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Quotes that teach


“If you want to become another Tarzan, a white man coming among black men, leading them and protecting them… it can’t be done.” — Gamal Abdel Nasser to Che Guevara,


“Some Sri Lankan political myths… are communicated over and over again by some experienced people. Either they’ve not been informed or they’re misguiding the people… eg, under the English there were only 929 Doctors to support a population of 6.6 million people. However, Ceylon had 147,000 servants, dhobies, and watchers. The infant mortality rate was 26% and the literacy rate was 58%. Only 70,000 spoke in English. There were 418 Civil Engineers. There were 30,000 school teachers to support a population of 2.5 million between the ages of 5-15 years. With the above track record, some people still state that Ceylon – Sri Lanka – has not achieved much for the last 70 years. You could make direct comparisons to each indicator as of now. Some say that before independence, colonial Ceylon managed to have a surplus budget. Indeed if services towards education, health and welfare are not adequately provided, achieving a budget surplus is a simple process.”

• “People in many parts of the country suffer due to lack of water for drinking and irrigation purposes. Tanks and irrigation systems have nearly collapsed. Development of the road network in rural areas should be expedited. Development projects serve no purpose if they fail to meet the basic needs of the people.”

• “What began to bother the West was the degree to which China, for all of its superficial adaptations to capitalist logic, was dramatically outperforming its competitors in the West, seemingly benefiting from the state management of economic activity, despite political authoritarianism, in a manner superior to what seemed possible in the developed societies of the West, especially with respect to savings and the investment of public funds. This dynamic is brilliantly depicted for Asia as  whole by the Indian economist Deepak Nayyar, in The Asian Resurgence: Diversity in Development (2019), which suggested an overall post-colonial Asian challenge to Western ascendancy in which 14 Asian countries, led by China, produced the most remarkable record of economic growth and poverty alleviation in the past 50 years that the world has ever known, and these countries achieved these remarkable results without the trappings of liberal democracy, thus drawing into question the US claim that market-driven constitutionalism was the only arrangement of state/society relations that was legitimate and materially successful.”

• “If you want to become another Tarzan, a white man coming among black men, leading them and protecting them… it can’t be done.” So said Egypt’s charismatic young leader, the tribune of Pan-Arabism, Gamal Abdel Nasser, to another young revolutionary, Che Guevara, on the eve of Che’s journey to the forests of Kivu Province in the former Belgian Congo to spearhead revolution in the heart of Africa.”
When Guevara first met Nasser in 1959 in the course of his initial postrevolutionary tour of Africa, he asked him how many refugees had been created in Egypt’s own revolution. Nasser replied, only a few, which Guevara declared meant “that nothing much happened in your revolution… I measure the depth of the social transformation by the number of people who are affected by it and feel they have no place in the new society.”

• “This American system of ours gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it” – Al Capone

• “In our small misguided countries, we have lost our way, and the political party system has basically tribalized the countries in such a way that our countries are in a constant state of disaffection and ferment. Blind loyalty to the political party is always stronger than loyalty to the nation. Black populations that have been robbed, battered and raped by the colonizers have meekly chosen to retain the colonial sovereign as their head of state, while still arguing that they are independent. They also meekly accept a development agenda designed by the colonizers and put under the supervision of institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. They meekly accepted the burden of the so-called Millennium Development Goals (8 targets), and when that was clearly taking them nowhere, they later accepted the new burden of the Sustainable Development Goals (17 targets).
Where are our brains, and why would we so trustingly depend on our perpetual slave masters to lead us into a bright future?” – Herman Grant, Jamaican economist.

For insightful commentary on economics (and more importantly, ‘economists,’ visit https://eesrilanka.wordpress.com/)

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