Taxing imports is just taxing the poor, especially on food. Sri Lanka wants food independence, fine, but the cost for that political goal is more expensive food for everybody. Indonesia is one of the worst examples, propping up a few big rice farmers while everybody else pays through the nose. Now Prime Minister DM Jayaratne is calling for Sri Lanka to basically prohibit all fruit and wheat imports. It’s madness.
Archive for the 'economics' Category
Twitter was a good place to follow the budget speech, but this Reuters report is a gooder space to digest it. I suppose the full text of the budget speech is better. In short, we’re depreciating the Rupee to encourage exports and trying to encourage tourism. Spending is going towards the military, roads, and infrastructure.
It’s on. The UNP has walked out rather than, you know, actually being an opposition, so what you see is what you get. Things that interested me: the tourist visa fee. It seems set at $20 global, $10 SAARC, which the government is apparently counting on as revenue. But then they say the fee will be waived if visitors stay more less than 48 hours. I think that whole thing is a confusing mess.
1 out of 5 Sri Lankan children are underweight. In the estate sector (tea plantations) it’s 1 in 3. I find this shocking, but that’s what the Institute for Policy Studies has found in 2006 data. Despite Sri Lanka’s decent healthcare and education (by Asian/African standards), persistent inequality means that kids and mothers are still going hungry.
According to Robert Neuwirth, most workers in the world are off the books. I do a fair amount of freelance work off the grid (though I try to report it) and a significant amount of Sri Lankan business is cash. Indeed, this ‘informal’ system predates the formal economy, but it’s still surprising to hear “half the workers of the world — close to 1.8 billion people — were working in System D: off the books, in jobs that were neither registered nor regulated, getting paid in cash, and, most often, avoiding income taxes,” (Foreign Policy).
The 2011 Human Development Index is out. What’s interesting is that inequality, especially gender inequality, has dragged India to the bottom of South Asia and the world in general. At the same time, however, “Sri Lanka has overtaken China on human development and with an HDI of 0.691, is now within touching distance of the “high human development” category” (Times Of India).
What do wealthy Sri Lankans spend on? Foreign cars, iPhones, imported goods and travel. I call it Ghettonomics. Rappers representing the hood get out and spend all their money on luxury items, sold by already wealthy people. It’s not like Bentleys are made in Brooklyn. Hence, the hood remains poor. I think this is one reason why income inequality hurts developing countries.
Dalits were Indian outcastes or untouchables. Over years (with support from the government) they’ve slowly been moving on up. In Tamil Nadu ‘lower’ castes have done especially well in business, but their lot has improved nationwide. This infographic covers the sitch of all Dalits in one district of Uttar Pradesh – Bulandshahar. It’s from the Center For Advanced Study Of India. The improvements from 1990 to 2007 are striking.
The rains have come, but Sri Lanka’s power utility lost 167 million rupees per day in August. Ye Gods. Why do the rains matter? Because Sri Lanka runs primarily on hydro power and has to top that up with thermal power. What’s thermal power? Well, do you know how a generator works? You pump in diesel or petrol and it gives you electricity for a while? That’s our national policy.