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Review of ‘Right of Way: A journey of resettlement’

I was delighted when asked to review Right of Way: A journey of resettlement by Sharni Jayawardena and published by the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA). Sharni’s skill in photography is enviable, and was the co-creator of Walkabout: Slave Island, supported by Groundviews. At the time of review, the publication was not in the public […]

In conversation with Prof. Anil K Gupta: Grassroots innovation and development

Prof. Gupta teaches at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and was in Sri Lanka recently to deliver the first Ray Wijewardene Memorial lecture. Prof. Gupta is one of the world’s leading voices on social innovation, and the development of social capital. We began our conversation with Prof. Gupta defining what he sees as social […]

Extravagance veiled as National Pride: Brief analysis of Corrupt Public Expenditure in Sri Lanka

Lessons from China or Tunisia? Just few months ago, in response to a public outcry for more accountability and transparency in the use of public funds, the State Council, which is the Cabinet in the Chinese government, directed 98 public institutions including ministries to make public their budgets and expenditure on  official receptions, official overseas […]

The Prime Minister’s call will exacerbate Horizontal Inequality in Sri Lanka

The statement by the Prime Minister that wheat flour imports should be banned is an irresponsible statement and must be retracted.  While it may be his choice to consume only rice, or he wishes more people in this country ate rice, he must be made aware that some people in Sri Lanka are totally dependent […]

Sri Lanka For Sale: Wealth Creation by Dispossession

“You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths.” Karl Marx No one knows how far the government […]

A Supreme Court & Government that erode investor confidence in Sri Lanka?

The Sri Lankan government is callously gambling with investor confidence. The effects are already evident, and will get worse.  ### One can understand President Obama’s urgency. His legislative programme has been delayed by a divided Congress, his approval ratings have fallen and next year is election year. Hence his new slogan is ‘We can’t Wait’. […]

The State Defense and City Development Ministry: From Utopia to Dystopia

Photo from RNW ‘Seek ye first the political kingdom, and all things shall be added unto you.’ Kwame Nkrumah (First President of Ghana, 1960) We got the ‘political’ kingdom and nothing has been added unto us: A lot has been taken away (Chinua Achebe, 30 years later) Security and development are primarily responsibilities of the […]

Facades of Development: Of Commonwealth Games and Drag Racing at Green Path

We woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of screeching tires, booming exhausts and the smell of burning rubber recently. My cousin’s children had nightmares and could not get back to sleep when the test runs were done. Calls to police emergency numbers were ignored: there seemed to be official patronage […]

A Prima Facie Critique of The New Bill to Vest in the State Under performing Enterprises and Under Utilized Assets

Editors note: Hotel Developers (Lanka) Plc, a CSE listed company that owns the Colombo Hilton hotel was named in a controversial new bill, rushed through Parliament in secret, not unlike the outrageous 18th Amendment. The Bill appears to have been certified by the Cabinet on the 20th October 2011 as an Urgent Bill and was […]

Development or maldevelopment?

Image from Wikipedia In the current hype on ‘Development’ have any of us questioned its intent?  Does it just mean ‘progress’ in the manner referred to by Anada Coomaraswamy when he published the comment that  “we who call art significant not knowing of what, are also proud to progress, not knowing wither” ?  Wandering aimlessly, […]

UNP victory in Colombo Municipal Council: A Political Economy of the Numerics

In capitalist modernity ‘elections’ are a means by which disparate social interests are brought together and ruling class hegemony is maintained. “Their politics consist of activity completely defined by the framework of bourgeois society…the actual training of the masses to become imbued with the inviolability of the bourgeois state” (Trotsky, The Lessons of October, 1924). […]

SEC must safeguard credibility of CSE to build investor confidence in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy JDS We understand that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is planning to compound undisclosed securities fraud by some billionaire investors. Media reports have begun to circulate that Environmental Resources Investments (ERI) and its Directors have agreed with the SEC to pay an insignificant fine of Rs 10 million and compound an offence […]

Chaos in Colombo: Mêlée over jobs indicates a serious economic problem in Sri Lanka?

Anushka Wijesinha (who blogs here), a Research Economist at the Institute of Policy Studies, sent us these incredible photos and video of the chaos in Colombo today when thousands of Korean job seekers appeared for Korean exam applications at the Police Park down Havelock Road. Mainstream media reports a figure of 10,000, which going by […]

Katunayake Protest as an Invitation to Political Economy

Photo courtesy Vikalpa [Editors note: For background on the Katunayake protests, read Protests in Katunayake Free Trade Zone: No police in sight] The state sponsored triumphalist ideological noise of Sinhalese ethno-nationalism was suddenly disturbed, on the eve of the officially declared month for the commemoration of war heroes (ranaviru), by an unexpected eruption of workers […]