Friend at my old job, after an all-nighter.
The IPS, which I know mainly through Anushka Wijesinha, is holding a thing tomorrow on how Sri Lanka can create more jobs. Or even what that means. Everybody wants a job, to move out of the house, to fix the house, to expand it. Maybe get a motorbike, a van, a car. No matter how much infrastructure you build, if people don’t have jobs they can’t use it. So jobs are important.
In America all the politicians talk about creating jobs but, short of expanding government service, they’re actually not very good at it (see This American Life). There are certain things they can do to get out of the way, but if politicians actually want to keep promises, they should just hire more people to work at the government. That’s anathema in the west, but that’s what eastern governments do all the time. It obviously has physical limits, which I think we’ve pretty much reached in Sri Lanka.
So, what basic things can a government do to make job creation possible? Aside from giving Mitt Romney tax cuts? What does the World Bank recommend for South Asia? The Three Es. Electricity, Education and Entry/Exit. ie, power, brain power, and firing power. Which makes sense. Sri Lanka electricity is spotty at best (my power kicked it today and has already fried a hard disk). Education is a false promise, as higher education leads to higher unemployment. Entry/Exit (ie, firing and hiring people) is also damn difficult.
When I left Dialog they had to pay me a years salary and I had to sign literally 15 documents renouncing various rights to sue. Which was great for me, but obviously bad for business. Note that this wasn’t just me, Dialog offered a Voluntary Resignation Scheme to all its employees, because they simply couldn’t point to non-performing employees and directly fire them. It’s a major problem, and many companies don’t hire out of risk aversion.
Anyways. I think those ideas are fine. I would add healthcare. And public transit. But if education and energy worked we’d kinda be OK.
Anyways, you can stream the thing tomorrow from 9h30 to 14h and, more immediately, unless you’re reading this in the future, you can leave your own ideas how to improve job creating in SL. They have a Google Moderator thing.