Paddy farmers hit below the belt
Daily Mirror Editorial
Mar 24, 2011

After about 40 years, the journey to the Promised Land or Utopia expected from the globalised capitalist market economic system appears to be at a dead end. The economies of the United States, the European Union and other countries are like sand castles that might fall in the next storm with countries like Greece plunging into bankruptcy.

The master minds and master builders of this economic system which enveloped virtually the whole world acted on the basic concept of what they hoped would be a trickle down process. They believed that if more wealth was produced or created mainly by the wealthy nations or people, part of it would trickle down to poor nations and people. It was the old concept of the crumbs from the banquet table. But they did not deal with the problems of selfishness, self-centredness and greed. Nations and people were not liberated from these deadly vices, and world leaders did not realise that such inner liberation cannot and does not come from economic principles but from the liberative spirituality of the world's great religions.

Without liberative spirituality or without dealing with the vice of selfishness and greed, the globalised market economy has produced a monstrosity where some 85 per cent of the world's wealth and resources are in the hands of 15 per cent of the people comprising mainly the rich and ruling elite. Such a monstrosity apparently cannot go on and today we see a selfish and greedy world on the expressway to self-destruction economically and socially with environmental pollution and global warming raising fears of a doomsday scenario. Since 1977 Sri Lanka also disowns the principles of social justice and went wholesale into the globalised capitalist market economic system. The country's first Executive President J.R Jayewardene used or abused his unlimited powers and his five-sixth majority in Parliament to push Sri Lanka fully into what turned out to be a rat-race of selfishness and greed. Some 35 years later Sri Lanka is today facing its worst economic crisis, though leaders of the Rajapaksa regime have been giving inflated figures of growth rates covered up by showpiece projects like international ports and airports, expressways and lotus towers.

With the biggest ever increases in fuel prices on February 11 and the devaluation of the rupee, the real situation is now being exposed after years of duplicity and deception, with the cost-of-living soaring out of control.

Millions of people are struggling for survival while the rich and ruling elite are still indulging in vulgar extravagance amid rampant corruption, frauds from top to bottom and a senseless waste of public funds. With the magnitude of the crisis now clear, we need to look at the solution. Social justice is the answer. To bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources, our political leaders must transform themselves and change their lifestyles. They need to enter into a simple and humble lifestyle and set the example to the people on how to learn to live with basic needs, instead of desiring luxuries and nonessentials. If political and other leaders do this while also taking tough action against corruption and fraud, then and only then will Sri Lanka have a solid foundation for sustainable development with peace, justice and equality.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka