavo Bandaranaike kicked out the US Peace Corps and English bases after the attempted coup, Ottawa came bearing ‘gifts’ to develop old English RAF base, Katunayake airport, etc. This is a game the Scandinavians also play: Faking a soft imperialist ‘social democracy’, while their MNCs and banks rob our economy, via ‘gender-positive’ microfinance, etc.
• Ports, P&O & Gold – The silence of these multinationals about the attack on Sri Lanka is actually no mystery. Economics and politics are closely linked: the attacks on Hambantota port and China originated with P&O to prevent competition to their Nhava Sheva Port terminal in India.
Jawaharlal Nehru Port aka Nhava Sheva Port (JNP), is the largest container port in India. JNP International Container Terminal is leased to a consortium led by P&O (now DP World). The 4th JNP Container Terminal is owned by Port of Singapore Authority, run by Temasek. Both P&O and Temasek wish to stunt the growth of Lanka’s Port.
So, more ee Serendipity: this week we learned how P&O was not only a shipper of opium, passengers as well as other freight, but had the monopoly over specie shipment, i.e., it carried the gold, silver and money throughout the English empire. Not only that: P&O was linked to maintaining the power of London’s bankers, eg Bank of England, Standard Chartered etc. P&O also set up the HSBC (ee Focus, P&O Gold)
• A vital national conversation is simply drowned out in the dominating media. Instead, diversions are manufactured and broadcast by the minute. This conversation should be about how we can design and implement a plan for modern industrialization. ee reproduces a very interesting discussion on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in a Planned Economy (ee Focus).
• Kolombots vicious jeer the Health Minister getting Covid, and the attempts to produce Helavedic medicines etc: But this whitewashed media is silent on how Pfizer et al are laughing all the way to bank after stealing public-funded research. Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are also preventing exposure about the impact of government funding on vaccine access. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has no means of testing the efficacy of their vaccines (ee Quotes).
A1. Reader Comments –
• ee loves google? • Shipping & Insurance • Fake Entrepreneurs • Regulate Exporters
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Ceylonese Yearn for Corporate Control? • No Vaccine Testing • Adolescence Most Dangerous • Lawyers need no English • Crush the whisper of Independence • Trans Lobby
A3. Random Notes –
• First English Slave Ship, named Jesus • Media Fakes Controversies • Milk & Staple Base Dynamism • Corporates Award Themselves Prizes • USAID Loan to Sanasa • Marx on England & Human Rights
B. ee Focus
B1. Ports, Gold & the P&O
B2. Prospects of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning in a Planned Economy – Xiangyu
C. News Index
A1. Reader Comments
ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. 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 to email.
• ‘Why has ee got another gmail account after being locked out? In love with google? Trying to get the message out to the CIA? Maybe President Biden will fix all the problems for SL? God almighty, may Jesus open your eyes! Btw, great ee!’
• ‘ee did not explain how European shipping undermined SL shipping? Wasn’t it through demanding ‘insurance’ etc, with the insurance companies refusing to insure local boats?’
• ‘This mindset of whoever works hard can become rich, this recent Silicon Valley model, is being spread globally through faux entrepreneurs and startup incubators etc. For every one success, there maybe like 1,000 failures! This model is pro-Euro, so those who believe in this ecosystem usually favor the capitalist model.’
• ‘The exporter segment in Sri Lanka needs to be regulated. They should be given targets in industrial advancements. Government can also incentivize them but providing more credit by their cash flow as an asset.’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘Give the Ceylonese the self-government they want and they will hand it over to Carson & Co’ – (see ee Politics, Yaka)
• ‘The Medical Research Institute, which once produced vaccines, is today without facilities even to test imported vaccines! So much for the progress the country has achieved in the fields of science and research!’ (ee Industry, Research)
• ‘The transition from childhood to adulthood will be marked for many in the coming years by such “deadly rites of passage” as violence, delinquency, drugs, alcohol, motor vehicle accidents and sexual hazards. Adolescence may prove to be the most dangerous years of life.’ – Nutrition throughout the Life Cycle, TW Wikramanayake, 2007
• ‘He said, “Lawyers and judges nowadays cannot speak in English,” and my quick reply: Do you think in Japan, Germany, Russia, Cuba or Israel lawyers work in English?’ (ee Security, Legal Education)
• ‘The Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919, popularly known as the Rowlatt Act, was introduced by England to crush even the whisper of independence in India.’ (ee Media, India blocks Internet)
• ‘The trans lobby is very powerful even though it represents barely even 1% of the population. It’s funded and supported by the pharmaceutical, medical, surgical – sex reassignment, aesthetics – industry. And the big digital companies: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. They’ve managed to infiltrate the Feminist Movement and are now a Trojan horse.’ – rt.com/news/514258-transgender-lobby-fascist-lidia-falc
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• The first English Slave ship was named Jesus: When did corporations become the judges of human rights, gender rights, environmental protection, sexuality, etc? When did these rights become ‘export-quality only’, for imperialist countries to judge countries they have sought to destroy and exploit?
Was it when the Europeans invaded on behalf of ‘civilization’, converting ‘heathens’ (now called ethnics)?
Was it when the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which claimed to recognize Black people as human, also recognized corporations as ‘natural persons’!?
Was it when Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah spoke of ‘Neocolonialism’, pointing out, ‘political sovereignty’ had left out ‘economic sovereignty’? He detailed international capital’s control of the world market, exploitation of international aid & aid conditionality, and ‘the moral pressure’ exerted by US labor organizations, missionaries, iNGOs. Was it when Thatcher declared, ‘countries which deny private property rights also deny other human rights’?
‘Neocolonialism’ is said to have emerged just as struggles for independence appeared to succeed.
• Fake media controversies are lit aflame every week at work, in homes and in 3wheelers and buses in between, on the way to, and in the market, where people are expect to take sides and argue till it’s time to go to work again. Who decides, designs and manufactures the fake diversions and controversies in the media every week? The large public relations agencies of the multinational companies that control our economy and the media.
• Milk is a good example of what’s called Staple Base Dynamism (SBD).This SBD is what real industrial economies display: Milk is made into 100 different dairy products, from creams to ice-creams, from butters to cheeses to yogurts. Wheat becomes flour, bread, cake etc, while developing related machinery along the way. This SBD is not allowed here. With real industry: ‘One Thing Leads to Another’, which ee thinks would be a fine epitaph or biography about SBD de Silva, whose economic theories ee has been inspired by.
• ‘McLarens Group recognized among Best Workplaces 2020 and enters Hall of Fame’ – The business section of newspapers is a joke: We’re indeed a prize-giving nation. Headlines are full of awards given to companies, boggling the mind. This is repeated in almost all of the media. Why do companies feel they need to advertise their largely self-bestowed glories on the reading public?
An ee Reader, who lived in Beijing, mentions one road that stretched for miles, selling nothing but prizes, plaques, certificates, cups, made to look like tin-plate, gold-plate, bronze… Any award could be inscribed.
• This was a curious news item: USAID loans to Sanasa Development Bank.
The Central Bank relaxed ownership limits in licensed commercial banks for both multilateral financial institutions and others. The World Bank, IFC & ADB can now outright own 20% of shares of Lankan banks with voting rights (see ee, 12 Sept 2020). Soon followed: WB IFC loans to Commercial Bank, Keells and their subsidiary Nations Trust Bank, Sunshine Holdings, and revelations of IFC links to Colombo Port’s competitor port in Kerala. (ee Finance)
• “The declaration of war against Iran (Persia) by England or rather by the East India Co is the reproduction of one of those cunning & reckless tricks of Anglo-Asiatic diplomacy, by virtue of which England has extended her possessions on that continent. So soon as the Company casts a greedy look on any of the independent sovereigns, or on any region whose political and commercial resources or whose gold and jewels are valued, the victim is accused of having violated this or that ideal or actual convention, transgressed an imaginary promise or restriction, committed some nebulous outrage, and then war is declared, and the eternity of wrong, the perennial force of the fable of the wolf and the lamb, is again incarnadined in history.’ – Karl Marx on the Anglo-Persian war, 1856-57
B. Special Focus_
B1. Ports, Gold & the P&O
‘One of the foundations of the P&O, along with mail subsidies, opium and passenger carriage, was its Asian specie business’
• ‘The Agency business of banking, marine insurance and shipping sprang directly from the England’s opium trade forced on China: Insurance was indispensable in a trade of rich cargoes – opium and treasure, and great risks from pirates, treacherous seas and periodic warfare.’ – Michael Greenberg, English Trade & the Opening of China 1800-42.
• ‘As estate agencies and as trading enterprises, the European firms plucked all of the shipping and insurance business… Shipping and insurance companies almost always had as the local agent an established merchant house through which they obtained business at less expense than by setting up a branch with separate staff and premises. As with foreign-owned plantations, in shipping and insurance the agency function arose from the absentee nature of colonial investments. A major responsibility was the collection and safe custody of funds which, pending their remittance abroad, were banked or invested locally on a pattern decided by the principals.’ – SBD de Silva, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment
• ‘Because of the “general superiority of London as a monetary centre,” and the holding of large balances in London by most of the overseas banks, both local and imperial, any restrictive measures on the part of [any colonial] Central bank… could be disregarded at will by the commercial banks with intimate connections with London.’ – AJ Baster
‘Gold and silver specie (coins) flowed from Europe and from the Americas into Asia and, in addition, there were specie flows within Asia itself… Specie was critical for Asian-European trade, as one of the few commodities that European traders could offer in exchange for Asian goods. It was the operation of this specie network that underpinned the trade relationships between Asia and Europe.
The maritime organization of the specie trade came to be dominated by the P&O – England’s imperial structure relied to a great extent on India’s commercial relations with the world. England’s trade deficit with Europe and the Americas was balanced by India’s trade surplus with the world economy, thus giving England positive balance-of-payment figures overall. This accounting relied on the ability of India to export produce which, in turn, relied upon banks financing export trade by importing gold and silver specie into India which could be exchanged into rupees to purchase export produce.
Gold and silver were also critical for the Indian currency system as gold was required for the purchase of silver by the Government of India for coining rupees. Gold imports acquired extra significance after 1900 when India went onto a Gold Exchange Standard and had to maintain reserves of gold.
Gold mainly flowed to India eastwards from Europe, chiefly England, it then flowed within the Asian region, after the uncovering of gold in Australia in the 1850s.
India had to have access to gold to reduce strain on the central gold resources of the empire. This system required the reliable and safe movement of specie provided by the P&O.
Like many other trading networks in Asia involving steamships, the Asian specie network was dominated by the P&O company. The control of the wider specie network was linked to the general domination of the P&O and English steam shipping in Asian and other trades, through mail subsidies initially provided by the imperialist English state and then various colonial states. A subsidized base, aggressive freight rate policies and mutually beneficial relationships with the leading specie shippers enabled the P&O to dominate the specie trade.
The P&O had wider imperialist financial objectives. The P&O maximized profits from the trade and also promoted the pre-eminence of the London money market and controlled the specie trade, preventing challenges from other shippers.
The specie trade was a major earner for P&O, beyond passenger and other freight. On one voyage in 1907 P&O steamer Brittania carried 240,000 sovereigns consigned to Colombo, 40,000 sovereigns for Bombay and 3 boxes of bar gold, valued 15,000 for Bombay…
The vessels of the P&O have been called ‘flagships of imperialism‘. They facilitated communication within the Empire, bringing ‘imperial possessions closer to the metropolis’. They were a symbol of English supremacy at sea. P&O served imperialism by enabling English civil servants and army officers living in Sri Lanka and India to have more home leave, with English life in India becoming inevitably more self-contained. P&O monopolized the opium trade between India and China, forcing open China to English trade in general.
The imperialist state had access to P&O’s modern, well-equipped fleet to assist in wars all over, providing a regular fast mail service aiding commercial and official communication. English hegemony was maintained by “oppressive, coercive and collaborative agencies”.
P&O most important operation was its monopoly in shipping specie according to demand, underpinning the monetary relationships of the English empire in Asia, keeping it firmly in the hands of London’s financial sector.
P&O dominated this trade to the exclusion of other English firms, and had ‘mutually beneficial arrangements’ with the exchange banks. London’s financial primacy lay in making cheap finance available. Interest rates were kept low when London gold reserves were high. When gold reserves were depleted and the Bank of England wished to attract gold to London to replenish reserves, it would raise its interest rates.
Because P&O raised its capital on the London market, it had an interest in keeping that capital as cheap as possible, maintaining low interest rates. Therefore, it was in its interests to ensure that London remained the main specie market and help maintain needed gold reserves.
The imperialist and colonial governments wished to increase their capital and their command over trade. The P&O used various measures to obtain and retain control of the Asian specie traffic, foremost was its practice of cultivating agreements and arrangements with leading London-based exchange banks. These measures were introduced at a time when P&O was facing increasing general competition from new companies and was moving to protect its staple cargoes and capture new ones.
P&O had introduced a system of deferred rebates to opium shippers to keep its opium trade monopoly between India and China; when this proved successful, they decided to do the same for its large specie shippers.
Other methods of control included manipulation of freight rates, granting of concessions such as optional delivery, and using their general position of strength to ward off competition from other shipping companies.
The Chartered Mercantile Bank, in 1869, approached P&O, offering P&O preference on specie shipments, in return for the bank receiving a rebate on the gross annual freight paid for specie shipments. P&O decided on closer alliances with the major specie shippers, due to increased competition ending P&O’s old monopoly on the specie trade.
P&O was worried by increased competition from French steamers on the routes from Europe to India and China, from the Holts Line that ran to China via the Cape and from the ‘innumerable local steamers’ that plied between India and China. Sailing vessels had been involved in large specie shipments to China. The second, and more threatening, form of competition to the P&O in the Asian specie trade came from the establishment of an alternative route from the west coast of the Americas to China and Japan…
If China and India were more readily supplied with specie from the Americas than London, P&O would lose lucrative freight opportunities as the specie would be diverted from the routes on which they dominated to the ships of the America Line on the route from California where P&O had little or no influence; and, secondly, this would weaken the control that London’s financial sector had over the specie market and exchange operations and result in increased US influence in the market.
Sutherland was aware of these aspects and argued that the rebate system proposed by the Mercantile Bank would greatly reduce the impact of the lower rates offered by such competition. It was suggested,the prospect of obtaining a rebate would induce the bank’s agents to hold their shipments in order to send it by P&O…
The management of P&O was careful to confine the rebate system to a few banks. Their confidential letter to their Calcutta agent in 1869 informed him of the rebate arrangement made with the Chartered Mercantile Bank and the Oriental Banking Corporation. The agent was ordered to keep the advice secret and ‘…should any questions be asked you by other Banks, you will refer them to this Office for information, but at the same time, should any jealous feeling happen to be excited, you will allay it by holding out the prospect that any overtures will no doubt be met in a liberal spirit.’
This resulted in the diversion of the banks’ specie shipments from private steamers running between Calcutta, Singapore and China to P&O boats via Galle to Singapore and China.
The rebate arrangement was extended to the HK & Shanghai Banking Corporation. This bank was founded in 1864 by the then P&O superintendent in Hong Kong, Thomas Sutherland, who by now was back in the head office as Assistant Manager, and had recommended the adoption of the rebate system in this capacity in 1869. The HSBC and P&O apparently enjoyed good relations in this period. P&O was thus regularly represented on the HSBC’s Board.’
– Adapted from The P&O and the Asian Specie Network, 1850-1920, Andrew Pope
B2. Prospects of AI & Machine Learning in a Planned Economy – Xiangyu
I. Introduction: One of the most oft-repeated interpretations of political developments of the past century is that the Soviet Union’s demise was the inevitable result of its economic system – namely, its socialist planned economy. The rapid economic growth during the first few 5-year plans that transformed an underdeveloped agrarian society into a world-class superpower, by the 1980s had long been overshadowed by years of economic slowdown. The planned economy, which had once been considered by many to be a model for others to follow, began to be seen as an unrealistic and utopian ideal resulting in failure.
While the Soviet Union’s economy did have its shortcomings, there were and still are political incentives to attribute the failures to its guiding ideology without analyzing them in the context of the domestic and international situations faced by the country throughout the course of its existence.
Rejecting the dominant narrative and assumption of all planned economies as inevitable failures, the purpose of this paper is to briefly review the successes and failures of the Soviet Union’s socialist planned economy and examine how modern-day computer technology, especially machine learning, can solve problems faced in the past by Gosplan’s economic planners, with the understanding the Soviet economy had grown too complicated by the time Brezhnev took power to continue planning with methods that were largely unchanged from the days of Stalin’s leadership.
II. Brief Introduction to the Soviet Planned Economy: The October Revolution in 1917 resulted in the formation of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, later joined by other union republics to form the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Following the economic policy of War Communism during the Russian Civil War and the subsequent era of the New Economic Policy, the USSR embarked on the first attempt in world history to manage an economy not by market signals, but through central planning. As a socialist state, the majority of the USSR’s means of production (factories, mines, railroads etc) were publicly owned, and its economy was centrally planned in the main at various levels of the government.
The USSR State Planning Committee, more commonly known as Gosplan, was the agency responsible for the overall planning of the economy at the All-Union level. Additionally, each of the 15 Soviet Socialist Republics had its own republican Gosplan. The production of certain commodities was directed by the All-Union Gosplan, while republican Gosplans oversaw the production of other commodities. Various ministries that oversaw specific industries existed at the All-Union, union-republic and republic levels to facilitate the transfer of information between the planners and enterprise managers, and also allocate resources to enterprises that fell within their supervision. Each year the techpromfinplan (technical-production-financial plan) was issued to Soviet enterprises that were responsible for fulfilling production goals.
Whereas resources in a market economy are allocated predominately in accordance to market signals, resources in a socialist planned economy are allocated primarily through an economic plan that aims to define production goals that are, not only feasible given the economic realities of a country, but also optimal. As an economy grows to be more complicated, this becomes a more difficult task as not only increasing amounts of information are needed, but also the ability to interpret such information in time to draw up 5-year plans and annual plans on schedule.
Economic plans in the Soviet Union were created by a process called material balance planning, in which available inputs were balanced with desired outputs. Each spring, state planners would set growth targets consistent with the 5-year plan, then communicated to the ministries. The ministries then communicated these figures to the relevant enterprises. Afterwards, the ministries negotiated with the planners for the inputs necessary in order to attain production targets over the summer. Come autumn, the state planners would balance the input requests with the production goals, and the plan sent to the Council of Ministers and the Supreme Soviet for approval and ratification. To facilitate this process, Gosplan had teams of workers each tasked with the responsibility of obtaining information about a particular product group. Evidently, this was a process that involved several layers of bureaucracy, each relying on estimations based on imperfect information.
III. Successes of the Planned Economy – Despite its shortcomings, the Soviet Union was nonetheless able to sustain economic growth for decades. The first 5-year plan laid the foundation upon which future economic plans were built, and with the exception of the 1932-33 famine and the period during and following the Soviet Union’s participation in WW2, the daily calorie intake per person generally grew following the conclusion of the first 5-year plan, until 1970 when the figure stabilized at approximately 3,400 (Allen 2003). The CIA (1983) reported in a declassified document: “US & Soviet citizens eat about the same amount of food each day but the Soviet diet may be more nutritious.”
According to mathematical models created by economist Robert C Allen (2003) in his book Farm to Factory, a Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution, a capitalist alternative would not have achieved the same levels of growth experienced by the USSR due to the lack of the necessary prerequisites of economic development as an agrarian society. An attempt to follow a capitalistic model of growth, according to Allen, would have resulted in high levels of unemployment and low growth. The Stalin-era policy of directing resources towards heavy industry created the necessary conditions for the improvement in the quality of life of Soviet citizens.
Though the era of Brezhnev’s leadership is known for economic stagnation, in comparison to the decades that preceded his ascension to power, economic growth nonetheless continued in the Soviet Economy; whereas real wages fell 197-89 in the US, they rose in the USSR. Allen argues that the economic slowdown of this era was not an inherent feature of the planned economy, but rather the poor decisions made by Soviet planners in the face of an evolving economy, the arms race, and other factors.
IV. Problems with Planning: When the Soviet Union first began to industrialize, its methods of planning were adequate as the economy was simple in comparison to later times. In an age before modern computer technology, shortcuts had to be taken in order to draft economic plans on time. Central planning was limited to a relatively small number of commodities while the rest were produced at the republican levels. In addition, assumptions were made to make planning feasible – one glaring example was the practice of assuming a linear relationship between inputs & outputs that remained unchanged as production scale grew.
Intensifying problems was the fact that individual enterprises were not in communication with one another, and were instead kept informed by ministries and central planners. Consequently, an improperly informed center would result in issues such as product shortages for consumers and insufficient inputs for producers, who were susceptible of knowingly or unknowingly misrepresenting necessary inputs. If an enterprise were to discover that it lacked sufficient inputs to meet production goals, there were several options it could pursue. An individual enterprise requesting more inputs would result in either another enterprise that manufactures intermediary goods being requested by a ministry to increase production, which necessitates more inputs elsewhere, or the use of existing stock if existed. Alternatively, an enterprise could reduce the quality of its products while still technically meeting annual production goals; eg, if an enterprise were tasked with producing a million cinderblocks but only had the materials necessary for producing 800,000, a million cinderblocks of subpar quality could still be produced by reducing the density of the product.
Evidently, one major cause of these predicaments was the lack of information technology that could provide quick and accurate feedback to central planners, who in turn did not have computers capable of processing this information for the purpose of revising production plans, which could not be done in real time due to technological restraints. These issues did not go unrecognized in the USSR; developments in computer science did spark discussions regarding the role computers could play in helping planners overcome these issues.
V. Computers in Economic Planning: As was the case in the US, a major driving force of computer technology in the USSR was the military constantly trying to keep up with the Cold War. With the development of military networks, some computer scientists began envisioning non-military uses for computer technology, and in 1962 Soviet computer experts began developing what was intended to become a nationwide network called the National Automated System for Computation & Information Processing, more commonly known as OGAS. One of the major proposed uses of OGAS was streamlining the process of economic planning, with many noting the potential of increasing the accuracy of economic planning while reducing the time required with large amounts of data available to planners from the central to enterprise levels (Gerovitch 2008). Owing to government decisions, however, funding for the project stopped in 1970, hence planning continued with the use of existing methods and information channels.
Roughly coinciding with OGAS’ death in 1970 was the birth of another project that attempted to integrate computer technology with economic planning. That year, the idea of incorporating cybernetics in economic planning was raised in Salvador Allende’s social-democratic Chile. Because Chile was an underdeveloped country with only about 50 computers that were not yet interconnected, the project, named Proyecto Synco, was not intended to be anything more than a telex network that enabled various sectors of the economy to share information in a timely fashion for the purpose of aiding economic planners in making decisions. Proyecto Synco met an abrupt end in 1973, though, when Allende’s government was overthrown by a military coup led by Augusto Pinochet [and the CIA].
Even though computer technology was never able to realize its full potential in socialist or social-democratic economic planning, it has nonetheless become vital in today’s economy, and lessons can be drawn from its application in capitalistic economic planning. Companies like Walmart rely on large-scale and intricate planning, data collection and data analysis with the help of modern-day computer technology to manage their logistics and perfect their supply chains. Amazon collects customer data to create personalized product recommendations and hence boost sales, while companies like UPS uses computers to determine optimal delivery routes that save fuel and time. Financial institutions rely on artificial intelligence to perform tasks such as risk assessment and fraud detection. Exemplifying the extent real-time data is utilized in today’s economic planning is the fact that Amazon keeps track of time spent by individual employees in the restroom and factors in the data when calculating their paychecks. All of these tasks involve the collection and analyses of quantities of data that cannot feasibly be handled by humans, enabling tasks that previously required humans and often involved guesswork to be undertaken by computers instead with great accuracy… (to be continued)
C. News Index______________________________________________
• ee News Index provides headlines and links to gain a sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’ mainly to expose the backwardness of a multinationally controlled ‘local media’:
(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.
• League of Multinational Corporates (LMNC) Unmasked
• Sri Lanka Ports Authority declared as essential public service
• EU asks Sri Lanka to notify import controls to the WTO
• Bandula meets International Trade Centre Executive Director
• Govt. to develop ECT fully, remaining terminal on paper open for foreign investment
‘Prez accepts trade unions’ formula, crisis resolved’
• Fate of ECT hangs in the balance
‘private sector and shipping industry though mere bystanders are watching the under currents over ECT with serious concern’
• Sri Lanka-India-Japan Eastern Container Terminal Project in Colombo Port in trouble
• Ten Govt. political parties take hard stance on ECT
• ECT likely to be managed by Adani
‘It is learnt that since the Adani Group is in partnership with MSC shipping line in Mundra it would pose a risk for the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) whose main client is the MSC.’
• Govt. approves operating ECT as SLPA’s fully-owned container terminal
• Chinese intelligence agencies behind opposition by ECT trade unions to the ECT deal: India
‘Indian diplomatic sources told the Daily Mirror they are still of the strong view that Chinese agencies were funding some protests against the ECT. However, there has not been any evidence to back the claims.’
• JVP condemns Indian HC statement over ECT
“India exerted undue pressure on Sri Lanka during the past through the Indo-lanka agreement.they deployed Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka by force. They forcibly entered the Kankesanturai (KKS) Harbour’
• Govt. decides to develop West Terminal with an investor
• SJB calls for a PPP project with India
• Decision to end work-to-rule campaign to be taken after tomorrow’s cabinet decision: PWACIS
• Govt. to develop ECT fully, remaining terminal on paper open for foreign investment
• Sri Lanka to offer West Terminal to India, Japan, ECT to stay with state agency
• India bluntly asks Sri Lanka to honour deal on East Container Terminal
• Port Unions call off strike on Mahinda’s assurances that ECT will not be given to foreigners
• Sri Lanka seeks negotiated settlement with India
• Port is important to India to protect its geo-political interests.
• Harsh realities of Non-Alignment and Foreign aid
‘China’s aid allocation does not depend on the recipient’s endowment with natural resources. Therefore, it is unjustified to condemn Chinese aid as “rogue aid” .’
• Dr. Godahewa confident Viyathmaga and trade unions stand on ECT will prevail
• Eastern Terminal to India will not benefit Sri Lanka – Gunaruwan
• Govt. must protect all national resources : Sobhitha Thero
• Previous govt. didn’t involve Adani Group over ECT : Ranil
• India sponsored armed uprising in Sri Lanka – Sunday Times Editorial
• 13A: An agreement signed under mental and physical duress
• Jaishankar means Victory of Lord Shiva! – Austin F
‘the Indian interests are craftily incorporated into ‘partnerships’, ‘infrastructure’, ‘energy’, ‘connectivity,’ ‘Lines of Credit’ ‘fisheries’, etc. Later, the media expressed Indian concerns about specific projects.’
• Colombo Port ECT: Confusion over Investment – Godage
• The Right Way to do the Eastern Container Project – Kumar David
‘Handing the whole project over to a Japanese-Indian consortium for an annual rental of such and such an amount is straightforward.’
• Playing ‘terminator’ to the gallery
• ECT: Heed calls for saving it
• End of terminal dispute?
‘mustn’t allow any of the country’s strategic assets to be acquired or controlled by any foreign power.’
• SL snubs India, Japan with ‘domestic deal’ for ECT
• Cabinet nod for ECT development with SLPA’s full stake-WTC to be developed with India
• India responds to govt’s decision on ECT
• WCT has no strategic importance, SL yet to tell India about ECT; Gammanpila
• ECT Crisis: Govt. undecided on 2019 ECT development agreement
• Govt defends moves to get Indian and Japanese investment for West Terminal at Port
• Cabinet approval given to operate ECT wholly under SLPA
• India calls for ’’expeditious implementation’’ of trilateral agreement on ECT
• Govt. turned SL into battle field of super powers:SJB
• OPA objects to East Container Terminal deal
• SJB blames Rajapaksa foreign policy for ECT crisis
• Cabinet decision on ECT irreversible, SLPA can take over SAGT-Wimal
• India ties unharmed despite ECT fallout: Govt.
• Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port: ‘Terminal’ illness?
‘India issues stern demand; SL coughs up alternate terminal. Will it work?’
• Govt defends moves to get Indian and Japanese investment for West Terminal at Port
• Japan regrets scrapping of ECT deal
• Point of view on the proposed Indian expedition to Ram Setu/Adam’s Bridge
• 13A, ECT: India steps up pressure on Eastern Tamils and Hakeem
• India Relations Strained Over Denial Of East Terminal In Colombo Port – Balachandran
• Officials confirm Indian high Commissioner had “unplanned” meetings with SL leaders
• Indian HC in three high-level meetings in Colombo
• Indian envoy meets Gotabaya, Mahinda as ECT deal falls through
• Deputy Indian High Commissioner discusses PC system, 13th amendment with Pilleyan, Karuna Amman
• Cabinet nods to develop Colombo Port’s West Terminal with Japan and India
• Eastern terminal Strategically important – West can be developed with private sector – Wimal
• Selling WCT will worsen Sri Lanka’s woes : Nagamuwa
• ECT issue a ploy to sell WCT : Pahiyangala Thero
• Do not create more problems like this – West Terminal
• Credit for ECT not deserved by SLPP coalition: JVP
• ECT Controversy Explained by Daily Mirror
• India registers formal protest with Sri Lanka
• Indian police hand in glove with the Tigers – Balachandran
• Fulfilling expectations of Tamil community is in Sri Lanka’s own interest, says Jaishankar
• Killing of TN fishermen in Sri Lanka unacceptable: Jaishankar in Rajya Sabha
• Biden administration throws its weight behind new Geneva resolution
• US Ambassador calls on Foreign Minister
• Protests in the East, despite court order
• Tamils defy ban to stage Independence Day protest
• Protesters heading to Jaffna violating court orders
• Protest Launched From Pottuvil in East to Poligandy in North – Jeyaraj
‘The most significant feature of the “Pottuvil to Poligandy” protest was the involvement of Eastern province Muslims.’
• Children used in protest demanding release of Tigers
• UK sidesteps query on LTTE cadres, Adele living there
• Police probing Settikulam incident where a civilian is injured in encounter with troops
– TNA Denies SL Army Land in Kilinochchi
• How many Tamil children did TNA save from being turned to child soldiers by LTTE?
• Estate workers launch island-wide trade union action
• They who subscribe to Sinhala Buddhist supremacy theory are main backers of current gov’t
• Excluding National Anthem in Tamil on Independence Day
• Will India abandon Sri Lanka at UNHRC?
• Human Rights in SL: the case for intervention in Geneva
• UN should not be a platform for terrorists
• The UNHRC’s Michele Bachelet wants us to forget Matías Catrileo
‘Catrileo was one of several Mapuche people murdered while Bachelet was a minister of war in the government of Chile.’
• UN’s ‘Harshest Ever’ Warnings on SL
• Human Rights Chief gets tough, warns Lanka: Enough is enough
• Govt. decides to reject UN rights chief’s report on Sri Lanka
• US, Sri Lanka discuss human rights issue
‘The US Ambassador had said that it was too early to say if the US will rejoin the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. However, she asserted the US will continue to work with other countries to ensure there is real peace in Sri Lanka’
• USA and ally Israel ignore UNHRC Resolutions with impunity
‘The South Asian regional power, India told the UN point blank that it was not ready to talk about Kashmir at the world body’
• US threw the strategic baby and kept HR bathwater
‘The US essentially sought to secure its strategic interests by concocting a lie to harass the then Sri Lankan government’
• Sri Lanka’s Citizens Reply to UNHRC – Waduge
• Sri Lanka protests Twitter video with wartime scenes by OHCHR
• UNHRC Twitter video contains footage shot in other countries: Keheliya
• LTTE using human rights mechanisms to ‘unleash terror’, says Lankan Envoy to UN
• Bishop of Trincomalee joins anti-SL Petition
• Sri Lanka approaches India and other countries for support in UNHRC – Balachandran
• Sri Lanka To Be Defiant At UNHRC – Balachandran
• Counselling the Human Rights Council: A perspective by the Pathfinder Foundation
• Diplomatic bungling as Lanka faces head-on collision with UNHRC
‘Sadly, one senior diplomat remarked, “you guys have a superpower complex.” ‘
• Government’s self-inflicted misfortune at the UNHRC
‘Bachelet’s report is unusually blunt. It’s a cut and paste job of Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, etc, probably with some input from types of transnational govt. of Tamil Eelam and likeminded groups’
• Work towards defeating UNHRC resolution through diplomatic means: Champika
• Sri Lanka must grant amnesty to detained ex-LTTE cadres and move on from war: Champika
• Govt. needs to start implementing its plan for reconciliation: USAID’s National Peace Council
• Call for action by expats – Response to NPC
‘One could argue that the government/government officials and security forces of India be guilty, considering that they were at one time responsible for training LTTE cadres’
• US looks forward to working with SL to promote regional security – Blinken
• May 2019’s Opportunity Benefits for All
• UNHRC: Truth and Reconciliation and the Tamil parties
• War crimes
‘UNHRC has become a metaphor for duplicity. It has not taken any action against the worst war criminals in the world—former English PM Tony Blair and former US President George W. Bush.’
• NGO CPA “gravely concerned” over ethnic relations on Independence Day
• Double standards in the application of human rights principles
• Mistaking a gift horse for an Indian Trojan horse
• The Central Bank Bombing
‘While the Central Bank was the target of the LTTE, other buildings in the vicinity also suffered. Cargo Boat Despatch, Amro Bank, Air Lanka Reservations, George Steuarts, Mercantile Credit, Hotels Corporation and Ceylinco.’
• Sri Lanka must put up a War Crimes Museum for Colonial-JVP-LTTE crimes
• Sri Lanka Cricket refutes allegations it supports a “Born Again” agenda
• Many western multinational corporations eyeing Myanmar’s natural resources
• UNP condemns Myanmar coup, urges military to reverse decision to detain civilian leaders
• Myanmar, Sri Lanka, great powers and geopolitics in Geneva – Jayatilleka
• Mangala says Myanmar is a ’red light’ for SL
• Egypt extends unconditional support to SL
‘Egypt was the first Arab and African country to establish diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka in 1957’
• Russia reiterates its support for SL
• Belarus invites SL to expand ties
• Sri Lanka starts engaging foreign envoys ahead of UNHRC session
• HR experts call for renewed UN scrutiny and efforts to ensure accountability in SL
‘Experts are M. Clément Voule (Togo), Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances: Tae-Ung Baik (Chair-Rapporteur), Henrikas Mickevičius (Vice Chair), Aua Baldé, Bernard Duhaime, and Luciano Hazan; the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Leigh Toomey (Chair-Rapporteur), Elina Steinerte (Vice-Chair), Miriam Estrada-Castillo, Mumba Malila, Seong-Phil Hong; the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Diego Garcia-Sayan; the Special Rapporteur on minority issues Fernand De Varennes; the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shaheed; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism Fionnuala Ní Aoláin; the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Nils Melzer; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Fabián Salvioli.’
• English Government Humiliated over Chagos Islands Again
‘The International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, a UN body based in Hamburg delivered a stern & unequivocal rebuke in ruling England has no legal interest in the maritime area of the Chagos Islands.’
• With eye on Biden, India’s Iran diplomacy shifts gear
‘President Biden’s choice of Robert Malley as the new US special envoy for Iran and Maher Al-Bitar as director of intelligence in the National Security Council undoubtedly signal that a determined push to engage with Iran is just ahead. Clearly, Biden will not brook “spoilers”, especially Israel.’
• What a multifaceted US-Indian partnership should be
‘Blinken sequenced his calls to Asia-Pacific counterparts carefully by speaking first to his counterparts in Tokyo, Seoul, Canberra, Manila and Bangkok….then India…none of the readouts of Blinken’s conversations with counterparts in the key European capitals — Paris, Berlin, London, Brussels — even mentioned “Indo-Pacific” strategy….A good cooperative relationship with China is not a matter of choice. It is a must — not only because it is hugely consequential but can be of great benefit as India climbs up the ladder as an economic power.’
• Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s Phone Call With Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh
• Readout of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Call with NSA Ajit Doval of India
• Secretary Blinken’s Call with Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar
‘The Secretary underscored India’s role as a preeminent U.S. partner in the Indo-Pacific and the importance of working together to expand regional cooperation, including through the Quad’
• Telephone conversation between Jaishankar and Blinken
• Secretary Blinken’s Call with Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi
• Secretary Blinken’s Call with Afghan President Ghani
• Keynote Address by External Affairs Minister at 13th All India Conference of China Studies
• US Plans for Regime Change in China
• Why Do These Uighur Witnesses’ Stories Constantly Change?
• Merkel sides with Xi on avoiding Cold War blocs
• Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng: Anything Possible When China and US Cooperate
• Biden won’t upset the Saudi-UAE apple cart
‘Pentagon continues to assess its situation in the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf region to ensure a balance between operational requirements and risks, and to prepare for achieving global commitments.’
• How ExxonMobil Uses Divide and Rule to Get its Way in South America
• Bolivia-style coup imminent in Ecuador as anti-IMF Candidate Surges
‘current president Lenin Moreno flew to Washington to meet with Biden people, the IMF and OAS head Luis Almagro, the key plotter in Evo Morales’ overthrow.’
• US Militarists Invent Enemies – and Russiagate – for Dollars
• Navalny Scam Sells Empty Concrete Shell As ‘Putin’s Luxurious Palace’
‘I doubt that many Russians will believe such nonsense. Putin is known to spend his holiday’s with outdoor activities. He does not seem to indulge in ostentatious luxury. Nor is there any evidence that he is willing to take bribes. The U.S. certainly tried and failed.’
• Bashing Russia When One Needs It Doesn’t Work Well
• Secretary Blinken’s Call with German Foreign Minister Maas
• Secretary Blinken’s Call with French Foreign Minister Le Drian
‘US desire to work with France, our oldest ally, and other partners to address shared challenges including COVID-19, climate, and China’
• Secretary Blinken’s Call with UK Foreign Secretary Raab
• Secretary Blinken’s Call with EU High Rep for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Borrell
• Nightmare Years Will Repeat Themselves – Until the People Kick Out the Cabal
‘To take on the corporate imperial racial capitalist state, we need a Black-led movement that puts politics in command and names the Democratic perpetrators and collaborators that are culpable in the unfolding, late-stage capitalist disaster.’
• The US Way of Fascism – Mumia
‘US fascism has distinctly Christian characteristics, according to the nation’s best known political prisoner.’
• Creeping Corporate Statism, aka Fascism
‘Despite depending on separate news media that purvey different realities, the two corporate parties both serve a corporate dictatorship.’
• The crisis of US power: How Europeans see Biden’s America
C2. Security (the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of legitimate 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 truly independent nation.
• Greater effort needed to control illicit trade from FTZs
‘FTZs are renowned hotspots for illegal activities… Over the years, smugglers have skilfully infiltrated administrative networks in FTZs and engage in numerous illegal trade destroying billions of dollars in revenue and resources.’
• Lanka pushing for sharing of maritime safety and security expertise
• Lebanon-English Embassy Infiltrates Military Intelligence, Provides Snooping Equipment, Indoctrinates Young Palestinians
‘England hired various companies, led by ‘former’ English intelligence officers, who then organized and ran the propaganda campaigns for the Jihadi onslaught on Syria.’
• Public Security Committees covering all villages
• Prez says he told AG perpetrators of Easter carnage and bond scams must be brought to justice
• Prison Intelligence Unit renamed as SLPERSF
• Detained businessman had links with Easter Sunday attack suspects: CID
‘handled a communication network without the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) authority’
• Guna’s arrest & India’s position on ECT, not a coincidence; FSP
‘They however, have failed to arrest ‘Sarah’ connected to the 2019 April Terror Attacks,
• DIG: Dubai Lankan fugitives’ haven
‘Most Sri Lankan fugitives were currently residing in Dubai, India or in European countries.
• .LK domain affected by malicious redirection
• South Asian Technologies brings cyber security Veritas Technologies
• 79% of Lankan users’ foremost concern is digital privacy
• State-owned facility prevented from collecting samples
‘Private lab has monopoly over PCR tests at BIA’
• Vedda chief wants his people protected from the pandemic
• JVP lawyers to move CA against PCoI report
• Special Presidential Comm. solely to witch hunt political opponents: JVP
• Executive indirectly taking control of Judiciary is a dangerous trend: Eran
• Judiciary will face a crisis if PCoI recommendations are implemented – Prof de Zoysa
• Supreme Court to permit e-filings and digital hearings from 15 Feb.
• Council of legal education, a black-white fortress, embraces the English panacea
• Not yet a land where a wagging political finger directs justice
• President promotes over 8,500 army personnel
• F7 jet squadron celebrates 30-year service to nation
‘The No 5 Jet Squadron that carried over 600 air sorties celebrates its 30th anniversary today (Feb 1). The SLAF acquired Chinese jets in the wake of Eelam War II.’
• Learning the ropes at the Police Training School
• John Kotelawala ‘Homicide’ Perpetrators Got away with Impunity
• INTERPOL Red Notices issued against 129 Sri Lankans
‘About 40 of the 129 Sri Lankans against whom Red Notices have been issued are wanted in Sri Lanka for financial fraud and related crimes,’
• Pentagon Begins ‘Review’ of Advisory Committees over ‘Concern’ About Trump Appointees
C3. Economists (Study the Economists before you study the Economics)
ee Economists shows how paid capitalist/academic ‘professionals’ confuse (misdefinitions, etc) and divert (with false indices, etc) from the steps needed to achieve an industrial country.
• Sri Lanka turns to deregulation amidst sliding growth prospects
‘“deregulations” used in the ultra-neoliberal economic theories and practices were meant to destabilise the countries by “mere deregulation” and not allowing the “National Regulatory Mechanisms”’
• Take from super-rich to come out of economic rut brought about by pandemic, suggests FSP
• 1970s checkpoints for rice – Reductio ad Abeyratnum on Rentier Economy
• A child’s guide to restrictions on forex forward market – Wijewardena
‘CBSL can avoid collapse “By having a clearly identified exit mechanism for its unruly interventions in the market. Normally, this does not happen until a foreign source, like IMF, comes to bailout the country’s dying economy. That was the past experience of Sri Lanka.”’
• Trade and balance of payments prospects in 2021 – Sanderatne
• Driving Growth-Bridging Deficits – Outlook 2021 Report of the Ceylon Chamber Released
‘Sectors covered include Apparel, Tourism, FMCG, Consumer Durables, Construction, Agriculture, Plantations, Fisheries, Dairy, Pharmaceutical, IT/BPM, Electronics and Electrical Sectors & Logistics.’
• Putin Explains Need for New Economic polices
‘rejects laissez faire doctrines that caused the global economic imbalances.
• The mainstream: meeting the historic challenges? – Roberts
‘Is mainstream economics really designed to ‘help people’ improve their lives and livelihoods?
• Biden’s Rescue Package – Prabhat Patnaik
‘Corporate America is not going to like Biden’s package; and finance will show its displeasure soon enough.’
• Yanis Varoufakis: From Economics without Capitalism to Markets without Capitalism
C4. Economy (Usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how the economy is usually measured by false indices like GDP, etc, and in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, while calling for privatization and deregulation, etc. The incessant cry for exports and resolving ‘balance of payments’, etc.
• India says further relief impossible without SL having an agreement with IMF
‘He said a three -month rollover was provided at CBSL’s request till February 1, 2021, and further extension would require Sri Lanka having a successfully negotiated staff level agreement for an IMF programme.’
• We couldn’t continue because we had no deal with IMF – Harsha
• Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy appointed to Dialog Axiata Board
‘Former CBSL governor currently serves on the Board of Tokyo Cement Company and the Chairman of Lynear Wealth Management’
• Almost 50% weekly Cabinet decisions are on the award of contracts…
‘for constructing buildings for government departments, other public sector institutes and universities, and also for purchasing spare parts for power plants, medicine for hospitals, and similar essential items which in any case need to be purchased’
• New guidelines for projects under Rs. 10 m given to MPs from decentralised Budget
• Govt. linked to corruption to please associates; Clergy raises red flag
• Sri Lanka awaiting ‘good news’ from global lender within next 24 days
‘Sri Lanka, which is having talks with the People’s Bank of China, Reserve Bank of India and China Development Bank, is likely to receive good news from at least two of the institutions this month’
• Sri Lanka settles $400-million currency swap with India
• Inflation dips to 3% in January
• Sri Lanka to issue new orders under foreign exchange law
• Sri Lanka banks required to sell 10-pct of forex remittances to the central bank
• Rupee gains on CB restrictions
• Banks asked to sell 10% of worker remittance income to Central Bank
• Sri Lanka prints 505 billion rupees in 2020, bank borrowings top 11-pct of GDP
• Sri Lanka domestic borrowings exceed deficit, repays Rs352bn to foreign lenders by Oct 2020
• Sri Lanka’s foreign currency reserves fall below foreign debt obligations
• Sri Lanka bank credit to state surges in Dec 2020
• Govt. borrowings up on liquidity injections and loans from banks
• Weekly auction undersubscribed: Week-on-week accepted amount dips
• Sri Lanka fails to sell 43-pct of bill auction under price ceilings
• Bank credit to private sector picking up at slow pace in response to monetary easing
• Sri Lanka rupee quoted slightly firmer around 193/195 levels in spot (Feb3)
• Sri Lanka rupee weaker, bond yields edge higher (Feb5)
• SJB urges PM to appoint a special commission on Stae Bank Chairman Loan
• All clear for a stronger GDP growth trajectory in 2021 – Asia Securities Research
‘One of the key challenges going into 2021 is the Government’s debt obligations amidst a low credit profile.’
• China’s Central Bank Is Partnering With SWIFT on a New Joint Venture
• US Billionaire Wealth Breaks All Records in Crisis
• Severe Dysfunction in Washington and Wall Street Puts the U.S. at Risk of Capital Flight
C5. Workers (Inadequate Stats, Wasteful Transport, Unmodern Plantations, Services)
ee Workers attempts to correct the massive gaps and disinformation about workers, urban and rural and their representatives (trade unions, etc), and to highlight the need for organized worker power
• Did NGOs just discover garment workers?
‘Western states and multinational corporations like H&M and Levis who profit the most off of exploiting Sri Lankan garment workers. To understand Canada’s interest in financing NGOs, one needs to understand the Canadian economy, and it’s role in relation to the rest of the world. Alongside mining and manufacturing, Canada provides “peripheral services” like research and development, consultancy, and public relations for US companies.’
• SLTB workers’ leave cancelled from Monday
• Stern action against bus operators if resort to strike: Dilum
• Industrial Disputes Act to be amended
• Can port unions run East Container Terminal?
‘It is clear that port unions foresee regaining their lost power, by getting SLPA to own and run ECT, fulfilling their dreams. Their selfish needs are beyond their love for the country’
• Trincomalee Port employees join in trade union action
• Adani to run the RPCs?
• Plantation workers demand hike in daily wage
• New wage proposal to pay Rs. 1108 daily wage to estate workers: Planters’ Association
• Wage of estate workers to Rs. 1000 seems to be in jeopardy
• Strike by estate workers backed by Hartal cripples upcountry
• 8,500 recruited as trainee graduates in public service
• When Informality Kills – Ahilan Kadirgamar
‘Out of a population of 22 million people, about 8.6 million people are economically active and 7.6 million are economically inactive. Furthermore, of the economically active (which includes the employed and unemployed in the labour force), 57.4% are in the informal sector and 42.6% are in the formal sector. Here, the informal sector is defined as those who are not registered with the Employment Provident Fund or Inland Revenue, those who do not keep formal accounts and those enterprises that employ less than ten individuals; if any of the above three conditions are present they are considered to be part of the formal sector. While 89% of the two million people in agriculture are unsurprisingly in the informal sector, 46.7% of the six million people in the non-agricultural sector are classified as belonging to the informal sector.
• Work accidents severely underreported – as low as 1% of the actual number.
‘Sri Lanka has the Factories Ordinance, which details safety measures to be taken by employers, but it is only applicable to factories; and the Shop and Office Employees Act covers maternity benefits to employees, while the Industrial Disputes Act covers terminations and related issues. The bulk of this legislation was drafted out before 1954… nearly 15% of the total admissions due to injuries at the Colombo National Hospital annually are work-related’
• Regulation on minimum age pertaining to EPF to be presented to Parliament
• Pensioners toddle forth from hibernation
‘9.6 million are estimated to be eligible for pension payments; 50% of eligibles are current enrollers and only 30% or the elderly benefit from this safety net. Also that 1.4% of GDP goes towards pension schemes.’
• Virtual education, CoVID-19 and dumping of our children – Editorial
‘2018 there were 10,175 government schools with a total student population of 4,214,772 in the census year. As we mentioned earlier, only one computer is available to 22% of the households in the country.’
• Boi Kollo – An almost forgotten tragedy
‘The ones who came with nothing and left with nothing and who worked 24/7 for three square meals and a paltry payment that was called a salary.’
• CIPM and University of Ruhuna to develop institutional collaboration in HRM
• McLarens Group recognized among Best Workplaces 2020 and enters Hall of Fame
• C-Suite execs experienced more mental health challenges than employees in global pandemic
C6. Agriculture (Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize on an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to protect the rural home market. Also, importation of agricultural machinery, lack of rural monetization and commercialization, etc.
• No centralized planning in farming in the country
‘Around 30% of land is used for cultivation of food crops and plantation crops. About 2 million smallholder farmers cultivating nearly 900,000 ha. under food crops such as cereals, legumes etc., contribute a substantial fraction of the country’s food requirement. Approximately, 800,000 ha are under planation crops such as tea, rubber and coconut, and about 20% of exports is the result of those working in these estates..Sri Lanka is a land of villages and there are around 14,000 of them. A majority of the population, nearly 80 percent, live in villages and estates…In spite of the country receiving around 100 billion cubic meters of water annually, there are frequent water shortages, mostly in the rural areas where there are around 12,000 tanks.’
• ‘Waari Saubhagya’ National Irrigation Programme begins
• 28 km tunnel billed as longest in South Asia
• Price drop on 27 essential goods for three months from Monday: Trade Ministry
• Consumer rights group wants govt. to make goods available at reduced prices
• Nobody takes gazette notifications seriously, especially those pertaining to commodity prices
‘Mere gazette notifications or platform rhetoric won’t do’
• GL emphasises pivotal importance of introducing new technologies to agriculture sector
‘opening a training and research complex provided by Japan at a cost of Rs 2.8 bn for the Agriculture Faculty of the Jaffna University located in Kilinochchi.’
• Coconut fiber and kernel-based products exports on a tear
• Regulations on Fragmentation & Sale of Coconut Estates to be amended
• Changes planned for fertiliser subsidy system
‘Plantations and large-scale non-paddy crop growers to be restricted access to subsidy. Colombo Commercial Fertiliser Company and Ceylon Fertiliser Company to be merged.Colombo Commercial Fertiliser Co. to become organic fertiliser regulator’
• Mawatte Coconut Estate also had a fiber mill, a copra kiln
• SL to lease 2,750 acres of state land for commercial maize growing after banning imports
• Sri Lanka eyes 250,000MT maize production for Thriposha, other animal feed
‘The country was importing the balance mainly from India and Ukraine.’
• SJB takes ‘sugar racket’ to CIABOC, demands PCoI
‘We urged the Bribery Commission to probe the alleged involvement of former Sathosa Chairman Nushad Perera’s in this and his connection with Sajad Mowzoon, the owner of the company which imported sugar.’
– island.lk/sjb-takes-sugar-racket-to-ciaboc-demands-pcoi/ – ft.lk/news/SJB-Youth-Movement-lodges-complaint-with-Bribery-Commission-on-alleged-sugar-fraud/56-712481
• Sri Lanka giving stimulus to turmeric, grains through import controls: President
• Three fishermen who set out to sea from Mannar reported missing
• Race to restore: Building Asia-Pacific’s sustainable ocean economy – Van Wees & Tanzer
‘Ingrid Van Wees is the Vice President, Asian Development Bank and John Tanzer is the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) Global Oceans Leader’.
• Tea industry undermined by lack of technology – Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers
‘The industry continues to be challenged with constant wage increases and lower rates of mechanisation, which would continue to undermine the competitiveness due to higher average production costs than other large producer/exporter countries.’
• Sri Lanka’s agri-food start-ups have what global markets need
• Politicians, henchmen encroach on Dahayiyagala sanctuary
• Some politicians, businessmen don’t understand value of wetlands – Amaraweera
‘“Six major wetland systems in our country have been designated as Ramsar Wet Sanctuaries; The Bundala National Park, the Anavilundawa Sanctuary, the Maduganga Sanctuary, the Wankale Sanctuary, the Kumana National Park and the Wilpattu National Park.’
• Sri Lanka’s forest cover at 17 percent – environmentalist
• The Corporate-Hindutva Alliance and the Peasants – Prabhat Patnaik
• Modi Blames Certain States for Farmer dispute – Prabhat Patnaik
C7. Industry (False definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry section notes the ignorance about industrialization, the buying of foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound.
• LP Gas companies demand an immediate price hike in LP Gas
• CPC to restart fuel oil trade
‘Before the liberalisation of bunker fuel business in 2004, the monopoly on fuel oil supply to naval vessels was held by Lanka Maritime Services Limited, an affiliate of CPC.’
• Sri Lanka eyes power storage plant for renewables
‘A preliminary study carried out with the Japan International Co-operation fund has identified the Arananayake area in the Ma Oya valley and Wewatenne in Kandy as suitable locations to build the pumped storage unit.’
• CPC seeks tax relief to avoid fuel price hike
• Lanka IOC PLC reports Rs. 91 m loss due to below cost sale of auto fuels
• Sri Lanka IOC unit profits up 40-percent to in Dec quarter
• ‘Sri Lankan geology allows hydro and solar power to be used in conjunction
‘Sri Lanka’s renewable energy efforts are mostly ad-hoc and requires coherent policy and planning.’
• Disruptive activities of a Coal Power Plant ‘Norochcholai’ too hot for marine life
• Parliamentary Council approves new PUCSL members
‘Sri Lanka could lose crucial funding, especially from multilateral organisations such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) if it decides to wind down the regulator and have less transparency on the functions of power generator Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), which is a State monopoly…’
• New PUCSL will approve gas power plant – CEB Head
• Energy expert warns CEB taking country for a ride through creative accounting
• Union of Electricity Consumers wants newly appointed PUCSL to ensure refunding of Rs 25 bn in consumer deposits held by CEB
• South Asia forging ahead towards renewable energy
‘a webinar organised by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) South Asia, on ‘Ideas and Actions for the Renewable Energy Sector’ in its Restart Asian Economies series’
• Presidential Task Force to reduce taxes on sand mining
• Rane ruvata – Asanka Priyamantha | රනේ රුවට – අසංක ප්රියමන්ත
‘Song about graphite workers…’
• So-called patriots sold most state assets while claiming to protect them – SJB
• InterBalance propels Port of Colombo’s first sustainability report
• Nationalize Hambantota Port
• Warranty period over, but Chinese company willing to work with SL Railways
‘Long-time operation without effective maintenance has led to the serious aging and wear of spare parts including the brake system.’
• Sri Lanka to manufacture 100 railway passenger coaches with private participation
• SLTB daily income drops by Rs. 30 million
• All-in-one: Telcos joins FITIS in virtual conclave
‘The Federation of the ICT Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS), the apex body of the ICT industry, brought together all telco leaders in Sri Lanka: Airtel Sri Lanka Chief Executive Officer Ashish Chandra, Dialog Axiata Group CEO Supun Weerasinghe, Dialog Axiata Group Chief Technology Officer Pradeep De Almeida, Hutch Chief Executive Officer Thirukumar Nadarasa, Lanka Bell Managing Director Dr. Prasad Samarasinghe, Mobitel Acting CEO Chandika Vitharana and SLT CEO Kiththi Perera, whilst Huawei Technologies Lanka Co Vice President, Enterprise Business Group Indika De Zoysa moderated the session. FITIS Chairman Abbas Kamrudeen and FITIS Chief Executive Officer Aruna Alwis attended.’
• Taxes on tiles tilt in favour of imports still
• Sri Lanka allows import of Sarees under 90-day credit
• IPS webinar on ‘Recovery of Sri Lanka’s apparel sector from the COVID-19 crisis’
‘“The apparel sector represents 47% of Sri Lanka’s total exports. It is imperative to vaccinate the 350,000-export sector workers to be able to meet customer requirements.’
• Sri Lanka allows imports of tile, squatting pans on credit
• SL and China pledge closer cooperation in apparel sector
‘Apparel is the single largest contributor to the industrial exports of the country, recording a turnover of $ 5.6 billion in 2019. The industry employs over 350,000 people directly and touches the lives of over a million Sri Lankans’
• Sri Lanka Inventors Commission
• Colombo International Airport Ratmalana opens Its doors to Aero Modellers of Sri Lanka
• Vaccine War!
‘Oxford researchers signed an agreement with AstraZeneca on the understanding that their vaccine would be launched on no-profit basis’
• Medical Research Institute, which once produced vaccines, no facilities now
• FSP questions efficacy of Indian vaccine
• Dubai forms Vaccine Logistics Alliance
• Russia offers to assist Sri Lanka to manufacture Sputnik V COVID vaccine
• Sri Lanka tries exorcism as voodoo fails to fight virus
• Expolanka partners with Spicejet India & Tower Cold Chain Solutions for Pharma
• The promise and peril of the bio-revolution
‘Some 60% of physical inputs to the world economy are either already biological, or could be produced using biological processes in the future’
• The Silk Road Journal – By Mahika Ming
‘The world’s first locomotive prototype using high-temperature superconducting magnetic levitation technology (HTS Maglev) was unveiled in Chengdu city in Sichuan Province.’
• COVID-19 Vaccine Developers Ask the SEC to Help Keep the Secret of How They Set Prices
• On Socialist Cybernetics, Accelerationist Dreams, and Tiqqun’s Nightmares
C8. Finance (Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, the curious role of ratings agencies, false indices, etc.
• US commits $40mn loan to Sanasa Bank for small businesses and empower Sri Lankan women
‘The loan from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)…represents the DFC’s first investment in Sri Lanka since its launch in 2019’
• Sri Lanka to hold 55th ADB summit in May 2022; some 4,000 participants expected
• Fitch revises Richard Pieris Finance Ratings to AA- / Stable to from A- / Stable
‘With over 50 factories and 30 Arpico Hyper Markets spread across the country, Richard Pieris Group is a key stakeholder in fueling the economy of the country. Richard Pieris Group also has the pride of being the largest tea and rubber producer in the country…’
• Singer (Sri Lanka) rating raised to AA (LKA)
• Central Bank orders repayment of 50% of remaining deposits of Swarnamahal Financial
• Stock market suffers worst crash in history with Rs. 245 b in value lost
‘Stepped-up surveillance by SEC as well as mistaken circular by CSE and profit-taking cited as reasons for plunge’
• Stocks down amid profit-taking
• Overheated Colombo bourse, a magnet for newbies
‘Market players were always making money. Then came the bank deposit holders with maturing deposits, importers with nowhere to put their money and others who just wanted an ‘avenue’ to pack their money.’
• CSE suffers biggest one-day drop in history. ASPI drops by 561 points (Feb 02)
• Sri Lanka stock market falls 6.5-pct wiping out Rs245bn
‘The Capital Goods Industry was the most active, fell 9.43 percent and Diversified Financial Industry which was also active fell 7.1 percent today’
• CSE record’s highest price index in history
• LOLC Ishara bolsters Bourse turnover to 13-year high
• LOLC hikes debenture issue to Rs.10 billion
• CSE clarifies circular on broker credit exposure
• Sri Lanka, the contrarian investment opportunity of 2021, says CAM
• SL to outperform other equity markets, attracting FDIs under investor bubble
• BOI, CSE and Ceylon Chamber to organize first-ever virtual investor forum
‘the uplifting of foreign investment inflows, in tandem with parallel initiatives of the public and private sectors to bolster exports, domestic production and competitiveness will be foundational in bolstering Sri Lanka’s macro-economic indices.”’
• Lakma Holdings and DPK Enterprise partner to promote FDI
• He set up Bankers Trust Company (BTC) – New York, in Sri Lanka
• Ramesh Jayasekara, new Chief Operating Officer at Seylan Bank
‘served as the Deputy Regional Financial Controller of the French Banking giant BNP Paribas’
• ComBank relocates Trinco branch
• Why GameStop’s stock surge is shaking Wall Street
‘It’s all forcing hard questions about whether the stock market is in a dangerous bubble and whether a new generation of traders should be allowed to take full advantage of all the tools and free trades available on their phones, regardless of how reckless they may seem to outsiders. At the same time, champions of the 99% are cheering louder from the sidelines, saying the moves mean that hedge funds, Wall Street and the 1% are finally getting their comeuppance.’
• GameStop Promoter Keith Gill Was No “Amateur” Trader
• GameStop Short Squeeze: These Are the Big Wall Street Players Who Stood to Make Billions
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business aka ee Rentier focuses on diversions of the oligarchy, making money from unproductive land sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Abans Group Gains Full Ownership of $200 Million Colombo City Centre
• Sunshine Holdings goes for 1 into 3 share split
‘Lamurep Investments Ltd. owns 47.3% stake whilst the other two major shareholders are SBI Ven Holdings Ltd. (18%) and Deepcar Ltd. (17.4%).’
• Sri Lanka’s Sunshine Holdings net up 36-pct in Dec
• Ganesan sees nothing but crony capitalism in govt.
‘“The dealers have become more powerful than political leaders. It is those dealers who had Ukrainian tourists brought here at the expense of the Sri Lankan expatriate workers’
• SL Tourism contributed to around $4 billion with around 300,000 people directly involved
• JKH pre-tax profit for 9-mths to Dec 2020 drops sharply owing to COVID-19
• India’s Piramal Glass Ceylon posts Rs.5.9bn turnover for 9 months, 110% growth in PAT
‘This quarter witnessed new launches in Australia, India, Angola, U.K and Rwanda.’
• PepperCube to launch retail store audit
‘PepperCube will engage Dwight Watson, an English Consultant, the Managing Director of Nielsen Sri Lanka before moving on to South Africa, America and Switzerland’
• On’ally Holdings gets 4 directors from new controlling shareholder Lanka Realty Investments
‘Urban Development Authority is the second largest shareholder in On’ally with 45% stake’
• Money laundering Lankan couple in mystery land deals valued at hundreds of millions
• Ramzeen appointed Chief Business Advisor at WSK Business Services
‘He successfully re-engineered a loss-making foreign venture, a division of Safeway Group of Companies’
• Udaya Dasanayake appointed to Metecno Lanka Board
• Royal Nursing Home to build SL’s biggest luxury Elderly Care facility
• Sri Lanka Vietnam eye preferential trade deal, agri-fisheries links
• Ambassador Malraj de Silva presents credentials to UAE
• ‘Miracle on the Kelani River happening very soon’ – US-Occupied Korean Ambassador
‘23,000 Sri Lankan employees are presently in Korea. Around 520 million US dollars were transmitted by them from Korea to Sri Lanka in 2019.’
• Fairfirst offers travel insurance with a COVID cover
• Singapore Airlines not to join Tata Group in bid for Air India
‘Tata Sons holds 51% of Vistara and SIA owns 49%’
C10. Politics (Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant media diversions and the mercantile and financial forces behind the political actors, of policy taken over by private interests minus public oversight.
• 76 recognized political parties, registered in the country at present.
• Parties within govt have role to play without being slaves to any faction: Wimal
‘Colombo port is located on an important naval route with potential for high earnings, drawing the attention of Western powers’
• SLPP disappointed in Wimal over Colombo port deal remarks
• Campaign Promises by Gotabaya Rajapaksa (SLPP)
• Did this country get any Independence from England in 1948?
‘Nearly 600,000 acres of tea and rubber owned by Sterling companies were kept in the hands of white masters even after they left our shores. Official language of the country continued to be English.’
• Spare us the English
‘During the 1953 hartal, English warships entered our waters to rescue a satrap UNP cabinet. Their courts still overruled the local legislature. England still held bases and ruled the waves. Their banks still rule the ebb and flow of capital.’
• Yaka Says No Thanks!
‘But then in 1979, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority was set up, and the UNP government handed power in the ports back to P&O’
• Is Ranjan Ramanayake Disqualified?
• Friends and family forever!?!? %^&%$
‘Not good, Mister President for either you are sanctioning it or else don’t have the sway to put a stop to this disgusting practice.’
• Criticism against Govt. an urban phenomenon – G.L. Peiris
• Govt. cannot silence JVP with threats – Tilvin
‘“The JVP has survived bullets and bombs.’
• SLFP appoints committee to submit proposals for new constitution
• Playing a pivotal role in the ‘petition in the shoe’
‘The Army Commander H.H.L. Malcolm asked his men to shoot “through the heart any Sinhalese that may be found on the streets”.’
• A Golden Age in Public Administration
‘the years between 1948 and 1972, probably extending even upto 1989. Before 1948, it was a colonial, bureaucratic administration. Since 1948, Sri Lanka had a Parliamentary democracy’
• Two Days with President Fidel Castro
‘I finally understood that their unusual secrecy and precautions were justifiable, given the large number of failed attempts on President Castro’s life, choreographed by the CIA!’
• Engels on the Peasant War in Germany – Prabhat Patnaik
• Mahatma Gandhi 1869-1948
C11. Media (Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science and art)
ee Media shows how corporate media monopoly determines what is news, art, culture, etc. The media is part of the public relations (corporate propaganda) industry. The failure to highlight our priorities, the need to read between the lines. To set new perspectives and priorities.
• Australia’s Lowy Institute slaps those who sneer(ed) at Sri Lanka’s anti-Covid measures
‘while New Zealand has handled the pandemic most effectively, Sri Lanka is No 10 on the list, way ahead of India (86th) and the USA (94th).’
• A Glimpse of Ceylon History
• Dharmasena Pathiraja: “Enfant Terrible” of Sinhala Cinema
• The saga behind Sri Lanka’s lost crown
• Internet Shutdowns: Revival of English Divide-and-Rule Policy?
‘In 2019, India topped the list of countries that shutdown Internet with 121 shutdowns…Network-18, the largest news network, is owned by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man, with all its media outlets, enthusiastically participated in maligning the farmers’ movement’
• FMM calls Myanmar coup a deathblow to democracy
• How the Press That Sold the Iraq War Got Away With It
• Microsoft backs Australian plan to make Google pay for news