e-Con e-News

Unmaking the Republic of Sri Lanka (1972-2022)


‘…a sliced-up sub-colony of a subcontinental sahib…’

blog: eesrilanka.wordpress.com

Before you study the economics, study the economists!

e-Con e-News 21-27 May 2022

I consider it an unforgettable moment in my life to have the privilege

of hoisting our national flag once again at this moment

where a free, independent republic was established,

with a constitution drafted by our own people.

– Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike on 22 May 1972 at the Dalada Maligava,

declaring the ‘Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka’

The present move to destroy me politically would be welcome also

to moneymakers from overseas and perhaps to certain foreign governments

whose aims to exploit countries such as ours are only too well known.

It is reasonable to conclude that the foreign policy I adopted

when I was PM and the actions I took in foreign affairs have moved certain foreign interests

 to ensure that I do not head a government in this country ever again…

Yet, Mr Speaker, at a time… when economically & socially our country is once again being betrayed to foreign interests, my policies (or the policies I would adopt if I were return to power again) must be

anathema to those who betray the national interest.

– Sirima Bandaranaike in Parliament, 16 October 1980

50 years after we removed the Queen of England as head of state, imperialism and their local fanboys and fangirls are demanding the abolition of the executive presidency – a post elected by all the people. Imperialism does not trust the Sri Lankan people.

     One lesson of the last 75 years, at least: it seems Sri Lanka cannot be allowed to choose our own leaders. If we decide to choose them anyway, imperialism will cut them down to size. Especially if leaders seek to strike an independent economic path, and refuse to be a sliced-up sub-colony of a subcontinental sahib, a captive home market for other’s machine industry.

     As ee goes to post, Sri Lanka is subject to India’s tied-largesse and diversionary threats – ‘Reclaim Kachchatheevu!’ demands a Tamil Nadu Chief Minister who earlier called for Eelam. All this, while the government is forced to allow all privately-owned bunker fuel operators to import and distribute diesel and fuel oil (from one source: Exxon) to various industries. This further unmakes the nationalisation of the country’s petroleum industry, an attempt which began 60 years ago, again, under Sirima Bandaranaike. What happened after 1962? The media cannot divulge…but reality does:

Hopefully India will speak on behalf of Lanka at the Quad summit in Tokyo next week

Sunday Times Editorial, 22 May 2022

‘IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva particularly lauded India’s help to Sri Lanka in the face of the ongoing economic crisis. Sitharaman called upon the IMF to support and urgently provide financial assistance to Sri Lanka. The Managing Director assured the Indian Finance Minister that the IMF would continue to actively engage with Sri Lanka.’ – see ee Economy, IMF Praises India

‘Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda particularly appreciated Indian Finance a& Corporate Affairs Minister of India Nirmala Sitharaman’s taking up the case of Sri Lanka on the sidelines of the IMF Spring Meetings in April in Washington DC with the IMF, other multilateral institutions and bilateral development partners… The High Commissioner reiterated that Sri Lanka would require bridge financing until the economic adjustment program with the IMF could be negotiated and finalised… Chief Economic Advisor of the Indian Government Prof Anantha Nageswaran led the Indian side…’ – ee Sovereignty, SL Tells India

‘The Prime Ministers of India and Japan met on May 24 on the sidelines of the US Quad summit in Tokyo, and held bilateral talks on ‘close cooperation’… to realize a ‘Free & Open Indo-Pacific’, in addition to collaboration in spheres including defence… The leaders “discussed the situation in Sri Lanka and confirmed that they will cooperate with each other in light of the current economic crisis and deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the country.” Further, they “shared the view to work together to develop Indo-Pacific Economic Framework into an inclusive framework that will bring substantive benefits to the region”.’ – ee Sovereignty, India & Japan

• Banner headlines keep blaring: Crisis, crisis, crisis. Is it really a ‘Crisis’? Or is it the inevitable culmination of preventing a modern industrial economy to preserve the international division of labor and capital? No matter. The capitalist media keeps doing what they do best: Distractification. The 17th IMF aspirin will give us our 17th headache! While weakening the state, privatization will further accelerate the division of the country.

• And yet, the hubris! The nerve! The sheer hypocrisy! Migrant workers (or should we call them economic exiles?) have been our largest source of foreign exchange. Foreign exchange, that is stolen by local merchants and hoarded outside the country, betting against the rupee being collapsed. Yet this week found the Daily Mirror suddenly scolding ‘migrant workers’ for not understanding ‘their duty’. The DM blamed their ‘excessive greed’ for not sending their money through legal channels.

     The Island, meanwhile, is waiting for the ‘truth to unravel’ about how ‘underground cash transfer systems… dried up foreign exchange flows’. (ee Quotes).

• Governments have been allowing, what now amounts to at least US$200million of food to be imported every month – including onions, sprats, potatoes, lentils, cereals, rice. Food importers are however threatening food shortages, that riots will erupt, because the Finance Ministry has supposedly banned them from hoarding dollars abroad, with effect from 20 May 2022. Meanwhile dollars are sold to the highest bidders to keep on importing luxury goods, while refusing dollars for fuel, food and meds.

Fitch-linked Wall Street-robot-parrot EconomyNext inadvertently linked fertilizer importers to this criminality, even as these capitalists usually proclaim ‘rule of law’: “Undiyal and kerb market drives remittances and tourist inflows to the most urgent needs including fertilizer (known as boat urea) according to those familiar with the process.’ – see ee Economy, Tightened

Trading Taboos – The capitalist media refuses to even touch the incessant hemorrhaging of foreign exchange through trade misinvoicing, led by the multinationals. Most of those clamoring about corruption have never heard of MNC transfer pricing. Then again, the media is owned by MNCs like Unilever. We gain no profit by their superstar-crazy media, which would rather promote constant outragification and awesomeification, than soberly educating us.

• Millions of dollars have been gushing wholesale out of the country through legal channels. The media rather point to lesser, pettier retail criminals:

     ee long ago also pointed to the rampant smuggling by regional merchant families, so-called ‘market minorities’, who act as a buffer between the multinationals and the people. ee of 20 November 2021, noted, ‘Gems, diamonds and jewellery exports up 59% to $195mn in first 9 months.’ But it’s more than just gems:

• The capitalist media instead highlights government corruption & debt as the main issues. They would rather blame politicians & ‘human nature’ (greed, etc), rather than pointing to capitalism and – just as importantly for us – pointing to capitalism’s prevention of investment in modern production.

• In the trillions of words splurged on Sri Lanka’s economy, there’s very little mention that Sri Lanka needs a modern industrial plan. This is not an accidental omission. The modern history of Sri Lanka can be elucidated as the active prevention of industrialization, through massive elite obstruction by the import-export plantation oligarchy, deploying legislative manoeuvre, sabotage, assassination, coup d’état, bribery, and terrorism.

• The capitalist media refuses to discuss industrialization at any depth. The need for industry is usually misinterpreted and distorted, as handicraft, assembly, etc.

     Despite all claims to a high literacy, few know exactly what industrialization even means. What we have therefore is a literacy without numeracy. Worse, we have a nationalism bereft of economics. Letters without numbers. ABC without 123:

Manufacturing is the mainstay of the national economy,

the basis on which the nation is established,

an instrument of rejuvenation,

and the foundation of a world power.

So begins Made in China 2025, China’s State Council statement on economic strategy. This

ee Focus reproduces an excerpt from Made in China 2025.

     ee‘s argument is that, without industrialization, no matter who takes over the leadership of this merchant-dominated plantation economy, we will have to be led by thieves. As US founding ‘father’ and slaveowner Benjamin Franklin said: ‘War is robbery, commerce is generally cheating.’ So ‘commerce’ and their many ‘chambers’ is what we get. Some may call these ‘chambers’ – gangs!

The roots of the beautiful country’s crisis lies not just in short-term economics,

but more in its linguistic, religious, and cultural majoritarianism over the past decades

– Indian MP Jairam Ramesh, Karnataka

This is a ‘crisis’, cry the headlines of many if not most media commentaries, Right & Left. Capitalism’s meltdowns appear to be occurring with greater frequency. The pandemic, the escalation of wars around the world, and present inflationary increases in prices, must instead be viewed as attempts by capitalism to rescue itself. In Sri Lanka there are therefore also other factors at play: Ensuring no ‘unwanted geopolitical leverage’.

• ‘The West has declared total war against us, against the entire Russian world. Nobody even hides this fact now’ – Sinhala-speaking Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said this week.

     The white world led by the US is escalating their wars on the world. Attacking Russia and China provides capitalism with an excuse. The English media can then keep blaming rampant inflation, food and fuel hikes on war (which their US masters ignited) in Eastern Europe and on the pandemic.

     While there is little media about the US invasion of East Africa, France’s blockading of the seas into Mozambique, and the US and England attacking ships going to Yemen, the media instead blared about Russia and China conducting their 4th strategic joint air patrol since 2019, over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea on Monday. Also, for the first time since 2006, Russia and China on Thursday vetoed a US-drafted UN Security Council resolution to escalate sanctions on North Korea. – see Random Notes

continued on: eesrilanka.wordpress.com

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