In the picture postcard city of Davos in Switzerland, some 35 world leaders, top bankers and industrialists and the leaders of world financial institutions are meeting at the World Economic Forum in a bid to salvage the globalised capitalist market economic policies.
After some 40 years of what the master builders thought would be a picture postcard economic policy, we see the super-power United States trying desperately to struggle out of economic recession and avoid a mighty fall from the fiscal cliff. Across the Atlantic, the European Union, which was expected to grow into a powerful economic giant, is in shambles with Greece and other countries wallowing in the pigsties of bankruptcy.
As a prelude to the Davos meeting, the world charity organisation Oxfam gave some shocking figures which have made a mighty pickle of the trickle down theory which was one of the main expectations or predictions of those who formulated the capitalist market economic policies. They believe that when the wealthy were given more incentives to create more wealth, part of it would trickle down to the poor. But Oxfam revealed that the catastrophe today was that the 100 richest people in the world had stored in their barns or bank vaults as much as 246 billion US dollars – enough to eradicate world poverty four times over. What a horror and hell hole! Instead of growing towards social justice and a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources, we have produced a monstrosity where about 85% of the world’s wealth is in the hands of 15% of the population, comprising mainly the rich and ruling elite. Like Ian Flemming’s notorious Thunderball, they look at the world and want it all. Pushing them are the deadly vices of selfishness and greed. They are unaware that these vices are self-destructive, and they themselves are like suicide bombers who will eventually destroy themselves and others.
Sri Lanka also is in a similar situation. Since 1977 we swallowed wholesale the globalised capitalist market economic policies. The mett result is that in Sri Lanka also about 85% of the wealth is in the hands of some 15% of the population comprising the rich and ruling elite, and more so the ruling family dynasty, their cronies and sycophants who sit when they say sit, stand when they say stand and ask how high when they say jump.
Those so-called economic pundits are boasting of high growth rates, per capita incomes and the number of foreign tourists topping a record 1.4 million last year, the cost of living is soaring beyond control and millions of people are living on or below the poverty line. If we do not take effective steps to bring about social justice and a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources, our economy will crumble like a sand castle.