ee archive: eesrilanka.wordpress.com
‘Before you study the economics, study the economists!’
The Elephant-Plantation Conflict
Central Bank Governor Exposes Economists & Media
e-Con e-News 21-27 February 2021
‘The elephant-people conflict is complex, and its history dates back to English colonialism. Most elephants lived in the montane forests, with only a minority living in the lowlands. English hunting and coffee planting drove the elephants from the hill-country. Meanwhile English genocide culled the Sinhala people of the rice-growing granaries, and historic paddy lands were seized and turned into game reserves, like Yala or Vilpattu. Any solution has to take this history into account.’
Wow! Such elephantine recall is never found in the endless media debates. Especially when England is hectoring us in Geneva on ‘living well’. What accounts then, for this green pandemic, a wild efflorescence of printed distress wailing the country’s wilderness being cut down for agriculture (see ee Agriculture).
Such ecological concerns were rarely heard when England imposed plantations. When massive destruction was wrought by the World-Bank-funded Mahaveli Scheme, which promised we’d export electricity to India. When terrorist war was fuelled post-’77 by the Yankee Dicky regime supported by USA, India, England, Japan, Canada, who are now so oi-oi-oi about unjust wars and peaces.
Corporate environmentalism is another blunt sword aimed against industrializing the country. Food importers are against extending agriculture, and raising its productivity. Much ‘environmental’ funding (IUCN, WWF) comes from corporate oil and tobacco sources!
What we face is an elephant-plantation conflict. Send the elephants back upcountry? Actually, it is a Human-Plantation Conflict. For this import-export plantation business still rules the economy.
• Then there’s the concern for freedom of the press (which a former President, now a Rockefeller-funded democrat apparently, then likened to ‘the freedom of a jackass’). The, suddenly, we see the word ‘patriarchy’ in the daily press. Whoa! What is the link to all that targeted USAID funding for women and media:
Unilever, Nestle, Cargills, and NATO-funded I/NGOs have hijacked March 8 International Women’s Day (IWD). For Rs20,000 you can join famous Colombo 7 matrons this year at ‘The Cargills IWD Festival’ over ‘aperitifs and canapés’, and ‘Be the Change’. Change what? is unexplained. Cargills makes their workers work long hours, and is a major outlet for Unilever products. Unilever uses third-party contractors to deny women workers’ rights. But such may not be apt for ‘aperitif’.
• As ee goes to press (such a quaint anachronism), workers are objecting to their salaries not being paid on Thursday, February 25, the last working day before the start of this long full-moon weekend, and the month’s end. They’ve been told to wait for March 1, Monday. And yes, no interest will be paid on the delay:
‘The reproduction of capitalism is not possible
without the constant presence of violence, or the possibility of it’
(see ee Sovereignty, The Most Authoritarian Thing in the World is Capital)
• Despotism is an age-old insult flung at African and Asian leaders by the whites, even as they lay waste to the world. Some trace the insult to the Greeks (meaning ‘Lord’)! To the Turks (‘A minor Christian satrap’). Some to Hegel! Now it means anyone the USA (and their local international advisors) don’t like. Yet, nothing is as despotic and authoritarian as capitalism, and none more militaristic than the USA, with the Biden regime renewing horror on Syria this week, while proclaiming ‘human rights’ in Geneva. Is such a US Democratic Party is a model for us knee-grows?
‘Just as surely as our diplomats and military, US NGOs are out there
serving and sacrificing on the frontlines of freedom…
NGOs are such a force multiplier for us,
such an important part of our combat team.’
– US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2001.
• Arming NGOs? – So those ‘Somali pirates’ were not pirates after all – they were contractors: ‘The USA should consider hiring “privateers” to raid Chinese merchant ships and destroy port facilities,’ recommend US military officials, currently promoting chaos in Myanmar and Central America. (ee Random Notes)
• A Reuters headline, ‘Sri Lanka’s bonds tumble as default worries mount’ was trumpeted over and again across the world. ‘Default’ now replaces ‘debt’ as mud to sling at countries:
‘In the last couple of weeks alone, 3 institutions,
Standard Chartered, Barclays and ICRA published damaging reports’
– Central Bank Governor WD Lakshman.
Governor Lakshman sees a link between ‘bond investment advisories and UN rights pressure’. Condemning such doomsday predictions, he claimed these forecasts were aimed at pushing the country to seek International Monetary Fund involvement again in economic policymaking.
These English and other banks benefit from us bending over to the IMF, for they get fees from facilitating loans, which then must be backed by the Central Bank. their fraudulent rating agencies like Moody’s (ICRA) get very happy, and their easy profits go up. As one financial analyst noted, Wall Street is enacting a coup on the US government, while the very same US government is trying to do exactly that here! By the way, Governor Lakshman should have added the criminal complicity of England’s Reuters and their local spawn like FT and EconomyNext (see ee Random Notes).
For over 70 years, SL’s Central Bank has been held hostage by the white men who set it up. For the moment we have a governor who is attempting to tell some truth, laying bare the link between politics and the economy…
ee continues our look at import substitution by recalling India’s experience. Clearly it’s not just import-substitution or export-led industrialization but an alternative economic system altogether that’s needed (ee Focus).
• These bankers attacking Sri Lanka have ignominious origins: Barclay’s Bank was financed by the ‘compensation’ paid (by the Rothschilds via Bank of England) to slave owners who claimed losses from the 1833 English abolition of African chattel slavery (increasing the price of the enslaved). Barclays then financed the indentured slave trade from Asia, as well as the opium trade. Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) originated in the privatization (again, in 1833) of English trade financing the growing of opium in India and its forced sale on China. SCB then financed invasion of Southern Africa, gold and diamond mining, imposing apartheid. Citibank, linked to slave sugar & opium, looted Haiti’s Central Bank in 1915. US Marines invaded, stole Haiti’s gold reserves of tens of millions (profits from slave sugar) and turned it over to First National City Bank in NY – now Citibank.
A1. Reader Comments –
• One-Party Capitalist States • White man’s Axis of Evil Growing • Machine learning – Boru Shoke? • Save Gota from his Friends • Rise of the Ex-JVP UNP-NATO Left
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Marrying 12-year-olds • No India Stats • US & India Democracies? • Most Trading by Capitalist Robots
A3. Random Notes –
• Armed NGOs • Privatization of Warfare • 90% of SL bonds held by US Vulture Funds • Most Debt 2015-18 • Alternative Economic system needed • Economists on US Payroll • No Gloom & Doom for Capitalist Companies • Shipping Monopoly • How Black America was Deindustrialized, Drugged & Imprisoned • Venezuela Expels EU Ambassador • 173 Years of the Communist Manifesto • 100th Year of China’s Communist Party • White Man & China • The American System • The Doom & Gloom of Reuters & Wijeya Group’s Financial Times
B. ee Focus
B1. Challenges of Import-Substitution in the Midst of a Dominant Trader Mafia
B2. P&O & Colombo as the hub of the Indian Ocean steamship network
B3. Machine Learning in Central Economic Planning
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: email@example.com.
• ‘Yes indeed! As ee says, most countries are ruled by one-party states, by a Capitalist Party.’
• ‘Congratulations! The spotless white is adding Sri Lankans to imperialism’s ever-growing axes of evil: Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, Palestinians, Iranians, Cubans, Iraqis, Venezuelans, Syrians…’
• Good one on machine learning and planning economies! Though ee should be careful about boru shoke, promoting high-techno fixes. Like our oligarchs do, while they refuse to even make a pin-making machine let alone a pin.’
• ‘I fully support Gotabaya, but he is letting himself be cornered by self-seeking idiots. Our enemies we can trust, but our friends?’
• ‘ee should track the curious rise of this genetically modified species called the UNP Left (NATO Socialists), led by the oddest of bedfellows: many being so-called grads of 1971 & 1983 adventurism. But were they ever ‘Left’? Or just infantile disorders? Some even claim to love ee’s role-model SBD de Silva! SB must be roiling in his ashes.
ee should put all of them in perspective: They are made-to-corporate-order, as recalled in several ee where multinationals chose 2020 to mark a turning point in corporate co-option using idealistic ‘liberal’ symbols and slogans.’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• We do? ‘We all agree that marrying 12-year-old girls is bad and that 18 should be the minimum age of marriage.’ – Minister of Justice (see ee Security, Justice)
• ‘It was just ideology: there was no free market in Silicon Valley… Electric car company Tesla initially struggled to secure investment until it received a $465million loan from the US Department of Energy. In fact, 3 companies founded by Elon Musk – Tesla, SolarCity, SpaceX – had jointly benefited from nearly $4.9billion in public support of various kinds. Many other well-known US startups had been funded by the Small Business Innovation Research program, a public venture capital fund. “It wasn’t just early research, it was also applied research, early stage finance, strategic procurement,” she says. “The more I looked, the more I realised: state investment is everywhere.”’ – wired.co.uk/article/mariana-mazzucato
• ‘This suppression of essential data [in India] is terrible for accountability and for ensuring that citizens have the benefit of official data collection that is paid for with their taxes. It is also counterproductive for the government, which may be kept in the dark about actual trends in the economy and therefore not be able to devise appropriate policies.” – newsclick.in/Consumer-Expenditure-Survey-Data-%27Junked%27-NSSO-Modi-Government (ee Economists, India)
• ‘Democratic society! (laughs). Firstly, I’m not quite sure what we mean by a democratic society. There’s a sort of a classification. If you have elections of the sort that you have in India and the USA, somehow, you are a democratic society. I don’t understand what that means. India is supposed to be the world’s largest democracy and so on, and you have millions of working-class people thrown out of their cities, wandering around, dying on railway tracks… The great democracy carries on, and nobody is punished for any of this.’ – Aijaz Ahmad (ee Sovereignty, Authoritarian)
• ‘Most trading today is executed not by individuals making deliberate decisions about the value of a stock based on fundamental analysis of a firm’s prospects, but by computers programed with algorithms that detect patterns…’ – Public Citizen (ee Finance, Wall St)
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• Arming NGOs – Writing on February 21, US military analysts say hiring armed NGOs as privateers to attack China, would ‘be legal, ethical, and in the US national interest.’ They point out, the US ‘never agreed to any prohibitions on privateering and specifically rejected the efforts to outlaw the practice at the Second Hague Convention in 1907, and second, that it remains a lawful practice under international law.’
‘The past two decades have already seen the USA rely heavily on the privatization of warfare,’ officials observe. In Iraq, 50% of the US force structure was provided by contractors and, similarly, 70% in Afghanistan. In future, the US ‘may outsource 80% or more to outside contractors… The US Central Command employed 50,000 contractors in 2018, and 30,000 of them were foreign nationals.’ The US ‘heavily’ contracts companies in African ‘counter-terrorism’ (read: Terrorism) and stability (read: Chaos) missions and in Latin American counter-narcotics (read: Drug dealing) operations. French, English, Russian & Ukrainian companies (among others) work for African states ‘or at the behest of Western governments in the Sahel and elsewhere on the continent’.
‘Privateering is lawful, and the privateers are legally distinct from mercenaries and entitled to protection under the Geneva Convention… In a crisis, the US should fund and organize privateers to utilize their existing capabilities to attack Chinese merchant vessels.’ (see ee Security)
• As if 515 years is not enough, yet another month of our lives is going to be wasted responding to interrogations from the white man, a white man who’s laid waste to the world, and by the white magic of media force multipliers, insists it’s a supposed paragon of ‘human rights’.
Then the months after that will go back to whingeing about debts and defaults: Some 90% of our bonds are held by US funds, mostly vultures. The human rights and default mania drives their prices up.
As this week’s revelations (see ee Economists) show, our so-called debt, amazingly much of it accumulated 2015-18, has been due to the orgy of luxury consumption, that’s most evident on our roads… and at the big hotels, which should be dismantled as fast as possible and turned into industrial workshops and public housing.
• The CBSL Governor also blamed financial analysts (are these economists on US State Department payroll?) for ‘solely relying on Modern Monetary Economic theory’ to predict ‘doom and gloom’ predictions, while ignoring the government’s ‘alternative policy approach’.
He pointed out, the interest cost on international sovereign bond (ISB) issuances peaked to US$1billion per annum in 2019, due to the rapid build-up in ISB issuance 2015-19. Hence, he stressed, curtailing of foreign debt has become a key policy of the current government.
‘Sri Lanka recorded a current account surplus in 1977 for the last time; it was not due to open-economic policies but due to earlier period of austerity adopted by the 1970-77 government.’
So will this Governor’s heroic efforts amount to trimming the excesses of a deeply structurally flawed system, and then handing it over a renewed UNP oligarchy, who will be even more corrupt and repressive?
Austerity and a war economy has long been inevitable, as ee keeps noting, as we add more burdens on future generations, even as many say they do everything ‘for their children’. Blessed are the children for they shall inherit the national debt…
• Look at this obsequious media, so doom-and-gloom about the public sector, reporting so glowingly on capitalists: ‘HNB Group demonstrates resilience, strength and stability… Best-in-class Rewards for Top Performing Financial Advisors of Union Assurance’.
They are either praising themselves or getting their PR agencies to set up awards ceremonies: ‘SLT ranked among ‘10 Most Admired Companies’ of SL’; this one takes the cake or is it the bibbikama: ‘Dutch ISM APAC ranked among Best Workplaces in SL 2020’. Really!! More like Dumb & Glum!
‘Of 30 global shipping lines 30 years ago, only 10 shipping lines exist today.
The 10 shipping lines too have consolidated themselves into 3.’ (ee Industry)
• Monopoly in the shipping industry is an old story, as ee continues recalling P&O’s movement of gold in the 19th century. News this week divulged, albeit vaguely, this monopoly continues. More reason for the Sri Lankan state to maintain tight control over ports: The Earl of Inchcape (see ee Focus, who took over P&O and BI in 1914), was a principal in 41 companies involving various phases of the tea business, including banking, shipping and insurance…
ee also welcomes the Presidential investigation of customs, which remains a den of thieves sabotahing any attempt at ensuring that imports serve the country as opposed to feeding the orgies of the ruling oligarchy.
• While some IR advisors talk nonsense about the US commitment to ‘rights’, quoting the armed children of ‘holocaust survivors’ who claim the US has ‘robust mechanisms’ to ensure rights, check out a brilliant video on how the Black American liberation movement, based on working-class power, was undermined by deindustrialization, then massive drug promotion to mass incarceration to being (be)headed by false prophets like Obama, etc. (ee Sovereignty, Black)
• This week saw Venezuela expel the EU ambassador in response to EU sanctions. Jayavaeva! On February 21, President Nicolás Maduro honored the 173rd anniversary of The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
2021 is also the 100th anniversary of China’s Communist Party. And, contrary to the death many times foretold of socialism, the People’s Republic of China is the first real challenge the whites have ever faced from the brutalized victims of their Empire abroad. The 20thC USSR was the previous great challenge to Empire.
In 1850, Marx wrote: “Chinese Socialism bears much the same relation to European Socialism as Chinese philosophy does to Hegelian philosophy. It is, in any case, an intriguing fact that the oldest and the most unshakable empire in the world has in 8 years by the cannonballs of the English bourgeoisie been brought to the eve of a social revolution which will certainly have the most important .results for civilization. When our European reactionaries in their immediately coming flight across Asia finally come up against the Great Wall of China, who knows whether they will not find on the gates which lead to the home of ancient reaction and ancient conservatism the inscription, Chinese Republic – liberty, equality, fraternity…’ 1850!
• ‘The American System was an economic plan that played an important role in US policy during the first half of the 19th century… the plan “consisted of 3 mutually reinforcing parts: a tariff to protect and promote US industry; a national bank to foster commerce; and federal subsidies for roads, canals, and other ‘internal improvements’ to develop profitable markets for agriculture“.’ (ee Industry) And yet, the USA and their drones refuse to permit such a panacea for us.
• On responding to the doom-and-gloom auguries of Thomson Reuters and their local mouthpieces – Wijeya Group’s Financial Times: ‘What is alarming is that despite numerous instances where previous governments have sought assistance from the IMF in the form of structural adjustment programs and standby arrangement facilities as a mere stopgap arrangement to address the deteriorating Balance of Payments and to stem the outflow of foreign currency, nothing material has been done to address the burgeoning trade deficit and enhance domestic industrial competitiveness: This is the root cause of one of the so-called twin deficit problems that has been touted by the same group of liberal economists and economic commentators. In fact, what is prescribed by the liberal doctrine is more of the same, by way of liberal trade policies, i.e., more unsustainable imports & more foreign borrowings for projects, at the expense of the local production & manufacturing industries and also end-consumers who eventually pay the ultimate price by way of higher taxes, low disposable incomes, no growth opportunities, and finally, austerity measures. These have become standard policy recommendations readily available to be used by the IMF and by liberal economists and economic commentators.
In fact, of the 16 programs undertaken by the IMF at the request of the liberal schools, 10 have been standby arrangement facilities provided to the country since 1966, while the remainder have been designed as extended credit facilities, which has seen the borrowing of $4.3billion in total. What the liberals fail to see is that $1.8bn or 42% was handed out in 2018 to defend unsustainable import bills, which added pressure on the domestic exchange rates, resulting in the Central Bank using up its reserves to defend the currency, as the passthrough co-efficient of import-driven consumer inflation remained a primary concern.
…The country inherited a highly leveraged balance sheet and continues to be faced with a debt repayment of circa $ 4.2billion for 2021 until 2025, as SL had borrowed $12.1bn during the period 2015-19, accounting for 75% of the country’s total external capital market related borrowings, ie, Euro bonds.
…It is important to keep in mind that amidst all these negative undertones, Sri Lanka was able to honor its debt repayments of over $4.2billion in 2019; as well as make the repayment of another $4.3bn in 2020 even with rating downgrades. Our debt service obligations remained intact even when the global economy was in disarray and when consumer markets virtually closed, as the world experienced its worst-ever economic downturn in its capitalist history, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
…The country has doubled down on becoming an export-led economy, aligning its monetary, fiscal, industrial, and export policies to create a structured import-competing environment for local industries to gain market share. The import rationalization framework has had significant results and has managed to curtail the foreign-currency leakages created by excessive import dependency and by doing so, has given this revenue opportunity to the local industries. Through these structural adjustment policies, the country has been able to turn its perianal current account deficit into a surplus in 2020 and will continue down this path in 2021 too.
It is highly likely with the current incentives laid out for the export industries, that merchandise export revenue for the year 2021 will surpass the export revenue of $11.9billion observed in 2019. Therefore, it is imperative that the import rationalization policy continues if Sri Lanka is to come out of this abyss; and emphasis placed on curtailing non-essentials, such as vehicles, consumer goods (most furniture, electronics), and food (fish, dairy, wheat/maze, etc), items that can be produced within the island will decline merchandise import expenses, a great margin below the 2019 level of $19.3billion…’ – themorning.lk/default-fear-struck-by-a-bond-price-drop
B. Special Focus_
B1. Challenges of Import-Substitution in the Midst of a Dominant Trader Mafia
(excerpts from Export-Led Growth and Import-Substituting Industrialization: Amiya Kumar Bagchi, 1977)
‘India’s experience of import-substituting industrialization can be roughly divided, for our purposes, into 3 phases. The first phase, lasting roughly up to the middle of the First 5-Year Plan (1951-56), witnessed the substitution in imports of such ordinary consumer goods as cotton textiles & sugar, and other crude basic and intermediate goods, such as steel, cement, paper. While there was some development of basic goods and even of capital goods in this period, the perspective of continued and sustained growth was lacking. So growth remained rather meagre.
From around 1953-54 began a determined thrust towards substitution in basic & capital goods industries with a view to raising the rates of growth of demand for and supply of capital goods industries. However, this second phase of import-substitution was already dogged by the spurt in consumer expenditures by upper-income classes.
And, from the middle of the Third 5-Year Plan period (1961-66), the third phase of import-substitution, primarily based on the domestic fabrication of goods demanded by the richer-income groups, took over…
In a class-divided society that India is, with a capitalist and managerial class primarily dependent on models from advanced capitalist countries for their techniques, products, and organizational framework, an increase in exports generally leads to an increase in imports. Furthermore, given that the contribution of technical change to growth in Indian industrial output is rather small in a world in which most of the advanced countries derive a major part of output growth from such technical change, any major thrust in industrial exports has to be borne by the wage-earners producing the output, and the poorer consumers releasing part of their consumption for exports.
…The import-intensities of industrial investment & defence expenditure are also almost certainly higher than the import-intensity of consumption of necessities. To the extent that a rise in industrial investment and a rise in defence expenditure is associated with a rise in the share of the incomes of the propertied and managerial classes, we can lump together consumption expenditures of the upper class, investment in the organized sector, and defence expenditure, and postulate a direct positive relationship between these entities and imports.
Against this perspective, many of the policies of the government which are aimed at raising the share of exports can also be seen as implying a rise in share of incomes of the propertied & managerial classes…
…Most of our exports still originate in traditional sectors whose outputs are more sensitive to the weather & other exogenous factors than to the plans of the capitalists & managers, and that while a fall in wage income will release some part of the home-consumed exportables, the rate of release will not be fast, because such exportables partake of more of the nature of necessities than of luxuries.
…It could be argued, what has happened in many underdeveloped economies is that a larger and larger sector of the economy has simply retreated from a situation in which their fortunes are strongly affected by developments in the field of international trade. This can come about in 2 ways: one is a retreat towards various forms of subsistence farming or production for home consumption, and the other is the building up of linkages within different sectors of the economy on both the sides of demand and supply, which almost entirely exclude any influence emanating from the field of international trade. I am not sure that, in typical underdeveloped economies, the second type of disengagement from international trade has dominated over the first type. In fact, there is a third type of development we must think of: ie, the phenomenon of gradual pauperization of large segments of the population who have neither the resources for production for self-consumption nor the steadiness of employment for continual involvement in the market. Both the strategies of export-led growth and import-substituting industrialization come to grief on these rocks of what may be called last resource subsistence farming and increasing pauperization.
…Another feature of the model which some people may find disquieting is the implication that a growth in national income would require a fall in the share of property income to the total… But the contrast is helpful in pointing up the essentially passive role that property income plays in relation to investment and growth of income in our perspective.
This is because investment, particularly private investment, is very much dependent on various exogenous factors such as the growth of public expenditure, the availability of foreign technology on favourable terms, and innovations in types or qualities of products and methods of production going on abroad. A rise in property income may simply stimulate luxury consumption because property owners find the prospective rate of profit on productive investment too low in comparison with the rate which they consider ‘normal’.
The rich in India, as in other Third World countries, derive their consumption standards from abroad, and the types of goods they demand continually change. But the size of the class which can afford to buy modern consumer durables is quite small, and income and wealth are extremely unequally distributed within that class as well. So, while the top income earners can vie with their peers abroad with regard to their consumption of new types of luxuries (while retaining much of the feudal style of living with numbers of retainers in their employ), the demand for consumer durables at the lower range of the property owning and managerial class is quickly saturated.
This at the same time keeps the propensity to import of the rich quite high, and creates problems for the consumer-durable industries that get established. After only a few years, the latter find their demand tapering off to the level of replacement demand plus the demand on the part of the new entrants to the ranks of the rich. On top of this, once import-substitution starts in a particular line, everybody with the requisite capital and connections rushes in, and excess capacity soon builds up. Because of the oligopolistic nature of industry, competition rarely results in price-cutting. With the prevailing income distribution, the price elasticity of demand is not likely to remain very high for long either. But the prevailing business ethos does not favour price competition anyway. So the prospects appear quite dim to a new investor surveying an established field. What’s been said about consumer durables applies with even greater force to mass consumption goods. Uncoordinated investment in any field adds to the deadweight of excess capacity without generating much demand for other industries. The longer such a depression persists the more intractable the problem appears to be.
While the market for a particular type of consumer durable appears depressed, new types of consumer durables are always appearing abroad. Some stimulation in the market for consumer goods can be expected from this source, but here the total inability of our capitalists to effect any major innovations on their own and their dependence on foreigners for technology in any new field whatsoever come in the way. This incapacity has deep historical and structural roots.
Suffice it to say, the long divorce in Third World Countries of science and learning from production, the gradual squeezing out of ordinary people from any skilled participation in the production process in the name of modern production technologies, the resulting (relative) shrinkage over time of the production base on which research and development can build, the continuous temptation to any private entrepreneur (or manager of a public enterprise for that matter) to abrogate any agreement to use indigenous technology only and bring in a more immediately profitable foreign technology all these play havoc with any simple-minded attempt to remove contradictions arising out of the social structure by some elitist science policy.
However, because of this technological and managerial dependence, the demand bottleneck is further constrained by a supply bottleneck. Such a supply bottleneck can only be eased in the short run through import of foreign technology, and what is perhaps equally important, of assurance given by a foreign name. The ordinary people, through whose efforts exports and foreign-exchange earnings are generated, pay heavily for this result, to the benefit again of the richer-income groups. Thus there are spurts of demand for luxury goods or comforts by property owners which temporarily stimulate investment and production in the respective lines, but these spurts are ended either through the saturation of the market or through the aggravation of the balance of payments deficit.
…Both import-substitution and export-led strategies come up against the contradictions of a class-riven retarded society. A very large fraction of the poor remain outside the purview of stimulation sought to be provided by these strategies, both on the demand and on the production sides.
The process of economic change works by extruding people from an active production process, and converting them into ‘waste products’. These waste products can then hardly be expected to help either in raising productivity in industry & agriculture and enabling indigenous capitalists to compete with advanced capitalist countries at home and abroad, or in expanding the market in the long term and thereby raising the long-term profitability of investment. There may be other strategies for raising industrial growth and achieving self-reliance, but their discussion would require the blueprint for an alternative society as the appropriate background.
Brief Notes: For a survey of industries other than consumer-goods industries at the time of independence, see PJ Thomas, India’s Basic Industries, 1948. For critiques of the strategy of import-substitution in the Indian context, see VV Desai: ‘Import-Substitution and Growth of Consumer Industries’, Economic & Political Weekly, 4(11), March 15, 1969; ‘Pursuit of Industrial Self-sufficiency Critique of the First 3 Plans’, EPW, 6(18), May 1, 1971. For more general critiques, see IH Power, ‘Import-Substitution as an Industrialization Strategy’, Philippine Economic Journal, 5(2), 1966; AO Hirschman, ‘The Political Economy of Import-Substituting Industrialization’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 82(1), Feb. 1968; David Felix: ‘The Dilemma of Import-Substitution Argentina’, in ed GF Papanek, Development Policy Theory and Practice, 1968.
B2. Colombo as the Hub of the P&O Indian Ocean Steamship Network
Colombo, as the hub of the Indian Ocean steamship network, became the regulatory point for specie shipments from Australia. It was the first port of call for P&O steamers from Australia and, consequently, was the first port where optional delivery could be effected. Once the gold was expected at Colombo, the shipper had the option of transhipping it to an Indian or other port such as Rangoon, or leaving it onboard to go to London. Failing any of these, the gold could be landed at Colombo and shipped to where it was in demand, although this would be as a new consignment and would incur fresh freight charges.
Competition from Other Shipping Companies – The effect of these arrangements and connections can be judged from the amount of specie carried by P&O and their main competitors. Prior to the late 1860s P&O’s position in the specie trade was essentially unchallenged. Competition, however, strengthened in the 1860s, so much so that P&O Assistant Manager Thomas Sutherland [later founder of HSBC] commented the ‘old monopoly of this valuable traffic has completely come to an end, and the competition which has set in will deprive us every year of more freight.’
The introduction of the secret rebates & agreements enabled P&O to restore its dominant position against competition from several established steam navigation companies. P&O demonstrated its influence in the China Steam Trade Conference in 1879 when it forced other shipping lines to agree to not carry silk or specie below the rates stipulated by P&O and Messageries Maritimes Cie (MM).
With the rise of German shipping power in the 1890s, P&O came under threat from the NDL in the specie trade from London to Asia. The British India Steam Navigation Co (BI), well established in the Indian Ocean, also emerged as potential competition to P&O in the 1890s.
The two companies [P&O, BI] made agreements regarding routes and freight. BI concentrated on routes in the Indian Ocean region, particularly Indian coasts, Straits Settlements, Persian Gulf and East Africa, while P&O operated the trunk routes between Europe, Asia and Australia, as well as services within Asia: India-Ceylon to Australia and India to China being the main routes. BI established a service from London to India with the terminus Calcutta so as to not compete with P&O services which terminated at Bombay. Similarly, the BI route to Australia from India was from Calcutta via Torres Strait to Queensland, whereas P&O sailed via Ceylon and Western Australia to Victoria and New South Wales. This was subsidized by a Queensland Government mail contract. With the merger of BI and P&O in 1914 both companies came under the control of BI’s Lord Inchcape [who controlled major plantation lands in Sri Lanka[ and, consequently, control of the specie trade became further concentrated.
The principal competition in the Australia-India trade came from the strong Orient Line. The relationship between thetwo appears one of mutual recognition, organized by agreements rather than freight wars. From 1888, the 2 companies shared the Australian mail contract via Suez, each subsidized to offer an alternating weekly service, and it appears they had reached some agreement to share the trade in specie also. In 1893, P&O and the Orient worked together against the attempts by the Australian banks to obtain extra optional concessions…
The ways which P&O controlled the Asian specie network are illustrative of the interlinkages of the London financial sector and of the concentration of influence in London. All the major participants in this trade were run from or based in London.
P&O, BI and Orient Lines were all English companies, as were the main exchange banks engaged in specie shipments; all deals and arrangements were discussed and finalized in London. The interests of these different sectors can be seen as parallel regarding the control of the Asian specie trade.
One of the foundations of the P&O, along with mail subsidies, opium and passenger carriage, was its Asian specie business. The company annually shipped considerable quantities of specie both within Asia and between Asia and Europe, a function of the international monetary system that underpinned trade adjustments and exchange operations between Asia and Britain to benefit empire. The specie shipments to Asia enabled the London-based exchange banks to finance trade between Asia and England to the benefit of the empire.
P&O consolidated its position in this network by forging strong links with other financial interests in London. The relationship was mutually beneficial. The tight control of the exchange banks and P&O enhanced both the profitability of their respective operations and the maintenance of London as the world’s pre-eminent money market. The Asian specie network provides an excellent illustration of the interrelationships of financial & shipping interests in London and how these determined trade and financial operations throughout the empire.
– Adapted from The P&O and the Asian Specie Network, 1850-1920, Andrew Pope
B3. Machine Learning in Central Economic Planning
In the past, economists ideologically opposed to socialist forms of economy deemed central economic planning infeasible due to the millions of equations that needed to be solved, and as mentioned previously, Soviet planners did make simplifying assumptions when calculating material balances so that plans could be drafted in time. The capabilities of today’s supercomputers challenge this assertion, with the US Department of Energy’s Summit supercomputer capable of carrying out 200,000 trillion calculations per second. Furthermore, the power of machine learning has aided humans in quickly making accurate predictions from existing knowledge. Drawing inspiration from machine learning’s invaluable role in the planning processes of capitalistic corporations, we now explore how issues faced by Soviet planners of the last century can be alleviated with the help of machine learning technologies introduced here.
A successful economic plan is one that is capable of allocating resources in accordance to pre-defined goals. In the case of companies like Walmart and Amazon, the goal is to maximize profits by reducing cost inefficiencies and increasing sales. Correspondingly, the goal of a socialist planned economy is to ensure a certain standard of living with sufficient access to goods & services with attention paid to the particular society’s values, which may include principles such as environmental protection and guarantees regarding things such as housing, education, healthcare. Consumer goods, housing, medical services, education etc all require human and nonhuman resources to produce or provide. For target outputs to be attained, available inputs need to be accurately predicted such that targets are feasible, and for target outputs to be socially beneficial, there needs to be an accurate estimation of demand to minimize the occurrence & magnitude of shortages & overproduction, as well as limit the impact of the 2 on the broader economy. Today, unsupervised learning algorithms have successfully carried out market segmentation and identified consumers’ tastes. In a socialist society, this information would help planners more accurately infer the demand for different commodities & determine appropriate price & supply levels.
Many of the problems faced by Soviet planners involved incomplete information & limitations on predictions that could be made from the data, and are precisely the types of problem machine learning is designed to overcome. While past planners made simplifying assumptions for practicality purposes, such as assuming linear relations between inputs and outputs, a supposition that knowingly ignores economies of scale, planners today can train supervised machine learning algorithms with past data and use unsupervised learning algorithms to recognize previously unknown trends & patterns. Issues stemming from the inefficient flow of information in the past can easily be corrected with today’s internet infrastructure and computer technology.
With large quantities of historical data, and with statistics being constantly collected and shared in real time, enterprise managers will have a harder time overstating the necessary inputs or understating the productivity of their enterprise. Planners can accurately evaluate the productive capacity of each individual enterprise, the feasibility of goals, and the inputs necessary for fulfilling the goals. Additionally, anomalies can be detected and addressed in their nascency by ministries and Gosplan, rather than at the end of the year, as was often the case in the Soviet Union. Should an issue that prevents production goals from being reached occur, whether it be at the enterprise, ministerial, or societal level, numerous potential courses of action can be assessed with their possible effects predicted with reliable precision, reducing the instances of managers technically meeting production goals by cutting corners. Whereas Soviet planners had trouble reliably adjusting economic plans in response to unforeseen circumstances, planners with access to machine-learning algorithms and today’s information technology are better prepared to adapt plans to the ever-changing and imperfect world in which they operate.
Machine learning algorithms are already being used to preventatively minimize equipment failure by catching defects early on before problems worsen, allowing major repairs that cause intrusive downtime to be avoided. This is especially vital for enterprises that manufacture intermediate goods in a planned economy, as underproduction in these enterprises lead to shortages of inputs in other enterprises, which are ultimately passed to society. Similarly, machine-learning algorithms are used today to aid manufacturers in quality control, helping them perfect their manufacturing process and waste less inputs. While the impact of these factors such as machine breakdowns and wasted product was estimated in Soviet economic plans, they can now be systematically analyzed and factored into plans with great precision while manufacturing methods are perfected to reduce such occurrences.
The optimal plan for a capitalistic corporation is one that maximizes its profits. Similarly, the optimal plan for centrally planned economy is one that helps a society reach its stated goals. If something is not viewed as a goal, then it will not be addressed: eg, under both capitalism and socialism, the reduction of greenhouse gases does not occur as a result of human intervention if it is not considered by shareholders or central planners to be a goal. If this is seen as a societal goal in a capitalistic society, then corporations must be incentivized one way or another to modify their production processes. In addition to resolving issues stemming from inaccurate estimates of supply and demand as well as unforeseen externalities, central economic plans in a socialist society can be adjusted with goals such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions or water pollution. Once set, the likelihood of such goals being fulfilled increases as correlations between the specific steps of production of specific commodities are discovered in collected data. Additionally, since unsupervised learning can identify previously unknown patterns, it is plausible that trends seemingly unrelated to economic activities, such as cancer rates in a specific geographic area, could be linked to human activities, allowing authorities to take countermeasures in order to maximize the wellbeing of society.
Conclusions – This has summarized the Soviet planning process and issues it faced. It has also introduced the major categories of machine learning, provided existing examples of their uses, and identified ways machine learning can be used to overcome the inefficiencies that hindered the Soviet planned economy. The purpose of this paper is not to present computers, artificial intelligence, and machine learning as economic panaceas, but consider how these technologies can reconcile some of the issues experienced by Soviet planners of the last century. The availability of these technologies alone cannot guarantee the success of an economy, whether it be capitalist or socialist, especially if these technologies are not accompanied by policies that favor the maximization of their potential, as can be seen by the Soviet Union’s reluctance to adopt cybernetics for its economic planning. However, the capabilities of today’s technology do challenge claims of unfeasibility made by critics of socialist planned economies, and I believe this is a topic worth further investigating as the efficient use and allocation of resources becomes an increasingly important consideration in light of issues such as climate change and the cyclical nature of recession.
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.
• Sri Lanka sees link between bond investment advisories and UN rights pressure: Central Bank
‘“In the last couple of weeks alone, three institutions, Standard Chartered, Barclays and ICRA published damaging reports,” Governor Lakshman told on online forum by Veemansa, a Colombo based think tank.’
• Protest against England’s HR, Economic sanctions against SL
• How sanctions violate human rights
‘Members of the “core group” taking Sri Lanka to task in Geneva have killed at least 40,000 people in Venezuela through their sanctions’
• UNHRC Resolution: why Sri Lanka must seek Rejection & Closure
• FM: UNHRC on political campaign against SL
• 18 countries pledge to speak on behalf of SL at UNHRC
• UNHRC Debate: Majority Of Countries Spoke In Favor Of Sri Lanka –Balachandran
‘The 15 countries which supported the resolution were all from the Western bloc’
• Foreign Policy: an examination of alleged ‘incorrigibility’
‘Some talk of the ‘traditional status quo of Sri Lanka’s relations with the West, especially America (sic)’ as though it was some kind of endless honeymoon. It was not. It is not. There’s bullying’
• JVP Select Committee member alleges Indian hand in Easter Sunday blasts
• Tamil Nadu elections and the Sri Lanka card
• BJP’s claim relating to Lanka and Nepal; Kathmandu speaks out, Colombo silent
• A frivolous response to BJP in India!
‘It is no secret that there are certain areas in the country that come under significant influence of India and the chosen local politicians have been displaying their allegiances and fraternity quite openly to the help lines and guidance they were receiving from India.’
• BJP in Sri Lanka: (Re)emergence of transnational parties?
• Geneva sessions: Terrorism can never be justified; nor can its perpetrators ever be equated with its victims – India
• India cannot be trusted to side with Sri Lanka
• India tells UNHRC devolution of power is critical for reconciliation in Sri Lanka
• Lanka declares China as its closest friend
• China commends SL for promoting and protecting human rights
• China can extend Hambantota port lease to 198 years, Sri Lankan minister says
• China strongly supports Sri Lanka during UNHRC session in Geneva
• Pakistan’s love of Sri Lanka
• OHCHR contentions are baseless – A political move: Gov’t
• OHRC Report multi-tiered edifice of lies, innuendo & suggestions – Ambassador to China
• The UN’s Sri Lanka Inquisition
• Confusion on NGOs and NSOs in Sri Lanka
‘NGOs came into the limelight, as donor agencies, noticed that some governments, in East Africa, in particular, did not have the capacity and the integrity to use the resources that they provided. They construed, about 1970, that NGOs would be a solution to the problem. Little did they realize that some NGOs themselves would become dens of thieves and brigands’
• Is Pastor Colombage with the UNHRC Luring Sri Lanka into a Deadly Trap?
‘The US, in the last two decades, has been trying to change the World Order and base it on Unilateralism where the US, and the US alone’
• US joins core group countries in moving resolution on Sri Lanka
• Lack of accountability for past atrocities in Sri Lanka: US
• US Ambassador meets Political Leaders from North
‘Leader of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi, Mavai Senathirajah, Senior Deputy Leader C. V. K. Sivagnanam and MP Sivagnanam Shritharan also joined the discussion’
• Sri Lanka Core Group leader admits Gash reports not submitted to UNHRC
‘Lord Naseby had to invoke the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to secure ‘Gash reports’ to secure documents though the UK held back some while even the released documents were censored. Gash reports disputed UN Panel of Experts (PoE) primary claim that the Vanni offensive claimed the lives of 40,000 civilians. Gash reports estimated the dead, both civilians & LTTE combatants at 7,000.’
• USAID gifts PCR testing machine to University of Jaffna
• US urges SL to make public strategy & timetable for implementation of UN report
• Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer leaves Sri Lanka
• Japan notes reports of many uninvestigated disappearances & excessive restrictions on human rights in recent years
• Should SL follow London?
‘What Lord Naseby managed to secure in England was a redacted version of the Gash reports’
• The Human Rights Council already became the venue for a geo-political wrestling match ‘between competing world powers once this year when a proxy battle erupted in December 2020 over the next UNHRC President’
• Govt. can’t claim it is a target of Western Countries: JVP
• 46th UNHRC sessions to begin today (Feb 22)
• Bachelet report emerges as UNHRC Resolution
• Sri Lanka has ‘closed the door’ to justice: UN Rights Chief
• Desperate UN officials attempt to use Sri Lanka to create Precedent that UN Members should not allow!
• The human rights record of the US hand that is admonishing Sri Lanka
• Sri Lanka and the Culture of Impunity – Daily Mirror Editorial
• UNHRC is an instrument by certain global powers instigated by Tamil diaspora – Weerasekara
• US & UK Military Attaches demolish UNHRC allegations against Sri Lanka
• LTTE world’s only terrorists to use dogs & goats for target practice – where animal activists?
• How England helped LTTE Terrorists in Sri Lanka
• Truth Behind Dare Documentary & questions for US-UK-Canada-EU & UNHRC
‘The footage shows LTTE children and adults in training – how many of them are alive today.’
• The Truth Behind The Dare? More Aptly Named
• Sri Lanka Refutes OHCHR Charges, Scapegoat In Big Power Rivalry – Balachandran
• SL Cancels Imran Khan’s Parliament Address to Avoid Risking its Relations With India – PTI
• An unjust peace: The UNHRC session and the Lankan tragedy – Jayatilleka
‘High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s report as well as the plethora of joint statements and reports … demonstrate, despite factual and sometimes sweeping inaccuracies about the war, a cumulative soft power which combines a credible and compelling story’
• Does Sarath Know Jack? The Colossal Ignorance Of Sarath Weerasekara
“Tamils want equal rights, not separate states”
• The foreign policy fiasco
‘Are the winners the Chinese and the military-monk alliance with assorted trade unionists and other ultra-nationalists?’
• Geneva: A destination where the cruel fear to go: Daily Mirror
• Organization of Islamic Cooperation raises mandatory cremation at UNHRC
• Background to Lanka’s decision to lift ban on burying COVID dead – Balachandran
• India calls upon Sri Lanka to fully implement 13A to address aspirations of Tamil community
• Explanation sought from govt; Douglas silent on issue at Romesh de Silva Committee
‘Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Myanmar, Prof. Nalin de Silva, has said that the government owes an explanation as regards EPDP leader Douglas Devananda’s recent claim that the current administration granted the Northern Province (NP) land powers in terms of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.’
• I am for the 13th Amendment” – CWC Vice Chairman Senthil Thondaman
• English lawmakers for Tamils seek punitive measures against Sri Lanka
• Authoritarianism on the Rise in Sri Lanka – PEARL
• Tamil National People’s Front strikes hardline, won’t join Tamil National Council
• On the State Council and Giving Indians the vote
• Tamil Politics: Progeny of political assassins and war crime vendors
‘Why did the Tamils support Sarath Fonseka en bloc in the presidential election soon after the war ended?… Their servility to the West would not allow them to utter a single word against foreign domination of SL for 450 years. For them, history starts only in 1948.’
• Douglas Wickramaratne – the warrior who defended SL amidst LTTE threats to his life
• Take Human Rights seriously, not so much the council or office
• Pakistan Sri Lanka Relations: Diplomacy and Statecraft at its Best
• Did nuclear spy devices in the Himalayas trigger India floods?
• India has lessons from Sino-Russian normalisation
‘China backs India for hosting BRICS 2021 summit…The Sino-Russian border was demarcated in the 19th century, but originally imposed upon the Qing Dynasty by way of unequal treaties that annexed vast Chinese territories to the Russian Empire.’
• The zen of Ladakh disengagement
‘The 9th round of talks at the army commanders’ level between India & China resulted in a breakthrough’
• Joint Press Release of the 9th Round of India-China Military Commander-Level Meeting
• Special representatives’ talks on the cards, India, China to restore status quo ante
• China hits back at western powers over Uighur atrocities after Canada declares ‘genocide’
• ‘Merkel entrusting development of global role for Europe to the sales departments of Volkswagen and other large German carmakers.’ – Patten
• Biden Commits To Forever War On Afghanistan
‘The opinion editors at The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal may not agree on much, but they are both determined to oppose bringing forces out of Afghanistan’
• On Not Being a Princess
‘I am quite certain Dominic Raab could not name a single woman or child we have killed in Yemen. But he knows the name of Princess Latifa because, well she is a Princess.’
• After U.S. Attack in Syria, Iran Demonstrates Its Escalation Dominance
• Explosion strikes Israeli-owned ship in Mideast amid tension
• NATO Deployments To Iraq To Put Pressure On Iran – Will Instead Become Hostages
• U.S. Further Complicates Its Return To The Nuclear Deal With Iran
• US, Iran edging back to negotiating table
‘It was only last Thursday that the US and the three European states who are party to the JCPOA (2015 Iran nuclear deal) — Germany, France and UK, or the ‘E3’ — lobbed a joint statement across the court to Tehran, whereby the Joe Biden Administration announced its willingness to return to diplomacy with Iran. ‘
• US Mass Graves in Iraq
‘There are 22 corpses dug from a mass grave near Fallujah, of young men executed with hands tied behind their backs with US-issue cuffs, and buried in US-issue body bags, who might seek to differ.’
• Missile attack hits military base in Iraq
• Europe & Canada continues Weapons Sales to Saudi Arabia
• Italy’s ambassador to DRC killed in convoy attack
• The Illegal Blockade of Venezuela and the Anti-Blockade Law
• “The State” and “Racial Capitalism” to Blame for Anti-Black Violence in England
• ‘The Most Authoritarian Thing in the World is Capital,’ says Prof. Aijaz Ahmad
‘the reproduction of capitalism is not possible without the constant presence of violence, or the possibility of it.’
• It’s freezing in USA – a tale of two countries – EDITORIAL
‘On October 1, 2020, the US debt (the sum of all outstanding debts owed by the federal government), surpassed $27 trillion. About two-thirds of this debt is held by the US public. According to Investopedia of April 2020, China takes second spot among foreign holders of the US debt with $1.07 trillion in Treasury holdings, just behind Japan.’
• How the Black American movement, based on working class power, was undermined
‘…..by deindustrialization, and then drug promotion to mass incarceration to false prophets like Obama, etc.…..Here’s a short recall for Black History for all these decades…not just a month……
• US has robust Human Rights (for Rich White People) – Blinken
“There is no moral equivalence between the actions of the United States, which are subject to robust, impartial, and transparent accountability mechanisms – and those of authoritarian regimes, which violate and abuse human rights with impunity” – US Secretary of State Blinken
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.
• Will SL emulate England’s Overseas Operations Bill? (Service Personnel and Veterans)
‘The English government enacted new legislation to protect military personnel and veterans from prosecution for alleged historical offences in conflicts overseas, according to a BBC report
• Japan boosts SL’s counter-terrorism efforts with Rs. 1.7 Billion Made-In-Japan Equipment
‘To the Sri Lanka Police and the Airport & Aviation Services Sri Lanka (AASL), including Mobile X-Ray Scanners, Walk Through Safety Inspection Gates, Vehicle Chassis Safety Inspection Systems, and Patrol Craft.’
• Unilever and Sri Lanka Police conduct COVID-19 awareness drive across Western Province
• 2000 Indian Bajaj three-wheelers for SL Police; cabinet approves proposal
• Was Zahran’s handler from a foreign spy agency
• Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sarah Fled to India: SLFP
• Trying to suppress the PCoI findings?
• Eminent Buddhist monks urge Prez to take action against Ali Sabry
‘Protested Justice Minister Ali Sabry’s remarks in Parliament that the Buddhist Temporalities (Amendment) Act was a personalised law of the country.’
• Proposal made to Cabinet to impose burqa ban: Justice Minister
• AG not bound by its recommendations, yet to receive report
• AG: Only section of PCoI report received, can’t proceed without balance four volumes
• Ariyasinha discusses with US DoJ prosecution of three Lankans helping ISIS
• Cardinal will be consulted on Action re April Terror – GL
• Catholic Church reiterates call for PCoI report
‘powerful interests could be hell-bent on suppressing the truth’
• Sri Lanka Easter bombings PCoI report incomplete, does not meet public expectations: JVP
• 15 women attended Zahran’s zealotry lessons; five killed: Police
• Dubai haven for majority of Lankan fugitives with INTERPOL red notices
• Minister Weerasekere orders interdiction of cops who assaulted law student
• Public Security Minister to meet senior women police officers
• Wake Up! It’s time for Gender Parity not Patriarchy
‘The Sri Lanka police first recruited women to the force in 1952 states the Police Website. And here we are today, sixty-nine years since that first woman was recruited, with no provision within police regulations for women to go beyond the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police.’
• Maithri Gunaratne’s son allegedly beaten by cops, claims brother
• Claims of political victimisation in Police Dept. raise eyebrows
• “Most vulnerable must not be trampled in the stampede”: WHO on Vaccinations
• Domestic laws to address accountability
‘addressing accountability should be based on the provisions as laid out in the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions applicable to Non-International Armed Conflict’
• Eisenhower Fellow Saliya Pieris new BASL Chief
• Recalling an old judicial warning about the dangers of suppressing dissent
• Commission report on the death of former Minister A.H.M. Ashraff was lost
‘and retrieved only after an RTI application was filed for it’
• The heritage of Richard de Zoysa as a victim of State-terror
• Porn and Nudes: Delving into Cyber Exploitation in Sri Lanka
• Unfurl the Banner! Privateers & Commerce Raiding of China’s Merchant Fleet in Developing Markets
• Myanmar: Is it time for the West to Engage The United Wa State Army? (2018)
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 using ‘sovereign power’ over economy: CB Governor
• Sri Lanka external debt under online spotlight
‘Sri Lanka central bank Governor W D Lakshsman would be keynote speaker.The webinar on ‘External Debt Situation in Sri Lanka; Are We Heading For a Resolution or Crisis? would be moderated by University of Colombo professor Sirimal Abeyratne. In the panel would be Sumanasiri Liyanage, Nishan De Mel and Ravi Liyanage.’
• Resolving the perilous external financial vulnerability – Sanderatne
• Present crisis began in 2008 with the global financial crisis – Reductio Ad Abeyratnum
• Economic growth by adding a robust D2M layer to business processes – Madhura de Silva
‘Sri Lanka is yet to become a developed country due to inadequate industrialisation and modernisation of agricultural practices. We have a large workforce mainly categorised into skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled with more than 1.2 million public servants who mainly provide services with no direct contribution to the manufacturing sector.’
• Following MMT: Should SL rely on inflation tax to generate income for cash-strapped Govt.? – Wijewardene
‘Since it leads to inflation if it is done without restraint, such a measure has been identified as equivalent to imposing an inflation tax to have resources transferred from the private sector to the government sector.’
• Solving Sri Lanka’s debt and monetary crisis sans the IMF, Japan and Malaysia in focus: Bellwether
‘the IMF can help do a debt restructuring which will bring back confidence – misplaced or otherwise – and reduce the squeeze on the financial account.’
• Sri Lanka has to fix monetary instability, budgets to avoid default, sudden stop: Bellwether
• An Asian Leopard Awakes: The Rise of Sri Lanka; Singapore’s New Business Companion
‘Hambantota provides a far more convenient East Coast Airport and Deep-Water Port’
• Former CB Deputy Governor C.J.P. Siriwardana passes away
• The Drain of Wealth – Colonialism before the 1st World War: Utsa & Prabhat Patnaik
‘Western European powers appropriated economic surplus from their colonies, and this materially and substantially aided their own industrial transition from the eighteenth century onward, as well as the diffusion of capitalism to the regions of new European settlement…’
• World Bank estimates over 100 million people worldwide returned to poverty due to epidemic
• Mission impossible
‘Italian-American economist, Mariana Mazzucato, has a new book out, Mission Economy: a moonshot guide to changing capitalism
• Minimum Wage: A Fake US Debate on Small Business Viability
‘Raising minimum wage can be one basis for a mutually beneficial alliance between wage workers and small businesses.’
• World Rebelling Against Dollar Domination
“Washington has been overusing the sanctions weapon”
• Within a Matter of Months, the Fed’s Balance Sheet Will Hit $8 Trillion
• Lawless Coup on Wall Street Continues: GameStop Doubles in Price in One Day
‘Stock manipulators who seem to be sending the message to the Biden administration, “we dare you to catch us.”’
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, their constant moaning about debt and balance of payments without stating the need for industrial production to overcome such issues, etc.
• External Debt Situation In Sri Lanka: Are We Heading For A Resolution Or Crisis? (Webinar)
• CB Governor suspects link between recent ‘damaging reports’ and UNHRC sessions
• Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank approves USD180 mn loan to Sri Lanka
• Default fear struck by a bond price drop?
‘The claim that there was a bond selloff due to default fears remains unsubstantiated and completely unfounded’
• ‘External debt situation in Sri Lanka; Are we heading for a resolution or crisis?
‘Keynote address by Central Bank Governor Deshamanya Professor W.D. Lakshman, moderated by Prof. Sirimal Abeyratne & panelists include Sumanasiri Liyanage, Nishan De Mel and Ravi Liyanage.’
• Nivard says doomsayers will be disappointed again
‘Says SL will generate forex inflows of around $ 32 b in 2021. Total ISBs outstanding is $ 14 b or only 16.7% of Sri Lanka’s total debt. Says none of the other creditors who hold 83.3% of Sri Lanka’s debt seem to show any sign of concern or stress about its repayment ability’
• English banks weigh down bourse
‘Standard Chartered Bank and Barclays Bank – two global banks and managers of former International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) – have said they are “underweight” on Sri Lanka’
• Standard Chartered & Barclays flag-off concerns over debt sustainability & external position
‘“Recent developments are again casting doubt on Sri Lanka’s external position and increasing investor concerns about the country’s ability to repay foreign-currency bonds,” Barclays Bank said in a coverage on Emerging Asia Sovereign Credit titled ‘Sri Lanka: Drained faster than expected’. “We maintain our Underweight rating and believe the country will reach a critical point in Q2 21 in terms of dealing with its foreign debt,” it added. Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) in a global research credit alert titled ‘Sri Lanka – Coming down to the wire’ opined that Sri Lanka’s reluctance to engage with IMF has increased investor concerns about debt sustainability.’
• StanChart Bank makes strong case for Lanka to tap IMF
‘Govt.’s debt overhang left limited fiscal space for public investment & increased financial market stress…“The extended use of such strategies would weigh on growth by suppressing the import multiplier and causing capital flight via the current account, putting further pressure on the exchange rate. Moreover, rising global commodity prices and UST yields pose challenges to CBSL’s yield curve control strategy,”’
• Negative investor sentiments by Standard Chartered & Barclays in wake of Geneva worries
• Brandix Lanka set to secure US$ 50mn long-term IFC facility
‘The International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group has proposed US$ 50 million long-term financing facility to Brandix Lanka Limited to sustain its operations and preserve jobs in the country…Phoenix Ventures Limited owns 100 percent stake of Brandix Lanka Limited where Mohamed Haji Omar, Mohamed Aslam Omar, Mohamed Ashroff Omar and Feroz Omar hold beneficial interest.’
• Central Bank says move aimed at strengthening forex position
‘to strengthen the foreign exchange situation of the country and to dampen speculative activity that caused some excessive volatility in the exchange rate…will encourage domestic value addition in any export business that has not yet reached at least this level of value addition.’
• Sri Lanka forex debt owed to non-residents only US$3.7bn in 2021: CB Governor
• Exporters criticize ‘lack of dialogue’ over mandatory dollar conversion rule
‘Another exporter, who preferred anonymity, cautioned that the rule could also encourage exporters to explore loopholes or other avenues to evade it’
• Sri Lanka exporters concerned over mandatory dollar conversion
• Sri Lanka central bank buying US$10mn dollars a day from market: CB Governor
• New taxes to be legislated by April: Treasury Secy.
• Inflation dips to 3.7% in January
‘Price increases of food items were reported for rice, coconuts, green chilies, vegetables, red onions, fresh fish, fresh fruits, turmeric powder, coconut oil, tamarind and dried chilies. However, price decreases of food items were reported for big onions, potatoes, eggs, manioc and chicken.
• National Consumer Price Index based Inflation in January 2021’
‘Within the Food category, increases were observed mainly in prices of rice, coconut, green chilli and vegetables during January 2021. Moreover, prices of items in the Non-Food category recorded an increase during the month mainly due to price increases observed in Health (fees to private medical practices and payments to private hospital room charges) and Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance (wages of servants) sub-categories’
• CCPI based Inflation increased to 3.3 per cent in February 2021
‘prices of vegetables, green chilli, chicken and eggs increased in February 2021’
• Rs. 450 b Govt. revenue shortfall likely: ICRA Lanka, Moody’s
• Bank deposits surge as Lankans stockpile cash in 2020
• Sri Lanka in talks with foreign partners on debt financing
• Govt. should state how it will settle foreign debt services: Harsha
‘Short-term external debt servicing in 2021 is roughly $ 4.5-4.8 billion, of which $ 3.3 billion is comprised of marketable debt securities (Sri Lanka sovereign bonds and Sri Lanka Development Bonds)… “Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves were $ 5.7 billion as of 31 December while the Central Bank had notified that reserves stood at $ 4.8 billion as of 1 February. $ 900 million has been spent in the month of January alone,” he added. Reserves also fell due to the repayment of a $ 400 million swap from India earlier this month. “I can responsibly state that the Government has had SWAP agreements worth nearly $ 1 billion with local banks. That has to be repaid or local banks such as Peoples Bank, Bank of Ceylon, Commercial Bank, HNB, Sampath and others will be hit badly. The Government has a responsibility to repay what it took. As a last resort, we only have $ 400 million in gold reserves.”
– dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Govt-should-state-how-it-will-settle-foreign-debt-services-Harsha/108eu -206268
• Sri Lanka targeting US$32bn inflows to repay debt: Minister
• SL-US explore modalities to encourage Sri Lankan exports to US under GSP
‘The USA ranked as the number one destination with a share of 27% of Sri Lanka’s exports, apparel ware which constitutes 75% of Sri Lanka’s exports to the US does not enjoy GSP. Only 25% of Sri Lanka’s exports to the US benefited from US GSP. These include mainly rubber products, activated carbon and coir products.’
• Sri Lanka to grow 3.6-pct in 2021, deficit could reach 10.8-pct: ICRA
• Four countries will decide Lanka’s economic future – David
‘US and the EU are Lanka’s principal export market. In 2018 our main export markets were USA (24.2%), EU which then included UK (18%) and India (7.8%). Our imports in the same year came mainly from China including Taiwan and Hong Kong (28%) and India (23%). Singapore and Japan together provided about 13% of our imports and the EU another 13%. As always these numbers are rounded off because my objective is to sustain the political thrust of my arguments. About half our fuel imports are from UAE and Oman and about a quarter each from India and Singapore. Though foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals account, in value terms for only about 12% of our imports from India they are vital livelihood commodities.’
• Foreign investment review process reactivated
‘A Committee comprising eight high officials of key ministries, departments and statutory boards headed by Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle…Urban Development and Housing Ministry Secretary Nimal Perera, Power Ministry Secretary Wasantha Perera, Labour Ministry Secretary N.P.D. U.K Mapa Pathirana, Deputy Secretary Treasury R.M.P. Ratnayake, Chairman BOI Sanjaya Mohottala, Director General State Enterprises Department P.A.S Athula Kumara, and Director General Foreign Resources Department Vishaka Amarasekera.’
• Sri Lanka FDI slows to US$528mn up to Sept 2020
‘Sri Lanka’s FDI stock was 13.058 billion dollars in 2019, with China, India, The Netherlands, Malaysia and Singapore among the top source countries.’
• Manufacturing and service sectors drive SL’s economic recovery
• Decentralised Capital Budget Programme – 2021 to be implemented
‘ach parliamentarian will be given Rs 10 million to undertake economic, social, cultural and religious development in their respective districts which are not accommodated in programmes planned by Line Ministries, Provincial Councils or other agencies.’
• Airport and Aviation sector to recover with Treasury bailout
• 21 Scandals, Settlements and Corporate Crimes of Big 4 Accounting Firms in 2019
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
• Workers’ remittances off to positive start in 2021
• Canadian national pleads guilty to smuggling Sri Lankans to US
• Health sector workers protest in Colombo
‘demanding solutions to 11 demands, including giving permanent appointments to casual workers who have completed 180 days’ service’
• Railway Strike from midnight on Monday (22)
• Scheduled train strike called off: Locomotive Engine Operators’ Union
• No absorption of recruits under 100,000 jobs programme into health service: President
‘The objective of the 100,000 employment opportunities Programme is to provide jobs for unskilled individuals without any formal or professional education selected from underprivileged families in order to eliminate poverty among them.’
• Employers’ Federation joins Japan’s Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship for Management Training Programme
‘facilitated by Yaegashi Hitoshi, Consultant, Japan Industrial Training Association with Dr. K.L. Chandratilleke, Senior Consultant, Human Resource Development, EFC.’
• State tea estates seek top-level effort to end alleged union-led violence
• Estate workers’ Rs.1000 wage hike endorsed
• Plantation sector wage hike delayed by Owners
‘Planters, tea factory owners and others filed around 120 objections against the proposed wage hike.’
• “Lands can be handed over to the labourers”- SJB National Union of Workers Leader
• Minimum age of recruitment revised from 14 to 16-years: Labour Department
‘Prabath Chandrakeerthi, the Commissioner General of Labour also emphasized that children between the ages of 16 to 18 years CANNOT be employed in hazardous jobs, such as mining.’
• St. Thomas and Opposition to a Sri Lankan University
‘Queen’s College’s closure severed the one avenue for would-be Lankan engineering students. Lorenz’s Examiner bitterly complained: Lanka’s advance alongside India’s technical training was cut off, while India had several engineering colleges by 1850. In 1871, Cooper’s Hill Engineering College was set up in England to provide engineers for Asia!’
• Towards a realistic university admission scheme for Sri Lanka
‘In the present district quota system, 40% of the available places are filled on all island merit basis while 55% of the places in each course of study are allocated to the students from 25 districts in proportion to the population ratio. In addition, a 5% of the places in each course of study are allocated to the students from16 educationally disadvantaged districts.’
• Neville Fernando & fee-levying med education: The vision, the agony and the future – Harsha
• US Ambassador commissions USAID online education platform
‘to identify a school in Vavuniya and one in Trincomalee to pilot the Smart Classroom programme….USAID’s programme in Sri Lanka, totaling more than 350 billion Sri Lankan rupees since 1956, promotes a healthy, educated, and employed population.’
• Dutch ISM APAC ranked among Best Workplaces in Sri Lanka 2020
• Cargills International Women’s Day Festival
‘Tickets are priced at Rs. 20,000 for the Festival Pass’
• The Woman who became a Man
‘The Buddha was aware that there were those who were of indeterminate or mixed gender (i.e. partly male and partly female); he called them “men-like women” (vepurisika), “those with the characteristics of both [genders]” (ubhatovyanjanaka), and sometimes spoke of what he called “sexual indistinctness” (sambhinna).’
• Cedric Robinson and the Origins of Race
‘When Cedric Robinson’s Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition first appeared in 1983, it was far from an instant classic.’
• White Arizona man accused of faking his own kidnapping to get out of going to work
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.
• Small Farms & the ‘Economically Viable Holding’: Implications for Policy – Arulpragasam
‘So why should we, after 70 years of trying, now come up with the impractical theory in Sri Lanka that a farm should be large enough to support a farm family? This was certainly not the case in Japan, Taiwan or South Korea, which started with similar land scarcity before their transition to full industrialization. So why do we not follow what the small farmers have already demonstrated in Sri Lanka, namely, of obtaining the highest returns from their micro-holdings, while obtaining more than 60 per cent of their income from rural non-farm work? Why keep barking up the wrong tree of an ‘economically viable holding’ which we cannot have anyway, when we should be doubling our efforts to provide non-farm work in the rural areas that would hasten our path to full industrialization?’
• Devolve power to local authorities to provide swift solutions to issues in villages: Pres
• New State Ministry of Home Affairs will control all lands
• Irrigation systems of SL
• Agricultural supply chain digitisation gets underway
‘food production is in the hands of small producers, a large number of intermediaries are involved in supply and distribution activities.’
• Sri Lanka projects 424,500MT maize harvest in 2021 main season
‘Sri Lanka has banned maize imports, keeping domestic prices high allowing an oligopoly of collectors to charge high prices from feed millers and chicken farmers. The state has now started to lease land to businessmen to grow maize on a commercial basis’
• Plantations come under government scanner
‘The government has threatened to take over two plantations companies if they don’t come up with the plan to cut losses and overcome a financial crisis…representatives from Lankem Plantations, the Plantations Ministry, the Treasury, Public Enterprise Department, Plantation Monitoring and Management Division and the Company Estate Reforms Tea and Rubber Estate Related Crops State Ministry and the State Minister Kanaka Herath.’
• Tea export earnings up by 6% in Jan. ‘21 over same period last year
• Craighead Estate achieves all-time record price
• Fonterra high-nutrition Mineral Mix packs to uplift smallholder dairy farm productivity
• CRYSBRO recognised for its entrepreneurial excellence at Star Awards 2020
‘the country’s largest producer of poultry…over 1,200 maize and rice farmers as well as 250 plus poultry smallholders are given access to a wealth of essential technical and infrastructural facilities…’
• Pakistan has the 3rd. largest cattle breed in the world
• SJB to become a green party from March 03
• Walsapugala farmers meet PM; warn of fast unto death campaign by 23rd Feb.
• Court issues summons to top SLTDA officials over Yala land deal
• Allowing people to use traditional farmlands not permission to destroy forests: Prez
• Wildlife and Forest officers angry over circular preventing legal action against govt. institutions
• Bleak future for our rainforest biota
• No to highway at the cost of wetlands
• Wilderness is being compromised by overcrowding and deforestation,
• Environment Minister opposes arming farmers to fight crop damage caused by wild animals
• Centre for Environmental Justice speaks against deforesting Rambaken Oya Forest Reserve.
• ‘Unjust Farm Laws will Increase Agribusiness’ Stranglehold’: US Farmers Extend Solidarity to Protests
• Govt. to develop Muthurajawela Wetland Sanctuary under Env. Min.
• Manusha accuses President of letting genie out of the bottle
‘clearing of 53,000 acres of forest land, and government henchmen were clearing five hectares a day’
• ‘Solution to crop destruction is control of overpopulation of animals scientifically’
• Forest and Wildlife officers face punitive action for prosecuting culprits
• Dambulla residents lament clearing of lands
• Galawalayaya residents lament loss of lands near Rambakan Oya
• Artificial reefs built with discarded boats, buses, and train compartments
C7. Industry (False definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry notes the ignorance about industrialization (versus handicraft and manufacture), the dependence on importing foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound, and the need for a holistic political, economic and military strategy to overcome the domination by merchants and moneylenders.
• Presidential commission to probe Sri Lanka Customs
• Sri Lanka still depends heavily on basic labour-intensive exports – Colombage (Advocata)
‘ By contrast, East Asian countries graduated years ago from basic industries to heavy industries like ship building and subsequently, to knowledge-based high value-added products such as computer chips, mobile phones, scientific equipment, medical apparatus and various other electronic instruments… Those countries invested heavily in modern education and Research and Development (R&D).
Colombage is…Senior Visiting Fellow of the Advocata Institute. He is a former Director of Statistics of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka)’
• Sri Lanka to collaborate with NAM countries on indigenous technologies
• Value added industrialisation for accelerating ‘Made in Sri Lanka’
‘I consider export oriented and import substitution as the main branches of the industrialisation… The export orientation was recently observed in the Sri Lankan industrialisation effort while neglecting the import substitution, caused uncomplimentary economic consequences such as foreign exchange depreciation, trade deficit and addicted long-term consumption patterns, etc’
• Oil hovers near 13-month highs as storm hits U.S. output, Fed assures rates staying low
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, are due to meet on March 4.’
• COPE questions Litro Gas on use of private auditors instead of Auditor General
• Gas price hike likely: LAUGHS
• Govt. gives undertaking not to jack up fuel prices for three months
• Government steps into CPC bailout
‘rescue the debt-saddled Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) from the threat of bankruptcy with around Rs. 600 billion in debt and currently running at a loss’
• Islands in Peril – The Controversial Northern Energy Projects
• Sri Lanka will retain northern islands, says Dullas Alahapperuma
• Chinese embassy defends award of power projects in Jaffna to Chinese consortium
• CEB educating northern public on benefits of Chinese power project
‘In 2017, a pilot project of renewable energy plant was constructed in Eluvaithivu, another island in North by a Sweden-based company’
• Sri Lanka yet to finalise decision about Chinese power plants close to the Indian coast
• President’s energy directives ignored by the Power Ministry: Another Point of View
• Devoid of preconceptions and bias for and against: A Fresh Look at Solar Energy:
‘The current annual electricity demand is 18542 GWH…. Total Number of bill paying consumers 6,350,000…Sri Lanka has the largest battery already installed in the shape of major Hydro reservoirs supporting 1399 MW of power generation capacity…. Sri Lanka has 62500 ha of reservoir area and 161,500 ha of lagoons dotted all over the country…
• SL to take up delay in BIA expansion with Japan Govt.
• Sri Lanka Association of Vessel Operators: Expedite ECT process, increase capacity
• Shipping industry wants ECT fast-tracked
• Wrong political decisions on ports affect Sri Lanka’s future as a key regional hub
‘He said of the 30 global shipping lines only 10 shipping lines exist today during the past 30 years. The 10 shipping lines too have consolidated themselves into three.’
• Eight lessons from the East Container Terminal fiasco
‘The most notable feature of the ECT fiasco was that no port and shipping experts & their chambers or industry groups came forward to tell the public whether the proposed JV would be good for the country…The TU s resistance seemed to be grounded on the fears that they will lose jobs, lose the perks already enjoyed by them or the archaic attitude that the private sector is always wrong.’
• Sri Lanka port takes delivery of pilot boat from Colombo Dockyard
‘Colombo Dockyard PLC Chairman, Hideaki Tanaka is Managing Director / CEO’
• CB ups Loan to Value ratio for 1 year-plus locally registered vehicles
Registration of vehicles overall was down by 45% to 202,628 in 2020 whilst motor cars declined by 45% to 21,021.
• Sri Lanka allows 80-pct financing of used cars amid import controls
• Sri Lanka Technological Campus launches country’s first extensive Research Complex
• Dialog Axiata connects Sri Lanka and Maldives with 840km-long high speed submarine cable
• SLSI raising the bar towards productivity
‘SLSI’s ‘import inspection’ department was transferred into a day and night service since earlier this month’
• Chronic delays in registering drugs; NMRA says it suffers from staff shortage
• Govt. announces tax exemptions for dedicated Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Zone
• Kalutara Industrial Zone to be expanded
• Crafting handmade ceramics
‘Purchasing and repairing equipment is also an issue, as parts for equipment like kilns have to be imported’
• Sri Lanka puts Sinopharm on hold
• NATA butts out purported ayurvedic cigarette
• INSEE Cement partners with State Ministry of Rural Roads to launch ‘CONNECT’
• Trash to cash
‘Sri Lanka produces 4.5 million MT per year at an average of 12,400 MT per day. Nearly 60 per cent of the garbage is generated from Colombo’
• CICRA launches cybersecurity awareness training on CBT
• Microsoft innovative educator programme making headway in Sri Lanka
‘In Sri Lanka, 113 experts joined the ranks of MIE experts in the region.’
• Why China, with same size of power grid, won’t suffer outage like in the US
‘the US is the country with the most blackouts among all developed countries’
• Corporate profit, electricity deregulation and the disaster in Texas
• The American System
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., and the rule of moneylenders.
• Major NGOs became finance/private companies as owners or controlling persons
‘…to overcome funding pressures and regulatory compliance. Among these NGOs were the first best microfinance practiced NGO in Sri Lanka started by Sarvodaya named SEEDS and SewaFinance, an offshoot of SewaLanka Foundation.’
• Bank of Ceylon: Investment opportunities for economic revival
• HNB-Indra Traders offers leasing solutions for registered, unregistered vehicles and Foton trucks
• ComBank ends tough 2020 with platform for growth
• Higher impairments and modest business volumes overshadow Seylan Bank 4Q
‘business tycoon Dhammika Perera upped his stake in the bank to 9.89 percent to become its third largest shareholder from 6.20 percent as at September 30, 2020.’
• Cargills Bank rated AA- (lka) with a Stable outlook by Fitch Ratings
• Sri Lanka’s Sampath Bank net down 34-pct in Dec 2020
• Vinod Hirdaramani appointed director of Sri Lanka’s Sampath Bank
• HNB announces cash and scrip inclusive final dividend prior to results
• HNB raised US$60 million from PROPARCO, the French Development Agency
• Union Bank remains resolute amidst a challenging environment
• Nations Trust Bank profit after tax of LKR4.05Bn
• Trade Finance & Investments PLC amalgamates into Commercial Credit and Finance PLC
‘K Seeds Investments (PVT) Ltd acted as the advisor to the amalgamation process.’
• Commercial Credit & Finance to raise Rs.2bn via listed debt issue
‘Capital Alliance functions as the Managers to Issue and SSP Corporate Services acts as Registrars’
• Commercial Leasing & Finance Islamic Finance continues winning streak…
‘• ‘SL can save Rs. 3Bn annually if people use e-payment platforms for their transactions’
• Busy year for Colombo bourse
• Shares slip as industrials, financials drag
• Is Sri Lanka poised for a fintech boom post covid-19?
• Brazilian President Signs Law on Central Bank Autonomy
• How Corrupt Is Wall Street? Two Watchdogs Weigh In
• Is Citadel’s Hedge Fund a Harmless $35 Billion Minnow or a $235 Billion Killer Shark?
‘hedge funds, high frequency traders, Dark Pools, and federally-insured banks backed by taxpayers are interacting with the highly fragmented and non-transparent US trading markets’
• Wall Street Sends a Message to the Fed: We Have Run Out of Places to Stuff Your Treasuries
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business aka ee Rentier focuses on diversions of the oligarchy, the domination by a merchant mafia, making money from unproductive land sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Sunshine’s Watawala Tea Ceylon rebrands as ‘Sunshine Consumer Lanka’
‘Sunshine Consumer Lanka leads in the tea categories and toffees and sweets segment of the confectionary category with some of the country’s most-loved brands—Watawala, Zesta, Ran Kahata, Daintee and Milady, the company said in a media release.’
• USAID to help accelerate expansion of seven mid-market firms with U.S. support
• Israeli Business and Investment Opportunities in Sri Lanka
‘CEO of Kenglobe Lanka Construction & Investment Pvt. Ltd. Shmuel Kenigsberg also joined…’
• Imran Khan offers to help SL get trade connectivity to Central Asia through CPEC
• Lankan exporters receive crucial support to enter EU-market
‘The Delegation of German Industry and Commerce (AHK Sri Lanka) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) co-organized their second conference on “Sustainable Supply Chains as drivers of global competitiveness”,…the two organizations in cooperation with Loening Human Rights and Responsible Business have conducted several training sessions…’
• Fresh altercation over Altair delay
‘Early last week an investor and member of the newly formed Altair Owners Association had a violent altercation with a staff member of the main contractor connected to the progress of the project.’
• Real estate developer sponsors 41st National Conference of Chartered Accountants (CA)
• Association of Public Finance Accountants of Sri Lanka honours public sector institutions’
• Hisham Jamaldeen appointed MD at Unity Plaza’s On’Ally Holdings
‘Mr Jamaldeen serves as a Director of Hayleys PLC, Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC, Haycarb PLC, Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC, Singer Industries (Ceylon) PLC and Regnis (Lanka) PLC. He is also an Executive Director of Lanka Realty Investments PLC’
• Mitsui’s Capitol TwinPeaks forges ahead, amidst industry challenges
‘With both contractor (Sanken Construction) and developer (Capitol Developers) being members of Sri Lanka’s premier construction giant Sanken Group and Singapore’s P&T as its architectural design partner, Capitol TwinPeaks is set to stand as a landmark amidst landmarks.’
• MAGA commences work on Sri Lanka’s largest office complex
‘Maga Engineering has been at the forefront of delivering Sri Lanka’s most iconic commercial and office-spaces for government agencies and leading corporates, including Sri Lanka Customs, Ministry of Finance, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Hemas Holdings, People’s Leasing PLC, HSBC, DIMO, Jetwing Hotels, South Asia Gateway Terminals, and Millennium IT.’
• Real estate market set to face undersupply of apartment stock: RIU
‘The annual report was premiered at the RIU webinar titled ‘Resilience to Resurgence’ on the Sri Lankan Real Estate Market, held in January in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and British Sri Lanka and Maldives Forum for Business and Trade (BSLMFBT).’
• Property buyers returning to the market, industry says
• Land values Sri Lanka’s Colombo district rise 4.6-pct in 2020 2H
• Current stated capital of Vallibel is Rs. 27.1 billion
• Dialog Group consolidated revenue was recorded at Rs120.1Bn for FY 2020
• Sanasa Life Insurance CEO Kiriwandeniya named ‘CEO of the Year’
‘Indika Kiriwandeniya joined SANASA Brokers as a clerk in 1997. SANASA was then an insurance brokerage firm’
• Abans records outstanding nine months consolidated Pat of Lkr 1.5 billion
• Ceylinco Life records income of Rs 36.98 billion in 2020
• Trinity College Kandy OBA signs exclusive partnership with HNB
• ‘Business and Investment Opportunities for Sri Lanka in Hong Kong and Beyond’
‘HK is one of the market leaders in ASEAN for Automobile & Transport, Electronics, Fashion, Clothing & Accessories, Food & Beverage, Gifts, Toys & Sports Supplies, Health, Beauty and Baby Care, Home Products, Lights & Constructions, Industrial Machinery, Parts & Raw Materials, Jewellery & Watch, Printing & Packaging, Stationery & Office Equipment and Professional Services.’
• SriLankan Cargo operates consecutive charters to Uganda
• Ceylon Biscuits wins ‘Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2020’ for first time
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.
• Pohottuwa dispute: Corruption and Ingratitude
‘there is some hidden force which seems to go counter to the agenda of President Gotabhaya, and he is hamstrung without control of the Podujana Peramuna, but invariably has to face the music at the end.’
• Internal power struggle between Basil Rajapaksa and Wimal Weerawansa factions
• SLFP new office bearers appointed, Sirisena heads party
• The Opposition’s Role-Model Must be the US Democrats, But How? – Jayatilleka
‘recomposing in effect the profile of precisely the government that was massively defeated in 2019-2020, enabling Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the SLPP-led SLPF to win decisively.’
• Foreign policy led astray by peripheral ‘nut jobs’ – Jayasuriya
• In pre-modern era, race and religion except caste did not constitute a dividing line – Ivan
• It is, make it or break it, time for the Government
• Who is deciding the government’s policy?
• A new Constitution created by a weakened legislature will not be acceptable: NSMJ Lecture
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.
• Right to Information Commission on four years of Sri Lanka’s RTI regime
• US Journal (1851) highlights massacres of Sinhala and horrors in 1848 under Lord Torrington
‘For a period of nigh 3 months, confiscations, burnings, massacres, were the order of the day’
• Unearthing the forgotten Lion in faraway Chelsea
• “Mahawanshaya” to be declared World Heritage: UNESCO
• Pakistan: Buddhism beyond Perceptions
‘Pakistan is home to some of the holiest Buddhist heritage sites and most sacred relics of Gautama Buddha.’
• Archaeologist Paranavitana on Hora Miniha, mistress to the world and sweet mangos
• All Sri Lankans Blocked From Fox Journalist Angela Hutti’s Facebook Account Due To Derogatory Comments And Harassment
• When the World boycotted the Germans, Sri Lanka opened its doors to the Germans
• The world’s 5 most beautiful alphabets
‘Considered one of the most expansive alphabets in the world, Sinhala has more than 50 phonemes, the smallest unit of sound that distinguishes different words’
• Censorship Gone Bonkers – ‘Be A Good Citizen!’
• Why the world is watching Australia’s new big-tech rules
• Pre-Crime Arrests: FBI Scanning Social Media
‘• FBI arrests BLM protester, claiming his social media posts show he is “on a path to radicalization”. A judge determined he is dangerous bc of these posts and held him with no bond. This is where we’re headed if we accept this domestic terrorism frame.’
• Rush Limbaugh captivated dads like mine and created the USA’s modern fascist aesthetic
‘I couldn’t understand how the man who brought me up to love music so much — who raised me on Santana, Fleetwood Mac and Elton John, and who bought me my first record player when I was 7 years old — could listen to this man tear down a musical idol as important to my generation as Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin was to his. His reply? I got lectured about how I shouldn’t look up to rock stars, or take any of this music stuff so seriously.’