Dog on the street in front of the new Racecourse, after the gala opening.
I’m not a hater I just blog a lot. I’m all for development but seriously, who’s all this stuff for? The five star hotels, luxury high-rises (Krrish), the bourgeoise shopping centers. We need some stuff like this, but we also need public transit and education and parks for, you know, the public.
How many five star hotels and luxury apartments do we need, and can the market sustain? Sometimes it feels like we’re building stuff for tourists with foreign money and not really thinking of ourselves. And we should.
Sri Lanka is a market and we can make money selling products and services for locals. But most locals don’t stay in five star hotels or buy luxury apartments. Honestly, I think the best investment would be in the middle class, not the 1 or 10%, and foreigners.
It’s like the government has two sets of policies – one for the very poor, ie Samurdhi type welfare schemes which keep them poor and dependent vote wise (literally, especially under the new local government consolidation, officers can and do threaten to withhold benefits if people don’t vote a certain way)… and one policy for the very rich, ie the 1%.
The thing is that the 1% all over the world has more in common with each other than they do with their own countrymen. Hence you get foriegn money in (as investment), often untaxed, and it serves foreign or foriegn leaning clientele. I say this not as a xenophobe but a Lankaphile. I have no shortage of foreign connections but I still live and work here and can’t afford or even understand a lot of these new developments. I mean, how many luxury apartments does Colombo need (aka Krrish) when around 50% of the city is living in shanties? Even if this is big ticket economic activity, what’s the point if it’s barely taxed?
This is not to say that these developments are necessarily bad, but in a world of finite resources and time I do question where our government is allocating its attention. To me the pressing needs (Colombo-centric) are education so we have a middle-class workforce, green(er) public transport so they can live and work without destroying our country or finances, and urban housing and things like parks and playgrounds so we can have a vibrant city for the people that live here.