Sri Lankans are Encouraged to be Poor – Dr. Sarath Amunugama.
Since the advent of independence, most governments have focused on concepts like ‘nationalism’, ‘national pride’ etc as a method of winning elections. Their policies have alienated segmentsof the population, created huge inefficiencies in the public sector, fostered corruption, and have let self defeating and ‘rolling’ economic policies (like printing of money to fund budget deficits) to prosper.
Many people wonder why we never turned out to be like Singapore, i think its because of our outlook. We as a nation have no long term plan for success. There is no long term vision. Governments have always seeked to tear down the achievements of previous governments in an effort to appear superior.
I read that Sri Lankans are encouraged to be poor. A cuture of glorifying poverty is popularized by the political machine. And if you think about it, you realize that its true. Most of the teledramas you see on TV with a few exceptions, deal with the lives of poor people. The daily struggle to make ends meet, the problems associated with giving your daughter away in marriage etc being their central concern. Most protagonists in such cases are lower middle class, humble, hardworking individuals committed to a life of doing the same job day in and day out until they drop.
In Italy for e.g. people love wealth. They aspire to it. Even the current scandal surrounding Silvio Burlusconi doesn’t prevent Italians from admiring him for his wealth and power, the Americans live and die by the Dream, the Japanese slave for lifelong success. We are what we aspire to; and a culture where being rich is glorified drives the masses to improve themselves and drive the country economically.
The government prints money to give subsidies to appease the people. They print money to cover budget deficits. They drive up inflation and make the public even poorer. Therefore a culture of glorifying poverty definitely helps keep us in check.