The Bankruptcy Of ‘Development’ In Sri Lanka
It is true that countries need plans for growth and embark on projects to generate financial openings for all citizens. However, it is crucial that we carefully study the viability of such endeavors and evaluate their cost versus benefit to the country.
It is widely held by the people of Sri Lanka that ‘Development’ necessarily involves the construction of massive buildings and other structures, the more massive and larger-scale the better. The idea behind this simplistic notion is that giant skyscrapers similar to those in Hong Kong, Dubai or Singapore will deliver unprecedented economic prosperity to the country. This is based on poor understanding of finances, and an inability to see beyond surface appearances, which is a national characteristic of us Sri Lankans. The idea that large buildings and other structures, in and of themselves constitute Development was actively promoted by those who carried out this Development, namely, the Rajapaksa regime. Now, after three decades of such Development, it is clear that it benefited the regime, family and cronies, but not the country. Even after allegations of large scale corruption that lay underneath this Development became common knowledge, Sri Lankans have shown that they are willing to overlook such misconduct and re-elect corrupt politicians, telling themselves that “It is OK, at least they have done Development”. But there is a glaring question: if this Development is supposed to benefit the country, why are we in such dire economic straits?