‘the power to disrupt our economy or exercise unwanted geopolitical leverage’
‘Before you study the economics, study the economists!’
e-Con e-News 08-14 May 2022
The US Treasury, which controls the IMF, etc., is sending a team to Sri Lanka. US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen’s speech in April to the Atlantic Council in Washington, therefore, scatters clues into the ‘failure’ of Sri Lanka’s supply chains. Yellen is demanding a new Bretton Woods framework and a revamp of the IMF and World Bank institutions (she was speaking just before their spring meetings).
No more short-term profit-based ‘offshoring’. Yellen coins a new trope for their ‘post-neoliberal era’ – ‘friend-shoring’. The US would now favor ‘the friend-shoring of supply chains to a large number of trusted countries‘ that share ‘a set of norms and values about how to operate in the global economy’. She marks NATO’s war on Russia, and the failure of several major countries to support the US sanctions on Russia as ‘a pivot point for the global economy.’
In future, US trade policy would no longer involve merely leaving markets to their own devices, but rather would uphold certain principles – from national sovereignty and a rules-based order to security and labor rights. As she put it, the USA’s objective should be not just “free but secure trade”.
Countries will not be allowed to use their ‘market position in key raw materials, technologies or products to have the power to disrupt our economy or exercise unwanted geopolitical leverage’ (See Random Notes).
‘All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy, 1877
All ruling families do not rule in their own way. Nor are all ruling families unloved. Take the Wijewardena family of Sri Lanka. All the whites and Black-whites love them.
US, English and Japanese envoys all rushed to greet the newly appointed Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe, a relative of many of Sri Lanka’s leaders, kindred to the Wijewardenas. Even GoGoGama has gone gaga: ‘The group of representatives of the public protest at the Galle Face Green in Colombo has handed over their joint declaration to the newly appointed PM’ (Newswire).
Who chose this ‘group of representatives of the public protest’? And how were they chosen? It doesn’t matter. The capitalist media (which in Sri Lanka is dominated by a Wijewardena-Unilever nexus) wants to keep choosing our ‘representatives’. Besides, the chambers of commerce, business leaders, etc., all love this PM too. In Ranil, they trust (see ee Politics).
‘Markets reacted positively with the Colombo Stock Exchange
up almost 10% on the back of the appointment,
while the currency exhibited some stability due to moves by the Central Bank
likely encouraged by the political stability its Governor demanded just days before.’
Their collective relief and sturdiness is almost edible.
Earlier in the week, this 6th-time-PM’s nephew-in-law Deshal de Mel, Research Director at US-funded thinktank Verité, was reappointed by the Finance Ministry as an advisor. The new Prime Minister has also appointed committees to beg the import mafia: ‘the respective trade associations and officials to find solutions to fuel, gas, medicine and fertilizer shortages’.
Former ministers in the Yahapalana government are heading these committees: Vajira Abeywardena and Palitha Range Bandara will ‘place proposals on providing essential food items without a shortage after consultations with officials and trade associations… The PM’s cousin, former minister Ruwan Wijewardena, will ‘put forward solutions on minimizing medicine shortages’… former minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam will report ‘on the fertilizer shortage’… former Minister Sagala Ratnayake is looking into the ‘shortage of fuel & gas’.
The media cannot tell us exactly which foreign banks and multinationals these ‘shortage ministers’ will be talking to.
This ocean they call Indian that rocks and cradles us. For 500 and more years supply chains that crisscross this ocean have been controlled by heavily armed merchant networks (aka criminal gangs) under the dominant imperialist powers.
Their MNCs control most world trade; the importers, whose orifices these ministers have to lubricate, are merely MNC agents, and also relate to the same set of families and ‘market minorities’:
‘Central Bank governor N Weerasinghe said they observe that importers somehow have been finding dollars to bring goods such as TVs, refrigerators, mobile phones and the like, when the dollars could not be found for essential imports. He urged consumers also to defer such purchases if possible for another 6 months or so because the priority today is to have medicine, fuel, gas, etc to run a working economy.’ (ee Economy, Daily Guidance)
The CB governor, a former US-IMF employee, is admitting there are more powerful forces than the government. If so, it is these importers who really run the country, regardless of elections and parties. Their main aim is the further weakening of the Sri Lankan state. In particular, to prevent the modern industrialization of the country.
• Who exactly was behind the escalation of last week’s violence, that flared on all sides? Some blame it on unidentified ‘helmets’. Some say these ‘helmets’ belong to a ‘revolutionary party’. Others say these ‘helmets’ work for several masters. Is there a 3rd force whose main aim is to inflame both sides? Not so, says the marketer of all marketers:
‘Sri Lanka violence could tarnish image as democratic liberal market country’ warns the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM). SLIM’s job is to celebrate the country’s criminal and advertising and PR sector. SLIM promotes imported goods. One doesn’t need to be brighter than sunlight to guess who this ‘SLIM’ is. Think of oodles of multinational soap bubbling through our drains, keeping our lawyers’ and business leaders’ white shirts white. We are, adds SLIM, a ‘country that respects principles of democratic governance!’
SLIM then lays down the line, the gospel of the hour, the good news: ‘A number of government MPs’ homes and offices were torched by angry mobs around the country Monday and Tuesday, in a wave of spontaneous violence that was triggered by an unprovoked attack on peaceful anti-government protestors by supporters of ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa.’
The ‘country is in a transition economically and politically’ says SLIM. SLIM believes ‘timely & immediate steps, driven by consensus among all concerned, is what will help Sri Lanka navigate the challenging transition peacefully and emerge as a resilient nation. In initiating such positive efforts, SLIM shall stand with the committed stakeholders in an unhesitant manner, in all possible ways,’ it said (see ee Economists, SLIM)
So the white messaging is very clear, and comes at us from 100 ‘sponsored’ angles: The Rajapakses are almost solely blamed. With one voice, this white message is broadcast by all their news services and social media trolls. A worldwide and historically wrought economic meltdown is also blamed on this one family. A lack of democracy however is also being blamed on the institution of the Executive President.
• Most of the NGOs calling for the abolition of the Executive Presidency are funded by countries with powerful executive presidencies and imperialist states. Such NGOs, including the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Centre for Policy Alternatives, National Peace Council, etc., are heavily funded by USAID, etc. These very same NGOs are also demanding the economy come under the US Treasury’s IMF. The IMF’s 17th panacea, like the 16 panaceas before, will further entrap us (ee Focus, Vallejos).
• The new PM, is from a Colombo-centric clan, a leading gang of families installed throughout the long horror-scape of colonialism. A family, imperialism has long grown comfortable with. A family that holds monopoly power over the media (Wijeya Group), of course with the assent of such leading banks and multinationals as Unilever, etc. A look at the fat glossy advertising supplements of their newspapers is all one needs to see their love of the imported good life. His family belongs to one of the criminal gangs among a few religious ‘market minorities’, who have looted the country: in this PM’s case – the Anglican church, whose leader is the monarch of England, and head of its military forces and settler colonies.
• The IMF will make us even more dependent on imported goods as they seek to extend their control. Their multinational corps, through their sponsorship of media and other patronage networks, dominate distribution and also undermine and prevent investment in local industrial production.
They will seek to maintain us as an entrepot for consumption, a drug and money laundry, tax hideout and tourist resort. They aim to keep us subjected to the whims and fancies of the import-export plantation oligarchy that has ruled us for the last 500 years and more. They call it neoliberalism, but it aint that new or liberal (ee Economists, Neoliberalism’s Colonial Origins).
continued on: eesrilanka.wordpress.com