The USA was 75 years old in 1851, about to indulge in major slaughter again on US soil – they called it a ‘civil war’…
‘Before you study the economics, study the economists!’
e-Con e-News 25-31 December 2022
‘The growing Indian role in Sri Lanka is accelerated by the US-controlled IMF deliberately delaying much needed assistance’, observed National Freedom Front (NFF) MP Wimal Weerawansa in June 2022. The PM (then: Ranil Wickremasinghe) was also ‘delaying getting fuel from Russia’. Weerawansa suspected the Quad and the West would use their ‘Right to Protect’ policy to launch ‘international’ military operations against Sri Lanka, (ee 18 June 2022, IMF Delays Dollars to Fuel the Flames).
• 6 months hence, it is the end of 2022, and IMF stalling continues. They keep beating about the tea bush. They are threatening the collapse of local banks and pension funds. The stalling enables the US, India, Japan and EU to make studied inroads into the polity and economy. Meanwhile, a supine capitalist media has amplified their blaming of China for the deliberate dawdling by the IMF (see Random Notes, IMF Aiming for SL’s Pension Funds).
• Back in early 2020, as the pandemic struck, ee called for the Sri Lanka government to initiate a system of planning, production and distribution to ensure food and military security. ee pointed to certain ’emergencies’ in Sri Lanka: such as when the colonial English assured wages for workers and prices for cultivators, wishing to buy goodwill, while fearing invasion from Japan (ee 15 February 2020).
ee also recorded how US President D Trump invoked their powerful Defense Production Act (ee 21 March 2020), while Spain declared a state of emergency, mobilized their military, and nationalized all private hospitals & all healthcare providers.
No such ‘defense production’ or ‘nationalizing’ talk is allowed in Sri Lanka. Only the selling of national assets. So, despite the ‘landslide’ election of an at-least nominally nationalist government in 2019, foreign merchants, moneylenders and their media – anti-social media – have continued to rule. Their unchecked power has led to a struggle (aragalaya) not against these bankers and merchants, but to a hijacked and paralyzed administration.
• The ongoing standoff in Kosovo, with the NATO-EU-backed Albanian warlord demand to remove all Serb imagery from public buildings previews the playbook closer to home, deadlined for the 75th anniversary of independence (see Random Notes).
The push for an election to legitimize the IMF’s toxic therapies at the point of a brutal economic shakedown, manipulates petit-bourgeois anarchy and lumpen nihilism to impose the US and India’s writ, politically economically and militarily.
When the USA was 75 years old in 1851, it was on the verge of indulging in a major blood-slaughter on US soil. One more war to determine its future as a united and modern industrial economy. It was still trying to shake off its cotton plantations as a colony of England’s textile mills. It was a war finally decided by a large general strike of workers on those very southern plantations…
• The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has always been against the independence of the country, said SBD de Silva (to whom this blog is dedicated). Now the Central Bank wishes to be independent of the country. This week, the Central Bank Governor N Weerasinghe declared that only dollar-earning businesses will survive. He was then hailed by another of The Island‘s (newspaper’s) numerous anglomaniacs as ‘one genuine public servant and most important person to the economy of the country approved of by almost all’. Overmuch praise doth damn!
This is the governor whose first order was to declare one of the best-endowed nations in the world, rich in sweat and soil, as bankrupt. Not only that. After over 500 years of continued invasion and plunder – our interrogators have never come here to save souls and teach elocution – it is somehow we who owe the invaders. What accounting, what mathematics, what numeracy? And since the numbers are not forthcoming from our ‘chartered ‘accountants, and we only have words for almost free – what literacy is this?
Our illiteracy is the failure to fathom the field before us. The whites always preferred to hand over so-called power to a trained well-schooled (tanned) minority, with artistic airs and elocuted wit, who have no idea about what an independent nation requires: a modern industrial economy.
Speaking of governing central banks, the last Central Bank Governor of Afghanistan, before he had to book a seat on one of those overloaded US flights from Kabul, allowed the US to grab its entire reserves. Perhaps the ticket out was the reward. Now the US is giving Afghanistan lectures on their expertise of feminism, while promoting good-old terrorism from Tajikistan…..
• This week saw the US, which blocked our access (via India) to fuel (& therefore fertilizer & food) announce US$4millon to ‘stabilize the food sector’! (see ee Agriculture, USAID, Keells & HNB partner on $4mn supply chain)
The Island headlined, Amidst crisis US expanding its role through JKH, HNB, explaining: ‘Against the backdrop of the country’s continuing financial crisis, the US has teamed with John Keells Holdings & Hatton National Bank (HNB) to lend money to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the food sector. The US calls it an innovative supply chain facility, meant to access capital, through Keells Supermarkets & HNB.
USAID’s choice of Catholic bank HNB is curious. The US (via World Bank (IBRD)’s International Finance Corporation, IFC) is the largest shareholder of Commercial Bank (ComBank). The ‘IFC claims to have ‘injected $50million in Commercial Bank of Ceylon and $25million in Nations Trust Bank to help small businesses stay afloat during the height of the pandemic in March’. Now both HNB & Combank are reported this week as being shaky, or rather, possessed of huge ‘impairments’ (see Random Notes).
• USAID, Keells & HNB – ‘Facilitating greater access to capital’, a trifling US$4 million will ‘reduce the supply chain disruptions that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic and were exacerbated by the country’s recent economic crisis’. Gabriel Grau, USAID Mission Director: ‘Sri Lankan enterprises face increasing pressures due to recent global supply chain disruptions, high energy costs, volatile inflation rates, and economic instability. This supply chain financing facility alleviates some of the pressures and enables MSMEs to optimize their working capital.’
What Herr Grau cannot not tell us is: it is the US primarily driving the ‘supply disruptions’, ‘energy costs’ ‘volatile inflation’ & ‘instability’. We also wonder if these ‘MSMEs’ are in fact ‘independent’ procurement & distribution fronts for the multinationals, the powerful sales networks (which overlap with illegal drug networks) for the low-level yet expensive machines & chemicals of Chevron (Exxon), Unilever, Baur, Ceylon Tobacco Co, etc. By the way, where do these multinationals park their foreign reserves? (see Random Notes).
• Panaceas, Elixirs & Slow Cyanide – US news agency Bloomberg columnist Andy Mukherjee offers a New Year wish to ‘end’ Sri Lanka’s ‘suffering’ quickly, even if this ‘suffering’ will ‘not end soon’.
He wants India to turn Sri Lanka into a Hong Kong: ‘There’s no reason why a small, open economy should want its own monetary policy.’ India’s money launderers could do with a ‘hard-currency enclave at their doorstep’.
Mukherjee may be referring to Gautam Adani, who is set to swallow juicy chunks of Sri Lanka, from strategic Trincomalee to energy-rich Mannar to vital Colombo port. Mukherjee recently exposed the ‘obscure’ Gujerati Adani’s major but shady shareholders, many based in Mauritius, which is India’s biggest source of foreign direct investment, FDI! – an Indian sugar plantation laundry! (ee Economists, World’s 2nd-Biggest Fortune)
Bloomberg’s Mukherjee repeats the Wall Street mantra that Sri Lanka’s financial system can be strengthened by ‘changing the mandate of the central bank to a HK-style currency board operating a fixed exchange rate’. Hong Kong’s currency is pegged to the US Dollar. A currency board, touted by all the US thinktanks in Sri Lanka, from Advocata’s Cato Salleys to Verite’s De Mel twins, could ignite the needed ‘spark’ to instil ‘confidence’. He feels the IMF’s new Central Bank law for Sri Lanka is just ‘lofty ideals’ (Random Notes, Why Sri Lanka’s suffering may not end soon). Amen!
By the way, Sri Lanka has many similarities to Hong Kong, the most obvious being the concentration in the capital of recalcitrant off-white anglomaniacs marooned in a white worldview…
• ‘The chance that some minority investors would try to arm-twist Sri Lanka for better terms is high’ intimates Mukherjee: English launderer Hamilton Reserve Bank (HRB), which is suing Sri Lanka, is based in the Caribbean’s St Kitts & Nevis. ‘Headquartered on a large bank compound at the HRB Plaza in St Kitts’, HRB claims to be ‘the largest global bank in the region’, ‘with a deep British heritage’. St Kitts has a Citizenship by Investment Program. HRB’s auditor is English tax magician Grant Thornton. England’s lax Financial Reporting Council (FRC) even calls Grant Thornton ‘the worst performer’ of their major accountants. We can guess who is really behind this Hamilton Bank stalling . Ironically, the bank is named after the first US Treasury Secretary, 1789-1795, Alexander Hamilton. That Hamilton was an industrializer who said, ‘Don’t do as the English say, do as the English do.’
HRB was in the news recently for falsifying PR gloss using the St Kitts PM at a Dubai seminar on its Citizenship by Investment program. St Kitts embassy says it ‘will collaborate with the Dubai Financial Services Authority to investigate’ and ‘immediate action should be taken against Hamilton Reserve Bank’. HRB Dubai Branch is the only banking institution from St Kitts & Nevis operating a UAE government-approved Dubai Branch.
• It may seem hallucinatory at this hour to perorate on the powerful role that machine tools – the machines that nobody knows – play in an economy. We must be delusional. Yet economists will never mention our dire need for modern production. For them, Sri Lanka must remain an import-export colonial plantation economy. Few even know about Sri Lanka’s role in the transmission of steel technology across the world including Japan. (ee Focus, Transmission Belt for Steel Technology: Ideas Transfer from SL towards Japan, Susantha Goonatilake)
Jun Suzuki’s 1976 intriguing essay, The Humble Origins of Modern Japan’s Machine Industry, in this week’s ee Focus, equally fascinates and frustrates. It provides valuable hints into Japan’s early industrialization, and the origins of such powerhouses Toyota, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki & Ishikawajima Harima (now IHI). Yet using the ‘passive voice’, it does not tell us the exact role of Japan’s leadership, the role of policy and bureaucracy.
Still Suzuki’s essay examines which industries Japan protected and developed, which industries were opened to outside involvement. Yet both exports and imports served a local industrial strategy.
By the 20th century several large factories had focused on their own markets in such modern industries as ocean shipping, railway, cotton spinning, paper manufacture, electric power production. Here the main machines were initially imported, but then repaired & replicated by Japan’s engineers. How many of our engineers can make an engine? we wonder. Or would be allowed to, let alone invested in?
Also, many artisan workshops in Japan were traditional smith shops that made agricultural tools, and workshops where steam engines were built. These artisans built tools and machines for the use of all traditional industries such as agriculture, fishery, silk reeling, weaving, small collieries). These artisans also developed the power-loom industry, from which the famous automobile manufactures Toyota and Suzuki developed.
Much of Japan’s early industry was encouraged by the US, French and Dutch, English, seeing it as a bridgehead, a balcony from which to invade Asia and China, using Japan as a cat’s paw. Ford, GM & Chrysler’s patents & machines were also behind Toyota, Datsun and Mitsubishi. Yet, Japan, still a US colony, claims to have always sought to be independent.
Envoys in Sri Lanka, from the US colony of South Korea, have been giving Lankans lectures on punctuality and economy. This week a ‘Korean envoy’ spoke about ‘The Path of Economic Development in Republic of Korea’; that we need not sell assets, all we need is ‘a 10-year plan’ with ‘more technical schools’ established.’ Something to think about. Including the division of their country and the imposition of 10,000s of US military forces…
A1. Reader Comments –
• EDB’s German Tools • CPA’s Alternative Accounts • Ranil Harry Happy •
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Dollar Thy Name is Debt • Central Asian Flyway Last Stop • 103 River Systems • Palification of Sinhala • Hotel Debts made Bank Profits • Hambantota goes Harvard • Mao & Nehru • Value of Sanctions • Steel as Backbone • The US War’s Off-white Flak Jackets • Facebook as Spy • US of Amnesia’s Gang of 8
A3. Random Notes –
• Japan’s Migrant Murders • Human Traffickers & Merchant Refugees • IMF Aiming for SL Pension Funds • One End to Suffering Debt • Moody’s flees Sri Lanka • Banks on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown • Economists speak in the Passive Voice • Where Goes Unilever’s Reserves? • Singapore’s Fake Tax Software • 100 Years of the USSR • IMF Limits for Bankrolling War • Kosovo Game Plan for SL
A4. Building Blocks
• Creation of a Home Market for our Industry • Japan’s Limits to Industrial Exports • Smallholding & Science • The Extraordinary Culture of Machine Tools
B. ee Focus
B1. Transmission Belt for Steel Technology: Ideas Transfer from Sri Lanka towards Japan – Susantha Goonatilake
B2. The Humble Origins of Modern Japan’s Machine Industry – Jun Suzuki
C. News Index
…continued on eesrilanka.wordpress.com