Category Archives: commoditification

From Individual Atom to God Almighty

From Individual Atom to God Almighty

Michael Roberts

 With the growth of Western civilization from the 16th century onwards and its sweeping sway in the world today, we have seen the power vested in the individual atom known as “man” in its non-gendered sense. Individuation, and its blood-brother, egoism, is the warp and woof of everyday living in most parts of the world and is most pronounced in the states identified with the “West.”

Christchurch killer in court

It is imprinted and glorified in many sports competitions: say, surfing, marathon-running, motor-cycling, gymnastics, et cetera. Its imprint has been expanded by new technology such as skateboards and fancy bikes. There are also age-old sports which sustain the emphasis on intense individual action: for instance, fishing and hunting.

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Dushni and Sisira shoot down Western Picture of Chinese Debt Trap

Dushni Weerakoon and Sisira Jayasuriya

Global media and numerous ‘experts’ routinely assert that Sri Lanka was forced to cede a strategically important port to China after being lured into a debt trap by easy Chinese loans. This story has now become part of the wider narrative of how China is using the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to achieve its diplomatic and strategic aims through debt diplomacy. But it is a story based more on fiction than fact.

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Shipwrecks as Tourist Allure around Sri Lanka

Randima Attygalle, in SUNDAY TIMES SPOTLIGHT, 8 July 2018, with this title

With hundreds of shipwrecks found around the coast, the country can be a divers’ paradise, say experts who call for measures to protect these wrecks from illegal salvagers and the dynamite fishing mafia… Randima Attygalle reports

Battery Barge: From shipwreck to sleeping beauty. Pic courtesy Dharshana Jayawardena Continue reading

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Creeping Imperialism in Sri Lanka via Neoliberal Impositions and the UNHRC

Tamara Kunanayakam: “Introduction” to her academic article “Neoliberalism versus Sovereignty: The Case of Sri Lanka” in Sri Lanka Journal of Economic Research, Volume 6(1,) November 2018, pp.125-146…. [without the footnotes … and with underlining imposed]

A fundamental principle of international law, incorporated in a wide range of international and regional instruments, is permanent sovereignty over the nation’s wealth and resources and all its economic activities as a basic constituent of the right of peoples to self-determination and its corollary, the duty of States to respect sovereign equality in their relations with other States. It is a recognition that there can be no political independence without economic, social and cultural independence, “free from all forms of interference or pressure, direct or indirect, of whatever sort and under whatever pretext.” For independence to be complete, any future attempt to restore foreign influence or domination must be prevented forever.

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A Rajapaksa Cloud looming over Lanka’s Democracy

Sam Samarasinghe aka SWR de A Samarasinghe of Tulane University, in Sunday Observer, 27 January 2019, where the title isGotabaya’s alternative vision challenges Sri Lanka’s democracy” …. with highlighting emphases in different colurs imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently announced at a meeting of Viyath Maga, of which he is president that he was ready to contest the next Presidential Election that must be held this year.In his speech to the assembled professionals and business people he asserted that Sri Lanka must have national unity (jaathikathwaya) and rejected sectarian division (jaathiwaadaya). The Viyath Maga website makes all the right statements on good governance such as “steer the country in the correct path with accountability; inculcate democratic values…”, and so on. Rajapaksa also stressed the importance of solving ‘social problems’ focusing on poverty reduction. All of the above are desirable political goals for the country. They are also not new. The UNF in 2015, and earlier leaders, made similar promises that were largely ignored once in office.

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Hambantota Port: Some Basic Facts from the Spot Today

Lakshman F. B. Gunasekara,** responding to a SET of QUESTIONS from Michael Roberts [in black …with His Answers in blue]

For my own edification I would appreciate your THOUGHTS on any – or all — of these specific areas …. Or alternatively if you can point me towards some authoritative article which clarify the issues in useful ways.

A = Which Ministry or department is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Port and is there any Chinese participation in this admin/supervision?

The running of the port’s harbour marine-side operations is by SL Ports Authority, but all logistics (cargo loading/off-loading, ship crew servicing, ship servicing etc etc) is done on contract by a Chinese company which is a subsidiary of the giant, Hong Kong based China Merchants Group (which has similar and more complex operations all round the world). Port security is (in addition to Harbour Police) is maintained by a Navy troops unit while the Navy runs its own small naval base facility on one side of the harbour.

ALSO SEE … dated 9 December 2017 with Ranil Wickremasinghe in lead role

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Rescuing Sri Lanka’s Ailing Economy: Pathways Now

W. A. Wijewardena,* delivering the Professor H A de S Gunasekara Memorial Oration 2018 — entitled “Sri Lanka’s Economy at a Crossroads: The Way to Rescue the Ailing Economy” …. also available at–The-1972-76-Five-Year-Plan-and-its-diagnosis-of-economic-ailments/4-668469

ABSTRACT: Sri Lanka is at a crossroads today because it is snared in what is known as the middle income trap. It was easy for Sri Lanka to move up from a low income country to a lower middle income country by using its abundantly available cheap labour resources. However, moving up further to an upper middle income country was challenging since the country had to spend about 24 years in the lower middle income country category before making a breakout. Unless it attains an economic growth rate of about 9% per annum in the next 15 year period, it is unlikely that it will be able to beat the middle income trap. The way to do so is to produce for a market bigger than the market in Sri Lanka and supply goods that are demanded by that market. It requires the country to convert its production system from a simple technology based one to a complex technology one and join the global production sharing network to keep its presence in the market. The flipside is that these are challenging targets but not impossible since there are many countries that have done so with appropriate investment in science and technology leading to research, development and marketing.

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