Sri Lanka could still revive and thrive!

Sri Lanka is slowly dying and if one were to carry out an autopsy to discover the causes of this slow spiral one would perhaps arrive at the following root causes!

Economic Death – The rural regions in the country have failed to consistently clock healthy economic growth and will die out of gradual economic atrophy. Sri Lanka’s perennial sub-par economic growth after independence and its failed rural development are the primary reasons for the slow death of the country as a whole. When there is insufficient investment in infrastructure in rural areas the nation as a whole begins to decay, the quality of an average citizen’s life begins to suffer, and thus people lost confidence in their elite rulers of the country. Inadequate infrastructure in rural areas leads to a situation where investors become hesitant to invest in economic production related activities, because the supporting infrastructure simply isn’t there. The cost of doing business in a country with inadequate infrastructure like in rural Sri Lanka is more than that in a city where the manufactured goods reach international market quickly and which has abundant energy for production. This leads to a situation where the economic production and output in rural parts of the country with poor infrastructure always remains low. The economic output (the value of the goods and services it produces) and it’s volume of trade it engages in with the world determines the economic prosperity of a country (as measured by it’s GDP). If a nation has nothing to produce and consequently nothing to trade it will only import and not export keeping the country perpetually poor. Whereas the rich countries produce goods and services abundantly, consume them and trade the surplus.

Demographic Death – If production of goods and services is always low, there will not be enough employment generated inside rural areas of the country to employ all of the productive labour force. There will not be enough jobs in the economy to keep these productive labour employed. This will lead to a situation where all the productive population will seek employment opportunities in the city or outside of the country. The remittance money generated from foreign employment might seem beneficial in the short term. But no nation in history has ever leaped into the developed status with all of its youth working abroad permanently. The demographic flight has resulted in Sri Lanka becoming like a bus stop with everyone is leaving for some destination or the other; but no one wants to set up a permanent dwelling in this bus stop called Sri Lanka.The demographic death of Sri Lanka is one of the reasons for the slow death of the country. This follows from the economic death of the country, which is the root cause of all problems.

Cultural Death – A nation’s identity is comprised by it’s culture, language and boundaries. In Sri Lanka due to exclusive policies adopted by successive governments it’s cultural is slowly being undermined in various ways. Sri Lankan language, the dress, the culture is being demonized as belonging to the oppressor class. Foreign language, religion, clothes, habits are being pushed for the sake of inclusion. But without it’s unique culture, language and customs which all citizens usually strive to be a part of, Sri Lanka will slowly lose its cultural identity as well and cease to be Sri Lankan in character. It will either become a clone of the West or indistinguishable from neighbouring countries. Cultural and linguistic death is perhaps the most fatal type of death for a nation and Sri Lanka no nation can recover from it once the threshold is crossed. And all of the above have been occurring because of one reason and one reason alone: selfish rulers seeking power ignored people aspirations and inoder to retain power kept people apart by ethnicity and religion. As the result today, Sri Lanka is a divided nation.

Political Death – Since independence in 1948, Sri Lanka lost 75 years (three quarter of a century) to constant political turmoil and stalled economic growth. An exclusive policy of the rulers caused a civil war and dying North-East bodes well for the rulers, for a completely dead region will eventually collapse to destroy political aspirations of the minorities living in the North-East. Whatsmore, Sri Lanka is trapped in a geopolitical quagmire. India, China and intention of the Western countries seems to be to keep Sri Lanka dependent economically and for security and perennially orbiting around them. While the Sri Lankan rulers are suffering from a disease called “subpar domestic political leadership.” This agenda has been consistently aided by the elite political class who never had any sense of service to the nation or a sense of the greater good required for public office. They had no vision of a prosperous nation they could offer the countrymen and women. Thus the Rural Sri Lanka is dying and is trapped in a vicious cycle of chronic underdevelopment, globalization & flight of labour, inept political class vicious neighbourhood geopolitics. Now, only tectonic global events can perhaps break this wheel. The present veteran generation that leads the country is easily the worst generation in all of Sri Lanka’s history; plus all the corrupt bureaucrats that head various government departments is a big let down and are the villainous architects of the country s economic, cultural, and demographic demise.

THERE IS STILL HOPE THOUGH! With the young generation who are better educated, have a better sense of moral right and wrong and greater good, are well travelled, nationalistic etc. When they will assume leadership roles, and when this generation will bring their skills, education, knowledge earned in foreign lands back to Sri Lanka, the country has the great potential to really take off. The young generation of Sri Lankan diaspora has been toiling away in all parts of the world for over 30 years now. This generation possess all kinds of valuable skills that the nation needs-construction workers, doctors, engineers, managers, entrepreneurs, service providers etc. If this immense pool of skilled workforce could be attracted back to the country, then Sri Lanka could revive and thrive. Let’s hope, we see this happen in our lifetime!