Editorial - Money, Money, Money: It’s a rich man’s world

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Whatever the advocates of the globalised capitalist market economic policy may say, the nett result of it is that it has produced societies where priority number one is money, priority number two is money and priority number three is also money.

Hallowed values of our ancient civilization, traditional culture and other principles come far down in the list not only in business and trade but even in other fields like environmental protection, social justice, music and art. Arundathi Roy, one of India’s prophetic voices summed up the calamity by saying the world today had not four but five major religions. The fifth is money and millions of people knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or unwillingly worship at the altar of money.
The economic recession in the West and total breakdown or bankruptcy of Euro zone countries including Spain, Greece and Cyprus are forcing world leaders and economic analysts to seek a new way—a middle path between the market economy and socialism.

" Despite pledges by government leaders, subtle attempts are being made to totally privatise the health service. "

In Sri Lanka, though there were times when we swallowed wholesale what was good and bad in the globalised capitalist market economic policies, the foundations of our economic growth have been the free health service and the free education service. It produces millions of healthy educated Sri Lankans who have made a major contribution to various areas of development not only in Sri Lanka but all over the world.

Tragically both the free health service and free education are under threat. Every year the government allocates a fair share of the budget to maintain the free health service where we have more than 600 public hospitals, 400 medical clinics more than 15,000 doctors, about 30,000 nurses and thousands of other paramedical personnel.

Despite pledges by government leaders, subtle attempts are being made to totally privatise the health service. At present, after provision was made for private practice by state doctors and for  private hospitals we also see moves to undermine public hospitals. Even at the National Hospital patients are told that expensive tests have to be taken at expensive private medical clinics nearby. A patient who was admitted this week said even a bed sheet was not provided for him though the attendant indicated that one could be manufactured overnight if a bribe was given. Even in the provision of drugs, most patients are told to buy most of the drugs from private pharmacies. Thus the free health service today is not really free as is the case with the free education service where children at public schools are told to buy or pay for so many things that sometimes compel thousands of parents to keep their children at home because they cannot afford to do so.
 If the Rajapaksa regime wants to maintain a stable economy with a sustainable development process then social justice is essential for it with the free health service and the free education service being corner stones.

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