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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Racing to develop

Over at Lanka Libertarian there is a bit of discussion about the social vs economic development. Sometime ago while discussing Sri Lanka with a family friend who was involved in and led a development organization for most of his life expressed the view that the problems were caused by the social development of the country outpacing economic development. I made a mental note though I wasn’t convinced of this as the causal factor.

The more plausible argument seems to be that the problems faced by Sri Lanka are multi-causal and economic development (the lack of it) was one of the causes. Particularly amongst the educated and meritorious youth who were frustrated by the lack of opportunities for advancement.

Anyway, while googling for a book on SL the new big-brother suggested a link to this paper titled Economic Roots of Political Conflict: The Case of Sri Lanka (pdf) by Sirimal Abeyratne. The Abstract reads,
The escalation of political conflicts in many developing countries and their impact on economic development have been topical issues in recent development literature. The overwhelming emphasis on 'ethnic conflicts' in the literature has, however, precluded analysts from looking at political conflicts beyond their ethnic dimension, in the wider context of the development process. In particular, because of the preoccupation with ethnic roots as the prime source of these conflicts, reverse causation, running from economic policy to political conflict, has been virtually ignored in the debate. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap through an in-depth case study of the 'twin political conflict' in Sri Lanka - the Tamil separatist war in the North and the Sinhala youth uprising in the South - with emphasis on its economic roots. The findings suggest that fundamental contradictions in the national development policy in the restrictive trade regime of Sri Lanka were at the heart of the country's twin political conflict.[paper (pdf)]
For an academic paper in economics its a surprisingly easy read. I recommend reading it, better yet print it out and keep it under the pillow and read a page or two each night before falling a sleep. More south-asian economics info at ASARC.

17 Comments:

  • At 11:35 pm AEDT, Blogger ashanthi said…

    "Particularly amongst the educated and meritorious youth who were frustrated by the lack of opportunities for advancement."

    That is profound - their frustation has led to armed conflict & a higher suicide rate than the UK

    I firmly believe that private enterprise would never take on the responsibility of reaching out to Sri Lanka's youth except to stick them behind a Big Mac counter selling burgers...

    We need government intervention to redress them imbalance that our disrupted society has inflicted on the hearts & minds of young people. My dear friend sittingnut - the lanka libertarian is strongly opposed to my ideas & I have to confess I'm very surprised about this. But, I am his friend & therefore respectful of his beliefs.

    In Sri Lanka - our poor are used by self-serving politicians in a debased manner. Good government needs first to be elected to power. In order to do this, we need ethics to be taught to young people who choose to enter politics, then & only then will we attain a fair & just society.

    Money & more of it will not create a fair & just society. In Sri Lanka - this is what we need the most.

     
  • At 2:00 pm AEDT, Blogger sittingnut said…

    thanks for the link.
    interesting paper. nothing much new in it imo, though the fact that we are living through a demographic bulge in the population and both conflicts generated from that generation is insightful.

    wish you happy holidays, christmas and a new year!
    :-)

    ashanthi:
    :-)
    sittingnut ... is strongly opposed to my ideas & I have to confess I'm very surprised about this- surprised? bc i have been open about my views from my very first post.

    Money & more of it will not create a fair & just society - maybe(though i can cite countless examples that went far in that direction), but a society trapped in poverty bc of socialism never will.

    government intervention has never made any change in poverty anywhere for a sustainable long time.

    private enterprise would never take on the responsibility of reaching out to Sri Lanka's youth - sure , that is not their job, what they should do is make profits for their owners, but in doing so they will make the country more productive and prosperous.

    i think we should agree to disagree on this one my friend.

     
  • At 4:45 pm AEDT, Blogger ashanthi said…

    yo - s/nut I'm surprised that you are hardline about any form of welfare for those who through no fault of their own are unable to fend for themselves.

    If you take a family unit - as I've tried to say before, forget the adults, think about the children. If you do not intervene they go on to repeat the patterns of their parents.

    I do not trust private enterprise to even make profits!!! Look at Enron! Look at the failures of capitalism - they are everywhere. No system on it's own is perfect - but if managed a combination - mixed economy if you wish does work.

    we'll agree to disagree - no problems I still think we make a good team :-) & ... I know under that tough, harsh exterior - you're a big softie... though I do ponder how you became so ridgid in your attitiudes on this issue - but we can talk about that in another post...

    I fundamentally believe that all people have a natural instinct to care for themselves & their own. I also know full well that this instinct can be terribly afflicted through unfortunate circumstances - we have all these unfortunate circumstances permeating through our country - war, racial violence, natural disastours, child abuse, corruption & neglect. Frankly it is neglect that is the worst of these crimes against humanity. I battle with myself regularily because I am guilty of the neglect of my people...

    s/nut - we must never forget these people & our societies must always, always have a mechanism to look after them ... I don't particular care who is responsible for it machan - just as long as you know that it is a shared responsibility - yours & mine

     
  • At 1:57 am AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    Ashanthi - before I start let me say "compliments of the season" and "happy holidays".

    My views are not that dissimilar to sittingnut's. I suspect we only differ in a matter of degrees.

    private enterprise would never take on the responsibility of reaching out to Sri Lanka's youth

    It's not meant take on the responsibility for social development. Each enterprise has its own motives. It just provides opportunities for an individual's advancement, material progress and communication based on mutually fulfilling the needs of the other.

    We need government intervention to redress them imbalance that our disrupted society has inflicted on the hearts & minds of young people.

    Please read this paper. This is what got the country into a whole mess in the first place. So your argument is to concentrate economic and political power in the hands of a few bureaucrats, politicians and their chosen cronies allowing corruption, inefficiency and discrimination to flourish? So one group or another feels hard done and can resort to some sort of justifiable struggle?

    IMHO, i think we should strive for less interference in our lives by governments.

    I think you are under-estimating the potential of markets, property rights, liberty and the rule of law to provide opportunities and the ability of markets to fulfil individual desires/aspirations, within reason.

    I am his friend & therefore respectful of his beliefs

    one doesn't need to be friends to "simply agree to disagree" with people having differing opinions. by disagreeing in a civilised manner you are recognising their individuality and respecting their dignity. time will judge who is right and who is wrong.

    self-serving politicians

    politicians are by nature self-serving, but then so are we all in one way or another. Anyway, politicians who ignore their constituents usually don't get elected at the next election.

    Politicians will only respond when they realise that they are about to loose or have lost votes. In an immature democracy like SL it takes time to create a new (and relevant) history of democratic accountability and responsibility. Each election brings us new lessons in how not to loose.

    Money & more of it will not create a fair & just society.

    No it wont but it will provide more opportunities

    - to satisfy peoples needs and wants,
    - to satisfy subjective wellbeing
    - for social mobility

    Also, the wealthier a society as a whole is, the more money it has to put towards implementing social policies.

    Finally to argue for social progress without economic progress is. in my view, quite naive.

     
  • At 2:10 am AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    sittingnut - Thank you. Wishing all the best and compliments of the season to you too.

    demographic bulge - yeah, I think this somewhat well known now. SL is a good example of the effects of this phenomena. This has also been identified as a problem in the arab world today due to a sudden growth in population. It probably sheds some light on the current political conflicts in the middle east.

    If I'm not mistaken, one of the reasons the government occationally goes on a mass hiring of uni graduates in SL is to avoid/absorb the unemployed, but educated, youth into the system so as to avoid the side-affects of this bulge.

     
  • At 2:19 am AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    sittingnut :

    government intervention has never made any change in poverty anywhere for a sustainable long time

    Actually it has. Most western countries do not have "absolute poverty" anymore. It's now mostly about "relative poverty". However they have not been sustainable because they seem to have gone too far in providing welfare. Many who recieve welfare are capable of earning a living but were caught in Things are changing as goverments try and get more people off wlfare and into jobs.

     
  • At 2:28 am AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    If you take a family unit

    Indeed this is one of the problems for "extreme individualist" thinking. Another anormaly is standards, though these are mainly decided by the market but they require coorperation between entities.

    Look at Enron...

    A few bad apples do not make a bad harvest. For each enron there are probably 20 more successes. Just think of the taxes that might make you feel better (s/nut - not a word please :) )

    Enjoy.

     
  • At 6:53 am AEDT, Blogger ashanthi said…

    Same to you matey ... hope you have a fab break. Do you celebrate Christmas?

    Guys - again, I'm surprised that you're both so hardline... hmmm but I think this bit by Ivap explains a lot ...

    This is what got the country into a whole mess in the first place.

    No - blind corruption using an ideology that was poorly implemented & interpreted got us & continues to get us into trouble.

    So your argument is to concentrate economic and political power in the hands of a few bureaucrats, politicians and their chosen cronies allowing corruption, inefficiency and discrimination to flourish?

    You know full well that ain't true & don't tell me that the above did not flourish under every single govt in SL - that would be the UNP included!

    So one group or another feels hard done and can resort to some sort of justifiable struggle?

    Do not belittle the feelings of those whom you are very far removed from . If you were not born into the cycle of poverty then truly you have no comprehesion of it. Nor should you underestimate the impact that failing businesses have on resources & the economy

    Ever heard of the good corporate citizen?

    Look I undestand your hardline views & where they come from. I do not advocate total govt control - I advocate a mixture of govt, private & voluntary to create a balanced & efficient system of distributing wealth & of course creating it.

     
  • At 9:34 am AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    oops - s/nut, the comment was meant to read

    Many who recieve welfare are capable of earning a living but were caught in the welfare trap

     
  • At 3:34 pm AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    Do you celebrate Christmas?

    I personally do not celebrate it in the religious sense. However I take part in the festivities with family, extended family and friends.

     
  • At 10:31 pm AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    blind corruption using an ideology that was poorly implemented & interpreted got us & continues to get us into trouble

    I must disagree here. In my view corruption is inevitable when there is a disproportiante number of have's and havenot's AND the "rule of law" is not applied equally. After all some will be more equal than others :)

    One cannot "properly implement" an ideology without a secret police. We have seen this throughout history. However if you mean that the "rule of law" and "equality before the law" have not been applied then I agree with you.

    Do not belittle .... I am not belittling. My argument is that the problem should/may never have risen if power (social and economic) wasn't concentrated amonst a few elites. As you would know this is not unique to SL.

    ....UNP included - again that's not what I'm saying...please, no more strawmen. The UNP were just as much into large government as every other party. "Conservatives" (social) love big governments too. Premadasa was possibly more of an exception to the rule.

    Ultimately you and I agree with the ends but not the means.

     
  • At 7:09 pm AEDT, Blogger ashanthi said…

    Dude - hey you finally responded! Ah well better late than never :-)

    Btw - the thing is Ivap - I can see that we have quite different opinions and attitudes. Well, you know we are Sri Lankans but obviously we all have different perspectives due to where we have grown up etc.

    What I cannot understand is what is it that makes us disagree so strongly that we end up killing each other. Why is it that everything we adopt in SL is done in such an extreme fashion? Why can't we learn to be moderates? Why do we never ever seek the middle ground with each other?

    I reckon we need to stop eating spicy food & drinking arak. Boiled vegetales & soda water - how about that!

     
  • At 8:56 am AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 1:58 pm AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    Been away from the blog

    What I cannot understand is what is it that makes us disagree so strongly that we end up killing each other

    IMHO, as an immature democracy Sri Lanka doesn't have a tradition or history of civilised, liberal political norms thus everyone is interested in pushing boundaries until there is a blowback. All of this will eventually be written in the history books fo future politicians. It seems to be getting better over the years but not good enough.

    However, right now the immediate problem is with the tigers. Totalitarians are not known for their politics of compromise.

    BTW hope you read the latest UTHR(J) report. It's provides a good insight into the current issues.

     
  • At 12:32 am AEDT, Blogger sittingnut said…

    hmmm. was too lazy in the past week to respond to anything and now i have completely lost the thread here.

    ashathi why don't you use italics or '' marks or any other mark (>, * ) when quoting. sorry, about presuming to give you instructions :-)

     
  • At 1:41 pm AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    sittingnut - know the feeling. Been a bit lazy on this front too.

    Ashanthi - as per s/nuts arrogant behaviour here are a few sugggestions if you are not familiar with HTML

    Simplest suggestion is to use double quotes around what you are "quoting".

    You can use some HTML tags to enclose text, such as

    <b> and </b> for bold effect

    <i> and </i> for italic effect

     
  • At 12:57 am AEDT, Blogger ashanthi said…

    yes, yes alright - hey & i didn't call s/nut arrogant - you did... i'll use quote marks etc, stop giving me grief both of you .... grrrr....

     

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