…And yet these Western observers might soon be in for a surprise, for this revolt is not only an indictment of the Sri Lankan elites and their legion errors of judgement. It is also an indictment of the conceits of the global elites more broadly. It calls into question the prejudices and policies of global establishments in thrall to climate-change alarmism and Covid authoritarianism. In Sri Lanka we are witnessing a rebellion not only against corrupt government officials, but also against the dangerously out-of-touch worldview of the international technocracy.
Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is incredibly serious. The nation is bankrupt. Inflation is rampant. Food prices have risen by 80 per cent. Last month petrol prices rose by 24 per cent, diesel prices by 38 per cent. At the end of June the government announced that petrol supplies were almost at an end – it banned the sale of petrol except for essential services, essentially making driving illegal. People cannot make ends meet. Over the past year, half a million Sri Lankans have been plunged back into poverty. The UN says more than three-quarters of the population have reduced their consumption of food due to the severe food shortages…
The crisis in Sri Lanka is multi-faceted, for sure. But there are two important contributory factors we should be talking about. First there’s the impact of the global Covid lockdowns. They shattered Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. Tourism raked in $4.4 billion for Sri Lanka in 2018, making up 5.6 per cent of its GDP. In 2020 tourism contributed just 0.8 per cent to GDP. And things did not improve in 2021, as they had been expected to.
More importantly, the global shutdowns, and the restrictions on production and trade they entailed, impacted on Sri Lanka’s supplies of food and essentials, too. As one report says, the ‘economic turmoil and human misery’ in Sri Lanka are partially a consequence of the ‘economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic’. The drastic slowing down of global economic output has stored up dire consequences for poorer parts of the world. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation says the number of people affected by hunger has risen by an astonishing 150million since the start of the pandemic. It is estimated that the inflationary consequences of mankind’s self-imposed economic torpor during the pandemic have dragged tens of millions of people around the world back into poverty.
R&I – TXPAT