“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
e-Con e-News 10-16 October 2021
Merchant capital, when it holds a position of dominance, stands everywhere for a system of robbery,
so that it is directly connected with plundering, piracy, kidnapping slaves and colonial conquest.
Karl Marx, Capital, Vol 3
Whose private jet landed at Bandaranaike at International Airport
At 11.35pm, Wednesday, October 14?
Who signed an agreement with those who came in that plane?
– Ceylon Electricity Board Unions on the bankrupt US New Fortress Energy Co.
It’s been a week of strange and not-so-strange landings. India’s war chief landed on our shores, in the trail of warmongers from ‘Axis’ powers Germany & Japan, and France. Two days later a US corporate jet secretly landed to sign off on a deal to grab our energy resources. There was little English ‘social media’ expressing the usual spluttering outrageification. Axis & ‘Allies’ are now one, and autumnal October is when their war budgets beat their drums, hence their faux-scary Halloween! This week also saw the 529th anniversary of the European invasion of the Americas (when they were looking out for Indians too!)
On October 20, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will meet Indian PM Modi in Kushinagar, a city evocative of all manner of hegemonic airs – capital of ancient Kosala, which ‘annexed’ the Buddha’s Shakya Ganarajya.
Why do India’s ruling factions feel they must control Sri Lanka? Is it the old Vijaya-Kuveni maatuva, or because they wish to keep our home market hostage for Bajaj, Tata, and their industrial goods? Does it hark back to the western Indian Ocean old slave trade, which shaped today’s colonial Indian and West Asian ruling classes, who see our people as subhuman? (ee Focus, Zanzibar)
• ee‘s last issue made a grievous omission, on tax hideouts, not pointing out that our indigenous bourgeois are not really worried about capital flying out of the country. In fact, they’re constantly looking for ways to whisk their money on the next flight out, figuring they can make more money on their money, out there, even as it devalues the currency here. And now, the US, England and Europe – all onshore! – are the best hideouts, even as they point fingers at others! (see ee Focus)
• Why not, hideout?! The still ruling merchants and moneylenders rather fritter profits gained from fleecing peasants and workers, by hoarding and speculation, on imported consumer goods. They prefer making quick profits from real-estate and tourism, which do not advance workers’ skills. They gain from ensuing discontent and chaos! Then whine, there’s nothing to really invest in.
They won’t invest surpluses in modern production. We have no industrial bourgeoisie. Those that claim to be industrialists, are mere pre-industrial manufacturers & assemblers! (ee Focus, Japan)
So imagine our surprise to hear from a Wijeya Group Sunday Times columnist, who keeps advertizing himself as a ‘Professor of Economics at the University of Colombo’, that a domestic capitalist class was vanished by post-1948 ‘import substitution policies’ Who were they? He doesn’t tell us! (Random Notes).
• A class dedicated to imported consumption, their brains washed white by imperialism, have been spreading out of Colombo. This is the real virus. Sporting imported titles, costumes, gadgets and machines, they have been taught not to think beyond what their told. A funerary cortège led by bankers, professors and civil servants, with politicians in tow!
Multinationals like Unilever & the Ceylon Tobacco Co. have powerful networks at their disposal – through distributors, advertisers and informal marketers – making them powerful tools to manipulate public opinion on any subject, not only tobacco, toxic imports, consumer goods, etc. They have links for rapid grassroots dissemination of whatever rumor, idea, propaganda, etc., needed – to advance one particular global political agenda; opposing the political establishment now attempting to rule in Sri Lanka. No matter the hidden benefits tobacco/toxic fertilizer profiteers get from the party in power, they won’t stop undermining the government.
• This white media is the ruling media in this country. They have several ways to hide the truth – by omission (never mentioning important issues) and by commission (making small, big; big, small, etc.). One media crime of commission is to plead to a lesser crime, downplaying a greater crime. This was evident when a media outlet claimed Unilever had failed to pay taxes: ‘Unilever commits massive tax fraud amounting to millions while using political connections’ (ee Economy).
But Unilever’s biggest crime is not only faking imports etc. They’ve hijacked our home market through their 100,000 kadays, etc, promoting petty merchants and moneylenders. They’d rather siphon capital out than invest in modern (machine-making) industrialization, especially in rural areas.
And now the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) is issuing its ‘first Sri Lankan Rupee-denominated bond for Sunshine Holdings! They say IFC will massage SH’s supply-chain network of 100,000 kadays. To sell more imported goods! So what exactly is Sunshine’s link to Unilever and to the tea game? (ee Random Notes, Sunshine needs Sunlight).
And it’s not just Unilever’s ‘political connections’: all multinationals in Sri Lanka use the more phenomenal global fraud of ‘transfer pricing’. Again, ee asks, how Unilever and Ceylon Tobacco get away without paying taxes at all, and worse by ‘paying’ the salaries of top Treasury officials?! This is the national scandal (ee Random Notes, Transfer Pricing).
• There’s unrelenting media blather about the present government using the military to do what civilian bureaucrats could have done better. If they’re to protect the people, ee thought military power means using their armed prowess. Merchants & moneylenders (backed by multinationals & banks) are carrying out a coup to overthrow one of the largest popular mandates given by the Sri Lankan people to a government in our recent history. Who will bring these capitalists under control?
The best wars are won without firing a shot. But failing which, military prowess amounts to who will get shot. Will it be capitalists or workers? Who will control the merchants and moneylenders? Would they rather shoot peasants and workers? Who will then control merchants and moneylenders if the government cannot do it.
In the end, it is not ‘regime change’ that the imperialist want so much as maintaining the colonial status quo of an import-export plantation oligarchy, long past expiry date. Auto coup d’état anyone?
• Those criticizing the government’s fertilizer policy, never talk about the health & environmental crises caused by the imports of deadly chemicals. Neither do so-called ecologists. The media is avoiding images of people crowding the cancer wards? Where are the epidemiology department’s statistics on agriculture-related or work-related disease and death?
• A ‘writer’ – a clerk of the pen (as opposed to the gun) – was an ‘entry-level’ position into the merchant-dominated English East India Company. The EIC’s biggest 19th century commerce, alongside indentured slavery, was the opium they forcefully grew in India and pushed on China.
John D’Oyly, the English spy who bribed and divided the leaders of montane Sinhale in 1815, began his life here as a writer. Writers had to faithfully record their master’s voice and implement their wishes if they wished promotion to become ‘supercargos’. The English media, and the English Department that manufactures them, perform this role even now. D’Oyly is their patron saint. Who are the D’Oylys now?
As it was in 1815, so it was in 2015, and so shall it be in 2025 – if the English and their faithful off-white sahibs have their way.
A1. Reader Comments –
• ee Beautiful but Frustrating • Wealth Wipes out in Seconds • Fake Fuel Crises to Sell Mannar?
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Cubans Uncivilized, Africans Unreliable • Sabotaging Consumer Authority • Blocking Graphite Battery Production • Singapore’s Pirate Hideouts • Milk & UNP Buddhist Values • IMF Brutality • US is ISIS • Who’s Inclusive now? • Mao Predicted China Surpassing USA • Columbus Lives in Canada
A3. Random Notes –
• Raj Rajaratnam Loves Wall St & US Jails • Sinhala & Voodoo • Fake FT & Natural Touts • FSP, JVP & Imperialist Opportunism • World Bank, Unilever & Sunshine • Forex Problems Not New • WB’s Doing Business Index is Fake Anyway • Economists & Industrial Ignorance • Nobel’s Faux Economics • Unilever’s real Robbery • Local Oligarchs Promote Underdevelopment • University Professor Must Name Capitalists
B. ee Focus
B1. Japan will not Share Modern Technology with Sri Lanka
B2. Imperialist Countries Set up Former Colonies as Offshore Tax Hideouts & Now Shift them Onshore!
B3. Indian & Arab Merchants & Landlords and the Slave Trade – Zanzibar under Colonial Rule
C. News Index
A1. Reader Comments
ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any news sent, or your comments, and place any e-link at the end. Email: email@example.com
• ‘Thanx to ee for researching, writing & sharing…It’s packed with important (yet frustrating) news, sitting just beyond my bubble. All ees are painfully long but beautifully written. So once started have to continue reading…’
• Thank you for last week’s ee with new exposés on tax hideouts. Yet what is the ‘excess wealth’ that ee explains is hidden in hideouts? Just a set of figures printable on a sheet of paper? Often not even printed. A false entity that will evaporate as soon as everyone sees it’s a mirage. You can wipe out 5 zeroes in someone’s ‘wealth’ in a hideout and nobody will notice. It does not have to go somewhere else. Just erase. Adding to wealth is just as easy!’
• ‘Headlined threats of fuel shortages & price increases are to lubricate selling off energy resources to the US?”
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘Sri Lankan hankering after the West is longstanding, fine-tuned in the Jayewardene days which spawned a breed of diplomats who thought the Cubans uncivilized and the Africans unreliable.’ – Rajiva Wijesinha
• ‘During my time as the former director of National Institute of Fundamental Studies, all of the development took place to make Graphite Batteries in Sri Lanka, and we held multiple meetings to establish a state-owned enterprise; unfortunately, the entire project came crashing down as a consequence of a vengeful attack launched against me, which stopped the project from moving further. I continue to believe that NIFS technology has immense potential for the manufacture of Graphite Batteries in Sri Lanka which will make a significant contribution to the economy of this country.’ – Saman Seneweera (see ee Industry, Graphite)
• ‘The government has become more reactive rather than proactive. The whole approach of ‘Vistas of Prosperity & Splendour’ was innovative & proactive. But recently the government has shown an abundant propensity to generate problems and then grope for solutions. The ad-hoc nature of the solutions leads to more problems.
The first bungle was in the sugar swindle. The Consumer Affairs Authority and the Ministry in charge did not go by the clear provisions of the CAA Act. When the CAA annulled the price control of sugar (at Rs 80), the Authority should have entered into an agreement in terms of Article 14. (1) where the Authority is empowered to enter into such written (binding) agreements as it may deem necessary, with any manufacturer or trader or with any association of manufacturers or traders to provide for: (a) the maximum price above which any goods shall not be sold; (c) any other conditions as to the manufacture, import, supply, storage, distribution, transportation, marketing, labelling or sale of any goods.
The CAA did not do it and allowed the traders to sell sugar over Rs 200 and make massive profits. The State Minister then lamented that the Ministry had no power to act. Incredible!
The next bloomer is in the price of rice where the leading mill owners have declared a pricing formula. The CAA has meekly tolerated this audacity despite their duty prescribed in Article 8 of the Act as – The functions of the Authority shall be to (a) control or eliminate 1 (i) restrictive trade agreements among enterprises; 2 (ii) arrangements amongst enterprises with regard to prices…
The only reaction of the Government is a threat to import rice!
Now the Government has resorted to playing the free market game of supply and demand in respect of a number of essential imports and lifted all controls on the import and trade of these items. Maybe the government expects there will be fair competition and prices will be reduced. But what has happened is the importers have already formed into cartels like in the case of rice, and are fixing prices. The CAA is not applying the provisions of Article 8.
The CAA also is responsible in terms of Article 14 1(b) to set the standards and specifications of any goods manufactured, sold, or offered for sale. Why then is the composition of the contents of a packet on Milk Powder not exhibited on the packet? How much sugar is added to the milk powder?
What is more intriguing is why the Executive Director of the CAA who recently resigned due to the Garlic Scam did not see it fit to enforce the clear provisions of the Act. Was he prevented from doing his duty?
The implementation of the splendid policy on restricting and banning the import of fertilizers and agrochemicals, and substitution with organic fertilizer has resulted in a series of ad hoc decisions. It is too early to comment on the economic and political repercussions of these reactive decisions.’ – Sugath Kulatunga
• ‘In this part of the world, it is Dubai and Singapore that have the reputation of safe havens for the “investor”. They are the recipients of monies that are spirited away from developing countries in Asia and Africa. They will not hand over bank accounts even if the President of SL asks for them, nor extradite a fugitive former Governor of a Central Bank wanted for insider dealing. Sri Lanka is desperately trying to join this club of nations.’ – sundaytimes.lk/211010/editorial/the-murky-side-of-pandora-papers-457958.html
• ‘This is a country with 2,500-year-old Buddhist values and it would not be possible for a government to make this country self-sufficient by promoting dairy farming. The existing number of milch cows produced only 15 percent of the country’s milk requirement. Killing cows is not permitted in Buddhist values. We need one million milch cows to obtain the national requirement of milk. One milch cow may live 14 to 15 years. If they give birth to calves five to six times, what would be the number of their population? Countries such as New Zealand and Australia engaged in dairy industry obtain 50 percent income from milk, while the balance is from beef. In countries where the industry is thriving, they kill the calves within 24 hours of their birth and process it for veal. The cows are sent to be milked to make milk-powder and fresh milk. If many Buddhists know this sad story they would not drink milk-powder.’ – UNP Chairman (ee Agriculture, Pipedream)
• ‘If you run the IMF, by definition you have to be one of the world’s most brutal people. So if you “provide funds to keep countries afloat and to address the health crisis,” as Stiglitz claimed the IMF has done, that didn’t help South Africans who received a controversial $4.3billion loan from Georgieva in August 2020, featuring these stereotypical IMF albatrosses:
The loan was denominated in US$ even though the hard currency was not needed for basic fiscal-stimulation support (such as income grants), and indeed the loan itself wasn’t even required for debt repayment since foreign liabilities had fallen dramatically a few weeks before and a trade surplus was achieved thanks to import compression during lockdown;
There was an in-built South African Treasury promise of unprecedented austerity that became IMF loan conditionality, with budget cuts then made last October and again in February 2021 to vital programs including healthcare (harsher than any witnessed since the apartheid era ended); and
No oversight was included and indeed the IMF nudged-nudged winked-winked when it came to South Africa’s notorious Public Private Plundering by a world-leading corrupt corporate sector and middlingly corrupt state, especially in the way the health ministry, provincial education ministries and other state agencies spent vast amounts on fraudulent Covid-prevention and public-awareness activities, conducted with such carelessness that several top politicians including the health minister and his top officials were recently sacked.
Tragically, there was no alternative lending institution to turn to instead, especially the fabled $100billion Contingent Reserve Arrangement of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-SAfrica BRICS bloc. It was launched in 2014 with anti-IMF rhetoric, but has never been actually sighted and doesn’t seem to actually exist. – see ee Economists, Latest Bean-Counting
• ‘It is no secret that the development of this Takfiri terrorist movement (ISIS) has taken place with the support and plans of the US, and in recent years, the US has facilitated the expansion of the activities of ISIS criminals in Afghanistan and prevented their eradication’ – Iran President Ebrahim Raisi
• ‘Following the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, when the victorious Mujahideen warlords grabbed power in Kabul in April 1992, no one from the West or East demanded that Burhanuddin Rabbani ought to form an “inclusive government” or should accommodate Afghan women. Even countries like India do not necessarily have “inclusive government”’ – Bhadrakumar, Indian Punchline
• ‘We will surpass the US economically after our 15th 5-Year Plan (2026-30)’ – Chairman Mao on China
• ‘The Indian wars could be over. After all, no one needs this [Enbridge] pipeline, plus it’s the dirtiest and most expensive oil in the world to extract and produce. In one narrative, the Canadian corporation won. Columbus conquered anew, proof that might & money remain the rulers… Minnesota Public Utilities Commission required Enbridge to obtain $200mn of “environmental impairment liability” insurance, in addition to general corporate liability coverage of $900mn, and to include the state of Minnesota and several American Indian tribes as additional insureds on its policies. But Enbridge recently submitted a report to the PUC saying it will likely not be able to obtain this insurance “in the near future.” That’s baffling and problematic at best. I’m wondering what Harvard Business School is thinking about that one. No insurance is not only dangerous but illustrates again that the tar sands party is over. The most expensive tar sands pipeline will be the last one to the US.’ – Winona LaDuke, counterpunch.org/2021/10/11/from-columbus-to-enbridge-colonial-exploitation-continues
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• Former Sri Lankan Raj Rajaratnam, jailed Wall Street financier, has published his tale, Uneven Justice. He remains faithful to his adopted white-settler state, even though he says he alone was singled out to pay for the sins of hedge funders, after the 2008 capitalist meltdown. His earlier comments on the existence of ‘ethnic’ mafias on Wall St, who all indulge in ‘insider trading’ was interesting. Wonder if he explores that further.
His once-eminent northern Indian partners on Wall St turned against him, but he instead blames an Indian NY attorney Preet Bharara (‘the media idolatry of the publicity-hungry & ambitious rookie’) without fully exploring the role that token off-white success stories have to perform. One’s loyalty to the system is tested by first prosecuting one of your own, as in the case of rookie journalists, who have to exhibit a willingness to first attack their own communities to show their loyalty to the white establishment. (see: ft.lk/front-page/Raj-Rajaratnam-releases-book-titled-Uneven-Justice/44-723285)
• Columbus landed on (invaded!) Hispaniola (now Haiti & Dominican Republic), 529 years ago this week, launching Europe’s genocidal entry into the Americas. Columbus, like all imperialists, claimed to be trying to go somewhere else (he said, India, but it might as well have been Lanka?), but would hang around to civilize (kill) them.
Colonialism was severely tested 4 centuries later when the Haitians utterly defeated 3 European armies at the turn to the 19thC. The whites could only attribute their power to ‘Voodoo’. Voodoo sent the English scurrying this way to install newer forms of slavery across these seas and lands. The domination of English politics thus transferred from the West India Company to the East India Company.
The Sinhala share a great history of a 5-centuries-long resistance, with the Haitian people. This is why it is a special project of imperialism to constantly attack Sri Lanka and Haiti. This ee also looks at regional merchants and moneylenders who, reinforced by the slave traders, came to dominate Lanka as well (ee Focus, Zanzibar).
• The Wijeya Group’s Financial Times got caught deliberately distorting a court judgment this week. The case involved fake labeling, with a prominent company claiming to use ‘natural’ products:
The first FT headline: ‘Nagananda withdraws case against Maliban Lemon Puff’, included quotes by government and corporate lawyers. 2 days later, with less prominence, FT issued the maverick Nagananda Kodituwakku’s ‘clarification’, which totally contradicted FT’s account, saying Maliban no longer claims natural ingredients.
Legal beagles guffaw: the respondent’s law firm Sudath Perera Associates have an ‘arrangement’ with Wijeya Group and other media to promote their ‘public interest’ cases, which no other law firms get. This amounts to touting, in violation of Supreme Court rules for lawyers. (ee Media, Maliban)
• The Frontline Socialist Party, another JVP breakaway, has put up posters across the country, decrying the interference of the ‘Americanu’, the ‘Chinu’ and the ‘Indianu’ in Sri Lanka. While we oppose any interference by anyone, it’s curious how a party claiming to be ‘socialist’ and at the ‘frontline’, is making a false equivalence between the worst human aggressor the world has ever seen, with a socialist country that has been under siege for all of its existence, as other socialist formations have been throughout history.
The FSP’s opportunism recalls the easy equivalence that was made by ‘socialists’ in 1939. The LSSP did not equate the imperialists with the USSR, but the failure to gauge the real international situation, led to a split in the Left here, between the LSSP and the CP (which fully supported the USSR). Let’s reiterate those moments almost 80 years ago:
‘Time and again one comes across efforts to connect Hitler and Stalin, as 2 sides of the same coin. It may be the Soviet Gulags and Nazi ‘Concentration Camps’, neglecting how the former sought to produce restored citizens, however many mistakes were made, while the latter simply sought to destroy ‘subhumans’ since – the Nazis believed – the world would be a better place without them. It may be the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement, which since Trotsky has become the hallmark of the likeness between Hitler and Stalin, forgetting that the Soviet Union sought many non-aggression pacts at the time in a desperate effort to avoid conflict, let alone seeking to neutralise a deliberate policy from Western Europe to direct Hitler’s energies against the Soviet Union after the breakdown of negotiations for an anti-Hitler pact with the English and the French.’ (Roland Boer, Stalin: From Theology to the Philosophy of Socialism in Power)
• Sunshine & Sunlight! What is the link between the World Bank, Unilever and Sunshine Holdings (SH), for whom the WB’s IFC issued a bond this week? Earlier this year, the IFC took control of the Commercial Bank (ComBank, headed by a former Supreme Court Chief Justice!). IFC then approved a US$7million loan to Sunshine Holdings to take over major-sugary sweet supplier Daintee – ‘with 40% market share’, also controlling access to 1000,000 retail outlets, ‘kadays’ across the country.
Sunshine is the second largest domestic packaged tea retailer. SH and Akbar Brothers (largest tea exporter) merged healthcare businesses into the HealthGuard chain. Capitalist employers on plantations have refused to modernize technology. Sunshine was prominent in opposing wage increases for plantation workers. Plantation workers represent the minimum benchmark for all workers in Lanka.
80% of tea sector profits are stolen by licensed export firms. These firms and Regional Plantation Companies are mainly owned by large conglomerates eg Aitken Spence, MJF Holdings, Valibell Plantations Management, Richard Pieris & Co, James Finlay Plantation Holdings, SH, Hayleys etc. It’s illegal for a single entity to own both RPCs and licensed export firms, according to the SL Tea Board. Rule of law indeed!
Sunshine, Keells etc control the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, and are largely front groups for even bigger English MNCs like Unilever, Ceylon Tobacco, who control and rob our home market, and supply these so-called locals with imported goods. (ee 16 Jan 2021)
Sunshine, ee suspects, is another name for Unilever, the largest multinational in Sri Lanka, who essentially runs the entire so-called ‘marketing’ and ‘advertising’ business here. The SL Institute of Marketing is another name for Unilever, and this week it even claimed Namal Rajapakse! Sunshine needs Sunlight!
The WB’s IFC portfolio is a major player in huge corporations operating in ‘emerging’ markets (the thing about ‘emerging’, like ‘developing’, is we seem to never emerge or develop!). IFC invests in strategic companies that can best push the Bretton Woods Agenda of privatization and deregulation of public goods. IFC provides credit lines to banks to undermine and buy up public goods. These private banks are not interested in wealth creation.
IFC also invested in Nations Trust Bank, and its owner John Keells Holdings, linked with old English pirate P&O in Colombo’s Queen Elizabeth Quay. P&O Ports also operates the Nhava Shiva, India’s largest port, which opposed the Hambantota Port project, spewing Sinophobia (ee 2 Nov 2019)
• This week saw USAID sign ‘an MOU with HNB to finance MSMEs’. If the economy is in such bad shape as the media claim, then why are these imperialist outfits so eager to prop up such assets? Meanwhile, regarding ‘low foreign exchange reserves’, the CBSL this week noted, we have been in a ‘negative net forex position’, 15 times before! So what’s new? For a country that’s prevented from developing its economy with a plan.
• The media here did not report on the IMF & World Bank’s semi-annual meeting that began Monday. They instead focused on whether the IMF chief has been cooking indices, when those indices themselves, like GDP etc., are fraudulent, cooked or not! The WB’s Doing Business Index actually refers to how easily they can rob our countries, thru privatization and deregulation! (ee Economists, Bean-counting)
• Wijeya Group (Sunday Times, FT, etc) and their stable of economists, all brayed together this week celebrating Australia-based Prof Prema-chandra Athukorala’s 70th birthday. They were hoping perhaps for Swedish warmongers to bestow their Nobel Prize on Athukorala. No such luck. The donkeys praised Athukorala’s recent introduction to the IMF’s 16 panaceas for Sri Lanka, which he claims failed because successive governments did not properly implement them.
Athukorala’s superficiality, and obsequiousness towards the IMF, might be too much even for Nobel, who likes to play with the Stiglitzes & Sens (a set of craftier apologists for capitalism).
WA Wijewardena recalls how Athukorala noted the airbags supplied to Toyota by a factory in SL, meant the factory (Lanka Harness) is ‘sharing the production of Toyotas with the original Japan-based company. The profits to be earned from a single part may not be that much; but, when you produce for a massive global operation, it will come to billions of dollars.’
Wijewardena clearly knows not the difference between money and capital, let alone modern industry. An earlier paean by WAW about the LH factory, spent half the article on the owner’s singing!
ee examines this foolish assertion, and the history of this interesting company, noting 90% of the parts including the machines for this manual assembly come from Japan. Our economists are simple accountants, unaware what ‘industry’ or ‘capital’ really means. How to blame our journalists then for not knowing the difference between handicraft, assembly, manufacture & REAL modern industry! (ee Focus, Japan Refuses)
The Japanese auto and other industries have for a long time shifted ‘labor-intensive’ industries that use workers for low-skilled tasks, while preserving for themselves the high-skilled, capital-intensive industry, refusing to share their known-how, let alone sabotaging efforts here, as detailed by the LH owner. The ‘garment’ fraud is famous for using our ‘quotas” to simply sew on a particular part, or add a label saying ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ in order to capture or expand markets.
• As for Nobel’s ‘false’ economic prizes, it represents a failed attempt to prevent public oversight over the economy, as represented by the continued attempts, here as well, to make the Central Bank independent of democratic control, leaving it open to the ravages of international banks (ee Economists, Nobel).
• Unilever’s real robbery – England and its ‘overseas territories’ are singlehandedly responsible for a staggering 42% (at least!) of the tax revenue lost around the world to corporate and private tax avoidance. England is also stubbornly resisting releasing country-by-country data on the taxes and doings of large MNCs.
England’s ‘overseas territories’ already rank at the top of the global tax-haven rankings risk, and are becoming even greater facilitators of tax avoidance now they are no longer constrained by the EU’s Code of Conduct on Business Taxation. It’s no accident that in the first month after England formally exited the EU, the Isle of Man saw a tenfold increase in the number of people seeking to move to the isle with extremely low tax rates. The establishment of a number of special tax zones across England show the mainland will soon join its overseas territories as a hub for tax avoiders of all stripes. The same on mainland USA!
England’s Unilever operates through 100s of companies in Sri Lanka. They have been shifting profits from here to tax haven affiliates by the use of ‘transfer pricing’ as well. Unilever’s operating affiliates pay intercompany royalties to their London parent. Unilever thus insists it is not involved in base erosion, claiming its intercompany pricing policies are arm’s length or not.
Multinational corporations/MNCs ‘legally’ use transfer pricing to hide earnings among their various subsidiary and affiliate companies by shifting tax liabilities to low-cost tax jurisdictions. Transfer pricing is applied to goods, services, physical assets (machinery, buildings, etc.), financial assets (government securities, etc.) and intangible assets (intellectual property, research, patents, royalties, copyright, franchises, goodwill, trademarks, trade names, as well as software).
The G7 Finance Ministers meeting in June 2021 proudly hailed agreement on a 15% global minimum tax rate, with their media calling it ‘historic’. Then the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD)’s claimed, 130 countries had supported the Inclusive Framework. This low rate – paired with a policy of allocating taxing rights to headquarter countries – will prevent many Asian and African countries from gaining greater corporate tax revenues. On July 21, the UN appointed their Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, 2021-25. They will meet next week. There will be no discussion of this in the local media.
But again, the main question is, even if the money stayed in Sri Lanka, our merchant rulers refuse to invest in modern production, even while loudly proclaiming ‘Made-in-Sri Lanka!’
A common plaint we hear is how famous Sri Lankan inventors, like Ray Wijewardena, at some point just gave up on their genius due to a lack of support, because our ruling classes would rather import! Yet the main issue is why our inventors did not invent inventors!
• Our indigenous bourgeoisie played a minor role in the struggles against imperialism, while ‘the Indian bourgeoisie which was developing an industrial base was a possible exception’. The white-settler bourgeoisie of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) ‘terminated the payment of royalties on the Rhodesian copper mines to the British South Africa Company whose shareholders were abroad’. Yet our rulers will not do this.
If not for exchange controls, ‘far more of the current surplus of underdeveloped countries would be spent abroad by its indigenous owners’. The money we pay for fuel to the OPEC countries is recycled by them in industrialized countries, directly or else as payment for imports to promote their luxurious lifestyles.
We cannot separate the surplus transfers from the mode of production which generates the surplus. The popular ‘drain’, dependency and ‘fair trade’ theories obscure the forces beneath the modes of production in the centre and the periphery. ‘The conditions of production, inclusive of the structure of internal class relations which support the world division of labour, are left in splendid inviolability; and likewise the in-built and systemic obstacles to a qualitatively different utilization of economic surpluses. By excluding from purview the prevailing class structure and the factors both external and internal influencing the transformation of that structure, the surplus transfer models have suffered from the lack of a broad theory of history to explain the crucial changes that occurred in the already developed economies or in those in which a forward movement is tending to occur.
Surplus transfer models, and cognate concepts such as dependency, have naturally appealed to liberal developmentalists who are concerned with de-emphasizing the importance of class relations as a transformative factor… The problem of underdevelopment relates fundamentally to the barriers to the growth of productive forces, which the prevailing production relations constitute. The external articulation of an underdeveloped economy, or its dependency, is significant not in itself but in its effects on the internal class structure. Internal class structures through which the external influences mediate are far more difficult to characterize and explain than the external influences themselves. All the same, these analytical difficulties must be overcome because the problem of underdevelopment has to be subsumed under the general question of the failure of countries to effect the transition to the capitalist mode of production; specifically, what has to be probed is the continued dominance of merchant capital and of usurer and landlord capital over extensive segments of their economy. One of my concerns is to explain the role of merchant capital in the plantation economies; the peasant sector is not dealt with, though the same concepts and categories of analysis are also applicable to its failure to develop along capitalist lines.
Underdevelopment was also a total phenomenon, not confined to peasant agriculture in contrast to the plantations nor confined to the realm of economic activities alone… An underdeveloped society is not merely an underdeveloped economy but is literally an underdeveloped society, and its study should include the non-economic components – social, political, administrative. When it was advantageous to do so, metropolitan interests allied themselves with elements in the indigenous society that were ‘archaic, conservative and backward’. Sometimes privileged classes were created who ‘were, by and large, primarily interested in preserving the social and economic status quo under which they were privileged’. Under the moulding pressure of metropolitan influences there grew a bureaucracy and a class who were known for their loyalty and conformity to metropolitan values & interests. A ‘popular type of native was the educated emulator of his rulers, the adept pupil who learned well from his masters in the civil service and became “whiter than the whites”.’ (From: S.B.D. de Silva, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment, 1982)
• Contrary to all of the above, University of Colombo Economics Prof Srimal Abeyratne, declared in his Sunday Times felicitation of fellow-obscurant Athukorala: ‘Recently, I heard that unlike in our neighbouring countries Sri Lanka does not have a home-grown “capitalist class” in order to take our development forward. In fact, it is a widely held argument that has been documented in our post-independent development literature as well. Isn’t it hilarious that first we vanish (dismiss) it, and then complain that we don’t have it? After paralysing the emerging capitalist class in our post-independent history, now we remember that we cannot move forward without a capitalist class. It is even more hilarious to hear that we should build it or re-build it, by protecting it with import substitution policies. In fact, it was with these policies that we made the domestic capitalist class vanish in the past.’
Perhaps in his next column, the good Professor, if he ever brings this issue up again (our media economists’ ruminations rarely have continuity other than to re-chew the World Bank’s panaceas), he should explain the how, who, what and when of this domestic capitalist class that was vanished by ‘import substitution policies’.
B. Special Focus_
B1. Japan will Not Share Modern Technology with Sri Lanka
Our economists, let alone media, refuse to understand modern industrial culture, even as they hail: “Integrating into the Marketing Value Chain.”
‘The Toyota factory ran into kilometers, and my first observation was that for a factory of such magnitude there are only a minimum number of workers. When questioning this, I was told that almost all operations were automated! But then, I noticed that inside a large room around 400 workers were crammed in and making the impact sensors for airbags manually! This is a process that could not be automated and could only be done manually… Sensors are critical for deploying airbags. That’s why robots don’t make them.’
When Rohan Pallewatta questioned Toyota as to why the above operation cannot be outsourced ‘to a labour-intensive country such as Sri Lanka’, he was told, although certain parts of the vehicle may be outsourced, critical parts such as manufacturing of the airbag sensors can never be outsourced. Pallewatta was also informed that any outsourcing needed approval of the Automobile Association of Japan and it was highly unlikely he would be given any opportunity at all…
Such tales wish to give the impression that it’s a struggle to get Japan to outsource labor-intensive work (when the local garment fraud provides eminent example). In fact, ee has already noted how Singapore deliberately raised wages in 1979 by 20% to get rid of labor-intensive production! (ee 4 Sept 2021)
In 2002, therefore, we’re told, Japan’s Ito Spring Co, a supplier to Toyota, Nissan, Honda, etc., eventually invested $8 million in Pallewatta’s Biyagama EPZ factory Lanka Harness, equipped with ‘sophisticated’ Japanese machinery, with workers ‘assembling components of the impact detection sensors’… for airbags and seatbelts, initially for Toyota, through one of its parts suppliers. The firm employed 330 people in 2015 and made about 1.4mn sensors a month.
In 2015 he supplied airbag replacements, after the originals installed by Japan’s Takata were subject to a global recall over potentially defective parts. The replacement order required Lanka Harness to double existing production capacity, to 2mn units per month.
Having started as an assembly operation at the Biyagama industrial zone, Lanka Harness then set up 2 plants. One did the manufacturing, using imported plastic fibre to mould certain parts, and the other assembled the wire harness for the seatbelt switch and the airbag. With both plants running at full capacity, Pallewatta then subcontracted work to other companies. (So what is this ‘sophisticated’ machinery? Molding? Can it be made here? Our economists will not dare ask.)
Lanka Harness’s complex, international supply chain, requires about 90% of material – including terminals, solders, plastic wires and tubes, connectors, printed circuit boards (PCBs) – to be procured from Japan (& sometimes from Europe & West Asia, which is less expensive).
His firm made some PCBs in Sri Lanka but could not gain approval from Toyota or tier supplier customers, ‘due to the closed nature of the automotive parts industry’. ‘We have looked into adding more value within the country – we tried with certain materials,’ he explains, ‘But my personal view is that the material supply is being jealously guarded in the automobile industry. So they will nominate who I should buy from.’
Pallewatta had proposed local manufacture of certain connectors that Lanka Harness currently buys from Japan. A foreign moulding company with a factory in the Biyagama industrial zone was making the identical connector. Buying directly from a nearby plant would help save money, he suggested to customers. ‘To his surprise, their answer was ‘no’.’
A local cable manufacturer also made the PVC tubes Lanka Harness buys from Japan. They are used in high volume and take up a lot of space in shipping containers. ‘But every time we sent a sample to Japan at the lab test level there, the product failed,’ says Pallewatta.
His Japanese customers have set the barriers to entry intentionally high to ensure Lanka Harness buys only from nominated Japanese suppliers.
‘I don’t think our product is inferior to theirs,’ Pallewatta says. ‘Even though we may have material locally, it is very difficult to enter and get approval for materials which we can procure locally.’
He invested $5mn to set up a factory with 30 workers in Mexico to reduce lead times and costs, to obtain regular orders from automotive companies in the US and the non-Anglo Americas on a regular basis.
LH’s low margins ‘have improved since it graduated to a tier-one supplier… The value addition is high because the processes we have developed to achieve speed, cost savings and compliance to stringent standards are complicated, and not easily replicated by competitors.’
September 2017, another Capital Media outlet reported, Lanka Harness was assembling and exporting sensors to 12 countries including China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Romania, with orders increasing from the US, Brazil, and Mexico.
‘The car industry comprises a multi-tiered global supply chain. Companies that directly source parts, and component suppliers to carmakers are called tier-1 suppliers. In turn, their suppliers are called tier-2 suppliers. In the global automotive supply chain, Lanka Harness’ position has risen to a tier-1 supplier, meaning its orders are received directly from major carmakers. Its Biyagama factory then employed over 300 people making 2.2mn sensors for airbags and seatbelts for Japanese, European and US car brands ranging from Aston Martin, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, Volkswagen, Volvo. Every story noted LH was the first company to reach the quality requirement of 1 PPM: ‘only a single defect would be tolerated for a million pieces produced’.
In 2017 it was reported, ‘to boost productivity in a labour-intensive manufacturing chain’ LH had reduced ‘the rework rate of assembled harnesses by introducing a manufacturing aid, a jig with sensors that sets off a buzzer if a component is placed incorrectly before a worker solders it into place. We reduced the defective rate to zero following this,’ Pallewatte said. Production costs have also fallen 5-10%. He said the jig was developed in collaboration with a local university. ‘Nothing like this exists anywhere in the world.’ Yet this type of technology only makes workers work harder, not more skillfully?
Then in February 2017: Capital Media outlet reported Lanka Harness planned to buyout its parent Ito Springs of Japan, saying then making 2mn sensors supplying firms outside Japan, including Aston Martin, BMW, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, Saab, Volkswagen and Volvo. “I built the non-Japanese business on my own,” they quoted Pallewatte, “When I acquire the parent company, I can be more aggressive. I will have the added advantage of negotiating from Japan, home to several giants in the industry and heading a company that has been a tier-1 supplier for decades.” The deal will tightly integrate the firm with the supply chain of Japanese automakers who rely on so-called tier-1 suppliers for on-time delivery. But no further details were forthcoming.
In 2018 he is said to have ‘directly employed’ about 450 and engaged about 500 subcontractors. Again, no details are provided about what exactly these subcontractors were doing. However the media reports grandly he was ‘supplying to almost all the major car manufacturers in the world, accounting for about 7% of the global market for sensors to every country that produces vehicles’… Japan is known for setting up fronts to export to other countries where it has exhausted its quotas. England and the US have long done it too!
In 2019 Pallewatta set up the Social Democratic Party to contest the 2019 Presidential election.
B2. Imperialist Countries Set up Former Colonies as Offshore Tax Hideouts, Then Shifted Onshore!
In 1992 the EU dropped the withholding tax on dividend payments from subsidiaries to parent companies within the EU, prompting corporations to move subsidiaries from tax hideouts like Curaçao to EU member countries such as Luxemburg. As a result, dividends paid from the Netherlands to Curaçao dropped sharply by 80% during the late 1990s.
The Antillean government immediately demanded equal treatment with member countries from the Netherlands, i.e., no withholding tax on dividends paid to Curaçao. The Dutch government not only refused this, in 1997 it passed legislation stimulating multinationals to repatriate finance subsidiaries back to the Netherlands.
The US and 8 other countries including Brazil and China, realizing they had only tax revenues to lose, also refused to let the Antilles join their bilateral tax treaties with the Netherlands.
The Curaçao tax hideout went into contraction. The number of shell companies, offshore banks and trust companies dropped and even big local trust companies like Citco and Amicorp shifted their main operations elsewhere.
Consequently, public revenue from profit taxes and foreign exchange fell sharply, causing widening budget deficits, after previously spending heavily on its civil service and on public services expansion. In 2008, Curaçao politicians accused the Netherlands of having killed its ‘healthy’ hideout.
While the Curaçao hideout declined, the Netherlands continued to strengthen its position as an international money transfer hub. In 1994 parliament passed legislation defining the statute and reporting duties of Special Financial Institutions (Bijzondere Financiële Instellingen or BFIs), formalizing the various shell company forms that had existed until then. The number of BFIs range from 12,000 to 14,400. The Dutch government favours these shells for the same reason as Delaware or New Jersey. In 2007 they generated an estimated one billion euros in tax revenues plus 500mn in fees for specialised service providers. MNCs including car manufacturers Fiat Chrysler, Nissan-Renault and Russian internet giant Yandex have their formal base in the Netherlands.
The total flow-through in 2017 was estimated at 4trillion euros, 10 times Dutch GDP. Though the Dutch Central Bank, DNB, claims to supervise the BFIs, it remains difficult, not to say impossible, to determine who gains from these tax benefits or, conversely, who loses. The suspicion that these institutions facilitate tax evasion is stronger than ever. The Netherlands moved up in the TJN’s periodically updated Financial Secrecy Index, from 41st place in 2015 to 14th in 2018. At the same time, Curaçao dropped from no. 70 to 84.
Tax hideouts generate public revenue by attracting corporations and HNWIs from elsewhere. The demand for their services come from financial centres elsewhere, thus manifestations of a new form of dependency. Curaçao was definitely highly inventive, yet its evolution as a hideout was prompted by Dutch initiatives, boosted by Dutch multinationals and service providers, and supported by Dutch foreign policy throughout. For some 30 years the two countries worked in tandem. The Curaçao hideout benefitted from being associated with the Netherlands, its legal system and its range of bilateral tax treaties. Conversely, Curaçao helped to build the Netherlands into the big international money transfer hub it is today.
Curaçao’s hideout was then sent into a decline, while the Netherlands continued to enjoy a key financial hub position originally built on the country’s symbiosis with Curaçao. This aspect of imperialist countries profiting from hideouts, deserves more attention than it usually gets.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman called Dutch PM Mark Rutte on 5 Oct 2018, to warn him Unilever was abandoning plans to ‘consolidate its headquarters in the Netherlands’, and settle instead for London. The Dutch PM , who had promoted an ‘unpopular plan to scrap the country’s dividend tax’ to please MNCs such as Unilever, shifted ‘Left’ and kept the tax, to prevent ‘tax evasion and undesirable tax arrangements that companies use to evade taxes’, proposing a higher corporate levy, and so won a fourth term in office. The completion of the unification of Unilever’s Dutch and English arms under a single London-based entity was announced 30 Nov 2020.
Yet, oil octopus Royal Dutch Shell Plc in 2019 said it paid no income tax there, and companies, which received millions of euros in state support during the pandemic, also paid little or no tax. Netherlands is considered one of the winners of the Brexit exodus out of England.
Holland, one of the EU’s lowest corporate taxes, is thus known as a ‘conduit country’ and a tax hideout. In 2019 it was ranked 4th by the Tax Justice Network, as a hideout for MNCs, behind the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Bermuda. Unilever, Alphabet Inc’s Google, Uber Technologies, etc, run their game through Netherlands.
The absence of the US and England on this TJN list is not surprising. Employees have left, accusing TJN of fabricating ‘ever more meaningless indices’. London-based TJN is funded by eBay’s Pierre Omidyar, the EU and the Norwegian government. Omidyar also funded the recent Pandora revelations, along with the US and English governments! (For references, please email ee).
B3. Indian & Arab Merchants & Landlords & the Slave Trade – Zanzibar under Colonial Rule
Zanzibar formed the entry point to mount slave-hunting expeditions, with profits split among the beneficiaries of the slave trade, in the western part of the Indian Ocean (Erythrean/Red Sea) and the southern ocean: Mare Prasodum or the Green Sea, where Lanka sits.
What is Sri Lanka’s ancient link to Zanzibar, 16 miles off Tanzania, land of the Bantu people from time immemorial? Zanzibar was famed abroad for their metal work, gold, ivory, leopard skins, ambergris, as recorded in Ethiopia, Punt (Somalia), Luxor (Egypt), Phoenicia, Mesopotamia. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea by an Egyptian pilot, which records Sri Lanka’s muslins, gems and tortoiseshell work, details the amassing of merchant wealth in the western Indian Ocean around the 1st century AD. He described a flourishing Indian commerce with East Africa, Rome, Egypt, Axum, the Red Sea, Cape Guardafui, and Azania.
Zanzibar emerged as a key link at the peak of the triangular Indian Ocean trade between the East Coast of Africa, the Arabian Coast, Sri Lanka and the West Coast of India. The developed sea routes then led to Indian, Arab and Persian merchants planting settlements to appropriate this wealth along Africa east’s coast. This encroaching on African soil was required for more efficient exploitation of the trade they sought to control. It also eliminated extensive rake-offs by their agents. Markets began to appear along the coast, becoming the hub of merchant transactions. These markets formed the nuclei for the advance of capitalism in the 19th century, disguised as ‘legitimate commerce’.
The Indian merchant class emerged as the dominant group in the trade network, controlling most forms of commerce. By the 18thC, Bombay had become the grand storehouse of E African, Arabian & Persian commerce.
Bombay became the political seat from which English imperialism aimed its policy of controlling the Indian Ocean trade to East Africa via Zanzibar. When Captain Thomas Smee visited Zanzibar in 1811 as a Bombay Government representative to investigate trade possibilities, he noted wealthy Hindu traders ‘held the best part of the trade in their hands’, much to the envy of the Omani Arabs who were vying for economic control.
So long as this trade could be harnessed to serve the needs of industrial capitalism, by directing English goods to potential markets and initiating a cash economy, Indian trading concerns would be sanctioned and protected. That would be their privilege as ‘British subjects’. In the 1820s this policy of granting political support to Indian merchants engaged in ‘legitimate commerce’ clearly demonstrated imperialist aims, even though they wore the gloss of anti-slavery sentiments.
The Busaidi ruling class in Oman also had a long-established stake in the Indian Ocean trade and specifically the slave operations. In Muscat as well as the Arabian coast, Indian merchants were established and recognised as customs collectors prior to the 19th century. The Busaidis, upon annexing Zanzibar as part of the ‘new dominions’, promoted these merchants whilst ensuring that they extracted a fixed income from them.
In the 1830s, eg, Indian merchants dominated most forms of commerce and operated as creditors and customs collectors in Zanzibar. The Arab and Swahili traders operated principally as caravan leaders who hunted the mainland for slaves. Their missions were equipped and financed by the Indian merchants who supplied them with goods on credit. These were exchanged for slaves, ivory and other produce whilst they travelled under the protection of the Busaidi Sultan’s flag. On their return, all exchangeable goods would pass through the hands of their creditors who would settle accounts and proceed to load outgoing ships.
Towards the late 1830s, with the returns from the slave trade alone being 60%, Indian merchant capital appeared to be well entrenched and unthreatened. But 1840-90, merchant capital began to lose its independence in the territories joined by the Indian Ocean trade. It is no longer allowed to operate solely on its own account but was forced to become an agent of English industrial capital.
In Zanzibar this is marked by the opening of the British Agency under control of the Bombay Government and the East India Company in 1841. A prime interest of the English Consul in Zanzibar up to the eve of Partition in the late 1880s was to reinforce the use of Indian merchants for ‘legitimate commerce’, hence the increasing jurisdiction over them as British Indian subjects. Under this policy they captured the bulk of the trade in the leading markets of the western Indian Ocean, which included those ports on the west coast of India which commanded the largest part of the trade with East Africa. But it was clear that if they were to achieve the same dominance in Zanzibar, key to the East African trade, they would have to channel their influence via the existing slave trade framework.
The Omani Sultan of the Busaidi dynasty, Seyyid Said, declared Zanzibar his second capital in 1840. He had drawn up his economic program on the basis of the slave trade and plantation production of cloves through slave labour. Plans were made to extend the trade in captives. Cloves as a rare luxury spice could not only increase his revenue but feature as a much-needed commodity in exchange transactions with foreign goods, thus attracting a greater volume of trade to Zanzibar. In these schemes he contracted the support of the principal Indian merchants. With their finance, the caravan routes into the interior would proliferate, drawing out more and more slaves and produce (gum copal, ivory, etc.) whilst channelling in foreign commodities on which he could pick up a proportion of the levied taxes. The role of Indian merchant capital in these activities was prominent. In the inseparability of the legitimate trade and the slave trade lay the concrete fact of pillage of humans and their environment.
With the Indian agencies acting like efficient suction pumps in both directions even before Said’s arrival, the role of the Sultan as the ally of imperialism was decided. In the late 1830s an alliance had been struck between the leading trade and customs-collecting firm of the Hindu Bhatia merchant Jairam Sewji, also Said’s financial adviser and creditor, and the trading firm represented by the US consul, RP Waters. When the English consul, Lt Col Atkins Hamerton arrived, he was quick to perceive that this near monopoly in import-export trade, and the increasing quantity of US goods, would not serve English interests. By a series of diplomatic moves, he connived to gain the support of the Sultan by accusing his authorities of harbouring feelings against English merchants, and finally managed to break the alliance by 1841. To a great extent, he had achieved this through the English claim of jurisdiction over the Indians in East Africa. It was not surprising that the gut reaction of some Indian merchants was to repudiate English ‘protection’ and opt for that of the Sultan, underestimating his subservience to English interests. The shrewder merchants saw the profit margin which English protection offered and bided their time. It now became crucial for English imperialism to use Indian merchant capital to expand ‘legitimate’ trade over the slave trade.
The first serious English attempt to curb the slave trade in 1846 led to losses in revenue as well as in foreign trade, much as the Sultan had forecast in his earlier protestations to the English Government. The ‘mistake’ was rectified; foreign trade began to pick up. Zanzibar was becoming the commercial emporium of the East African coast, and only with the thriving of the slave trade could other forms of foreign trade gain a foothold in the area.
But whilst imperialism could use the slave trade to carve out new corridors into the interior of the continent with the aid of merchant capital, local trade and production amongst the indigenous population was being seriously undermined. With the outflow of the able-bodied section of the population as slaves, total production was bound to fall. Again, since merchant capital principally stimulated production of exportable commodities, the demands to be satisfied were not intra-communal but external. Hence merchant capital accumulation left in its wake a distorted social production, which it further augmented by creating ‘artificial wants’ for foreign goods from advanced capitalist countries. Though it is difficult to give reliable figures on the numbers of enslaved exported in the 1840-50s, it can be estimated roughly between 10,000 and 20,000 enslaved Africans were reaching the coast. A large number, in fact, ended up in Zanzibar and the coast of Kenya where they were used in the production of cloves and food grains. By 1870 the number had increased to about 95,000, with most of the enslaved coming from the mainland. The revenue to the Sultan was $1 per slave in 1846, a figure which doubled in 1871. A strong suggestion that sizeable profits accrued to Indian customs collectors can be found in the total assets held by Jairam Sewji’s firm which stood in the region of $4million in 1844. Besides being a leading trading firm, Sewji could release supplies of cash as large as $10,000 at short notice. It is reasonable to assume that at the time when ‘legitimate commerce’ had not made significant strides, most of this lucrative wealth resulted from the slave trade.
By the mid-1850s, English and Indian goods had begun to constitute the bulk of those imported into Zanzibar, though the country still had no direct trade with England. 1855-59, only 12 English ships called at Zanzibar in comparison to 154 from US, 97 from Hamburg, 89 from France, and 30 from Portugal, Germany, and other nations. But English manufactured goods were being channeled indirectly from India, Singapore and Hamburg by Indian merchants who had become instrumental in the spread of English commerce. English cotton was now in hot competition with US cotton (merikani) as well as the Indian cottons which had been so popular in previous centuries. British iron goods and weaponry were gaining markets. In effect, Indian merchant capital could no longer select freely to its own exclusive advantage. This does not necessarily imply constraint as much as a certain adaptability on the part of this dominant class.
During the following decade, direct trade between Zanzibar and England grew rapidly. Having successfully countered the US threat during the US Civil War, English interest pegged down the French to a comfortable size by 1862. Though English legal efforts seemed to militate against the slave trade by calling it ‘wasteful and unnatural’, their continued reliance on it is borne out by the fact that a leading English firm by the name of Fraser and Co, a most vocal champion of English imperialism, was one of the largest slaveholders in the 1860s. Legitimate trade as it grew in volume was part and parcel of the traffic in slaves. And whilst slaves continued to feature as an important exchange commodity, the imperialist powers were ready to supply arms and ammunition not only to capture the slaves, but to facilitate the flow of their own commodities along the caravan routes into the interior. It is not hard to see why the various treaties signed between ‘Her Majesty and the Sultan of Zanzibar for the Suppression of the Slave Trade’ were proving to be ineffectual.
English interests in Zanzibar during this period were asserted more decisively at the political level. After the succession crisis within the Busaidi regime in 1859, the English military presence in the Indian Ocean could no longer be defined simply as a patrol force against slave trafficking. The new Sultan now owed his right to rule in Zanzibar to the English who had virtually blocked off Muscat’s influence. But while they sought to eliminate adversary interests, the English recognised the importance of the Busaidi regime in Zanzibar. In conformity with their principle of ‘indirect rule’, they propped up the regime to administer the economy and establish the ‘peace and order’ necessary for their own commercial expansion. The Sultan’s claims over much of the East African mainland would also be of great value. Thus both the Indian merchant bourgeoisie and the Busaidi regime were tools for imperialist penetration as it unfolded thru the colonization process towards the end of the century.
The Indian merchant bourgeoisie experienced little difficulty adjusting to the Busaidi regime under which it had come to wield important influence in both financial and civil administration. In contrast, they became progressively more ambivalent towards the English as they became hegemonic over the commercial economy in the ensuing years. The English presence became more burdensome as it went beyond commerce to the social existence of the Indian community on the pretext of England’s right of jurisdiction over ‘British Indians’. With respect to education, religious observance, and right to appeal, Indians as a whole were intentionally isolated to form a separate community under the imperial policy of divide & rule. Under this scheme it was possible to divide the local appropriating classes along racial lines whereby ‘community denoted function’, a policy which paid off for the English in the years of colonial rule. 1860-69 it was declared unlawful for ‘members of the Indian community’ to hold domestic slaves, though slaves continued to be held legally by Arab landowners. As a result, some Indians repudiated English citizenship but they were soon to find out that policy-making was no longer the sovereign right of the Sultan in actual practice. The next decade demonstrated this amply.
The English wanted important positions such as Customs Master in the hands of Indian merchant firms, as this was the biggest revenue-earning monopoly in Zanzibar. The firm of Jairam Sewji enjoyed cordial relations with the English consulate and Indian business firms assisted the mainland expeditions of English invaders by acting as their bankers & suppliers. It is significant, when the first English consul died in 1857, it was a prominent member from the customs-holding firm of Jairam Sewji who took care of the consulate for as long as a year. Through the convergence of interests, the merchant class was nurtured under the wings of English interests for a very specific task.
There is little information about capital accumulation by the merchant class being used outside of reinvestment and expansion of trade, loans and mortgages. In most cases, the leading firms had parent companies in India which suggests that capital repatriation did occur. There is no indication that the merchants invested in production in Zanzibar…
(from ‘The Contradictions of Merchant Capital, 1840-1939’, Zinnat Bader, Zanzibar Under Colonial Rule, eds Abdul Sheriff & Ed Ferguson)
A word of caution: “‘Ethnicity’ has mesmerised social scientists and historians. Many of them have tended to adopt the racist ideology used by the colonial rulers to obscure class contradictions and misdirect class struggle. The population has been labelled by race, and race denoted function. Challenged by the Marxist method and the need for class analysis, some eclectic historians have taken a shortcut by boldly asserting that society was ‘divided into a number of exclusive classes differentiated mainly by race’. But classes cut across racial boundaries and political alignments. Ethnic identities are images people have of themselves or of others, and to use these skin-deep identities to analyse history is ‘to write the history of images’….”
“The population was labelled by race, and race denoted function: “Arabs were landowners and clove-planters, Indians were financiers and traders, and Africans were labourers.”
Racist ideology is not peculiar to the English in Zanzibar; racism has always been a basic feature of capitalism…Races under capitalism become social as well as biological categories, and an important functional element in the socio-economic formation.
Thus the class approach to every aspect of historical investigation is a decisive methodological principle if one is to avoid the trap of ideological constructs. At a particular point in the colonial history of Zanzibar most of the landlords came from the Arab category. But when we refer to ‘Arab landlords’ we do not mean to say all Arabs were landlords, just as it is naïve to suggest that all Africans were plantation labourers and all Indians financiers. The category of race may be objectively linked with the issue of relations between social classes, but this must be established rather than assumed.” (From: Zanzibar Under Colonial Rule)
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.
• Gajaba Regiment Commemorates Its 38th Anniversary
‘Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne founded the Gajaba Regiment…’
• Love Games of the Indian Authorities
• Sri Lanka in India’s embrace – Balachandran
• Can the Indian Ocean be a Zone of Peace as proposed by SL President? – Balachandran
• Exercise ‘Mithra Shakti’ Rehearsed in Ampara Town
‘A total of 120 Indian Army troops are participating in the current Exercise’
• Chief of Staff of Indian Army General Manoj Mukund Naravane arrived on 5-Day Inspection
‘Commanding officer at Indian Army HQ Training Command Major General Rajeev Thapar, Military Adviser to the COAS Major General Vikrant Vilas Naik, Colonel Mandeep Singh Dhillon of the Foreign Affairs Division, Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Chief of Defense Staff and Commander of the Army General Shavendra Silva were also present.
• Navy seizes two vessels with 23 Indian fishermen in SL waters
• The LTTE Born Again; Second-Generation Terrorists
• LTTE Arms seizure: India’s National Investigation Agency seeks info from SL under treaty
• BJP’s Subramanian Swamy asks Sri Lanka to gear up for cyberwarfare
• Indian intelligence agencies fear growing Chinese presence in Lanka – The Hindu
‘Radicalised Muslims were brought from Pakistan and Turkey by senior SL political leaders and made to settle in Batticaloa, Mutur and Kalpatti. They had started madrasas to spread their ideology in eastern Sri Lanka and had planned to infiltrate into India, police sources told The Hindu on Sunday.
• JR & the Western Snout
• Sri Lanka vs. Human Rights Complex
‘Review of Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha’s “Representing Sri Lanka; Geneva, Rights and Sovereignty”’
• India and Lanka differ on full implementation of 13A
• PM Modi to Host Sri Lankan Prez Rajapaksa in UP’s Kushinagar on Oct 20
• Indian FM’s visit has jolted govt. into action – Sumanthiran
• Northern fishermen hit out at politicos who make beeline to meet Indian envoy
• Devananda tells Tamils: politicians use them as bargaining chips
• Who will run Indian-funded cultural centre in Jaffna
• New Delhi based Military Attaches of Germany and France accredited to Sri Lanka on a visit
• German Warship Fregatte Bayern, plans visit in January next year
• Norwegian and Netherlands ambassadors meet Commander Eastern Naval Area
• Can Tamils accept the truth about the Tamil past? Part 1
• Reports of possible terror attack: ACJU requests Muslims to pray for Sri Lanka
• What Does India Get Out of Being Part of ‘The Quad’?
• Did US cause nuclear leak in south China sea
• Taliban back in US swing chair
• US, Iran exchanging glances
• A war with Iran would destroy Israel
• Hezbollah is prepared to expel USA from Lebanon
‘The Lebanese Army establishment, led by General Joseph Aoun, tops the list of institutions under strong US influence, followed by the Central Bank of Lebanon and other Lebanese security departments, state administrations, and development ministries, all deeply infiltrated by US yes-men.’
• U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is Lebanon, as Fascist Lebanese Forces militia kill Shia Amal & Hizbullah Supporters
• Russia will not accept a US military presence in the Central Asian region.
• Afro-Indigenous People in Honduras Are Being Forcibly Displaced. Washington Is Complicit.
• Miami run by Cuban Mafia – Police Chief Fired
• A face-off over Nord Stream 2
‘Europe is experiencing an energy crisis with burgeoning demand and limited supply triggering a squeeze on gas prices.’
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.
• Wide spread fraud and corruption at NMRA – Interim Investigation Report
• Gin-Nilwala rip-off and culpability of Parliament
• JVP calls for multi-agency probe into Rs. 4 bn. Gin-Nilwala scam
• Cabinet approves proposals for Cyber Security Laws
• Sri Lankan ulema ‘worried’ about reports of new attacks
• Rishad granted bail on two cases
• Even Allegations of Illegal Acquisitions are strictly prohibited by law
• Anti-Black Racism in Canadian Prisons Remains Rampant, Despite Government Pledges
• San Francisco Court’s Racist Denial of the Constitutional Right to a Speedy Trial
• US Grand Jury Refuse to Charge Police in the Murder of Kwamena Ocran
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.
• CBSL reconstitutes Financial System Stability Consultative Committee
‘The FSSC will be headed by Dr. Kenneth de Zilwa, Chairman of Lanka Clear. The other members are C.N.S.N. Anthony – Director/General Manager, Credit Information Bureau; L.H.A. Lakshman Silva – Chairman, Banks Association (Guarantee); Niroshan Udage – Chairman, Finance House Association; Sujeewa Mudalige – Managing Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers; Sanjaya Bandara – Vice President, Institute of Chartered Accountants; Vish Govindasamy – Chairman, The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce; Shirley Jayawardena – President, Federation of Chambers of Commerce; Krishan Balendra – Chairman, John Keells Holdings; Kushan de Alwis, President’s Counsel; Saliya Wickramasuriya – Acting Director General, Colombo Port City Economic Commission; Kapila Jayawardena – Group Managing Director, LOLC Holdings; Chitranjali Dissanayake – Director General, Export Development Board and representative of the Organisation of Professional Associations.’
• Sri Lanka: State of the Economy 2021 Report Launch Webinar Series
‘Dushni Weerakoon & Asanka Wijesinghe from IPS & insights from Missaka Warusawitharana, Financial Economist, Johns Hopkins University, USA. Tharindu Udayanga from IPS moderated’
• Equity concerns must be placed at centre of any fiscal adjustments in budget 2022: IPS
• Developments indicae shift in foreign & economic policies towards India & West? – Sanderatne
• Paralysing the emerging capitalist class in our post-independent history – Abeyratne
• Prema-chandra Athukorala: Economist Sri Lanka produced for world – Wijewardena
• Economic instability likely to prevail despite Central Bank’s Road Map – Colombage
‘The monetary policy would be futile unless it is tied up with strict fiscal targets’
• Oblique references to Communists in the Central Bank – Devapriya
• Removing price controls a step in right direction, says US think-tank Advocata
• US Advocata Economist urges all citizens to hold government accountable for public spending
• Air India sold; privatise SriLankan now – R. Samrajiva
‘JVP leader asked: Why cannot some good SL capitalists take it over and run it professionally?’
• Air India: Family Silver Sold for a Song
• “Your Economics Professor Is Almost Certainly a Charlatan”
• GDP per hour worked
‘GDP per hour worked is a measure of labour productivity. It measures how efficiently labour input is combined with other factors of production and used in the production process. Labour input is defined as total hours worked of all persons engaged in production. Labour productivity only partially reflects the productivity of labour in terms of the personal capacities of workers or the intensity of their effort. The ratio between the output measure and the labour input depends to a large degree on the presence and/or use of other inputs (e.g. capital, intermediate inputs, technical, organisational and efficiency change, economies of scale).’
• Stagflation: a demand or supply side story? – Roberts
‘The semi-annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank started on Monday where finance ministers and central bankers met in a slimmed-down but in-person gatherings in Washington.
• The Latest IMF Bean-Counting Scandal
‘The Bank’s annual Doing Business rating report – a poverty-amplifying project that ranks countries on how well they have deregulated local capitalism for global corporates and local businesses alike.’
• Winning the Case for Transformative Left Economics
‘What bold new proposals and policies should the left be making in these unprecedented times, and how can we win them in England?’
• Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World – McCloskey
‘Q&A hosted by Night Watchman on how and why explosive economic growth depends more on social attitude and opinion rather than new markets or innovations.’
• Trio wins Nobel Economics Prize for ‘natural experiments’
• Build Back Better Legislation: New Keynesianism or Neoliberal Public Relations Stunt?
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.
• Unilever commits massive tax fraud amounting to millions while using political connections
‘Laksara Marapana is Unilever’s Head of Legal. She is the wife of President’s Counsel Naveen Marapana . Gamini Marapana, the father of Naveen Marapana, is Chairman, Colombo Port City Commission. Gamini Marapana’s brother is Thilak Marapana, Minister of Law and Order in the previous government, who gave maximum support to the present rulers who were in the opposition at that time and as a result, the members of the Marapana family have the maximum support of the present government.’
• Consumers have been suffering heavy blows, one after another
• Welfare state policy, but people at the mercy of big-time racketeers
• CB disagrees with IMF growth forecast
• Allocations for welfare and capital spending slashed in budget 2022
• Need a national plan to overcome the economic crisis – Amarasuriya
• Negative net forex position has happened 15 times in the past
• Central Bank Maintains Policy Interest Rates at their Current Levels
• World Bank’s IFC issues first Sri Lankan Rupee-denominated bond for Sunshine Holdings
‘The fund will be invested in a confectionary supply chain and strengthen the overall competitiveness of the country’s fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, IFC said.
• IMF lowers Sri Lanka’s outlook on persistent pandemic pressures
‘World Economic Outlook report released on Tuesday,’
• Traders hoarding products expecting further price hikes
• Sri Lanka president admits govt ‘not delivering’ as prices soar
• Who will cushion crippling blows?
• Exporters Refuse to Return Dollars
• Sri Lanka 2021 GDP growth downgraded to 3.6-pct by IMF, global growth lowered
• Official reserves down to USD 2.6bn in September; YTD rupee depreciation 8.2%
• FinMin gets additional responsibilities with revenue agency reforms
• Central Bank shelves plans to buy back maturing ISBs
• Credit card spend jumps in July amid heightened forex concerns
‘the total outstanding credit card balance soared by Rs.3, 027 million in July to Rs.121.66 billion… By the end of July, there were 1.94 million credit cards in active in SL for an 8.5 million labour force.
• Sri Lanka private, state credit surge in August, CB credit up 187-pct
• Higher costs & gloomy outlook could upend bank balance, blunt private credit growth: ICRA
• Sri Lanka rupee non-credible peg at 203 to dollar drives dollar rationing, rates rise
• Sri Lanka CB sees private sector credit growth at 14-pct by end 2021
• Sri Lanka CB to propose dollarized car imports amid money printing
• IMF cautions Maldives on money printing to stop rufiyaa fall as Sri Lanka wobbles
• Shenzhen bond debut in HK seen as milestone
• UN appoints Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, 2021-25
‘to prevent double or multiple taxation as well as non-taxation, broaden their tax base, strengthen their tax administrations, and curb international tax evasion and avoidance’
• 23rd Session of UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters
’19-22, and 25-28 October 202’
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
• IPS urges Gov’t to improve social security for employees and employers
‘in Sri Lanka, over 250,000 jobs were lost in the year of the pandemic alone… also the deterioration of the quality of jobs in the country… the unemployment rate expanded by 0.7 percent and it was the low and the middle-skilled workers who were hit the most.’
• Cabinet green light to extend retirement age for private sector
• Teachers and principals stick to their guns
• Speaker certifies Electors & EPF Bills
• Sri Lanka power regulator license more electricians
• Falling trend in foreign remittances to reverse from this month
• GMOA unveils concept paper to enable graduation of medical students at the age of 22
• World Bank loans for education impose questionable conditions and research
• John Keells English Language Scholarship Programme helps young scholars
‘12 selected from Beruwala, Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Rajawella, Ratmalana, Sooriyawewa, Trincomalee and Vavuniya.’
• What’s in a professorial title? ‘Little things’ matter
• Establishment of Harvard Club of Sri Lanka
• Show some sympathy to non-citizen spouses
• 44% of China’s Urban Young Women Don’t Plan to Marry, Survey Says
• EU Faces Migrant Backlash After Sanctioning Belarus
‘Lithuania, Poland, Latvia and Estonia on Monday issued a statement calling on EU countries to “jointly use all available diplomatic and practical means to cut the new irregular migration routes at its inception, as soon as possible.”’
• US Black families Passed Homes from One Generation to the Next. Now They May Be Lost.
• Make Gig Work Decent Work
‘employers have no responsibility for their app-based workers and that workers have no legal rights’
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.
• Skyrocketing Prices of Veg and Fruit: Is there a Remedy?
‘The Department for the Development of Agricultural Marketing ensured that prices of all essential commodities were indirectly controlled…This system was worked in a perfect manner from the Fifties till the late Seventies, when we bowed to the IMF and abandoned it.’
• Green Agriculture Presidential Task Force appointed
• UN’s Experts discuss framing a green development pathway for Sri Lanka
• Bittersweet memories of a ‘City that never slept’ – Reviving Kantale Sugar Factory
• Northern fishermen seek India’s action over disputes
• JVP warns of food scarcity
• Protesting farmers of Minneriya must be the supporters of Yahapalanaya
• Government must not import cheap and low quality rices to feed the poor.
• A run-of-the-mill administration – Devapriya
‘the identity of those calling the shots in the economy’
• Wise decision to remove price control on rice
‘It seems that most people in SL consider that the price controls on rice and on goods like milk powder, dhal, gas mean the same thing. This is not correct because the ultimate result is not the same. SL imports almost all milk powder, dhal, and gas. Therefore, the price we pay (money) goes overseas as income for producers of those goods. In contrast, the price we pay for rice goes as income for farmers and millers within our country.’
• Rural women: Cultivating good food for all
‘UN marked the International Day of Rural Women…women make up more than 40% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries’
• Prices of gas, milk powder, wheat flour and cement decided by the Companies by now – JVP
• Dairy farmers call for Rs.120 price hike for 1 Lt. milk: All Ceylon Dairy Farmers’ Federation
• Chinese Embassy claps back at allegations of toxic bacteria in organic fertiliser imports
• That Chinese Fertilizer Tale
• Maithripala fears he won’t be able to go to the village due to fertilizer issue
• No more Mr Rice Guy – A rush to farm organically has plunged Sri Lanka’s economy into crisis – The Economist
• Sri Lanka imports chemical fertiliser despite ban
• Groundwater contamination by light non-aqueous phase liquids needs urgent attention
• Climate change and food security in Sri Lanka: towards food sovereignty
• Aloe vera export project set to grab 6% of land in Anuradhapura
• UNP Chairman says govt. plan to achieve self-sufficiency in milk a pipedream
• Seafood exports exceed imports by $ 110 m in first 7 months
‘99% of the annual requirement of dried sprats was imported and added that in 2020 over Rs. 31 million was spent to import dried sprats alone.’
• Webinar on “Advances in Natural products chemistry”
• The Elephant in Sri Lanka Part 11
• The Agribusiness Alliance for a Green Revolution Failed Africa
‘corporate capture of food systems should be rejected. Donors & government funding must shift to agroecology’
• Over 100 countries sign Kunming Declaration on biodiversity conservation
• Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the Convention on Biological Diversity
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.
• CEB unions call upon govt. to reveal secret deal with US energy firm or face trade union action
• The Next Big Thing is Graphite: Does Sri Lanka have a fighting chance? – Gunasekera
• Geological Survey and Mines Bureau nets Rs.2,028 million revenue issuing 777,000 licenses
• New Circular on issuing permits for metals, sand, soil, gravel and clay
• Reveal secret deal with bankrupt New Fortress Energy: JVP urges Govt.
• Industrial Asphalts signs MoU with Singapore Hiin Holdings to tap bitumen in South Asia
• Rise in natural gas prices in Europe stemmed from electricity shortages – Putin
• Govt. to call for bids to develop M2 Block in Mannar Basin by January
• CBSL backs fuel price hike
• No immediate hike in fuel prices – Udaya
• Gammanpila justifies $2.5 b loan for CPC; Harsha cries foul
‘the loan was to be sourced from a company by the name ‘Concept Global,’ said to be owned by one Kenneth De La Motte, who the MP said was to also pocket a commission of 7% or $ 175 million… Only one party, the US New Jersey-based PSL America Inc. had made a favourable offer, whereas others had required guarantees from international banks.’
• Double the generating capacity at Victoria and the delivery of water to the North
• Taiwan’s and Sri Lanka’s Power Sectors
• US-Canadian Energy Enterprise Accuses China of Hijacking Major Project in Sri Lanka
‘In July 2020, Canadian-based developer Greenlink Global Consulting Inc. (Greenlink) filed $400 million in damage claims with the Sri Lanka attorney general….Greenlink was already involved along with its affiliates in waste-to-energy projects in the aerospace and defense sector, as well as in high-end tourism in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. It introduced Sithe Global Power Inc. (Sithe), a fully owned subsidiary of Blackstone Group, in response to the Lanka Aloka project.’
• SL’s multi-billion dollar ‘Ocean Expressway’ and its impact
‘This ‘Ocean Expressway’ enables vessels to sail, just outside the Sri Lanka’s territorial waters – about 10 miles off the Port of Hambantota, and Dondra Point, the southernmost location of SL…Every year, 35,000 ultra-large container vessels (ULCV) and bulk carriers, and another 5,000 ultra-large Crude Oil Carriers (ULCC) journey through SL’s Ocean Expressway which realises importers, exporters, freight companies and consumers, savings to the tune of $ 8 billion per year – without a cent of revenue being given to SL…SL currently only earns revenue from the 5,000 ships that make direct calls annually to its ports. The 45,000 aircrafts ﬂy over Sri Lanka annually more or less in a similar manner.
• Govt. will not allow private bus industry to fail: Minister
‘nearly 20,000 provincial and inter-provincial private buses are engaged in passenger transport services around the country…tyre, battery, lubricant manufacturers and spare parts dealers involved in the bus industry have made financial contributions to provide these relief packages.’
• Mobile Network Operators (MNO) unable to stabilize the country’s bandwidth
‘high cost per GB puts pressure on consumer affordability’
• H-Connect International appoints Deshaka Perera as Chief Operating Officer
‘He served WNS Global Services, where he helped large multi-national companies transition their back-office functions to Sri Lanka and India.’
• Hemas Transportation sold shareholding in Spectra Logistics to GAC Logistics
• Local pharmaceutical manufacturing: Potential to be next thrust sector in Sri Lanka
‘Private sector pioneers for 50 years such as Dumex (now Astron Limited), GSK, Gamma and J.L. Morison Son & Jones, now known as Morison…Out of our domestic annual market of Rs.130 billion, 40 percent comes from government purchasing. Tellingly, locally manufactured pharmaceuticals only account for 15 percent of the total market share. Even more importantly, local manufacturers only supply 5 percent of the pharmaceuticals sold in the private market, with imports making up 95 percent.
• New special textile production zone to be established in Eravur but…
• Contract to blacklisted Madras Security Printers to print stickers on liquor bottles, cans
‘Gamini Maparana PC and Naveen Marapana PC appeared for respondent MSP.’
• Maldives to enhance cooperation with Sri Lanka in boat building
• UNDP: Technology critical to transform Lanka’s education sector
• Industry 4.0: What lies ahead?
• All Assam Engineer’s Association (AAEA) bats for long-term strategy to overcome power crisis
‘Coal is accountable for nearly 70% of India’s electricity generation’
• How Morocco transformed itself into a carmaking hub
• To Find Out If ExxonMobil Really Supports a Carbon Tax, Just Follow the Money
• Biden administration announces plans for massive expansion of wind farms off US coasts
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.
• USAID unit signs MOU with HNB to finance MSMEs
• 84% of Sarvodaya Development Finance’s overall lending is to rural village communities
‘Most microfinance organisations provide lending rates over 40% higher than those that SDF offers’
• Speculation on bank interest rates affects stock market
• Unmasking Sri Lanka’s Pyramid Parasites
• Recent boom entirely driven by share purchases among local investors
• Leasing and finance company borrowers get six-month extension to payment holiday
• ComBank Digital links Import and Export Control Dept. for online payments with LankaPay
• Sanasa Development Bank ‘BB+(lka)’ rating confirmed by Fitch amid strong credit growth
• National Savings Bank raises Rs. 11.54 b via Unlisted Rated Redeemable Senior Debentures
• National Trust Bank ‘A(lka)’ rating confirmed by Fitch amid slowing credit
• Lanka Credit & Business Finance (LCBF) goes for IPO
‘we have already appointed FJ & G de Saram as our Legal Advisors and Sampath Bank PLC as the Banker to the IPO.’
• CA orders Treasury Secretary to pay Rs.96.6mn to Seylan Bank
• Capital Alliance enters Bangladesh Merchant Banking
• Two Well-Kept Secrets from the US Senate Banking Committee
• The Dallas Fed Board Is Now Complicit in the Robert Kaplan Saga
• Names of US Banks that Got Billions in Emergency Repo Loans in 2019
• Federally-insured US banks should be separate from the crony trading casino on Wall Street
• US SEC Taking Hard Look at Dark Markets, Except for the Darkest of All – Dark Pools
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’
• The US-SL Chamber of Commerce convenes 29th AGM
‘Lakshan Madurasinghe of Coca-Cola elected President, Sanjeeva Abeygoonawardene of Mountain Hawk Express re-elected Vice President, Shirendra Lawrence of MAS Holdings re-elected Secretary, and Riza Wadood of IBM re-elected Treasurer, Presantha Jayamaha (Elyon Global) – President Emeritus and Nilupa Kiringoda (Sysco Labs Technologies), Sandeep Gopal (Fairfirst Insurance)
Sheamalee Wickramasinghe (CBL Group), Rasitha Wickramasinghe (Stax Inc), Dimantha Senevirathne (NDB Bank), Tania Polonnowita-Wettimuny (IAS Holdings), Harsha Randeny (Microsoft Sri Lanka), Stuart Rogers (HSBC), as Directors, Phill Loosli – US Representative
• Export Advisory Committees for 24 sectors
‘Apparel, Ayurveda & Herbal Products and Cosmetics, Boat and Ship Building, Coconut & Coconut-based products, Construction Services, Education Services, Electrical & Electronic components, Export Processing Villages, Gems, Diamonds & Jewellery, ICT/BPM, Light Engineering, Logistics, Marine & Offshore Engineering, Mineral-based products, National Quality Infrastructure, Organic Products, Ornamental Fish, Pharmaceuticals, Processed Food & Beverages, Regional Development, Rubber & Rubber-based products and Plastics, Seafood & Aquaculture Sector, Spices & Concentrates, and Trade Promotion & Trade Information.’
• Distilleries, Melstacorp ‘AAA-(lka); Fitch rating confirmed despite expected tax hike
• CBSL releases latest version of ‘A Step by Step Guide to Doing Business in Sri Lanka’
• Sportreizen’s Thilak Weerasinghe re-elected as Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) President
‘Nalin Jayasundera of Aitken Spence Travels as Vice President, Nishad Wijetunga of Wayfarers as Vice President, Bobby Jordan Hansen of Columbus Tours as Hony. Treasurer, and Devindre Senaratne of JourneyScapes Travel as Hony. Secretary. Gayangi Wirasinha of Abercrombie & Kent, Chandra Wickremasinghe of Connaissance de Ceylan, Suren Ediriweera of Ceylon Tours, Harith Perera of Diethelm Travels, Padmini Paul of Golden Isle Travels Ltd., Rohan Abeywickrema of Hawk Travels Ltd., Nalin Malwenna of House of Travels & Tourism Ltd., Bandula Withana of Jetwing Travels Ltd., Nilan Wickramasinghe of Lion Royal Ltd., Nilmin Nanayakkara of Nkar Travels & Tours Ltd., Charith de Alwis of Tangerine Tours Ltd., Darshana Cabraal of Tour Blue Holdings Ltd., and Nalaka Amaratunga of Walkers Tours Ltd., were elected as members, while Mahen Kariyawasan of Andrew the Travel Company Ltd. joined the Executive Committee as Immediate Past President.
• Senthilverl second biggest shareholder at Gestetner with 20% stake
• Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership: Largest trade bloc in the history of multilateralism
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.
• People First, NOT Polls – JVP’s Vijitha Herath
• A leader will fail if they do not have an honest team” – Former President Maithripala (Video)
• Susil Sirivardana: A Journey with the Have Nots
• Full Implementation of the 13th Amendment Now – Jayatilleka
• Neither realist head nor humanist heart – Jayatilleka
• More on Premadasa and the advent of Wijetunga – Chandra Wickremasinghe
• MPs who haven’t disclosed offshore assets should be unseated – CMEV
‘nominees for parliamentary elections had to disclose their wealth as required by the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act of 1975 and an MP who did not comply was fined a paltry Rs.1,000!’
• Revisiting the Attack on Thirukumar Nadesan in India
• Kiribath and mala bath
• Reconciliation requires single PC for North and East
• Ruminations on Sri Lanka’s ancient past– Part I
• DMK Sweeps Rural Local Body Polls
• Propaganda War against China Aims to Expand U.S. Hegemony and Eradicate Socialism
• Really Existing Fascism
• Black Caucus Protest at the African Studies Association, Montreal, October, 1969
• The Obama Presidential Center Will Displace Black People in Chicago
• The Parti des Indigènes de la République – A Political Success and the Conspiracy Against It
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.
• How was a Sinhala Song not that popular in Sinhala made so popular in India?
‘Will it become a presidential campaign song?
• Yohani & near complete anonymity (outside of Sri Lanka) of the Sinhala language
• Unilever’s GroupM and AdStudio.Cloud come together
‘GroupM’s digital arm is Sri Lanka’s largest digital agency by volume…Cloud is the pioneer in programmatic advertising in SL and largest integrator of local publisher inventory with over 250 websites on its SSP.’
• Nagananda withdraws case against Maliban Lemon Puff (Fake FT Report)
• Nagananda clarifies false FT story on Maliban
• Unilever’s Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing Captures Namal
• The making of The Island – Vijitha Yapa, Founder Editor, Sunday Island
• Prehistorian and archaeologist Siran Upendra Deraniyagala
• Gratien Amirthanayagam founded CIA-linked Holmes Pollard & Stott
• Popular culture is accurate gauge of intellectual achievements – Devapriya
• Why Do Editors Seek ‘Dark Sides’ Of China?
‘US headlines repeat “Dark Side of China” over and over again’
• Fake Facebook whistleblowers
• 1,200 Marxist Bookstalls in Bengal Promote Communal Harmony
• Bollywood and Drugs, It just doesn’t end there
‘NCB raid was conducted at the behest of the BJP looking for political gain in Maharashtra where it had lost power.’