‘Before you study the economics, study the economists!’
e-Con e-News 26 December 2021 – 01 January 2022
30 people are killed or seriously mangled every day on Sri Lanka’s roads, wails the World Bank. 38,000 people annually. But they don’t blame themselves or the IMF. They plan to make it worse.
This ‘mass murder on wheels’ accelerated with IMF-guided ‘explosive growth’ of Finance Companies (FCs) after 1977. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka linked this motorized mayhem to the larger banking system providing ‘ market space’ to Non-Banking Financial Institutions (NBFI). The FCs exploited demographics, that the banks feared to tread. Bankers however financed imports to serve this burgeoning ‘market’: the tsunami of Japanese vehicles, TVs, etc.
By 1978 a parasitic import boom had led to a staggering balance of trade deficit of Rs 2.2 billion, the highest in Sri Lanka’s foreign trade history, after 2 consecutive years of trade surplus (an unacknowledged legacy of the previous Sirimavo Bandaranaike government – favorite demons of the Black-white Colombots).
The World Bank in October this year blamed our ‘highest-in-South-Asia’ accident rate on: ‘The contracting structure in the public bus/taxi industry… a completely unregulated industry with no discipline because of the demanding work schedules and 24×7 operation.’ The WB blames bus drivers for using drugs. Roads (rather than rail) carry around 95% of passengers and 98% of cargo. What’s the WB solution? They are providing $500 million for better ‘rural’ roads, saying we need $2 billion to fix the problem, by financing more imports of foreign machinery and goods, and ‘experts’.
The World Bank, after all, will not blame themselves for promoting privatization, deregulation or the destruction of a rational though underfunded public transport system, the busting of trade unions led by dedicated workers, midst the recolonization of the country. Nor do they blame the ruling merchants and moneylenders (see ee Economy, Accidents).
England’s first ‘finance companies’ were quite different. They invested in their own heavy industrial production, trains etc. And despite all the bull about ‘free trade’, the loans were guaranteed by the English government. This solidified Sri Lanka’s underdevelopment, with merchant capital dominating productive capital (ee Focus, Productive Capital). Merchant banks (eg, Standard Chartered, HSBC) and conglomerates (Keells, Aitken Spence, Steuart, Mackwoods) thus arose, in the 1860s, stunting us to this day. These agencies interwove with England’s ‘Devil Business’ – the massive trade in rice and opium, linking Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, & China (ee Focus, Rise of Banks).
• ‘Nightmare Scenario: a Default on Sovereign Debt – a Pathfinder Perspective’ was blared by the World Bank’s former Chief Economist for South Asia this week. Pathfinder is a front for the US Rockefeller Foundation – tax hideout for Rockefeller oil interests, Exxon, etc., who direct US foreign policy (ee 23 Jan 2019, Tillerson). Rocky’s Pathfinder has its operators both within the government (eg, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Jayantha Colombage, High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda, etc) as well as in the so-called opposition.
This Pathfinder article (carried faithfully by all English rags) parrots the daily ‘Lord’s Prayer’ (‘debt & default’, ‘doom’n’gloom’) of the capitalist media, their economists, and US ratings agencies, etc. They demand we submit further to the WB’s fellow capo, the IMF. The IMF has already imposed 16 ‘packages’ since 1950, which have flung us into deeper debt bondage.
The World Bank would rather spread horror stories than tell us how they have prevented investment in modern industry. How they’ve made us a dumping ground instead for imperialists’ outdated machinery, goods, ‘expertise’, and a recipient of their never-ending loans and debts.
The big bankers refusing to invest in industry, promote the rule of merchants and moneylenders. Pathfinders, trackers and scouts have an infamous bloody colonial history, betraying their own people.
• While the US creeps up on summits of what they call democracy, US President Biden this week announced $768 billion for their 2022 Pentagon war chest. US-funded think tank Advocata declares that SL SOEs have lost trillions of rupees etc. The IMF and funded think tanks will not question why white countries divert trillions of dollars to war and mass murder. What about such ‘SOE’ waste? Meanwhile, the US dollar is driving up the price of oil and commodities.
• Across the Pond 1: The ‘Boys’ are Back! An unsigned Wijeya Group Sunday Times article demands ‘No rice from starving Myanmar, please!’ It argues against rice imports from Burma (an old colonial English practice, ee Focus). It praises ‘600 Myanmar rebel fighters’ who tried to cross into neighboring Thailand, calling these ‘rebels’ (some would say ‘foreign-funded terrorists’): ‘The brave young people of Myanmar, the Burmese, as they are known [sic!], are standing up to the thugs in Khaki who have been suppressing them ever since Gen Ne Win staged a coup d’etat in 1962’.
The Anglomaniacal ST article weeps: ‘Sri Lanka’s leadership which won 2 elections to safeguard Sinhala Buddhists have not shown any concern with the fate of 55 million people of Myanmar of whom 94% are Theravada Buddhists like in this country… Mahinda Rajapaksa takes great pride in being the founder of the Sri Lanka Palestine Association for solidarity with Palestine. But Buddhists who often threaten to shed their last drop of blood to safeguard Buddhism are not shedding even a tear for the Burmese Buddhists.’ Meanwhile the ST’s fraternal English paper, Sunday Island (island.lk/magazine-memories) fondly recalls the attempted coup by kalu-suddhas in the same year of 1962, later celebrating Christmas in Welikada with Chablis!! (ee Sovereignty, Myanmar)
• Across the Pond 2: Hoping to provoke China, the US government is setting up a marine attack base on Nansei Islands (aka Ryukyu), a chain stretching toward ‘renegade’ Taiwan. Meanwhile, Japan (which raised its rising sun flag in Colombo recently) is set to formally ditch the ‘pacifist constitution’ imposed by the US 7 decades ago – with US backing. Japanese militarism arose out of Japan wanting to grab more natural resources and create its own economic empire in the Pacific. Japan then invaded China, Korea and Manchuria. Japan was fully backed by the whites, until they stepped out of line. So the US closed the Pacific to Japanese shipping and were attacked at Pearl Harbor. Japanese militarism will now be also anchored in the US Quad strategy against China and Russia. Meanwhile, the ‘world’s largest petition platform’ change.org has deleted a pro-China petition (ee Sovereignty).
• Across the Pond 3: The US was set to deny Ethiopia – African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) ‘trading privileges’ on January 1, claiming concern for human rights. US Senate & House subcommittee chairs on Africa urged Biden to reconsider the ‘abrupt’ move: ‘This decision invites China to strengthen its economic foothold in the Horn of Africa.’ Both chairs represent electorates with up to one million Ethiopian-Americans. Biden also removed Mali and Guinea from AGOA. In the last 3 years diasporic Ethiopians have sent home $9billion using the legal banking system, backing the Government of Ethiopia’s plea to use the formal banking system. Black-market operators changing hard currency in Ethiopia and abroad are affiliates of the terrorist TPLF (Tigray Peoples Liberation Front) trying to destabilize the country.
• Those who wish to gather better international news, should check out Radio Havana (radiohc.cu). Those who wish to know how English justice keep their own people in check, should check out Craig Murray, who just spent a spell in Her Majesty’s Hotel (prison), which he says are designed to kill (see ee Media) Many of the economists (Roberts, Harvey, Gindin) ee presents fall into the NATO-politan HML category. So ee’s glad to now present the work of Roland Boer, who like Domenic Losurdo, does not worship at NATO’s pandemonium (pantheon) – ee Economists.
A1. Reader Comments –
• Jennings vs GVS • ee Podcasts? • Gender-sensitive Agenda • Officials’ Next Life White
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Fitch Gave Notice • AGO Officials Not Practical • Let Expat Workers Import Cars • Lanka Richer than Rome • Saturnalia East • US-China Tech Rivalry • Socialism far more Democratic than Capitalism • Haiti & US
A3. Random Notes –
• Jennings Blocked GVS at Peradeniya • World Bank & Roadkill • South Korea & Work Deaths • US Spies on Internet • Adam Smith’s Fables • Darwin & Capitalist Monkeys •
B. ee Focus
B1. World Bank, IMF & Roadkill: 1977
B2. The Rise of England’s Finance Companies: Private Enterprise at Public Risk
B3. Industrial Capital was made a Slave of Merchant Capital in Sri Lanka
B4. Origins of English Banks & Corporations in Sri Lanka, 1863-65
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: Ivor Jennings refused GVS a teaching post – ‘Dr GVS de Silva was an Assistant Lecturer in Economics at Peradeniya in 1953-54’ (see Random Notes)
• ‘Really learned lots from ee. ee could make a good podcast.’
• ‘Marvellous ee again’
• ‘I don’t buy these corporation claiming to be ‘gender sensitive‘ etc., but am not too bothered cos I think it is a starting point to holding them accountable to those claims. Tokenism and cause-washing at least suggest acknowledgement, many don’t even do that.’
• ‘Our leaders are spineless backstabbing elites and a system of government officials who wish they will be a white man in their next birth in some high position at the UN or in an NGO.’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘Fitch had given sufficient notice to Sri Lanka’s Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance of its intended rating action. The market, especially which is outside Sri Lanka, had expected this downgrade if no remedial action, acceptable to investors, is taken by these two authorities.’ – ee Economists, Wijewardena
• ‘The Agriculture Ministry has the highest number of field officers. They do possess classical knowledge on agriculture but have had no training on how to transfer practical knowledge to the farmers in the field.’ – ee Agriculture, Expertise
• ‘The highly organised illegal fund transfer system – We will have to offer foreign-employed persons to import vehicles under concessional duties by making them pay all charges in foreign exchange’ – ee Economists, Tennakoon
• ‘When merchants from Sri Lanka did visit the emperor Claudius (10 BCE-54 CE), they informed him that Lanka was much richer than Rome. From this global perspective, the Roman empire was not the core of this economic space, but a province, the terminus of the western arm of global trade…Roman poet Martial’s list of Saturnalia gifts includes pepper from India, ivory from Africa, parchment from Egypt, and balsam from the Levant. Even the Magi might have balked.’ – ee Media, Holiday
• ‘The rivalry in technology is what the Director of the CIA, Bill Burns spotlights as the ‘main arena for competition and rivalry with China’.’ – ee Industry, Great Tech
• ‘Socialist democracy is a more genuine and superior form of democracy, and it is very encouraging to see that China is in the process of a global reclamation of democracy for socialism, because socialism is, of course, far more democratic than capitalism’ – ee Sovereignty, Democracy
• ‘Located on Haiti’s northwest tip about 100 miles across the Windward Passage from Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, Môle-Saint-Nicolas had long been coveted by the USA. It stood sentry over the maritime routes between the Atlantic Ocean & Caribbean Sea and from the Caribbean Sea onward to the Isthmus of Panama and the Pacific. For US policymakers, it represented an important way of securing commercial and military domination of the Caribbean, especially in light of plans to create the Panama Canal.’ – ee Sovereignty, Douglass
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
SBD de Silva recalled, ‘Sir’ Ivor Jennings removed GVS de Silva from teaching at the University of Peradeniya, cos GVS did not have a postgrad. GVS had gone to London, and was doing his Phd supervised by ‘Sir’ RGD Allen. Allen disagreed with GVS’s thesis so GVS then left, saying Allen was trying ‘to divert him into irrelevancy’ (a warning dedicated students abroad should heed). GVS then spent his remaining days in London at Marx House, came back and started teaching (again) at Peradeniya when Jennings removed him… GVS is still honoured by the toiling tillers of this country for his ‘ground-breaking’ 1958 Paddy Lands Act (PLA), which Philip Gunawardena tried to advance despite being thwarted by England’s Privy Council – 10 years after the ‘independence’ that Jennings the ‘constitutionalist’ helped impose. England’s Courts ruled that zero was not a number, to sabotage the PLA’s Cultivation Committees (see ee 22 Jan 2021).
• In October, the government signed a US$500mn World Bank financing deal ‘to develop’ a ‘rural road network’, alongside a WB report ‘Delivering Road Safety in Sri Lanka’ with scary stats like: ‘annual road crash deaths per capita in Sri Lanka are twice the average rate in high-income countries, and 5 times that of the best-performing countries’.
Averaging 38,000 crashes annually, which result in around 3,000 fatalities and 8,000 serious injuries, Sri Lanka’s reported fatality rate (17.4) is ‘the worst in South Asia’. The WB blames ‘all road users, but mostly private bus drivers and 3wheelers’ as ‘largely indisciplined’.
Meanwhile, this week ‘Railway Station Masters trade union action causes a huge loss to the state coffers’, cried headlines. But the media won’t tell us about the huge losses caused by using roads for cargo transport, and to productivity by the refusal to re-establish a national transportation policy, not dictated by Toyota, Tata, Bajaj, so workers can safely get to and from work.
• Envoys from Japan and Korea keep beckoning Sri Lankan workers: ‘Despite its advanced economic status and GDP, Korea is still infamous for both occupational accidents and overwork. It ranks in the top 5 among OECD member countries in terms of workplace fatality rate.’ (dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/SL-worker-dies-in-industrial-accident-in-Korea-after-working-18-consecutive-hours/108-216977). Meanwhile, last week US-occupied South Korea’s ambassador gave Sri Lanka lectures on economic renewal.
• ‘A few years ago, Huawei was well on its way to becoming a household name in Canada through its sponsorship of the ever-popular Hockey Night in Canada… So, what went wrong? Snowden.
Snowden came upon the mass surveillance program STELLARWIND that confirmed his earlier suspicions: the NSA was illegally involved in a global scheme of mass surveillance unlike any other in history. US cybercrimes not only targeted China, they also breeched the privacy of internet users around the world…
‘High-technology telecommunications giants & key hardware manufacturers have to play cooperatively with agencies’ for the 5 Eyes – an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US – to be effective…
Aggressive US policies, its cybercrimes, the ‘pivot to Asia,’ and its intentional exacerbation of territorial disputes in Asia, provide important context for understanding the reactions of the People’s Republic of China…’ – canadiandimension.com/articles/view/huawei-and-the-us-pivot-to-asia
• ‘Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776) is often regarded as the ‘Bible’ of capitalism. Usually remembered for slogans that have become second nature to neoliberal advocates and governments around the world… A careful study reveals that its influence lies not in Smith’s ability to construct an argument but in his skill as a storyteller… Many have noted this 2-volume work is rambling, polemical, and rather cavalier with evidence. It is not a work of science in any conventional sense. Instead, this ‘Bible’ of capitalism is full to overflowing with fables, sayings, moral tales, vignettes, parables and myths… Instead of any extended analysis of empirical data, of tables and calculations, or factory reports, when Smith needs to make a point, a parable is far more useful…. Why did Smith populate his work with so many tall tales?… I suggest they are able to draw in readers of all types. The stories make accessible various ideas concerning the ideology of capitalism at the time, offering not a carefully argued synthesis but a vast story book that captured the imagination.’ (ee Economists, Smith)
• Darwin’s Origin of the Species was not about monkeys but about English capitalists, said Marx. It was a mixed bag of the theories of Hobbes and Malthus. Readers may wonder about why ee refers to the much vilified Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, every now and again. Their earth-shaking insights not only enlighten but need to be rescued from the House-Leftists, or what ee calls Her Majesty’s Leftists (HMLs) and the Great White Father’s Marxists, or NATO Marxists (see ee Politics, Engels).
B. Special Focus_
B1. World Bank, IMF & Roadkill: 1977
The explosion of lawlessness on roads (and elsewhere) directly link to the growth of finance companies in Sri Lanka. One may even argue that the escalation of violence and crime in public life can be linked to the rise of the so-called ‘open’ economy, and the entry of ‘robber barons’ – and not just them – to the explosion of imports by the trader mafia over the graves of a nascent industrial system. Indeed it is due to the failure to invest in the long-term interests of the people. The murder in broad daylight of a 3-wheeler trade union leader by finance company ‘security’ is long forgotten.
The banking system itself provided the spaces for finance companies to thrive, even as the FCs, their depositors and borrowers took the risks, the hits and the blame.
This story of finance comes from the failure of the state and its banks, hijacked by private interests. The Bank of Ceylon was created because English banks would not lend to Sinhala people but only through Chettiar and Afghan moneylenders. The People’s Bank was also created to assist rural cultivators. But both the BoC and PB were sabotaged. Now we have Micro-FCs, like LOLC etc, funded by the World Bank and white ‘development’ banks, to sell white industrial products fleecing rural people.
Some argue these FCs are more merciful than the unregulated FCs and the numerous shylocks. For there was also the growth of largely unregulated companies borrowing funds from the public and ‘securing’ it with a deed. Most of these deposits were from ‘new money’ created by the ‘liberalized’ economy.
This ‘explosion’ of FCs in the 1980s also links ‘globally’ to the US decision to take the US Dollar off the gold standard, and subsequent financialization and deindustrialization in the 1980s, the rise of private fund managers and expansion of capital markets. They are also related to the failure (refusal?) of the Sri Lankan state to direct investment towards industrialization, allowing the import mafia to take greater control of the economy.
Party yanna, aendhun ganna, salon yanna, salli ownay the? –
To party, to buy clothes, to go to salons, do you want the cash? – sing ads for loanme.lk
The FCs after the 1970-80s are specially linked to the rise of imports of vehicles and consumer durables (TV, phone, etc) and related parts, particularly from Japan.
FCs do not take ‘demand deposits’ like banks. They take high ‘interest-bearing term deposits’ and lend at high rates. They claim to be lower than the numerous loan sharks, and target a different market, with different ‘instruments’, management and strategies than banks.
During colonial times, roads to plantations, for example, were financed by state taxes levied on impoverished villagers, even as the plantations were the main beneficiaries of such infrastructure.
In the early 20thC FCs were subsidiaries of motor firms and provided hire-purchase facilities as part of their marketing sales package: Transport & General Finance served Walker Sons, United Motor Finance served Rowlands, Arpico Finance served Richard Peries, etc. After Soulbury’s 1948 independence, FCs backed by banks were set up. Around the mid-1960s companies started taking public deposits, causing public and official concern. The 1972 budget speech by Finance Minister NM Perera declared their intention to shut down FCs.
After 1977, FCs were identified as a non-bank financial intermediary for the ‘open’ economy. However, there was “an inverse relationship between FCs and the restrictions imposed on commercial banks’, which created space for the FCs, ‘showing the complementarity of the 2 sectors’.
The burgeoning of finance companies came after 1977 offering higher interest rates than banks to people who had no access to banks’ ‘segments of the market… untouched by the banking system of the country’.
This was linked to the UNP government privatizing the passenger transport sector, allowing private companies to operate passenger transport to ‘complement’ the SLTB. The government claimed they wished to rid itself of the charge of operating inadequate bus services. Privatization also ‘relieved’ the budget of an increasingly large subsidy, and the ‘hard-pressed’ traveling public.
The UNP promised the private sector would be more efficient, reduce the power of unions, create ‘entrepreneurs’ (actually, rentiers!) who would support the ruling party, and profit government supporters among the importers as well as the ‘hire-purchase’ finance houses (who financed burgeoning private passenger transport & goods lorries). They offer higher interest rates to depositors (as well as borrowers) than banks. The Banks, with their supposedly stricter criteria, also created space for the operation of such FC entities. The Central Bank’s official registration & licensing of FCs was ‘misread’ as a guarantee that the funds were safe.
About 5 finance companies funded private bus owners to buy imported vehicles. The number of private coaches registered escalated from 80 in 1977 to 3,700 per year 1983-85. Vehicles increased from 213,315 in 1977 to 398,045 in 1987. Bus owners had to pay instalments from Rs 5,000-16,000 a month in 1988 money, within 3 years, or else!
The number of finance companies thus escalated from 27 in 1978 to 72 in 1987. Before only controlled by the Company Act, in 1979 the Control of Finance Companies Act (CFAC) made it possible to audit FCs, but the CB lacked the personnel. Yet by the end of 1980, the FC sector as a whole experienced deceleration. In 1982 FCs were therefore required to maintain liquid assets.
Yet the definition of FCs was vague, FCs soon moved from hire-purchase to leasing of vehicles, plant and machinery, trade loans, short-term loans (for consumer durables) and bridging finance (to help shortfalls), plus also allowing anonymous depositors. Deposits went from Rs 147 million in 1978 to Rs 6 billion in 1987 (with 350,000 depositors in 72 FCs, though 14 FCs had 90% of the total, and 3 FCs had 50% of deposits – the Finance Co, Mercantile Credit, and Central Finance), alongside a tea price boom, increased inflow of remittances and devaluation of currency. There was also a massive expansion of the private land, housing & property market. Importers also kept increasing their prices, with Japanese ‘yen values’ contributing ‘to the slow repayment pattern of the private omnibus operators’.
1983-1988, the Japanese Yen tripled in value,
sending Mitsubishi bus prices from Rs 325,000 to Rs 750,000.
The cost of transport increased, while bus fares remained ‘relatively static’,
making more and more bus owners default. FC lending rates also dropped.
With earnings not enough, bus owners, constantly worried about paying installments to FCs, began to violate road rules by overloading, breaking time schedules, unauthorized stops to pick up passengers, increasing trips by driving at high speeds. They also broke routes into sections, charging fees for each section. With bus owners unable to achieve enough revenue, and finance companies unable to collect dues, defaults increased. Interest charged by finance companies increased.
Finance Companies also fleeced their own companies, claiming bankruptcy, even while taking new deposits, even siphoning capital to new ‘sister’ firms! There was also little data on how many fleeced people were pensioners, widows, etc. However, the average borrower was seen as a small businessman who invested 25% of the total cost and borrowed the rest. Some illegally ’sold’ their vehicles to make quick profits, knowing it would take 5 years for the law to deal with them. Influential businessmen also opposed the Ministry of Justice’s attempt to fast-track litigation. Rs 1billion was thus held up in courts in litigation in 1988 alone.
Entry of FCs into property market, for instance, led to the dangers of borrowing short (having to repay quickly) and lending long (for construction etc, takes time for profits to come in). There was also increasing risk associated with hire-purchase activity from 1984. With the economic slowdown in 1987, people withdrew deposits rather than reinvest, etc.
The first major problems began in 1986, and when the 4th-largest FC, with over Rs 500 million in deposits, crashed in June 1988, it set off a near-run on deposits. In several FCs, VIPs lend their names as directors. These VIPs later claimed not to know what was happening, blaming it on a few miscreants who cause the frauds. They also blamed reduced economic growth and increasing political instability.
The CBSL’s lowering of interest rates in 1986-87, the adverse media about the temporary closure of 10 FCs, and the bouncing cheques of a few FCs led to further panic. It was noted, 10% of depositors withdrawing their funds in concert could cause bankruptcy. As the deposit strength of the smaller FCs started dropping dramatically, depositors diverted their savings to the banks and bigger FCs. From end 1987 to early 1988, FCs increased borrowings mostly for working capital requirements indicating liquidity problems. FC shareholders also had no real influence on daily workings of the FC: Only a few publicly quoted FCs declared dividends continuously.
Finance Companies & Stock Markets
depend on public ‘confidence’ usually shaped by media ‘puffery’.
They are also brought down by media-induced panics.
Much of these ‘rises’ and ‘falls’ in finance
are deliberately induced by the capitalist class and the state.
Economists opposed the state regulating finance companies, yet they admitted ‘the unsophisticated’ public requires protection from unscrupulous FC owners. They insisted the public had to be well informed when making decisions. Yet the capitalist media’s job is to divert, and promote the hype of finance company ad departments (witness the over-the-top hype about LOLC now).
At the same time, economists deemed Central Bank (CB) regulations as misguided or inadequate. They pointed out, CB attempts to control liquidity ignored that FCs promising high interest rates can only do so if they invested as much funds they could gather.
In 1988 there was still no deposit insurance for Finance Companies. FCs maintained 15% of public deposits in liquid assets in commercial banks (CBs). CBs however have to deposit a part of their funds in the CB, which then acts as lender of last resort, so commercial banks borrow as when needed. The FCs were however not required to do so. At the same time FCs criticized their creditors, commercial banks, for not providing timely assistance.
Yet economists wished the CB to ensure that FC accounts are properly kept, with ‘independent’ auditors: Finance companies should be compelled to make greater public disclosures about their earnings, remunerations to directors and investments. Capitalist-friendly Thatcher England’s 1987 Banking Act demanded that any shareholder holding over 15% in a bank had to be approved by the Bank of England.
Economists blamed the problems of FCs on cash-flow difficulties, bad debt recovery, a non-expanding market, and dwindling profits. While FCs blamed the Central Bank and the commercial banks for lowering interest rates!
The Central Bank in 1987 complained that it had no teeth to impose directly on finance companies and force compliance. With new emergency laws emerging midst the wider national conflict, a Presidential Order under the Public Security Ordinance of June 1988 enabled the Monetary Board to increase regulation, appropriate FC assets, obtain data on business operations, and impose penalties on criminal activity. But to no avail. Several FCs closed their doors, FC cheques started bouncing, and FCs imposed sudden restrictions on encashing fixed deposits, with headline media reports and court cases eroding ‘confidence’, resulting in outflow exceeding inflow of deposits. This was blamed on the ‘very nature of depositors’ behavior’ – speculation, excitement and panic, stoked by the hype of modern mass media (tv, etc.) who actively legitimize the operations of FCs. The Finance Minister claimed all depositors took everything for granted until cheques started bouncing, bank accounts were not credited, and they were not paid cash when they came to the FC to get interest or refund on fixed deposits. The problems then affected not just the 350,000 depositors at that time, but about 1.5 million dependents. (Main source: Economic Review, July 1988)
Golden Moments Continue– In 2008, midst another capitalist meltdown in the white West, blamed on a ‘subprime’ crisis, Colombo’s Golden Key Co (GK, Ceylinco) crashed, with over 9,000 depositors and deposits of Rs 26.5 billion (much higher than then defence expenditure of Rs 16 bn). Media claimed over half a million people were indirectly hit as many lost their lifesavings. It was to be the 2nd-largest financial scam in our history (after the 2015 CB Bond Scam of Rs 63 bn). GK had held no board meetings for the previous 4 years. Financial statements and audit reports showed profits but GK was actually running at a huge loss, with funds siphoned away. An investigative report on the GK scam prepared by the Central Bank Special Unit disappeared. The GK Chairman, linked to a famous anti-communist PM, was also Chairman of over 200 companies. His wife fled to England, its foreign office giving her refuge saying the Sri Lanka Government had not requested her extradition. The CBSL report ‘Recent Economic Developments: Highlights of 2009 & Prospects for 2010’ promised to amend laws relating to banking, finance and insurance… However, the game of finance, microfinance, etc, impoverishing rather than investing in people, continues.
B2. The Rise of England’s Finance Companies: Private Enterprise at Public Risk
In the white-settler colonies of the 19thC, the US, Canada and Australia ran large trade deficits and borrowed heavily from England, etc, to finance the building of railroads and other infrastructure, with the English government guaranteeing the loans!
Finance Companies (FCs) in England thus arose in the 1860s with their money markets investing in railways, alongside industrial banking, greatly increasing the export of capital to ‘freely’ invade other countries under the hype of ‘free trade’, with England policing the seas.
The formation of English banks in Asia, and finance companies in the 1860s providing loans to colonial governments, was bolstered by loan companies being formed to finance craftsmen’s needs, from ‘wagon companies’ (which built railway wagons leased to industries), and the growth of corporate discount companies (from the profits in the joint-stock banking of London banks), plus English overseas banks and Anglo-European banking co-operation (to infiltrate the Ottoman Empire & China).
In 1861, US banks suspended gold payments, and the US Slavery War cut off supplies to many of the world’s cotton industries. The US government saw itself as a colony of England’s clothes manufactures and that ‘civil’ war was about keeping their cotton for their own production. European cotton traders fanned across South Asia, Africa, Central Asia, Brazil, to encourage cotton cultivation. Cotton was made an essential crop for agriculturalists. The boom in cotton (mainly spinning & weaving) companies came from exports to Asia.
130 out of 1,041 companies formed in London 1862-66 were banks, discount companies or FCs. The corporate investment bank, which England called the finance company, first appeared in 1863, alongside the formation of the General Credit and Finance Co and International Financial Society (made up of London merchant banks), expanding to 35 FCs, plis 7 Land FCs set up, 1863-65.
The first FC, the 1863 London Financial Association, was linked to railway and cotton industries, in Turkey, Africa (Egypt) and South & East Asia, London and Wales, while all were rooted in London and ‘international high finance’. Soon ‘lesser’ finance companies mushroomed, mainly to provide finance ‘contractors’ for railway construction, and then private land finance, with many failing in the ‘1866 Crisis’. Half of the English FCs formed 1863-65 were insolvent within 5 years…
B3. Industrial Capital was made a Slave of Merchant Capital in Sri Lanka
(adapted from SBD de Silva, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment)
…The control of the plantation economy by merchant capital was linked to the growth of absentee ownership. In the coffee-tea transition in Sri Lanka, with the displacement of the proprietary planters and partnerships by corporate enterprises, financed by capital markets abroad, the interests of merchant capital and productive capital become sharply differentiated. While serving as the agent of productive capital, merchant capital appropriated large sums as trading profits and commissions – a price which productive capital paid for operating on an absentee basis. The enhanced role of merchant capital, whose substantive interest was trade and not production, gave a distinctive character to the plantations and to the economy as a whole. Merchant capital, though not having a proprietary involvement in plantations, exercised the dominant role in the colonial export economy, conditioning the pattern of investment and surplus utilization…
The outflow of surpluses was contingent upon an inflow of capital (or a plough-back of current profits) to finance an expansion in productive capacity – eg, in the case of the plantations in Sri Lanka there was a 4-5 year period before dividends were declared. What a theory of underdevelopment must perforce explain is why the surplus generated from the initial investments was not recycled often or long enough to increase the total volume of surplus generated: whether by revolutionizing production techniques (‘deepening’ the existing investment) or by a continued ‘widening’ of capital – ultimately incorporating new branches of production.
The nonsettler colonies attracted altogether little production capital, and the bulk of it was in the infrastructure investments. These ‘distance inputs’ – roads, railways, docks, telegraphs, etc. – were the typical form of colonial investment. All of this capital was riskless, being borrowed directly by colonial governments on the basis of guaranteed interest and sinking fund charges on the revenue of the colonies. The investors received their return, even when, as in India, the railways for more than a generation did not pay their way. As Rt Hon WN Massey testified in 1872 in regard to these railway investments, ‘the money came from the English capitalist, and so long as he was guaranteed 5% on the revenues of India, it was immaterial to him whether the funds that he lent were thrown into the Hooghly or converted into brick and mortar’. The ‘struggle for the 5% guarantee’ was led by the Manchester cotton manufacturers in defiance of laissez-faire precepts. Despite the clamour by the commercial and industrial interests in Britain for the construction of railways in India, risk capital was not forthcoming. (Chapter 1)
…In the nonsettler colonies, the constricted channels of investment of foreign capital (trade & plantations, not industrial ventures) must be seen against the impediments imposed by extraterritoriality on the mobility of capital on a world scale. In the period concerned, rapid telecommunication and transportation facilities did not exist, such as the telex, jet aircraft, which promote the management and control of investments from abroad. The mobility of capital on a world scale was also constrained by the division of the world into colonial empires. The internationalization process was one of markets rather than of capital, as a later chapter explains fully. Internationalization requires both the mobility of capital across national boundaries – ie, a transnational flow – and multinational ownership. Whereas transnationalization of capital had existed for several centuries, the scope of this process was itself limited owing to the reasons referred to earlier. Multinational investments which are the final expression of the internationalization of capital had not yet begun to occur. The circuits of capital, within each colonial empire, were themselves affected by the division between the settler and the nonsettler colonies. The movement of capital was mainly to the settler territories (with the migration of both capital and the capitalist), and it also took the form of cross-investment among the capitalist countries (Chapter 3).
…Metropolitan productive capital, which the foreign interests represented, consisted of (a) plantation investments in the colony and (b) manufacturing industry in the metropolis; metropolitan merchant capital consisted of (a) merchant capital based in London (represented by London agency houses) and (b) merchant capital based in the colonies (represented by local agency houses – in the case of Sri Lanka the Colombo agency). The relation between these different interests was such that merchant capital based in the colony was subordinate to merchant capital based in London, as was made evident in earlier discussion on the allocation of entrepreneurial power and responsibility between the London and the Colombo agency houses. While merchant capital in London predominated over locally based merchant capital, foreign merchant capital as a whole exercised a dominance over absentee production capital in the plantations; such capital invested in joint stock companies was held by numerous small investors, scattered and disunited… The lavish commissions and fees appropriated by the agency houses for the management of the plantations were the price which production capital had to pay for operating on an absentee basis in the colonies. The subordination of the colonial economy to the merchant and manufacturing interests in England was supported by the Colonial Office and by the subscribers of capital in London (Chapter 13).
B4. Origins of English Banks & Corporations in Sri Lanka, 1863-65
Rice Trade: Burma, Lanka & India
The purana gama – traditional village – was disrupted by the plantation export sector, as self-governing institutions were swept away. The English eliminated self-governing villages which flourished in Lanka and Myanmar. The plantation export sector was detrimental to peasant agriculture. Upkeep of irrigation facilities for paddy economy was first destroyed & then neglected, damaging Lanka’s local rice culture. The provincial administration kept busy with revenue collection and court work. ‘In the vicinity of the plantations there were no cart roads to provide an outlet for any surplus of locally grown paddy.’ But the plantations did not ‘destroy the equilibrium of the peasant economy,’ and did not supply landless wage labor. ‘It just disorganized its corporate life and impoverished the cultivator.’
• Bengal was a major exporter of rice, particularly to Lanka until 1860s, but then Burma emerged as the leading exporter (due to tax exemptions, improved transport & irrigation, non-enforcement of sumptuary laws). ‘The import of rice from Burma to Lanka and transportation to plantation districts was an elaborate enterprise involving European millers, shipping agencies & insurance firms, and the railway.
• Rice trade or ‘Devil’s Business’ or ‘The Grand National of Commerce’ – English rule of South Asia, Singapore, and Hong Kong in 19thC provided the market base for an enormous expansion in the rice trade.
1860s: Indian merchants soon became the visible symbol of the whole system of foreign control & domination in Burma. As moneylenders – Chettiars borrowed from large English banks like Chartered Bank and re-lent to the cultivators, soon controlling much Burmese land – and small traders, Indians lubricated the colonial economy; they became the agents for the financing and collection of the rice crop as well as the landlords both in the city and countryside, given responsibility for bringing almost all rice crop (the sole agro-export commodity) into the hands of European rice millers and exporters. Burma was hauled into world economy by a peasant crop, resulting in landlessness and depressed wages. Indigenous tenant farmers were evicted by Indians, and landlessness also increased due to loss of traditional salt boiling. Steamships and steam-driven mills also displaced labor from boating and hand-pounding of paddy. Public service, soldiers and military police were Indian, and Burmese were excluded from armed forces until the 1940s.
• Major English companies operating in Burma were Bulloch Bros, Steel Bros, Mohr Bros, and Joseph Heap & Co ( Liverpool). Burma rice supplied the growing Indian sugar & rubber plantation labor in Malaya & Lanka. Rangoon rice was shipped to Penang and Singapore, and then to the plantations. In Singapore, rice came westward from Siam and French Indo-China, brought to supply Chinese workers in tin mines and plantations in Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. Singapore became key redistribution centre in the world rice trade, handling rice coming east from Burma and west from Siam and Indo-China. Bangkok and Saigon supplied Philippines and Hong Kong, which sent rice to Southern China, Japan, Hawaii, California. Burma’s rice also went to England and to Europe. England consumed about 50% and re-exported rest to Americas, Mediterranean, Europe (where rice was used for making alcohol, starch, animal feed).
1860s: Start of 2nd Industrial Revolution: Machines making machines.
• London’s Oriental Bank Corporation held dominant position in Sri Lanka, India, China (but later suffered from coffee blight in SL)
•Survey of India was tasked with providing maps of India and regions around it. However, Viceroy strictly banned English officers from carrying out clandestine surveys beyond India’s frontiers. Royal Engineers’ Thomas Montgomerie recommended, ‘native explorers trained in secret surveying techniques’ at Dehra Dun, the Survey’s headquarters, where he selected an elite group of highly trained Indians known as ‘Pundits’, who were disguised as Buddhist pilgrims with specially made rosaries to calculate distances, with compasses disguised as prayers wheels, and thermometers hidden in walking sticks.
• Despite the collapse of the South Indian economy, a migrant labor supply still had to be obtained through coercion, ‘extracted by crafty recruiters during recurrent disasters in the peasant economy’.
• The ‘coolie’ trade from South India was ‘not a voluntary response to market forces, but an organized business’, with capital outlays by shippers, recruiting agents and planters. The agents scoured villages, promising a bright future. Planters controlled the labor market even during times of labor scarcity. Planters and state combined to insulate wage rate from any market pressures by eliminating competition for labor and concentrating major recruitment in South India during times of acute distress. Migrants were forced into debt bondage, and few reached the plantations as free workers.
• The sub-marginalized South Indian peasants who became plantation labor migrants were paid lower wages than average earnings in S India’s peasant sector, and much lower than peasant sector in Lanka, Assam and Malaysia. Throughout 1860-70s, plantation wages in English India would be half the non-plantation wages.
• From 1875, when tea plantations were set up in Lanka, all districts in Madras (except Tanjore), living standards fell, as wages rates and volume of employment greatly declined. • Tea plantations also developed against a background of ‘continuous depreciation of exchange’, as value of rupee was lowered.
• During droughts and famines, even as many peasant families were pushed below poverty line (becoming potential migrants) – due to increased price of rice, real plantation wages declined, below average earnings in South India, and way below peasant sector in Lanka. Since the peasant sector consumed much of its own paddy, and plantation labor was somewhat cushioned from downturn by rice being included in the wage, much of the migrants were the sub-marginalized part of the Indian peasantry.
• Fuller & more continuous work by families in the plantations obscured the fact that wages were lower (per time a& effort) than the ‘distress wages’ earned by peasants and artisans, forced to seek work in the estates.
• Local workers resented the fraud and oppression of the colonial system of labor relations. Sinhala villagers did not work in plantations on the terms of migrant workers (who had to live cut off from surrounding economy and society in estate enclaves, controlled by kanganies, lacked mobility). Migrant workers were also not paid their low, stagnant wages consistently, and extorted by traders in insufficiently developed market conditions, with a harsh & arbitrary work regime including physical beatings as a means of enforcing work norms. Courts and police sided with the planters, and estate workers were defenseless against employers.
• Living standards of plantation labor in Lanka were affected by food supply delays from India due to crop failure or rail interruptions between Colombo and plantations. Traders bribed officials and raised prices without restraint even during slight Indian famines. Traders of credit sales of food and provisions used ‘short measures,’ and false accounts to aggravate recurrent scarcity and price increases.
• Earnings were further reduced by extortionate system of kangany, whose paternalism helped ‘establish a stranglehold over the worker.’ The kangany used to collect the wages and give to workers in their homes. Always in debt to kangany, no proper accounts were kept. Since wages paid every 2 months, kangany paid advances (with interest!) and withheld one-month pay, with workers borrowing from kangany on accumulating balance, sometimes getting no pay at all on payday!
• James Finlay & Co, once owners of 3 huge cotton mills in Scotland, turned to opium and tea trade, followed by Gillanders, Arbuthnot & Co. Hendersons, agents to the Borneo Co, moved into jute milling. Parrys of Madras shifted from the indigo trade into distilling. 1869: With Suez Canal, Agency Houses Finlays, Duncans and other houses took over tea. 1893: Finlay Muir & Co branch in Colombo set up, buying up large blocks of land for tea.
• Railways beganin Asia. In India, this ‘infrastructure’ helped ‘deindustrialization’. With discriminatory tariff policy, railways uprooted indigenous manufacture, and helped foreign competition. Iron industry stamped out. Coal industry of Bengal had no market outside, due to high rail freights. Rates on goods traffic through ports lowered to benefit foreign trade, damaging production for home market.
• Indian production of textiles boomed, as US Civil War disrupted cotton supplies.
• England imposed unequal treaties on Burma.
• ‘Natural resources’ were exploited throughout Asia, 1860s-1914. Investment became more attractive to nominally English, Asia-based investors and their investment groups in London, especially in countries under English ‘treaty or protection’ eg, Crown Colony of the Straits Settlements (Singapore, Penang, Malacca, Province Wellesley, the Dindings), 4 Malay States of Perak and 5 Federated Malay States • Singapore refined tin from Malaya, Siam, Indo-China, Burma, Australia, China, and Central & South Africa. 1877: Opium dealer Jardine Matheson invested in railways built to link Rangoon to Prome, to transport oil
• Revolt in the Malay states threatened the English and severely reduced tin exports through the port. The English restored mainland control in 1870s.
• Tanjong Pagar docks in Singapore built on Guthrie & Co land, from which a railway was later built to the town business area. The large English agency houses – Guthrie, Boustead, Sime Darby, Borneo Co, Harrison’s & Crossfield, MacAlister, Mansfield – had the Peninsular railway terminating ‘in their own backyard.’
• France mounted invasions against Vietnam, and Guangxi-Yunnan provinces in southwest China, 1860s-70s.
• Extreme famine exactly 20 years after English opium war in China.
• Opium trader Jardine Matheson transformed from opium company, general trading, shipping & finance 1860s-1914, into conglomerate with branches over China, New York, Japan. Matheson & Co grew as a London merchant house, as agents for J Matheson and Jardine Skinner in Calcutta, plus as a venture capitalist focused on mining. 1870-1900: Matheson & Co invested in copper mining in Spain and Caifornia, banking in Iran, and gold mining in South Africa.
• China imported yarn and cloth from mid19thC. English dominated more expensive and lighter categories, while US and Japan, the coarser and heavier. Chinese hand spinners were devastated, leading to massive protests in Guangzhou.
• Attempt to modernize China’s industries, 1860s-70s, including railroads, steel factory, weaponry factory, navy. Over 20 civil enterprises sprang up, including Commerce Development Bureau of Ships, Kaiping Coal Mine, Tianjin Telegraph General Bureau, Shanghai Machinery Textile Factory, Hanyang Iron Works.
• New literary movement (Ibrahim Sinasi, Ziya Pasha, Namik Kemal) arose in Turkey, breaking classical style, trying to reconcile Turkish Islamic identity with modernization, presaging liberal reforms of ‘Young Ottomans’.
• 2nd English War on the Maori sparked in North Island, New Zealand, by a religious movement (the Hau-hau). Gold uncovered in NZ, led to hydraulic mining in the Central Otago Gold Rush in the South Island. Settler conflicts over land led to NZ Land Wars of 1860-70s. English and Australian troops suppressed ‘guerrilla’ Maori resistance. When missionaries began to doubt ‘the moral aspects of colonization,’ their influence waned, considered an obstacle to European interests. In Australia, ‘lower class whites deliberately undermined’ missionary efforts regarding natives.
• Europeans began acquiring definite superiority in armaments supported by ‘efficient system of drill & field manoeuvres’ but failed to match the ‘guerrilla’ tactics of African opponents, which prevented growth of more white settler states. Appeals to militant Islam also intensified resistance to white invaders.
1863: A former French slave master, who fled Haiti’s revolution to English-occupied Jamaica, PJ Laborie had his book advocating the murder of workers, Coffee Planter of Santo Domingo (1798) reprinted again in Ceylon. The Planters’ Manual: an Abridgement of The Coffee Planter of St Domingo, carried the preface: ‘Laborie, though an old writer, is still the authority on all that relates to Coffee planting. The principles laid down by him so many years ago in the West Indies, are those which still guide the managers of Ceylon properties.’
• Oriental Bank Corporation (OBC), headquartered in Colombo, opened branches in Nuvara Eliya, Badulla, and Jaffna, 1863-64. The OBC set up The Ceylon Company Ltd, taking over Rothschilds-linked G & MB Worms’ operations, effecting the ‘largest transfer of property ever in Ceylon.’ They advanced money to Coffee Estates on ‘Mortgage Block’, on the condition produce was consigned to the Ceylon Co for curing and sale, as well as for coffee crops grown and gathered. They were also agents and managers of estates, sent coffee to Colombo and London, and bought landed estates, both uncleared and cultivated with coffee. OBC sold off sugar estates in Mauritius. The Ceylon Co imported an Assam tea planter and Bengali ‘coolies’, becoming the nucleus of the growing tea industry.
• English introduced Land registration under Ordinances (1863 & 1865) requiring greater use of notaries.
• English used forced labor to build over 2,000 miles of roads.
• Work commenced on the railway, under government agency. 1867: Railroad to Kandy opened to traffic 1 Oct.
• Ceylon Ice Company (later, Ceylon Cold Stores) set up first ice-making machine in Lanka on Slave Island; and also produced aerated water.
• George John (formerly with Colonial Bank of St Vincent, Caribbean) set up Mercantile Bank branch in Colombo. 1865: John joined Central Bank of Western India, and set up George John, Bill Broker, in Colombo. 1876: Set up John Brothers & Co in Kandy. 20thC: Became John Keells, largest corporation in Sri Lanka.
• Opium trading Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank (HSBC) set up. HSBC was linked to China’s Imperial Maritime Customs’ 2nd Inspector General Robert Hart who set up system of customs management, and postal service, controlling China’s sovereignty. The customs deposited all its income in HSBC.
• Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock (HKWD), one of the largest dockyards in Asia, set up by Douglas Lapraik and Thomas Sutherland, HK superintendent for the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co (P&O), who was made 1st HKWD Chairman, with $240k capital (1867: $750k) by J Whittal (head of Jardine Matheson & Co), Sutherland, and Lapraik.
• The Standard Bank of British South Africa set up in 1863 in Port Elizabeth.
1864: Asiatic Banking Corporation set up after US civil war, sparked Indian cotton trade. ABC opened a branch in Colombo and a subbranch in Kandy under Wilson, Clarke & Co (later, Aitken Spence). • Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China represented by Alston, Scott & Co.
• Chartered Mercantile Bank (earlier represented by A & J Reid) opened branch in Galle. 1865: A & J Reid set up Colombo agency Delmege Reid & Co. 1872: ET Delmege became US Consular Agent in Lanka. 1880: Colombo port grew as Galle port receded. Delmege Reid & Co became agents for P&O. 1882: Delmege Reid & Co became agents for HSBC.
• Alfred Wise, partner of George Steuart & Co, made Chairman of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. John L Gordon made a partner, turning Steuart’s into planters’ estate agency, with 25 estates. 1868: George Steuart & Co became agents for Paris and London banks.
• Mackwoods & Co, one of the largest Agency Houses in Colombo, ran 60 coffee estates. 1880: FM Mackwood represented ‘General European Interests’ in the Ceylon Legislative Council.
• Coffee estates were worked mainly by coast workers (Indians) but felling was done by local Sinhala workers who migrated to estates all over the country.
• Government Factory employed about 150 men: 75% were skilled workers, almost all Sinhala and Tamil, some Burgher. A training scheme turned out ~22 apprentices (dept lost them when they ‘began to be skilful’)
• Salaries of government clerks increased 16%. • Ceylonese government clerical employees were organized into Clerical Service with 1864-65 reforms. Civil Service was staffed mainly by Europeans, while Clerical Service, like headmanships, was recruited from Ceylonese with an English education (who did not qualify to be headmen, due to birth and property, and had to compete with European officers). Burghers were mainly employed in the principal clerical positions.
• Deekirikevage Utuvankande Sura Sardiel betrayed to police in Kegalle on March 20.
• 1st locomotive engine imported into Ceylon – 4-4-0 type 2wheel coupled engine with an imported fuel capacity of 5 tons and took 1,500 gallons of water for conversion to steam. Bridge over the Kelani river was built 800ft long with 8 spans built on screw piles, and 12 spans of 25ft on brick piers. First tunnel on the Main Line, 274 ft long near Mirigama. Line to Ambepussa set up. • The first train to Ambepussa from Colombo (54 km), December 27. Duke of Brabant (later crowned King Leopold II of Belgium, mass murderer of Congo) traveled in the train – not opened to the public – from Veyangoda to Ambepussa and back to Colombo, accompanied by Major General O’Brien (Acting Governor after Charles MacCarthy, 1860-63, returned to England sick. The driver was chief engineer Sir GL Molesworth. This first rolling stock was kept in use over next century. 1865: Molesworth appointed Director-General of Railways (also had first railway completed in India).
• 1864-65, a major financial boom related to usurious rates charged on peasant crop loans. 49 banks and finance companies were formed in Bombay, plus 4 large land reclamation companies, all with close links.
1865: Continents of Asia and Africa accounted for only 25% of the new English portfolio investment, 1865-1914. North America and Australia took 45% of that investment. 1871: Estimates of surplus transferred from English colony of India including Burma: £21.4-25.1 million, 1871-76.
• 24 European mercantile houses employed 60-70 resident partners and assistants, by mid1860s, all inside Colombo Fort, enclosed by walls as well as batteries, a deep wide moat crossed by drawbridges with sentry-mounted medieval winding gates, bore the mark of Cohorn & the Dutch East India Co.
• Asiatic Banking Corporation (ABC) allowed to issue own notes in Lanka. Royal Bank of India branch set up in Colombo, liquidated shortly after, setting record for shortest existence of a bank. 1866: ABC liquidated. The Bank of Hindustan, China and Japan set up but soon liquidated too.
• Brothers Sam and Toby Delmege (Pilots & Collectors on the Mississippi River Steamer Service who made a fortune ‘running the blockade’ to trade with the slave south, fled US) arrived in Ceylon and partnered with James Reid who succeeded Alexander, setting up offices in Colombo and Galle. A & J Reid set up Colombo agency Delmege Reid & Co with ET Delmege, and Reid Mackellar & Co. Delmege Reid & Co became agents for Standard Life Assurance & British India Steam Navigation Co (BI). In Lanka, 2 Englishmen RS.Phillpott and TH Tatchem set up Mackinnon Mackenzie & Co (MM). With branches in India, Burma, China, Japan, MM acted as agents for shipping line P&O and BI, taking on the shipping agency business from E Coates & Co (Galle) Ltd. 1872: ET Delmege became US Consular Agent in Lanka. 1882: Delmege Reid & Co became agents for HSBC. 1892: Delmege Reid & Co became agents for Imperial Russian Spanish & Portuguese Consulates, etc. 1895: Delmege Forsyth & Co became agents for Shell Transport & Trading Co and Asiatic Petroleum Co. 1908: Delmege Reid & Co secured coal contracts from the English Admiralty, Imperial German Navy, etc. 1918: Mackinnon Mackenzie & Co (MM) took over Delmege Forsyth & Co Ltd. (1931: Asiatic Petroleum Co set up office in Colombo, became Shell Co of Ceylon).
• Alston Scott & Co got Standard Life Assurance Co. agency (when it merged with Colonial Life Assurance Co.), and taking over Alex and Binny Scott became agents for Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China. 1873: Alston Scott & Co made agents of British India Steam Navigation Co (BI). 1891: Alston Scott & Co crashed. Renamed Bois Bros. retaining agency of BI, Standard Life Office, Imperial Fire Insurance. 1895: Colombo Ice Company set up with Bois Bros as agents. Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China agency handed over to Whittall & Co. 1910: Bois Bros lost agency of BI. MM took over agency of BI and P&O. 1927: Commander C Goolden joined Bois Bros as director. Slater and LG Byatt.
• George John (formerly of Mercantile Bank branch, Colombo) joined London’s Central Bank of Western India, and then set up George John, Bill Broker, in Colombo, with estates in Peradeniya and Horagolla. 1870: George John, Produce &Exchange Brokers set up (later Keells).
• Wilson Ritchie & Co failed. Anthony Gibbs & Sons took over Hultsdorf Mills, Jaela lands and Mattacooly farm. 1866: GB Leechman, partner in Wilson Ritchie & Co, set up G&W Leechman, merchants and estate agents, to manage then takeover Hultsdorf mills, and Leechman & Co moving into coffee & plumbago curing, coir fibre & matting. 1870: Began raw bone manuring on coffee plantations.
• George Wall, chair of Planters’ Association and Chamber of Commerce resigned from the legislative council over the ‘military question’ along with ‘unofficials’.
• Hercules Robinson, governor in Ceylon (til 1872) nominated new unofficial members: Harrison (of Keir Dundas & Co) represented Planters’ Association, GS Duff (manager of Oriental Bank) for the mercantile community, and CB Smith (of Ceylon Co) for the European community. • George Smyttan Duff of Oriental Bank had first invested in coffee in Telissagalla in Kotmale, and bought Justice Oliphant’s lands in Nuwara Eliya, as well as bought lands in Hellebodde, Rangbodde & Pallagolla, Uva, Haputale, & Kalutara, and also owned Elie House in Mutwal; also the first European to enter the building trade (1892: HSBC Bank set up in Colombo in a building block he financed in Fort (as did Mercantile Bank, Bank of Madras, National Bank of India).
• Land registration scheme introduced under Ordinances (1863 & 1865) involved greater use of notaries. 1873: Ordinance 16 on legal education of apprentice notaries. 1875: Gillman report called for improvement of ‘the quality of the notaries,’ in land registration scheme.
• Labor (Master & Servant) Ordinance in Lanka ordered punishment for plantation workers, domestic servants, and journeymen artificers (skilled workers) who left work without month’s notice: 3 months’ imprisonment and/or Rs50 fine. Many women were sentenced to jail and hard labor for ‘bolting’ (running away), an early method of worker protest.
1880: ‘Retiring’ from Jardine Matheson & Co (principal smugglers of opium to China), James Whittall (who came to Ceylon from China as agent for opium dealer Messrs Matheson & Co) set up agency house Whittall & Co to engage in the trading and produce business in Colombo, after huge estate agent MacGregor & Co was liquidated. Whittall & Co took over 122 estates with 59,000 acres, with London agent J Whittall & Co, and eventually amalgamated several older trading firms, became agents for several rubber plantation companies, opened an office in Malaysia where it owned estates & companies. It imported rice to directly supply plantations, rather than buying local rice. 1888: Whittall became President of Ceylon Association in London)
(excerpts from: A Very Personal Ingrisi History of the World, Krisantha Sri Bhaggiyadatta)
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.
• Hypothesis: Is Sri Lanka a Victim of an International Plot? – Vitarana
‘ USA directed by the ICJ to pull its military base in Diego-Garcia in the course of this year’
• Cabinet meeting next week to consider seeking IMF bailout
• Buddhist Civilization in the North And East of Ancient Sri Lanka Part 3
• Sri Lanka to sign Trincomalee oil tank farm deal with India in a month, says Minister
• Energy Minister claims successful conclusion of Trinco discussions with Indians
• SL, India strike deal over 99 oil tanks in Trinco
• SJB alleges Trinco oil farms sold to India to obtain USD
• Ranil urges govt. to speed up credit line with India before food riots break out in April
• BJP’s Subramanian Swamy castigates India for not helping SL at her hour of need
• Talks with India vital for building trust on Chinese presence in Lanka: SL envoy
‘SL students are the single largest recipient of scholarships from India for military training institutes’
• Sri Lanka has high expectations from Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visit 08-09 January
• Lanka oil tank farm deal with India; Wang to visit Colombo after spat, offer sweeteners
• Fisheries issues: Indian HC seeks meeting with Devananda
‘continuing destruction caused by the Indian fishing fleet in Sri Lankan waters, especially through universally recognised illegal practices, like bottom trawling, would be severely detrimental to the fisher communities of both countries’
• Madras HC directs Govt to file report on release of 68 Tamil Nadu fishermen
• Indian High Commission felicitates Sri Lankan staff
• Chinese Ambassador’s visit to Jaffna sparks concern, commentary in Sri Lanka
• Jaffna peninsula is fertile ground for geopolitical rivalry in the days ahead
• Indo-China tug-of-war for strategic projects in Sri Lanka
• SL opposes “excessive interference and special mechanisms” – GL
‘objected to the setting up of a ‘special mechanism’ by the UN whose sole purpose, he said, was to collect data to use against Sri Lanka’
• Western countries will only channel assistance through UN system and World Bank
• North Korean envoy presents credentials to Prez
• Now, another SL Maj. Gen. barred from entering US
• Uzbek women trafficked to Sri Lanka for sex
‘Daily Mirror learns from sources in the US that SL, which is currently on the Watch List in the TIP Report, is likely to be downgraded for failing to take adequate measures to combat human trafficking’
• English People’s Rights Group expresses concern about views expressed by Defence Secy.
• Forced labour is universal but US sanctions are geopolitical
• Authorities to secure release of Lankan fishermen held in Myanmar
• Sri Lanka shuts three foreign missions to save forex after printing money
• Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan And China’s Quadrilateral Co-operation In The Region
• Terror in Tamil Nadu: In Conversation with B R Gautaman
• It’s 75 Years Since Historic Royal Indian Navy Revolt Shook the English Empire
• 600 Myanmar rebel fighters entered Thailand persuaded to return by the Thai government ‘The brave young people of Myanmar are standing up to the thugs in Khaki…’
• US defense strategy on containing China and Russia
• World’s largest petition platform, change.org deletes Pro-China petition.
• China’s socialist democracy focuses on improvement of people’s life
• Japan agrees to launch a military hotline with China in 2022
• Antiwar.com tracking US caused Iraqi deaths in their daily roundup:
• Israel says will double settlements in occupied Golan Heights
• Israeli air raid targets key Syrian port of Latakia
• Conflict-hit Ethiopia set to exit US trade pact despite late push
‘Biden was “taking a tool from the garage to the surgery room.”’
• Russia’s shadows in Sahel region
‘Sahel region running along the midriff of Africa sits atop some of the largest aquifers on the continent and is potentially one of the richest regions in the world’
• Declassified documents show how US lied to Russia about NATO in 1990s
• Putin hints at military options in Ukraine
• The US must not make empty threats
‘If US and Europeans are unprepared to send troops to Ukraine, why did Western leaders in 2008 promise eventual NATO membership to Ukraine, as well as to Georgia?’
• Security talks between U.S and Russia set for Jan 10th
• Talks Between Putin And Biden Continue due to Russian-Chinese cooperation
• Your $1.7 billion of gold is now ours, Endland tells starving Venezuelans
• Three people killed in new massacre in Colombia
• Frederick Douglass and American Empire in Haiti
‘Toward the end of his life, Frederick Douglass served briefly as U.S. ambassador to Haiti.. It served to tarnish the latter days of Douglass’s venerable career and is widely seen having been calamitous’
• US President Biden grants military $768-billion, $24-billion over request for 2022!
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.
• Gas Cylinder Heist in Colombo-07
• First group of 8th army contingent leaves to serve UNMISS-bound South Sudan
• Private security entities an integral part of SL’s national security apparatus: Defence Secy
• Bid to buy USD 2.5 mn ship: Former SLN officer, others under probe
• Marriage Laws are from the West
• Increasing reports of foreigners residing here on spouse visas to carry out illegal activities.
• US Archaeologist gets National Geography grant to study A’pura & Polonnaruwa decline
• Defence ministry clarifies over foreign ship anchored off Batticaloa coast
‘the barge anchored due to facing an emergency following a fuel shortage from UAE to Bangladesh’
• New HRC Chief summons police over PTA cases
• Majority of child homicides go unresolved
• No eyewitnesses, but Mawanella suspects in remand for three years – defence counsel
• Law and Order and the downfall of Police Intelligence
• Thirukkovil shooting Four policemen shot dead by fellow cop over not granting leave
• Three arrested in Kilinochchi over attack on car carrying Catholic Priests
• Soldier arrested for posing as a police officer to marry a girl
• Troubles are only mounting for actress Jacqueline Fernandez
• AVM Amerasekera played a major role during the 1966 Ceylonese coup d’état attempt
• Pathfinders were the target-marking squadrons in England’s RAF Bomber Command
• Industrial Security Foundation formed in 1990
• Russia, China beating US in ‘gray-zone’ warfare
‘Blackwater founder argues that America needs unconventional hybrid strategies to obviate big wars, and addresses the morality of the mercenary’
• Canadian health agency spied on millions during COVID lockdowns
• Canada’s Quebec announces curfew
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.
• World Capitalism: Another New Fly in the Ointment – Prabhat Patnaik
‘A price-wage spiral due to commodity speculation can spell doom for economies like India that are already facing a demand crisis’
• Almost half of Cabinet now strongly advocating a deal with IMF – Sunday Times
• Previous IMF approach was a failure: Bandula
• Sri Lankan Economy has floundered. Is there a way ahead? – Karunaratne
‘What overthrew Suharto was not a guerrilla insurgency, but a conspiracy of far more subversives – capitalism, markets and globalization; Suharto’s sleuths never figured how to handcuff them’
• An exceptional tax on capital is the best way to reduce a large public debt – Tennakoon
• The social cost of economic reform – Devapriya
‘Dudley Senanayake telling the UNP’s rank-and-file that he did not wish to reduce spending on welfare today only to increase spending on defence tomorrow’
• How to manage the crisis, and how not to – Jayatilleka
‘The solution has to be negotiated, not firstly with the IMF but with organizations of working people’
• Fitch Rating downgrade due to govt failure to implement correct financial policies, says UNP
• Pumping fuel and boycott of gal bunnis in 1961 – KKS Perera
‘three powerful oil giants dominated the import, storage, transportation, marketing and distribution of the island’s petroleum business’
• Sri Lanka has no choice but to restructure external debt – Pathfinder
‘It is not possible to approach the Paris Club without the IMF support’
• US Advocata Demands SL Treasury suspend fiscal support to key SOEs
• Ultra-low interest rates failed to bring desired economic outcomes: HNB banker Pallewatte
‘massive amounts of money, which sloshed the market, went into consumption, which in turn pushed national inflation to double-digit levels in November’
• We are on the brink of bankruptcy – Sanderatne
• A child’s guide to Fitch shock: Rationale, impact, and challenges: Wijewardena
• SL to enter 2022 with double whammy of forex and rupee crunch: Wijewardena
• Modern era of power generation – Abeyaratne
• Nightmare Scenario: A Default on Sovereign Debt – Pathfinder Perspective
• Sri Lanka’s banks certainly need to clean up their Balance Sheets – Weerakkody
• What does an import cover entail?
‘exporters needed additional support from the Government to make sure we increase earnings beyond the current $1 billion level’
• Quotas and rationing will not solve Balance of Payments problem: Advocata
• IMF forecasts Bangladesh economy to grow 6.6% in FY22
• World economy to top $ 100 trillion in 2022
• To save its economy, Lanka needs a strong opposition – Lalith de Mel
• Are ministers and CB Governor misleading citizens and even their superiors?
• The Drain of Wealth – Colonialism before the First World War – Utsa and Prabhat Patnaik
• Rare praise from Pakistan is grudging recognition of Bangladesh’s surprising success story
• Strategic industries need government support
• Global merger and acquisition activity smashes all-time records to top $ 5 trillion in 2021
‘Technology and healthcare account for the biggest share of the M&A market’
• Is there a myth at the heart of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations? – Boer
• How cute dogs help us understand Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ – Boer
• Top ten posts of 2021 by a Trotskyist Economist – Roberts
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.
• SL should curtail growing pressure by SOEs on the island’s economy- IMF
• Price of cement increased
• Higher bus fares from 5 January
• Milk powder price hike: revised prices
• No milk tea in canteens
• Why doesn’t the government take on the Traders’ Mafia
• Government allows importers to fleece by doing away with price controls.
• Sri Lanka exporters try to keep dollars out amid rising depreciation risk
• Budget of SLPP-ruled Ratnapura PS defeated
• ‘Runaway cost of living: Govt. rendered itself impotent by doing away with price controls’
• Experiencing the economic front is something that everybody knew would happen someday.
• President says global pandemic and its consequences were beyond his or Govt.’s control
• President defends Dr. PB but accepts resignation
• Sri Lanka 2021 inflation 12.1-pct after MMT
• SL’s nine-month public debt rises by almost Rs.2tn
• Rating agency downgrades ruin banks’ funding lines
• Annual licence fee for banks hiked first time in 3 years
• Sri Lanka foreign reserves reach US$3.1bn by Dec 29: CB Governor
• SL to receive US dollars 1.5 billion from China as swap
• Bangladesh renews Sri Lanka forex loan by three months
• US$1.5bn India credits get closer after petroleum minister said an agreement on a tank farm
• Banks ordered to surrender 25% of foreign currency receipts
• Sri Lanka considers import quotas, coupons for fuel and food
• CB sets new maximum interest rates on foreign currency deposits
• JVP invites rioting in streets?
‘two main companies running supermarket chains. One says it received a Rs 3,500 million profit after tax and the other has raked in Rs 1,387 million profit in the third quarter’
• Eran says country swept by economic tsunami caused by mismanagement by ruling family
• Where is the Govt alternative to dollar deficit? – Questions Ranil
• USD 3.1 bn foreign reserves: SJB not sure of Governor’s claim
• Harsha calls CB’s claim of increased reserves mere window dressing
• Does Sathosa have sufficient stocks, as promised by Minister Bandula?
• Terms of trade turn favourable in October after many months
• Sri Lanka brings down foreign debt component to 38% from 48% in 2019
• CBSL unveils open-ended offer of maturing SLDBs for expats, forex holders
Central Bank circular for depositors to declare remittances are from legitimate sources.
• Rs. 780 b debt moratorium extended to all COVID pandemic-hit enterprises and individuals
• Sri Lanka central bank T-bill stock reaches Rs1.9trn amid sterilized interventions
• 7th bumper issue of Treasury bonds goes under auction today
• Sri Lanka fails to sell 50-pct of bonds at final auction as rates rise
• Government revenue has improved marginally in the first nine months despite the pandemic
• Lanka’s goods sold to China, Hong Kong go downhill
• Inland Revenue Department records around Rs.70 m in VAT defaults
• Bangladesh’s Assistance To SL Increases Image and Prestige Of Bangladesh In The World
• Bangladesh’s Success Story: Why and How?
• Global FDI up by 6% in 2020 despite pandemic
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
• MEP seeks guarantee over essential items to low-income groups
• UNP to hold discussions with trade unions to find solutions to country’s crises
• Railway Station Masters’ trade union action cause a huge loss to the state coffers
• Railway Dept & SLTB to collaborate in event of strike
• GMOA temporarily calls off strike, gives Govt. until Jan 3 to resolve demands
• Govt. failure to rectify injustice caused by Rajitha, wife: GMOA threatens strike
• 4,700 acting principals to be made permanent without an exam?
• Jayasumana slams doctors for misusing antibiotics
• SL risks wage-spiral inflation amid trade union actions for higher pay
• SJB Trade Union Federation protest
• Food insecurity puts Sri Lanka on top in SA for child wasting
• Govt. urged to ratify ILO Convention to protect migrant domestic workers
• CB extends additional Rs.10 incentive remittance scheme to Jan.31
• JVP questions govt.’s wisdom of closing consulate in Cyprus
‘around 15,000 Sri Lankans working in Cyprus. Cyprus has a social security fund for foreign workers. It amounts to 16% of the salary of a worker. 100,000 Lankans have not been able to withdraw funds.’
• Double trouble in city of burial: Focus on Oddamavadi
• English as language of higher education? Some FB responses
• Parents pressure Staff and Principal to Choose Prefects
• Gnanam Education Trust empowering employment and self-reliance
• Importance of Development Organizations as facilitators and catalysts in bringing change
‘Kaushal Mendis, Gamma Pizzakraft, Neelam Makhijani, ChildFund’
• STRAIGHTA – The smart online platform that could ‘change the world’ for your child
• STEMUP Educational Foundation with Commercial Bank hosts Day of Code Sri Lanka 2021
• A collaborative initiative in Trinco between British Council and Muslim Aid Sri Lanka
• Nine Lankans among 50 global leaders reshaping the status quo
‘Said Business School and University of Oxford: Asia Pacific Kindness & Leadership Judging Panel included English High Commissioner to Australia Vicki Treadell (Chair of Judging Panel), Piramal Enterprises Vice Chairman Dr. Swati Piramal, Blackrock Real Assets Managing Director Hugh Andrew, New Zealand High Commissioner to Singapore Jo Tyndall, Dole Packaged Foods Global Chief Marketing Officer Rupen Desai, IHS Markits Partner and Senior Vice President Bo Zhou.. English judging panel included HRH Princess Badiya bint El Hassan (Chair of Judging Panel), Das Omnicom President for Europe Emma Sergeant, BRE Group CEO Gillian Charlesworth, Said Business School Open Executive Education Director Caroline Williams, Ministry of Defence Chief of Defence Logistics and Support Strategic, Command, Defence Support Lt. Gen. Richard Wardlaw OBE and Coca Cola Europacific Partners Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Nik Jhangiani’
• 2021 Has Proven That the Workers United Will Not be Defeated
• Bhutanese women seek leadership roles
‘While Indian women only receive an allowance for their contribution to the Panchayat, Bhutanese women in the civil service are paid for their work’
• Women Hold Up Half the Sky in China
• China life expectancy overtook US this year
• The “China Initiative” Shattered My Father’s American Dream
‘a Professor of Chemistry Biochemistry of the University of Oklahoma was unjustly targeted by the federal government under the Department of Justice’s “China Initiative.”’
• US Federal Government’s Covid Failure Becomes Even More Apparent
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.
• Government will ensure the prices of Rice by importing Rice
• Govt braces for food shortage to import essentials
• Price of jackfruit & other vegetables also increase.
• Special Commodity Levy on Potatoes, B’onions rescinded from midnight today
• Govt. won’t reverse organic farming, will introduce better program to win farmers’ trust
• Available agricultural expertise not passed down to farmers
‘majority of our farmers have had less than a month’s training…“DS in 1925 pointed out that we had a defective education system with no promotion of agricultural, industrial and technical education’
• JVP: “Gotabaya-made” food shortage imminent
‘It is Dudley Sirisena who decides the prices of paddy and rice. Some private companies providing goods and services do the same. They set the prices as they wish and the ministers cannot do anything about it. As a result. producers don’t get what they deserve and consumers are fleeced. Middlemen make a killing,”
• Govt. announces plans to takeover unutilised land plots of RPCs by re-enacting draconian law
• Govt. to provide tea plantations with chemical fertilisers at concessional price
• 2021 has been a good year for plantations – minister
‘Exports of rubber, coconut and cinnamon had generated a record USD 4 billion in export earnings’
• CIC Holdings gets new Group CEO
‘was with a oil palm plantation Co. overlooking palm oil processing mills, in Kalimantan Indonesia.
• Chinese fertilizer company intensifies fight against Sri Lanka
• New German access bridge at Eluwankulama to improve Wilpattu National Park
‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)’
• An invaluable talk on hidden potential of Sri Lanka and preservation of its indigenous heritage
• Hambantota Int. Port Donates USD 50,000 for human-elephant ‘Peace Project’
• Importing Elephant Pedicure Expert
• Coral reefs at risk of being wiped out in western Indian Ocean
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.
• Geological Survey & Mines Bureau Sand, stone licences to be issued by one institution
• Forex shortage, rating downgrade force Sri Lanka’s sole oil refinery to close in Jan
• Power supply may be restricted to a few hours in SP if Samanala Wewa reservoir recedes
• FSP claims Lanka losing its energy sovereignty
• Govt. to lease oil tank farm to LIOC for 50 years despite chance to take over in 2 years: JVP
• No final decision on Trincomalee oil tanks yet: CPC Chairman
• Oil tanks: CPC ordered to form new company ahead of Cabinet nod and India Deal
• Top guns at US New Fortress Energy (NFE) is a Sri Lankan named Jatila Ranasinghe.
• Ministers going to courts against Yugadanavi is ‘wrong’: President
• Proper procedure not followed in obtaining Cabinet approval for Yugadanavi deal
• Power cuts from next month; CEB told to find its own dollars to import furnace oil
• Adding fuel to fury: Oil price hikes trigger serial explosions
• Sri Lanka forex shortages reaching electricity sector, CPC asks CEB to settle debt
• Storm over attempts to build hydro-power project
• Firewood gets to supermarket shelves amidst gas crisis
• CEB thermal power plants being shut for want of fuel
• Industrial Asphalts and Singapore deal for Bitumen Tank Terminal at Hambantota Port
• Associated Motorways (AMW) markets Castrol lubricants at new Distribution Center
• Forex crisis hits shipping trade as Maersk urges customers to pay in dollars.
• SAGT enhances positioning of Port of Colombo within international supply-chain
• Sri Lanka Colombo Port Container Volumes Surge in November
• Dollar crisis threatens to ground airline operations from Lanka
• Finance Ministry intervenes to settle payments to airlines
• CAA suspends Sakurai Aviation flight operations
• Private jet to India : Where did it come from? – FSP raises concerns
• From Jan 15, meters compulsory for WP three-wheelers
• Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA) holds its Annual General Assembly in Paris
‘Dhammika Attygalle, President and Devapriya Hettiarachchi Secretary of the Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) attended’
• Johnston opens newly developed 86.7km stretch of Saudi highway from Bibile to Chenkalady
• Commercial High Court issues interim orders against AsiaBike Industrial Directors
‘one of the largest bike manufacturers in the country, with access to the European market to export high-end bikes, bringing the much-needed foreign exchange to the nation…siphoned off monies from the company for the purpose of capital infusion to a similar competing company called Spica Ceylon’
• Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Director General resigns
• SL Coconut industrialists forced to open factories in countries like Indonesia and Philippines.
• Is Modern Cosmology Avant Garde Witchcraft?
‘what PhD, FRS, ABCDEF astrophysicists say about the uncertainties at the forefront of their trade’
• The Great Tech Rivalry: China vs the U.S.
• China tech giants invest like there’s no stock slump
‘The Chinese Communist Party’s single-minded focus on high-productivity manufacturing and services driven by artificial intelligence can’t succeed without the country’s biggest pools of computational talent at tech leaders like Tencent, Baidu, JD.com and Alibaba.’
• South African court halts Shell Oil’s offshore oil exploration plans
• Addressing Global Challenges through Openness and Trust in Tech
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.
• Alliance Finance gets second tranche from Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO)
• CEO gets enjoining order against SANASA Development Bank
• DFCC Bank signs MOU with National Chamber of Exporters (NCE)
• Carson Cumberbatch share buyback of subsidiaries, Ceylon Investment & Ceylon Guardian
• Nalin Karunaratne appointed to Janashakthi Group’s Orient Finance Board
‘Worked with Akzo Nobel Paints Lanka; Darley Butler; ICL; Lafarge Holcim; and Reckitt Benckiser (Lanka), as well as Saudi Arabia’s Almarai Co. –world’s largest vertically integrated dairy company.
He currently is Director/Chief Executive Officer of Ceylon Biscuits and CBL Exports. OF Board also comprises Chairman Anil Tittawella, CEO K.M.M Jabir, Prakash Schaffter, Minette Perera, Indrani Goonesekera, Sriyan Cooray, Darshana Ratnayake…’
• Low-interest rates, lack of alternative investment options driving Colombo stock market
• Sri Lanka stocks down amid tight forex liquidity and foreigners exit
• Sri Lanka stocks gain after jump in forex reserves; but foreigners exit
• Stock Market investors keep cool despite foreign reserves hit more than USD 3 bn
• Colombo stock market ends 2021 at its best ever
• CSE & SEC to Set up Central Counterparty Mechanism
• UN Gender Equality gets a boost at Colombo Stock Exchange
• Bottom Falls Out of the Nasdaq New York Stock Exchange
• Battle for Control of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
• US Fed About to Wall Street Banks that Needed $4.5 Trillion in Repo Loans in Q4 2019
• JPMorgan Had $30 Billion Outstanding from the Fed’s Emergency Repo Loans
• Plunging Charts that the New York Stock Exchange Hopes You Won’t See
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’
• Tax Formula to determine cigarette price – NATA
• ADB invests $80 m in John Keells Holdings food chain
‘technical assistance funded by the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia (CFPS) to train 2,000 fruit and vegetable farmers…from ADB’s ordinary capital resources and from Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP). LEAP was established in 2016 with a $1.5 billion capital commitment from the Japan International Cooperation Agency’
• Bhikkhus urge Govt. to withdraw new licenses granted to manufacture liquor
‘Sri Lanka has about 24 licence holders producing liquor… only five of these 24 companies are contributing 95% to the tax income generated from the country’s entire liquor industry.’
• Information & Communication Technology Agency ‘Spiralation’ demo day features 10 startups
‘MintPay is Sri Lanka’s first “buy now, pay later” platform where consumers are given the chance to pay for their goods in installments through online purchases. Sanjeewa Pathirana, Founder and CEO of Nanosoft Smart Co-op, which is a fintech startup that is focused on empowering the Sri Lankan rural financial sector by creating a banking solution for cooperative banks in the island.
– island.lk/ictas-inaugural-spiralation-demo-day-features-10-startups/ island.lk/ictas-inaugural-spiralation-demo-day-features-10-startups/
• Japan-linked Hunas Falls to get Rs.4.2bn capital boost from parent
‘… with Japan’s Odakyu Electric Railway Co, UDS and Japanese property investment consulting firm Stasia Capital Holdings with an investment of US$ 22.6 million.’
• Corporations Succeed while Government fails
• Supreme Court upholds taxpayer Seylan Bank’s rights
• Condominium Management Authority proposes amendments to Apartment Ownership Act
• Condominium sales soaring to new heights
• New laws to strengthen existing e-commerce legal framework
• “City of the future” rising from the sea at Colombo
• The Hikkaduwa Hotel Attacked! – Part 29
• White Paper: China’s Export Controls
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.
• China, Myanmar & Sri Lanka
• Answer two questions and take a photo with a Vice Chancellor – Nalin de Silva
• Christmas story and God – Nalin de Silva
• Intern to Prince Maname – Nalin de Silva
• Rajju Bandara and Wickramabahu Bandara – Nalin de Silva
• Does France have no Religious Freedom? – Nalin de Silva
• The Fall of the Soviet Empire
• Do you need a government to sell everything to other countries?
• 2022: State of siege and Tamil consensus – Jayatilleka
‘Ven. Gnanasara thero insists to hand over the regime to the military’
• Jaffnaites hid the evil history of mediocre Tamils
• Open letter to Dr. Jehan Perera, National Peace Council of Sri Lanka
• Who funded PM’s Thirupathi pilgrimage?
• The Referendum – An illegitimate alien mechanism – Jayawickrama
• Presidential Task Force for “One Country, One Law” begins consultation in Central Province
• Cardinal calls for revolutionary change
• Power centralisation under Rajapaksa family underscores democratic backsliding: Analyst
• Never forget the ‘Helping Hambantota’ scandal: Vijitha Herath
• Appropriate to have mechanism of relevant experts outside government to guide it
• PAFFREL takes President to task for manipulating electoral map
• Independent commissions in a parliamentary system
• ‘Perspectives on Constitutional Reform in Sri Lanka’ by Jayewardene & Scharenguivel
• When the Sky Refuses to Fall: Xu Zhangrun’s Viral Coronavirus Reckoning (2020)
‘He is part of a long tradition of taking any domestic disturbance, whether it be a protest, corruption scandal, or even a natural disaster, and escalating it to “the greatest challenge to the Party’s legitimacy since Tiananmen 1989”’
• Brief History of the Black Panther Party & Its Place in the Black Liberation Movement (2008)
• 6 Notes on Darwin (1875) – Friedrich Engels
• Averting Disaster: Declaration of the 5th European Forum of the Left
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.
• Digitised TV Broadcasting funded by equipped with Japan tech launched
• Tsunami Exposed Best and worst of humankind and of my chosen tribe, journalists
• ‘Reality’ shows are staged and are pure fake
• Untold stories of forces have to be recognised and included in our history
• Charting a new history, for a new future
• Hydraulic empire par excellence
Teacher Training College of Fine Arts Moves to convert historic institute to a school
• National Art Gallery to reopen in 2022 Preserving brush strokes for posterity
• Preksha Drama Festival 2021 organized by the Tower Hall Foundation
• Transcending Sita by Vasantha Senanayake: Rajiva Wijesinha
• “My Jaffna: Pen Pictures of Post-war Jaffna”
• Eminent Indians in Galle
• New Book ‘Buddhism in Germany’ by William Peiris
• English woman Falling in love with the Crows of Sri Lanka
• Losing goodwill: Assam media’s way
• Afghanistan emerges most dangerous country for scribes: PEC
• When China Does Great Question Its Cost
‘There seem to be general meme directives for ‘western’ outlets with regards to official enemies. Russia is said to weaponize everything. The position of China is not (yet) seen as in military terms. The emphasis is on economic competition. Any undeniable Chinese achievement must be declared to have been a bad investment.’
• Catholic Priest Destroyed the Entire Mayan Written Language
• The 1619 Project and the Long Battle Over U.S. History
• Holiday Supply Chain Issues of Ancient Rome