‘Before you study the economics, study the economists!’
e-Con e-News 14-20 November 2021
Chief Justice of Ceylon (1811-19) Sir Alexander Johnston demanded a policy of appointing Burghers to the public service: ‘Her Majesty’s Government… ought to show the most marked respect to all persons who are either descendants from Europeans, or who bear any resemblance in features, manners, dress, religion, language & education to Europeans and thereby constantly associate in the minds of the natives… an idea of respect and superiority with that of a European and with everything that is characteristic of, or connected with a European.’ W Digby, 40 Years of Official & Unofficial Life in an Oriental Crown Colony, the Life of Sir Richard Morgan, 1879, quoted by WMDD Andradi in Sri Lankan Subordinates of the British: English-educated Ceylonese in the Official Life of Ceylon 1865-83.
The colonial tradition continues. Imported costumes, suits & ties, and equipment, cars, digital accoutrements, have to exude ultimate power. And power is still white. ‘National’ is now and usually only displayed by politicians in parliament or when seeking votes in rural constituencies, and by English-language cartoonists wishing to disparage Sinhala politicians. Yet, no banker or executive would dare be seen in ‘national’. And why should they don national? They don ‘multinational’, their mouths full of imported “big data”, etc.
English is also another flimsy fig leaf of a phonetic fashion to camouflage the sheer backwardness of the oligarchy. Misnaming ‘assembly’ and ‘manufacture’ – like the apparel fraud – as ‘industry!’ Inflating ‘rentiers’ – people making money off money or importing – as ‘entrepreneurs’. This ee examines why the latest 19th century ‘science’ was not translated into Sinhala, as it was into Japanese and other non-Euro languages. Perhaps because we lack knowledge of our own identity and history, let alone of the world.
This ee Focus also looks at new info coming out on the origins of industrialization – not just in England, US, Germany, Japan, but the astounding leaps made in the USSR and China. White academe wishes to downplay the indispensable role of the Communist Parties, especially under the leadership of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, who pushed modern (machine-making) industry as key to renaissance.
Capitalism has failed! Yet no coherent alternative vision, and especially the organizational means of bringing it to life, has been allowed to emerge here. Industrialization is opposed as ‘unecological’, and more subtly, as leading to development of a skilled and powerful working class, who will be equipped to build a better society.
• Grow & export ganja in Sri Lanka, headlines spluttered this week, it’d be like harvesting gold. Then, there’s the weekly news of how this or that spice (cardamom, cinnamon) or vegetable (murunga aka moringa) will rain dollars down on us.
Yet we already have all kinds of gold. Look at what happens to our industrially vital ilmenite and graphene. We sell it raw to England. Even if we grow gold, people, especially rural people, the growers, will not benefit. Rice, after all, is or was gold or money. At one time. Even now. But the dominant relations of production are such that any profits will be sucked out by merchant and moneylender, sent to Colombo to be wasted on frills, and over to London, or New York Bonn and Tokyo, where the rest of the surplus drains.
And why not. Our capitalists have no interest in long-term investment. No media discussion is therefore allowed: that any nation, if it’s to be independent, has to control the ‘commanding heights’ – the critical sectors that dominate economic activity – primarily energy generation, the making of machines that make machines, mining, public transportation. And just as importantly, we need a national class dedicated to capital accumulation. For such a national policy, we first need a united nation (see ee Politics, Not About the Budget).
• The budget is only a set of proposals? Each part, contradictory or not, represents the interests of the mishmash of government coalition partners. Implementation is yet to be, based perhaps on struggles to be waged. Capitalists are putting on an act of dismay. The government has to signal Left and Right, and yet keep reproducing the wasteful import-export plantation oligarchy.
Does it matter which capitalist party is in charge? There’s little any capitalist party can do? Except adjust the degree of repression, to weaken workers as a class. And is it really dollars and FDI we need. Then we can get it by selling drugs and prostitutes. Yet, that has not developed any country.
• ‘Let me tell you, these finance company (FC) jobs are full of stress and heartache. You watch people who fall ill, or get sick, and can’t work, fall back on payments, and you have to screw them. I worked for three of them…and now I want to flee….’ (see ee Random Notes).
• What energy crisis? Look at Colombo. See people lounging in AC cars, playing with their devices between their legs, even sleeping, while the outside of their cars burning hot. Each car usually has only one person in it. The roads are packed with traffic-jammed cars, guzzling petrol and exuding fumes. Supermarkets have their doors wide open billowing cool airs. What energy crisis? … The rich are looting the environment, whining about being taxed for their robbery of national resources, indulging in useless luxuries. Their media then whine about widening balances of payments and deficits, even while demanding more wasteful imports (& exports that require heavy imports!).
The ghost of DJ Wimalasurendra, architect of Laxapana, keeps whistling in the winds and tapping on our brains and roofs with the incessant rain. His ghost surely looms over us and wails as we’re threatened by a lack of ‘energy’. Yet the country is sodden and inundated, and waters gush uselessly past us into the oceans, even as Parakramabahu I is quoted over and over: about not a rain drop wasted into the sea, etc, etc. (see ee, 01 August 2020, Who’s Afraid of Wimalasurendra)
• The media is paid not to count: Japan tells us that their ‘Official Development Assistance’ has amounted to US$9billion for 120 development projects since 1965. But not one media outlet or journalist has the guts to tell us how much drained from Sri Lanka to Japan to pay for Japanese equipment, goods and ‘experts’. Or more importantly, how much we have lost by failing to invest in inventing our own inventors, training our own experts and devising our own technology.
So let’s go watch the waters drain into the seas from the new bridge across the Kelani river at Peliyagoda. This is why this week’s announcement about the new bridge went to a great degree of trouble to report that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) highlighted there was ‘equal involvement of both Japanese and Sri Lankan engineers’ and that ‘SL women held key positions such as Project Director from Road Development Authority, and as site engineers and quantity surveyors!’
Meanwhile, Japan wishes immigration because Japanese capitalists want to undermine Japanese worker power. Japanese capitalists wish their women to go to work at less pay than men. They wish to import Sri Lankan women to look after their children and elders, at even lower wages than Japanese women.
A1. Reader Comments –
• News Made for Amnesia • Media Plays Unions • Unions Manipulated • Varoufakis Sold Out? • Fake News & Corona
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Sources Unnamed • Exporting Ores • Students Branded • What Multinationals Want • Why Nehru Promoted • COP26 Targeted India & China • Films & Bullets • Voluntourism & White Women • No Profits in Production
A3. Random Notes –
• No Planning Allowed • Maharajah & Rain • World Bank on Road Kill Silent on Public Transport • Who Keeps our Gold Reserves • Take Control of Internet Now • Illiquid Sugar Rush • Finance Companies Screw People • White Apologies are Warnings • Imperialism & Fake Inflation
B. ee Focus
B1. Sinhala Attitude to Knowledge – G Usvatte-aratchi
B2. The Forgotten Ancestors of East Asian Developmentalism – EM Leung
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
• ‘Re: ‘Journalism is about writing for today so as to be forgotten tomorrow’. Not many journalists realize this.’
Re: ‘media mention unions’, this is only when protesters are made to hold up placards, for photographers.’
• ‘Workers without unions are seen like stray dogs. While those belonging to unions are trained like domesticated dogs, to attack designated targets at the bidding of ‘capital’?’
• ‘Is Varoufakis the guy who came to power on the kinds of words ee quotes, then sold out to EU/banks/WB?’
• ‘The 2020 US election campaign cost about $14billion, becoming the most expensive election in their history, all to elect Joe Biden, who does not even have control over his bowel movements.’
• ‘We are not in a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated,’ says British Medical Journal editor Peter Doshi (riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/modern-day-censorship/we-are-not-in-a-pandemic-of-the-unvaccinated-says-british-medical-journal-editor-peter-doshi/amp) This and similar stuff add up to a devastating critique of the current global approach to Covid-19. But we have to be wary of such reports, as potentially fake, because they may be created using cleverly spliced bits and pieces meant to fool the gullible. The BMJ editor may not even have said that. We have no time to check the alleged sources they quote, to verify. Even if we did, there is the added problem that the sources available for verification are controlled by the unprincipled opposing group, which has virtually sewed up mainstream opinion, globally.’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘A source from the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation said asking not to be named.’– EconomyNext, ee Industry
• ‘We continue to export ilmenite-rich sand, which England converts into titanium dioxide and titanium (which is vital for the aeronautical industry) and becomes richer, while we remain poor. The same applies for graphite, which Europe converts into graphene, the wonder base for a whole new field of valuable industries.’ – Tissa Vitarana, ee Industry, Positioning Science
• ‘One child lost 2 pairs of Nike Sports shoes within a fortnight. In spite of immediate searches, they were never found. Their cost? Rs25,000 each pair. I asked the angry mother why she was teaching her son the wrong values by sending him to school with such expensive equipment. Her answer is worth repeating. ‘You and I do not have the same values Mrs G. I can afford such things and I see no reason not to buy them.’ – Goolbai Gunasekera, ee Workers, Punishment
• ‘England’s Standard Chartered Bank wants…the Sri Lankan government to open up and explore long–term international fund opportunities than depending on domestic funding. Long-term funding plans… lead to foreign-exchange issues with remittances being slowed down or coming to a standstill. The lack of specific timelines on how the Government is planning to bridge the foreign funding is causing serious concerns on the credibility… Swiss Baur & Co wants policies and standards harmonized with international standards. England’s GSK Pharmaceuticals wants attention paid to existing export-oriented investors and attract new investors… SPAR welcomes continued efforts to ease imports and exports via ‘Single Window facilitation… Airtel welcomed there were no major abrupt taxes, which has given confidence to the market… CEAT called for more market access to aid the export-led economic growth, whilst calling for policy… that does not change from Budget-to-Budget to attract FDIs. PwC said most of the revenue proposals are not going to be materialised in the next year.’ – ee Economists, Multinationals
• ‘One development that had a significant bearing on shaping a non-aligned policy was Nehru’s visit to the USA in October 1949. The US administration timed the visit to coincide ‘With the communist victory in China’… as the USA ‘began to look on India with new eyes’.’ – ee Sovereignty, Non-Aligned
• ‘At the end of the day, however, the English hosts have done a smart thing by creating the narrative that the COP26 would have been honky-dory but for China and India imposing a consensus at an 11th hour change to ‘phase down’ coal use, rather than ‘phase out’. What really happened was that the EU, US and England agreed and presented the new wording to the rest of the world on the phase out of coal power as a fait accompli, which of course backed India and China into a corner, with the eyes of the world watching. This sparked fury from poor nations and climate activists, egged on from behind by the UK, that a small cabal of powerful polluters – India and China – essentially held the world to ransom.’ – ee Agriculture, COP26
• ‘If it is true… ‘films are as strong as bullets,’ and if the Allies will not permit Germans to remount the munitions industry, they should not be permitted for any reason, even if temporary, to rebuild a motion picture industry.’ – Jack Warner, Head of Warner Brothers Studios, 1945
• ‘The term ‘voluntourism’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘volunteer’ and ‘tourism’ and refers to a practice in which people, often young upper or middle-class white women in the Global North pay an organization to coordinate their trip to a country in the Global South. This trip includes traditional tourist activities and also provides the traveller with a volunteer placement, usually in the fields of healthcare, education, childcare, or environmental conservation, in a local community of their choosing. These programs are short-term and often do not require volunteers to have experience or skills in the field in which they will be volunteering.’ – ee Sovereignty, Canadian Imperialism & Voluntourism
• ‘Because of low profitability on productive capital in most major economies in the first t2 decades of the 21st century, profits from productive capital have increasingly been diverted into investment in real estate and financial assets, where ‘capital gains’ (profits from rises in stock and property prices) have delivered much higher profits’ – ee Economists, Global Economy
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
Our flood-&-drought media express surprise at every torrential shower and searing sun beam. The drowned and the buried in mudslide are consoled with a nod to the lack of urban and rural planning, or not a lack but a damned downright refusal to plan as per ordered by the World Bank, etc. Seems only capitalists are allowed to plan, then for the short-term gain only.
The total unreliability of the capitalist media is demonstrated in their coverage of the weather. It’s as if when they say rain you know it’s gonna be sunny, and vice-versa. On November 11, Fertilizer importer Maharaja’s News1st announces: Low-pressure area to pass through Tamil Nadu today; Nov 19: Depression in Bay of Bengal to reach Tamil Nadu today. Maharaja’s news is based on the vicissitudes of its imports and fertilizers in the commodity market. A type of astrology in its own way. An attempt at para-psychological conditioning. If they get advertising from X, X is praised. If not, no… etc.
• The World Bank then has the gumption to talk of Sri Lanka having the highest road fatalities and maiming of people, tho images of the wounded and dead are never shown on TV or in media photos. The problem, says the WB, is ‘inefficiency of the public transport system’. They do not mention the undermining of public transport by the promotion of the private cars, of imports and prevention of planning and industrialization. Tata jams the roads with cars. Then ambulances are donated to rush the almost daily dead and fatally wounded to hospital. But the roads are blocked with Tata and Bajaj and Hero.
• Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves have come down to US$2billion, out of which gold reserves account for $300 million, says lone UNP MP and its anglomanic leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe. Where exactly are Sri Lanka’s gold reserves held anyway? In the Bank of England? That’s dangerous, England refusing to release Venezuela’s gold reserves. 31 countries store part of their international gold reserves in the Bank of England. In 2018 the Central Bank of Venezuela requested to withdraw the reserves. The Bank of England refused, casting doubt over the ‘legitimacy’ of the Venezuelan government! CB of Venezuela then launched a legal battle in English courts. In 2019 the England said they did not recognize the Venezuelan government, and instead, recognized the self-proclaimed presidency of a whiter politician, who’s never controlled any territory or population, nor any financial entity that would allow him to administer funds – much less a vault stashed with precious gold. This ’21st century English piracy’ thus set another precedent boosting parallel governments and embezzling countries’ reserves. India holds significant amount of its gold reserves in the Bank of England. The 2011 invasion of Libya brought about the freezing of Libyan international reserves, valued at $200billion. Rule of law indeed.
This reminds of a crucial facet of SBD de Silva’s The Political Economy of Underdevelopment: when he could not find evidence within Sri Lanka to explain a mechanism of underdevelopment, he scoured the world, from Africa to the Americas and the rest of Asia.
One reason ee reports the threats, bullying and acts of aggression against countries, especially socialist countries, eg Cuba, China etc., is to show what the imperialists are up to in other parts of the world.
Facebook and Twitter regularly ‘lock’ accounts of those who do not follow the empire’s twittering. The websites that give us Cuba’s or Venezuela’s perspective are frequently attacked. Cuba’s websites are also regularly whited out. This week it was the Radio Havana website. The message said: ‘Whoops, something went wrong on our servers. Go home.’ Resonant. Since ‘Yankee Go home’ and ‘Hands off Cuba’ were some of the first graffiti some of our elders recall seeing on Sri Lanka’s walls in the 1960s.
Our communications companies must be immediately nationalized and the internet taken control of now!
• What does it mean when the Colombo Stock Exchange’s Chief Executive Officer Rajeeva Bandaranaike mentions (at an investor seminar in Dubai) “penalties” for illiquid companies in a new Securities and Exchange Commission Act, and shares fall. Illiquid perhaps refers to ‘tangibles’ like property, plant, machinery – not easily turned into money. Apparently this is due to ‘financialization’, they do not wish to invest long term in industry and want to keep the ‘sugar rush’ markets frothy and fizzy. And the SEC is controlled by the ‘securities’ companies.
• I want to flee – ‘You could call me a ‘school leaver’, cos I didn’t pursue higher studies after A-Levels. I first went to work for a finance company (FC) in my hometown. The owner lived in Colombo 7, and the FC had branches outside Colombo. I worked in the pawning division. Gold. I got Rs25,000 a month. I worked there for over 2 years.
The People’s Bank pawning business takes 33% (yeah, the PB was created to help rural people, but…) But these FCs make at least a 40% profit off desperate people. If they say your gold is worth Rs1000, they give you Rs600, and then charge you interest of 1.5%. If you don’t pay on time, they auction the gold off, usually getting more than the Rs1,000. Many of the big Colombo banks get 20% of their profits from pawning. Usually the gold is from people working abroad in West Asia who have brought their savings back in the form of gold chains, bangles, etc. The people pawning gold can range from urban businesses needing to roll over their daily expenses. Or rural people who have some family problem, emergency bills, children’s tuition, etc.
I then got a better offer, pay and position from another finance company owned by a relative of a famous cricketer. This FC was linked to a big insurance company. I got Rs40,000 a month. And I was an OIC – Officer-in Charge of the gold pawning division. Even though I was working in the heart of Colombo, believe me, in the morning rush, it takes longer to get there than if I went from my suburban town to another. So I then got an offer from Sarvodaya Development Finance in my hometown. Less travel time. Better position. Assistant Manager. Again, gold pawning.
But let me tell you, these FC jobs are full of stress and heartache. You watch people who fall ill, or get sick, and can’t work, fall back on payments, and you have to screw them. We would also strike deals with car and vehicle sales outlets to lease people cars, tractors, etc. Also, we ‘d do unofficial deals with even poorer people, charging theftier interest and conditions, cos they don’t qualify for official loans. As I said, it’s a lot of heartache. And you have to be ruthless.
Then a manager at SDF told me about this travel agency that would get scholarships to study in Romania. Rs1.5million for campus fees, ticket, visa, and agency fees. With $2,500 as ‘show money’. They lend you the ‘show money’ as a fixed deposit and collect the interest. The SDF manager was gonna go to Germany, costing Rs4.5mn for ticket etc., and Rs7.5mn as show money. But then he got a baby daughter and couldn’t leave. Then Corona happened and my Romania deal fell through. My girlfriend is doing a pre-law exam at the University. We’re gonna get married and go to Romania together one day. Romanians go to work in England to pick fruit. We go to Romania to study, but will try to go to Western Europe from there.
Yes, finance is heartache. It’s the duty of the Central Bank to regulate these banks. The CBSL surely must know what’s going on. That’s why I prefer this sales job in an ‘organic’ shop. It’s steady. Not much pay. But not much stress either.
The finance companies are owned by people like Ishara N, Dhammika P, Harry J. FCs are linked to local banks and foreign development banks. Those development banks sell their industrial equipment, cars, through these FCs. Then there’s people like Dudley Sirisena, who owns Araliya Rice Mills, invests in hotels. These are the people behind the politicians. Our country is controlled by foreign countries and by these oligarchs.
• The New York Times divulges this week, the US massacred civilians in Syria. They even remind they coup-ed Ghana’s Nkrumah in 1966. The BBC announces: they mass murdered Kenyans in the 1950s, or Indonesians in 1965. The question to ask is, not whether they divulge everything, but what they are trying to hide now and next? This is the art of faux apology and nostalgia. Manuel Barrosso, former President of the European Commission, described the EU as ‘a Non-Imperial Empire.’ Yet the EU sanctions and supports war by proxy forces. So this apology and revelations business, is also the art of disguising ongoing imperialist wars and a warning of their power. Yet in the end, none of them can stop the time, and they shall be defeated.
• ‘Pressured by the USA, the EU is delaying the opening of the Russian pipeline Nord Stream 2, sending natural gas prices to record levels. And also indirectly oil, electricity and coal prices, as well as fertiliser prices. Asia can buy all the energy and resources Russia has anyway, so Europe is not that needed anymore.
The big deficit of fertilizers in the market right now, due to the high price of gas, is leading to food inflation.
Lots of the inflation in energy and fertilizers (read, food) is caused by the NATO wars on Russia, Venezuela and Iran. High energy prices also help Iran to break the Western blockade, while new railroads are being urgently built towards Asia to meet the huge energy demand there.
The US is insisting the world agree with their demands (re: the pipeline, NATO expansion, Iran, China and Russia sanctions, etc.) and pay higher prices.’
B. Special Focus_
B1. Sinhala Attitude to Knowledge – G Usvatte-aratchi
Words are witnesses which often speak louder than documents. Let us consider a few words which were invented, or gained their modern meanings, substantially in the period of 60 years (1789-1848)… such words as ‘industry’, ‘industrialist’, ‘factory’, ‘middle class’, ‘working class’, ‘capitalism’, and ‘socialism’. They include ‘aristocracy’, as well as ‘railway’, ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ as political terms, ‘nationality’, ‘scientist’ and ‘engineer’, ‘proletariat’, and (economic) ‘crisis’. ‘Utilitarian’ and’ ‘statistics’, ‘sociology’ and several other names of modern sciences, ‘journalism’ and ‘ideology’, are all coinages or adaptations of this period. So are ‘strike’ and ‘pauperism’. – E Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution 1789-1848
My endeavor here is to raise questions about why Sinhala did not become even a minor conveyor of modern knowledge, and remained ‘a mere patois in the currents of modern civilization’. I will not talk of the most productive efflorescence of science and technology in early Anuradhapura as that question remains another Needham Puzzle confounding us in the absence of any evidence of how those feats were performed. Before I raise those questions I want to report how two very different societies, Japan and the Jewish population in Palestine (there was no state of Israel then.) faced these problems remarkably successfully. Those stories will help to crystallize the ideas I am after.
Japan & Mori Arinori – Japan gained access to modern knowledge in the second half of the 19th century, which was, as it happened, in European languages. Japanese society was widely awakened to the reality that they lacked the science and technology that made European nations wealthy and militarily powerful, when the English attacked Kagoshima harbor in 1863 and a combined naval force of European powers attacked Shimonoseki in 1864. Soon thereafter the Japanese opened the national school for the study of foreign languages, the Kaiseijo. The Kaiseijo bore several names in its early life: two of the more interesting are Bansho Wakai Goyo (Office for the Interpretation of Barbarian Books) and Bansho Shirabesho (Institute for the Investigation of Barbarian Books). What emerged in 1886, from those adventures in barbarian lands, was the Imperial University of Tokyo, a truly magnificent swan hatched by some invading ugly ducklings. ‘Between 1887 and1900, at least 32 translations and one critical study of (Herbert) Spencer’s works were published…’ (Why Spencer is an interesting question that has been well written up.)
As a Japanese scholar Nagai Michio observed in 1971, ‘the modern Japanese university was born from translation’. The whole enterprise owes its energy and direction to a young man Mori Arinori, who aged 18 went to Oxford and studied chemistry and mathematics. In 1885, aged 38, he was appointed the Minster of Education and he promulgated the Imperial University Ordinance of 1886 which laid the foundation for the present 9 Imperial Universities, the shining gems of the Japanese university system. ‘Mori noted that Japanese language was an unwieldy instrument for the transmission of civilization and enlightenment (bummei kaika) and that it be replaced by an improved ‘Japanese English’ as the medium of instruction in the new national school system’ (Nagai Michio). In the early Meiji years (1880 and beyond), ‘the heart of university research was translation, and the mainstay of middle and higher school education was language study’. Japanese language became not simply a conveyor of knowledge but also a major generator of new knowledge and new things as with the Institute for Physics and Chemistry that opened in 1917.
Let us dwell a little on the enrichment of both knowledge and the Japanese language with translations from ‘barbarian languages’. The process started significantly with translations from Dutch in 1684. Why Dutch at that time in history? ‘In Holland, you could come into contact with the people, the books and the ideas of all sorts of countries and this intellectual give and take was, at least in those days, unmatched in any other part of the world. All through the 17th century, and through most of the 18th, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Scots, Danes, Swedes, Poles, Hungarians and a still larger number of lieges of the Empire came to pursue their studies at Leyden, Franeker, Groningen and Utrecht.’ (Huizinga J (1933) in Paul Hazard).
In 1699, it was reported, ‘(I)n the whole world there are not more than t10 or a dozen cities where books are printed on any considerable scale. In England there are London and Oxford; in France, Paris and Lyons; in Holland, Amsterdam, Leyden, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht; and in Germany, Leipzig; and that is about the sum of it.’ Huguenots (French protestants), who fled France after the Edict of Nantes was revoked by Luis XIV carried with them not only the skills in crafts and industry but also the science and philosophy that had been cultivated in France. The Japanese were wise to pick on Dutch just at the right moment. We can see the importance of translation in the transmission of knowledge among people. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 caused Hebrew, Greek and Latin scholars there to flee to Lombardy, then the most sophisticated region of Europe and they were engaged by affluent Florentines in both transcribing books and translating from other languages to Latin. The Renaissance in Europe owed a lot to these translations.
In the second half of the 17th century, it was reported that in France ‘Translations of the classics are coming out all over the place…’ Some of the older among you will recall a theme promoted by UNCTAD in Geneva and UNDP in New York City which they named ‘Transfer of technology’, which in sum was a failure. Some inquiries into the history of the processes in a few countries would tell us why. Knowledge and technology was always transferred with translations whether from Hebrew, Arabic and Greek into Latin, or from Latin into European vernaculars, or from them into Japanese, Korean and other languages. A second means of transfer has been the education of young people from the receiving country in the country rich with knowledge and technology. In 2015 there were 385,000 students from China in US higher education institutions. A third and most powerful conveyor of science and technology has been the multinational corporation. Where all these processes worked together, the economy and the language have developed.
Hebrew & Eleizer Ben-Yehuda – The other experience comes from the development of Hebrew in about the same period of time. Again there is a remarkable man, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, more important in the relevant movement than Mori Arinori in Japan. Ben-Yehuda’s first language was Russian, born in Lithuania in 1858. He went to Paris to study medicine but was enamoured with the prospect of Hebrew developing into a conveyor and producer of modern knowledge. He joined a French-Jewish educational group, and in 1880 the same time as Mori Arinori in Japan, and stood for ‘teaching Hebrew and its adaptation as the official language in all Jewish schools in Palestine’. He advocated the use of Hebrew ‘in the school and in the household’ and insisted that in his own home, no other language be spoken. He brought up his son hearing and speaking Hebrew and, as might have been his delight, completed the great 17-volume Dictionary of Modern Hebrew written by Ben-Yahuda which persists in wide use to date.
Sinhala & Cumaratunge Munidasa – We need to examine our own experience in light of these success stories in Japan and among Jewish people now in the state of Israel. The scholar here who saw the importance of a modernised Sinhala was Cumaratunge Munidasa. He saw clearly, as none before him had, the need for a new vocabulary, a new lexicon for modernity and went about coining it, much as Ben-Yehuda did in Palestine . His perception is well presented by himself in the first verse in Virit Vakiya, a book in verse on poetics:
Aluth aluth dae notanana jatiya lova nonangi
Hinga kema bari vuna tena lagi gaya mara gi
A people that do not invent, take to begging,
failing, lies there till death agroaning.
Munidasa went on to write a complete grammar of Sinhala: Kriya Vivaranaya (1935) and Vyakarana Vivaranaya (1937), in fact the first such grammar, Sidat Sangara of the 13th century notwithstanding. Sidat Sangarava was far too close to Pali and Sanskrit in discovering rules of grammar in Sinhala. Munidasa’s work in classifying verbs in Sinhala was entirely new. Munidasa saw the necessity for new words and to coin new words, he went outside the hallowed practice of seeking words of Sanskrit origin to express concepts and identify objects which belonged in cultures entirely foreign to Sanskrit. The process he began was carried forward by many scholars and teachers and last by two brilliant men: Arisen Ahubudu and Aelian de Silva, both who died very recently. Ahubudu was a teacher, a painter and a gifted poet. Aelian de Silva was a brilliant electrical engineer who used his expertise to coin words in science and technology. His book Sinhalayen Siplaku Vadan published in 2002 was a singularly valuable contribution to writing science and technology in Sinhala. Common words that we use, lihisi tel (lubrication oil), talabamanaya (turbine), rasyuruva (reservoir), piripahaduva (refinery), pirigananaya (computer) and bahana (electrical cable), we owe to Aelian. He also taught us his technique for coining words. Munidasa’s following was very large 1930-55 or so. A close friend of Munidasa, Rapiel (Raphael) Tennekone, a brilliant mind conversant in several areas of study, carried on this enterprise writing history, some excellent essays and much poetry. There were a very large number of teachers who took their messages to schools and there was much hope then that Sinhala would develop to be a vibrant language capable of handling complex modern ideas. Munidasa wrote Sinhala in a rigorous and exacting idiom reproducing the simplicity and the rhythm of Sinhala of yore. While this was attractive to those appreciating that, many were entirely repelled by its rigour and utter simplicity. He exposed pretension in scholarship and many bhikkhu who were discomfited in public meetings never forgave him…Munidasa did not suffer fools and the supercilious easily, and was acerbic in his criticism. He was not an easy man to get along with and made many enemies, including Sarachchandra of Peradeniya.
The University Sinhala Department, for reasons not very clear, totally rejected Munidasa. Events proved this fatal to Munidasa’s enterprise. The University of Ceylon put out graduates to teach increasing ‘hordes’ of students who entered senior secondary grades in school. They went onto university and came back to reproduce in schools the prejudices and strengths of their teachers. And Munidasa lost not only his battles but also the entire expedition. The one teacher at Peradeniya who was friendly to Munidasa was Ananda Kulasuriya, as evident from his writings. He was a non-aggressive scholar who quietly set about his scholarly pursuits. The University later in the 1950s took to linguistics and the position that language is a cultural artifact and should be left to grow like Topsy. However, soon they came against a reality check: university students had to be taught in Sinhala beginning in 1962 and university Sinhala teachers became wordsmiths. That was a time for hurried coinage of terms to teach social studies, science and technology. Those attempts did not hold. Much university teaching today is in English, simply because there’s no material to read in Sinhala.
B2. The Forgotten Ancestors of East Asian Developmentalism – EM Leung
2021 marked the centenary of the creation of the Chinese Communist Party, born of the May 4th Movement of 1919. History textbooks tend to claim that the Movement emerged out of a widespread realization that China’s rights as a victorious power during WWI had been sold out at the Paris Peace Conference by the European Powers. Students were angered by elite collusion with Japan and the corruption of the early Chinese Republic – also known as the ‘Beiyang Regime.’ The activists found hope in the new Soviet model, and May 4th is credited with bringing Bolshevism to China and beginning its socialist phase.
In Japan, conversely, state-led economic development has often been attributed to a deliberate attempt to mimic the West industrially and militarily since the Meiji era. Japanese developmentalism is perceived, in contrast to the dramatic revolutionary politics in China, to be strategic and straightforward, enabled by the post-WWII foundation of free market capitalism.
In fact, the state-driven economic development models found in both countries are the products of a long and intertwined ideological history. In the late 19th century, Chinese and Japanese economists drew inspiration from Hamiltonianism (also known as the ‘American School’) and German State Socialism to pursue social reformist aims while managing rebellions from below. Developmentalist ideas formulated in this era formed the foundation for later revolutionary programs and postwar capitalist states across the region. Accurately historicizing these models is crucial to understanding their role in contemporary East Asian politics.
Friedrich List, the American School, & birth of German State Socialism – Modern era developmentalism, which seeks to promote growth using the fiscal and administrative power of the state, originated in the Federalist economic policies of Alexander Hamilton. Inspired by Louis XIV’s Mercantilism, and penned by Hamilton’s secretary Tench Coxe, the policies advocated in Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures and two reports on public credit included import-substitution industrialization, funded by a national bank and high protectionist tariffs, in order to secure the economic independence of the nascent US. These ideas formed the basis of the ‘American School’ of economics.
Developmentalist ideas soon reached France through Henri de Saint-Simon, a French aristocrat who had fought in the US War of Independence and whose readers later included the Marquis de Lafayette, a member of Hamilton’s circle. (Saint-Simon and Hamilton had both taken part in the successful 1781 Siege of Yorktown.) After the Napoleonic Wars, Saint-Simon developed his vision of a society led by the productive industrial classes. In plans presented by Saint-Simon to the Viceroy of Mexico, and by his disciple Prosper Enfantin to Governor of Egypt Muhammad Ali, a global vision was developed – of huge infrastructural projects like the Panama and Suez Canals linking the countries of the world with a federalized Europe.
Saint-Simon’s death would motivate two interpretations of this vision. On the right, figures like the Pereire brothers pioneered industrial investment banking for large projects like railways. On the left, economist Constantin Pecqueur developed the first coherent vision of a State Socialist planned economy – where France was envisaged as an enormous, democratically organized workshop in which property would be nationalized, and each province assigned production targets based on consumption trends. Although its direct effect on the region is scant, this latter interpretation of Saint-Simonianism contained the primary ingredients of East Asian developmentalism. But these ideas would only arrive in the region via Germany.
Saint-Simon was not the only development theorist who was influenced by events in the US. Towards the 1830s, the English began dumping goods in German markets, destroying Germany’s handicrafts industries. Surveying the situation was economist Friedrich List, who had lived in the US, been a protege of Lafayette’s and an associate of the Saint-Simonians, and who attributed the weak economic resistance of the German middle classes to their misguided faith in Adam Smith. The correct approach, he argued, was to mimic the ‘American System’ by establishing a German Customs Union and developing domestic economic productivity. He also argued for the expansion of this union into what was later known as Mitteleuropa, to encompass central European states, eventually extending to the Middle East. List’s influence was extensive in both Germany and the US, forming the German Historical School and maintaining a guiding foundation on the American School. The former later gave rise to the Social Policy Association, a group of moderate academic social reformers.
Key among the followers of both Listianism and the American School was Otto von Bismarck. In the wake of the 1870s economic crisis, the growing workers’ movement across Europe challenged the stability of the conservative German state. Drawing on the theories of Friedrich List and tUS economist Henry Charles Carey, as well the advice of social democratic leader Ferdinand Lassalle and Social Policy Association leaders such as Gustav von Schmoller, Bismarck raised tariffs, nationalized Prussia’s railways, introduced workers’ insurance and pension schemes. Under Bismarck, the state had subsumed the ideas of socialism to its own advantage.
Bismarck was the first statesman to pursue such policies in a major country, and to also openly admit to their ‘socialistic’ character. In a speech at the Reichstag in 1882, he declared ‘If you believe that you can frighten anyone or call up spectres with the word ‘Socialism,’ you take a standpoint which I abandoned long ago, and the abandonment of which is absolutely necessary for our entire imperial legislation.’1 Bismarck was initially mocked by the social democrats whom he repressed: ‘State Socialism’ was thus originally a derogatory term used to describe his approach. But when his policies began to prove successful, the term was proudly embraced by Bismarck’s followers, and it went global.
Economic statism in Japan – Listianism and the American School had reached Japan even before Bismarck’s reforms. In an 1874 memorandum, Meiji Restoration leader Ōkubo Toshimichi argued that the state had a responsibility to ‘encourage and reward’ industrial development; only once a strong industrial base had been formed would Japan possess the preconditions for free trade.2 This perspective, and the dirigiste decade that followed, was actively shaped by economists who followed Hamiltonian and Listian policies from the US – the 1872 ten-year plan for Hokkaido, eg, was developed by ex-Commissioner of the US Department of Agriculture Horace Capron, who had been active in the Hamiltonian Whig Party circles. In 1881 finance bureaucrat Wakayama Norikazu drew on List’s main work, National System of Political Economy, in his Memorandum on Protectionist Tariffs.3
List’s book itself was however not translated into Japanese until 1889, by educator and government translator Ōshima Sadamasu, working with ex-President of Bank of Japan Tomita Tetsunosuke. The debt and inflation that the Japanese government had accumulated at the end of the 1870s gave way to a decade of austerity and deflation. Anticipating the third world deflationary policies of the 1980s, Japan’s new Finance Minister and later PM Matsukata Masayoshi privatized many state-controlled industries, selling them off to leading conglomerates such as Mitsui. Matsukata systematically ostracized Listians from government – he purged the US policy-influenced Tomita Tetsunosuke, who had advocated the creation of a government industrial investment bank. Matsukata also undermined Maeda Masana, a young French-educated bureaucrat in the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce who sought state promotion of agricultural development.
There was no alternative for the statists but to fight back. Tomita, Ōshima and finance bureaucrat Kōmuchi Tomotsune established in 1890 the National Association for Economics (NAE) to champion Listianism and Bismarckian State Socialism. Their strategy worked, and would have a profound impact on Japan. In 1897, following the German example, Japanese academics set up the Association for Social Policy Studies. By 1906-7, Prime Minister Katsura Tarō – as head of a political party that had adopted many of the NAE’s policies and some of its members – nationalized Japan’s railways on Bismarck’s example. The Japanese state monopolized the post, telegraph, water, gas and steel industries, and began subsidizing shipping and banking. It managed to restore control over customs tariff rates after 1911, during treaty revisions following its war against Russia in 1904-5. At the time, Japan was referred to by the domestic press such as The Japan Times and western journalists such as Hamilton Holt, editor of The Independent in New York, as the most successful State Socialist country outside Europe, if not worldwide.4
But Holt was careful to state that ‘Japan has gone into these ‘socialistic’ measures, however, not from any conversion to the tenets of Socialism, but because she has wanted to make money.’ It was precisely because of this that State Socialism in East Asia was primarily concerned with state ownership of industries and direction of growth. The welfare aspects of Bismarck’s model had been deemed irrelevant to East Asian development by members of the elite establishment. But with economic growth came labour and agrarian struggles. By ignoring social reformism, early 20th-century East Asian political leaders were sowing the seeds of the revolutions that would shake the region to its core. (to be continued)
1. William Harbutt Dawson, Bismarck and State Socialism. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co, 1891, 63-64.
2. Okubo Toshimichi, ‘Shokusan Kōgyō ni kansuru Kengisho’ summarized in Byron K Marshall, Capitalism and Nationalism in Prewar Japan – The Ideology of the Business Elite. Stanford University Press, 1967, 16-17; Iwata, Masakazu. Okubo Toshimichi – The Bismarck of Japan. Berkeley, LA: University of California Press, 1964, 236-38.
3. MITI, ed Shōkō Seisaku Shi (History of Commercial and Industrial Policy), vol 5 Tōkyō: Shōkō Seisaku Shi Kankōkai 1965, 203-4.
4. ‘Japan Today,’ The Japan Times, May 26, 1912.
C. News Index______________________________________________
• ee News Index provides headlines & links to make sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’ to expose the backwardness of multinational, corporate 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 (machine-making) industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• Sri Lanka, US review growing bilateral ties
‘US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Kelly Keiderling held discussions with Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage.’
• Foreign Secy. says SL improved global ranking SDGs despite pandemic
‘forum co-organised by the UN Economic and Social Commission’s (UNESCAP) South and South West Asia Office, the Sustainable Development Council of SL and the Foreign Ministry, under the theme ‘Building back better…’
• Fresh look at CFA, etc., finalised by UNP
• Three-member delegation to take TNA’s case to US
• Tiger rump contributed to Obama’s election campaigns
• Indian poaching in Lanka’s waters: Going round in circles for 5 decades
‘Sri Lanka loses an estimated Rs.5.3 billion each year due to poaching… An Indo-Norwegian project commenced in the 1960s promoted the use of capital-intensive technology in fishing. The Indian government extended subsidies to encourage trawlers and the export of fish.’
• INGOs keep Mohan Peiris out of International Law Commission
• TNA delegation on invitation, leaves for US for talks on key issues
• Sinhala Buddhist nationalism, rather than China principal obstacle to connectivity with India
• New Ambassadors & High Commissioner present credentials to President
‘new ambassadors appointed by Japan and Thailand, high commissioner appointed by South Africa’
• Taliban government is steadily consolidating
• U.S. Follow Up On Positive Summit Talks Is A Boycott Of China’s Olympics
• US, China commence ‘responsible competition’
• Central Asia hooking up to CPEC
‘The Chinese Communist Party has stated at the goal a rail link all the way to London.’
• USA obstructing release of $7 billion of Iran’s reserves held at two South Korean banks
• US military covered up its ‘war crime’ in Syria – NYT
• Reports says Israeli military bugs phone calls en masse
• How Non-Aligned Movement Changed International Relations: Parts 1 & 2
• Ukraine, Belarus in the eye of the storm
‘England had partnered the US in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and is now the self-appointed protector of the European Union from Iraqi migrants!’
• C.I.A. Said to Have Aided Plotters Who Overthrew Nkrumah in Ghana
• Cuba Faces CIA’s Most Complex Cultural Warfare Operation
• Why is US Fueling the November 15 Cuba Protests?
• Washington weaponizing the effects of its illegal blockade on Cuba to create chaos
• Actions of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba denounced
‘pushing the boundaries of what is normally allowed under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.’
• A Dirty Occupation: The UN’s Criminal Enterprise and Ecological Catastrophe in Haiti
• Venezuelan Gold Lawsuit Threatens Dangerous Precedent
“They invent a Narnia government, a fantasy, to steal our companies, our money, our accounts, and to steal Venezuela’s gold.”
• Genocide: Social Lynching of Africans and their descendants in Brazil, Abdias do Nascimento
• Bolivian President on Country Recovering from US-Backed Coup & Latin American Unity
• Canadian Imperialism and the Responsibility to ‘Voluntour’
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.
• Fonseka defends raid on DMI safe house at Millennium City
• Gen. Mahesh Senanayake inducted into US Army Command Hall of Fame
• The UNP Treachery against Armed Forces & Police
• Easter Sunday Mass Murders – Who are the “Maha molakaru” (Planners)
• Data Scam: Software Engineer responsible for deleting files granted bail
• Report of Committee appointed to review PTA submitted to President
‘Committee chaired by Defence Secretary General (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne also includes Secretary to the Ministry of Justice M.M.P.K. Mayadunne, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security Major General (Retd) Jagath Alwis, Inspector General of Police C. D. Wickramaratne, Head of National Intelligence Major General (Retd) Ruwan Kulatunga, Legal Draftsman Dilrukshi Samaraweera, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Justice Piyumanthi Peiris, Additional Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, Deputy Legal Advisor at the Foreign Ministry Thilani Silva and Deputy Director at the Foreign Ministry Mahesha Jayawardana as other members Ms. Jeewanthi Senanayake, Senior Assistant Secretary to the President, served as the Secretary of the Officers’ Committee’
• Committee appointed to identify legal provisions related to Maritime Law
• Institutional and Legal Framework of several ministries amended
• HRCSL head vacancy: BASL urges Prez to appoint distinguished person
• Sallay defamation case: District Court reissues summons on Yasmin Sooka and others
• Tense situation at Panamure Police station after man dies inside cell; Two cops interdicted
• Smuggled cigarettes valued over Rs 5 million seized
• Alleged discrimination against LGBTIQ community by police: Activists go to Court
• Rajeev Amarasuriya elected to Law Association for Asia and Pacific (LAWASIA) Executive
• Law and order as a process
• Ukraine Defence Attache meets Air Force Commander
• Pakistan donates fully furnished library to Lanka’s National Defense College
• A Sri Lankan giving dignified burials to unclaimed bodies for five decades
• India Investigation Bureau uncovers child pornography racket with ties to Sri Lanka
• Indian English, legal English and legal Indian English
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 a modern industrial country.
• Multinationals on Budget 2022
• SL Economic Summit “Public-Private Sector Collaboration in Seizing Opportunity to Reset”
‘Diaan-Yi Lin – Senior Partner, McKinsey and Co. Sanjay Mohottala – Chairman, Board of Investment Sri Lanka, Thulci Aluwihare – Deputy Managing Director, CHEC Port City, Catriona Jayasundera – Senior GM (Comm & Mktng), Colombo International Container Terminals, Nilushi Jayatileke – Marketing Director (Beauty and Personal Care), Head of Corporate Communications, Unilever Sri Lanka, Mr. Dumith Fernando – Chairman, Colombo Stock Exchange and Sharmila Kantha – Principal Consultant, Confederation of Indian Industry, will join the panel, moderated by Saliya Wickremasuriya – Acting Director General, Port City Commission.
• Give a Solution to the Dollar Question – Nalin de Silva
• Are we to hang ourselves for a dollar? – Nalin de Silva
• Markets are today behaving in the most ruthless fashion – Vasu
‘dollar crisis has been created more by the speculators than by the real shortage of dollars’
• Sri Lanka’s budget aims at winning back alienated voters – Balachandran
• Budget 2022: One-Off Taxes For Limited Set Of Companies – Asia Securities Research
• Budget 2022 Proposals: Reactions from IPS Researchers
• Budget 2022: Daunting task of achieving financial stability – Sanderatne
‘political motives rather than economic imperatives are likely to guide government expenditure’
• Reskilling and retooling the rural youth to work in the non-agricultural sectors – Abeyratne
• A child’s guide to cryptos, crypto mining and blockchain: Part IV – Wijewardena
• The economy of Sri Lanka: Is there a way out?
‘Fiscal consolidation…increasing Central Bank autonomy…Government should reduce reliance on these two state banks for funding….
• Budget fails to address debt servicing and forex crisis – US Advocata et. al.
• Verité Research highlights key takeaways from Budget 2022
‘tax implementation occurring only once legislation is passed in April’
• Budget 2022 | Fiscal weakness to persist next year – ICRA
• Daily FT-Colombo Uni. MBAA host first physical Post-2022 Budget forum today
• Darker days ahead, Ranil warns, ruling out V-shaped economic recovery
‘Economy has suffered due to import restrictions. Foreign reserves have come down to US$ 2 billion out of which gold reserves account for US$ 300 million.’
• Sri Lanka’s debt burden up by tenfold & every soul has a 950K price tag – Wijeyadasa
• Demonetisation has Been an Utter Failure on all Fronts – Prabhat Patnaik
• The case for Chinese foreign aid
‘the Chinese government’s desire to quell political unrest at home drives a large proportion of the country’s overseas aid’
• China Learned from USA How to Outperform US Capitalism – Wolff
‘Beijing may be where the capitalist system reaches the fullest potential of its various forms—exhausts them in that sense—and thus prepares the way for a transition beyond capitalism.;
• The forgotten ancestors of East Asian developmentalism
• Premature Declarations of Austerity’s Death – Gindin
• Whither the global economy? – Roberts
‘Marx saw creative destruction as creating a higher rate of profitability after the small and weak were eaten up by the large and strong.’
C4. Economy (Usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how media usually measures economy by false indices like GDP, etc., in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, constantly calling for privatization, deregulation, moaning about debt & balance of payments, without stating the need for modern industrial production.
• Cabinet holds extensive discussions on possible IMF programme
• Finance Minister rules out defaulting on debt repayment
• Amid record sovereign borrowing, massive gaps in debt-tracking systems: World Bank
• 64% of total Govt. expenditure divided among four Rajapaksas: AKD
‘no long term economic plan for the development of the country’
• Ministries inconsistent on Gas & Milk powder shortage
• Budget has no solutions for deepening forex, economic crises: Eran
• BOI investors dismayed by CB conversion rules
• Earnings from exports exceed USD 1 billion for fourth consecutive month
• Sri Lanka imports still strong in September, BOP deficit US$2.5bn
• No ‘hair cut’ for bloated public sector
• Govt. aims for Rs. 330 b via major revenue proposals
• Rs. 800 billion tax concessions last year has resulted in the financial crisis (Video)
• Treasury loses Rs. 500 billion due to pandemic effect,
• Uncertainty looms for MSME sector with “cosmetic budget” for 2022: COSMI
• Budget 2022: Budget transfers ‘black’ profits of Perpetual Treasuries to govt. coffers
‘Perpetual Treasuries had paid Central Bank dealers who were managing the country’s largest pension fund to buy bonds at high prices and had influeced other state funds.’
• Budget 2022 to bite off Rs. 90 b from financial services sector as taxation soars to 70%
‘The biggest impact of Rs. 74.3 billion will be on the banks and Rs. 17 billion on Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs).’
• Low surcharge on tax to all better than on specific profit threshold: Private sector
• Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber says lifting price controls good, but warns against cascading tax
‘multiple taxes could place a heavy burden on the banking sector’
• BR says only Prez, PM and Cabinet can make him reverse move
‘one-time tax surcharge of 25 percent on persons or companies with taxable income over Rupees 2,000 million for the year of assessment 2020/2021.’
• Sri Lanka public sector ‘unbearable burden’: Finance Minister
• Sri Lanka public service made a burden by politicians: Opposition leader
• Sri Lanka Finance Minister unaware of items in Special GST hatched in secret
• Sri Lanka can take high road with cannabis instead of IMF to solve debt crisis: legislator
• Budget 2022 of Valvettithurai Urban Council in Jaffna defeated
• FT-ICCSL webinar on ‘Budget Opportunities and Challenges’
• Turkey – A Crazy Economic Theory Is Ruining The Country
‘Nine months ago it took seven Turkish lira to buy one U.S. dollar. Today it takes more than eleven lira for one dollar. Turkey’s real interest rate is now at a negative 5%.’
• Take over Malwana mansion; bring back millions disclosed by Pandora Papers: Anura
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
• Showdown looms in CEB over big guns targeting engineers opposed to US backdoor deal
• Rulers have decided employers cannot afford to pay full salaries
• Govt. officers demand pay hike, threaten to strike without warning
• Rs. 30B promised for teachers salaries
• COPA reveals 272 vacancies in Dept. of Immigration and Emigration
• Explosion at leading bakery in Ratnapura injures one
• Two students knocked down by bus opposite Kilinochchi Central College; one killed, other hospitalised
• Sri Lankans Want to Migrate, especially Youth and Disenchanted Government Voters
• Navy foils illegal migration attempt, 19 persons held in Chilaw
• CBSL: No truth in allegation that worker remittances will be forcibly converted into LKR
• Harsha warns of danger; opposes CBSL move to securitise workers’ remittances
• Speaker endorses Minimum Retirement Age of Workers Bill
• More on diving off the Pearl Banks
• Exam-oriented education and traditional attitudes hinder scientific innovation
• Can a punishment teach?
• Urgent Letter to Ontario MPPs Regarding the New Long-Term Care Act
• Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa refugees gathering on the Belarus-Poland border
• Quebec: Class Struggles over Occupational Health and Safety
• Food banks struggle to feed USA’s hungry
• The Supply-Chain Crisis Is a Labor Crisis
‘underlying cause of the crisis — working conditions for transport workers’
• US Workers in Motion: An Assessment of Labor’s Gains
• Kyle Rittenhouse Is Not Guilty
C6. Agriculture (Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to develop the rural home market, monetization and commercialization, to produce, rather than import, agricultural machinery.
• Unilever sells its ‘global tea business’ to CVC Capital Partners for US $5bn
‘Ekaterra, hosts 34 tea brands including Lipton, PG Tips, Pukka Herbs and TAZO. Unilever retains its India & Indonesia tea operations and bottled tea joint venture with PepsiCo’
• Severe shortage of vegetable supplies to markets due to adverse weather
• PM releases water to main tunnel of Broadlands Hydropower Project
• Sarvodaya DF modernizing Sri Lanka farming with mechanization, digital tech: CEO
‘SDF had helped finance farmers and rural communities to modernize by helping them purchase combine harvesters, tractors and rice mills.’
• Governor Thiagarajah reads riot act on fund misuse to northern politicians
‘There are a lot of farmers in the province. Restoring these tanks will greatly benefit many people. If these tanks are operational, we can also develop livestock development’
• North also experiences steep rise in vegetable prices
• New wastewater management system constructed in Kandy with JICA assistance launched
‘Japanese company, JFE Engineering Corporation constructed the plant with this superior technology’
• New survey finds country has enough phosphate deposits for 100 years
• Destruction using agrochemical fertilizers and Western knowledge
• Organic farming not introduced overnight: Shasheendra
‘organic farming was tested by the Agriculture Department for three seasons from 2019’
• Plans underway to import another 500,000 liters of Indian nano nitrogen fertilizer
• Nano Nitrogen costs higher in SL than in India
• Govt releasing Urea for rain-affected Maize Cultivations
• Revolutionizing the Coconut Industry through Digital Estate Management Platform
‘iTelaSoft is a global technology company headquartered in Sydney, Australia’
• Nestlé Coconut Plan and Coconut Cultivation Board benefit 1,000 more rural families
‘Nestlé Lanka continued to buy coconut, paying out Rs. 4.5 billion to procure over 90 million fresh coconuts… one of the largest exporters of Coconut Milk Powder in the world, the company contributed Rs. 3.8 billion in export revenue to the Sri Lankan economy in 2020.’
• What is ‘Organic Agriculture’ and why is it important?
• Fertiliser, fodder and fuel: Cultivate Gliricidia as a plantation crop
• Toxic Food, That’s How it is
• Qingdao Seawin breaks silence, says Sri Lanka will be taken to FAO over false claims
• Third party laboratory cleared samples contrary to findings made by the NPQS.
• Fundamentals of European standards and certification systems explained to agri-exporters
• Smallholder subsidy scrapped, fertiliser in dollar crisis
• Back to chemical fertiliser: Stocks to be rushed to rain-affected areas
• Milch cow racket throws Parliament into turmoil
• New laws to stop harmful fishing practices to Parliament soon
• Fresh water fish exports: Can Sri Lanka get a big catch?
• Green cardamom is one of the world’s most expensive spices
• Church opposes government takeover of Muthurajawela wetlands
• Pine and Eucalyptus forests of Diyatalawa: what of their future?
• World food import bill to reach a record high in 2021
• Indian PM announce repeal of three farm laws
• COP26: India ends up as fall guy
• COP26: Black Agenda Report Special Issue
• English Multinational Reckitt named Official Hygiene Partner of COP26
‘with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) assisted the host, the United Kingdom Cabinet Office, in mitigating the transmission of illness-causing bacteria.’
• A Path to a Livable Future?
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 domination by merchants and moneylenders.
• Positioning science, technology and research to meet new normal industrial challenges – Vitarana
• High demand for firewood due to gas and fuel price hikes
• Ship with 40,000 MT petrol due to arrive in SL
• Temporary closure of Sapugaskanda – our only refinery
‘Output from the Sapugaskanda oil refinery meets 40% of Sri Lanka’s demand for refined fuels, while importing 60% of the refined petrol and diesel consumed domestically.’
• Massive cost to resume oil refinery’s operations – unionist
• Loss of vital byproducts of refinery having devastating impact on other sectors: FSP
• Sri Lanka’s CPC debt 4.2-pct of GDP by July 2021, loses Rs61.8bn
• Energy Minister warns of temporary shortages of fuel due to panic buying
• Allegations of fuel shortages a lie: Kanaka Herath
• Govt. should go back to fuel price formula: Justice Minister Ali Sabri
• Sri Lanka’s price control hit Laugfs Gas loses Rs950mn in September Quarter
• National Joint Committee decries sale of Yugadanavi
• Udaya reiterates New Fortress Energy deal harmful, dismisses SLPP warning over dissent
• Will non-disclosure clauses in Yugadhanavi agreement be made public?
• Ranil says NFE deal a violation of parliament’s powers and privileges
• CEB not maximizing high rainfall for power generation says experts
‘some officials were keen on thermal power generation using expensive fossil fuel and coal, the prices of which keep rising in global markets. The situation is further aggravated by the depreciating rupee’
• Sri Lanka’S CEB losses down in September 2021 amid rains
• Should Sri Lanka engage a LNG floating regassification vessel for electric power? Part 2
• Russia to assist in generating low-cost electricity using nuclear power
• Shipping rates surge threatens global economic recovery, UNCTAD says
• Sri Lanka interested in expanding ties in shipping with Bangladesh
‘Sri Lanka’s investment in Bangladesh is around $2.5 billion. About 110 Sri Lankan companies are operating in Bangladesh. The annual bilateral trade volume is now around $200 million’
• Hambantota International Port Group signs MoU with Board of Investment
• Two arrested with 77 pandrol clips
• Lankan economy will gain substantially by reducing road accidents – World Bank
• Exporters tend to get the ‘commodity treatment’ by the importers
• Sri Lanka Airport Aviation Services loses Rs1.7bn in Covid-19
• Since 1965, Japanese Official Development Assistance of $8,829 million for 120 projects
• Hayleys Advantis & Japanese technology and experts construct New Kelani Bridge
• Access Engineering records Rs. 1.2 b after tax profit in 1H
• Chief whips of govt and opposition go at each other over central expressway
• Tokyo Cement lays foundation in Trincomalee for production expansion
• Unfair attempts to acquire SLIIT by some politicians
‘In 2015, Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria, a Director of Mahapola Board, made a move which paved the way to removing the involvement of the State in SLIIT campus.’
• WSO2 secures $90 mn in growth capital from Goldman Sachs Asset Management
• SLASSCOM welcomes Budget proposals on IT-BPM industry
• ICT industry in SL expected to generate USD 1.8 billion revenue by 2022: JLL- ICTA Report
• Lanka SSL introduces only SLS certified locally manufactured barbed wire from Tata Steel
• Construction and mining company Edward & Christie Group buys Tata Tippers from DIMO
• Prices of medicine skyrocket; consumers in predicament
• Pieces of glass, a dead cockroach in substandard drug imports
• SL woos Chinese biomedical firms to establish manufacturing plants
• Confectionery exporters look to relocate overseas
• Gems, diamonds and jewellery exports up 59% to $ 195 m in first 9 months
• C W Mackie pays out impressive dividend in 2020/21
‘industrial product cluster (IPC comprises light industrial products, electrodes, refrigeration and air-conditioning components and marine paints’
• MoU signed for Sri Lanka’s first ever smart phone manufacturing plant
‘the island’s first assembled 4G enabled mobile smartphone,’
• England’s Flexicare Group sets up $ 15 m medical manufacturing facility in Bandaragama
• Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 Technical Committee approves use of molnupiravir
‘Molnupiravir developed by US drug companies Merck, Sharp and Dohme (MSD), & Ridgeback Biotherapeutics…first approved by England’s medicines regulator’
• Pfizer to allow developing nations to make its treatment pill
• Vehicle import suspension could stay for a while, at least till external conditions improve: Govt.
• SLTB undertakes public- private vehicle repairs to increase income
‘to undertake repairs of the damaged vehicles of state corporations and public sector institutions to the SLTB – instead of them going to private garages’
• Reliance India buys Sri Lanka’s amanté lingerie unit from MAS
• ACL Cables revenue of Rs. 9 billion for 3Q21
• PGP Glass revenues of Rs.2.26 billion for the July-September quarter
‘its Horana plant manufactures glass containers for multiple industries including food, liquor, pharmaceutical, agrochemical and soft drinks.’
• Plane Truth or Flight of Fancy? SL to Resume Research on ‘Aviator’ Ravana, India Invited
• Oil at six-week low as China readies crude oil reserve release
• Core of the Apple: Dark Value & Degrees of Monopoly in Global Commodity Chains – Clelland
• Imperialism and the Transformation of Values into Prices
• New floating power plant from Turkey deployed in Havana Bay
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, preventing investment in modern production.
• SDB bank hosts Asia Pacific Chapter of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values
• EY webinar on CBSL direction 13 & 14 of 2021 – understanding the regulatory requirements
• Budget 2022 to bite off Rs. 90 b from financial services sector as taxation soars to 70%
• Sri Lanka stock index recovers to end at fresh peak after plunging on budget woes
• CSE seeks stockbroker consultation to address illiquidity in market
‘the calls to introduce a free float-adjusted index intensified after the Sri Lanka Investment Forum in Dubai recently. It was when an investor there pointed out that the rise in the stock market is solely because of play on the illiquid stocks’
• BOC 3Q interest income reaching Rs. 189.4 billion
• Commercial Bank, largest private lender, interest income Rs.32.87 billion in July-September
‘Being its largest shareholder, DFCC Bank has a 12.02 percent stake in Commercial Bank while the Employees’ Provident Fund has a 8.62 percent stake, being its third largest shareholder.’
• US delivers $150 Mn to support DFCC Bank for community-based women entrepreneurs
‘U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has $265 million to support the local Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector, especially women-led enterprises…Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs NSB Economic Officer Charlotte Volpe, US Embassy Commercial Officer Luis G. Salas, US Embassy in Sri Lanka Chargé d’Affaires, Martin T. Kelly’
• Sampath Bank and NDB Bank underwrite Sarvodaya Development Finance IPO
• National Development Bank profits before all taxes of Rs. 8.9 bin Q3 2021
• HNB reports Rs 12.2 bn PAT for the first nine months
• Nations Trust Bank (NTB) Profit Before Tax of Rs.7.46 billion for 9 months
‘NTB raised US$65 million from overseas development finance institutions during the year to support the SME sector’
• Softlogic Finance profit of Rs.21.66 million July-September
‘June non-performing loans ratio was at 37.1%, compared to the industry average of 13.0%…and “decided to curtail all business/SME-related lending in FY2021…Softlogic Capital has a 91.16% stake in Softlogic Finance’
• Capital Alliance kicks off Virtual Investor Forum
• MSCI monitoring forex crisis impact on Lankan equities
• Lanka Credit and Business Finance (LCB) closes 10% higher than IPO price
• SLID’s Board Secretaries Forum on directors, company secretaries obligations under FIU
‘The panel, moderated by Commercial Credit & Finance PLC Director D. Soosaipillai, had keynote speaker Central Bank Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Director Enoka Mohotty, Senior Assistant Director Chandima Bandara and Deputy Director Ayesh Ariyasinghe, representing the FIU, Registrar of Companies Sanjeewa Dissanayaka, Ernst & Young Partner Averil Ludowyke, Nations Trust Bank Co. Secretary and General Counsel Theja Silva and Hatton National Bank Compliance Officer Janath Illangatileke…SLID’s Annual Corporate Partners are SYSCO Labs, Aventude, Sampath IT Solutions & Wijeya Newspapers.
• Unmasking Sri Lanka’s Pyramid Parasites
‘illegal schemes are fast spreading across Sri Lanka’
• Modi urges democracies cooperate to make cryptocurrencies safe
• Second Female Lawyer Who Worked at JPMorgan Chase Says Fraud Is Condoned at
• Nominee for US Comptroller of the Currency wants fossil fuel companies to go bankrupt
• US Congress Facilitates “Catastrophic Risk” Allowing Federally-Insured Banks Owned by Wall Street Trading Houses
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business focuses on the rentier diversions of the oligarchy, the domination by a merchant mafia, making money from unproductive land sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of corporate press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Listed corporates’ profits beat pandemic to reach record of Rs. 110 b
‘banking sector earnings shot up 48% YOY to Rs. 19.8 billion’
• Sri Lanka stocks plunge after budget taxed banks, big firms
• Sunshine Holdings revenues of Rs.8.46 billion in second quarter ended September
‘Lamurep Investments Limited has a 59.48 percent stake in Sunshine Holdings’
• Aitken Spence records Rs. 2.9 billion EBITDA across all sectors for 2Q with 388% growth
• Softlogic Holdings 1HY22 Operating profit Rs. 5.9 billion
Softlogic Chairman, Ashok Pathirage held 41.07 % stake in the company while N P Capital Limited, the investment vehicle owned by Nimal Perera entered the top 20 shareholders with 0.28 percent stake’
• Profits at Distilleries Co., largest hard alcohol maker, 2.88 billion rupees in September quarter
• LOLC General Insurance inks MOU with Access Motors
• Union Assurance renews partnership with the Bar Association of Sri Lanka for the fifth year
• COPA told 31 shops have been built causing inconvenience to people at Kurunegala bus stand
• UNP’s ‘Yowunpura’: National Youth Services Council bid to hinder audit revealed
• More than 50 prime lands to be leased to raise US$ 6bn
• Kurunegala – a new horizon for real estate investment
• Sri Lankan International Travel Agents Association (IATA) seek better recognition
‘The industry has more than 200,000 people employed and there are about 160 travel agents in the country engaged in both outbound and inbound traffic.’
• Hotels are seen as rich and selfish institutions by poor fishermen and villagers
• Kapruka welcomes two new Directors to the Board
‘Pieris is on the Boards of JAT Holdings, Associated Electrical Corporation, and MTN Corporate Consultants, and is Chairperson of PW Corporate Secretarial, and also served as a legal advisor to the Ministry of Finance, a legal consultant to the Colombo Stock Exchange and member of the SEC’s Committee on Takeovers and Mergers Code. She also served on the Corporate Governance Committee set up by the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a member of Sri Lanka Law Commission. Subasinghe is the Managing Director of Moore Stephens Consulting, a Council Member of the University of Moratuwa, Chairman of the Sanasa General Insurance Company, and a Director at Amana Bank, having previously served as the Head of Audit and Assurance at BDO Partners… also being a member of the Presidential Commission for the Simplification of Laws and Regulations, and a member of the CBSL’s Advisory Committee for the revival of failed Licensed Finance Companies’
•Lanka Impact Investing Network & World University Services of Canada build digital rural storytelling platform
• Germany worried about women-headed startups in India
‘Women Startups: Breaking the Glass Ceiling’ to mark India Week Hamburg, was organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) South Asia along with the German Indian startup Exchange program (GINSEP) and the German Asia-Pacific Business Association.’
• US chain CVS closing 900 drugstores, 10% of outlets. to focus on health services
C10. Politics (Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant diversions and spectacles and the mercantile and financial forces funding the political actors, of policy hijacked by private interests minus public oversight.
• SJB Knots
• Arahant Mahendra, Gramani Raja and Prime Minister Mahendra
• The President Enters his Third Year
• Why does the panic-buying of fuel continue? A chronic trust deficit
• Kumudesh claims govt. abuses health guidelines to achieve political ends
• Not About the Budget
‘To have a national policy you first need a nation’
• Wheeler-dealers wrecking the country, says JVP leader
‘Today, farmers, entrepreneurs, industrialists or traders cannot earn the profits they deserve from the businesses and industries.’
• Provincial Council system is not a white elephant: ECSL Chairman
• Revisiting Newton Gunasinghe: A critique of two essays
• A strategy for Leftists and Nationalists
• Unite “Baiyas” and “Toiyas” to take the country out of the crisis
• A real commitment to democratic socialism must exist – David
• Country’s woes could be traced back to the opening up of the economy in 1977 – Sirisena
• Maithripala issues ominous warning to govt.‘2/3 majority won’t guarantee stability’
• A movement outside parliament can also win the confidence of the people – Ranil
• TNA leader says govt. popularity at rock bottom
• The first Executive President began tradition of subordinating parliament to executive – Philip
• GR’s year 2: Crumbling cult and SJB surge – Jayatilleka
• MP Kumara Welgama chastizes both the government and the opposition in parliament
• Why did Tamils kill Rajiv Gandhi?
• The heavenly Dahanayake twins of Galle
• Modi’s anti-Muslim Jihad
• New York Times Invents ‘Sexual Assault’ #MeToo Case To Blame China
• Japanese Govt. was totally committed to the liberation of India from English occupation
• F.W. de Klerk: Requiem for a Racist Murderer
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.
• TBWA\Sri Lanka named as Sri Lanka’s Agency of the Year 2021
‘brands include AIA Insurance, Prima Kottumee, Maliban, Australian government, 4Ever Naturals, Dulux, Lanka Hospitals, Commercial Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, etc.’
• Sri Lanka radio, tv spectrum auctions for new stations: Finance Minister
• The Origins of Western Science, Evolution and Crisis I – Nalin de Silva
• Gossip TV and Rumour “rules the roost”
• First Five years of Right to Information regime in Sri Lanka: In retrospect
• Data Protection Bill gets Cabinet approval
• Signposting the digital media frontline
• The Island has played its role fearlessly – DEW Gunasekera
• Turbulent four decades: War, peace and corruption – Fernando
• The Island at forty
• The Island & Devaluing the rupee by as much as 43%
• Lake House had been founded in and for the struggle for Independence – Jayatilleka
• Cabinet nod for official industry status for cinema
• Finally…Cinema is an Industry
• Lankan PM launches Pak-Lankan documentary on Gandhara civilization
• Documentary on 72 years of Sri Lankan history
• A tale of two obscene publications acts
• “They Can Write Mythology, Not History…”
• Two young Asian scribes killed; Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) condoles their demise
• The art of media warfare
• Censorship is the Last Gasp of the Liberal Class
• Camisha Russell’s “The Assisted Reproduction of Race”