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May 16, 2022

Sri Lanka's Ruling Family Is in Hiding Due to... Hikes in Fuel Prices and Food Costs

Oh really.

Nearly a year later, Sri Lanka lies in economic ruin, with basic food items scarce, hospitals out of medicine and lines for fuel stretching for blocks as the country's foreign reserves all but run out. The wave of anger now gripping the country is as much about the family dynasty ruling Sri Lanka as it is about the economic disaster. Once empowered by a triumphant Buddhist Sinhalese nationalism after a brutal civil war, the Rajapaksas have been undone by what their own allies call incompetence and denial.

Now, that dynasty, which has dominated the country for the greater part of two decades, is on the verge of an end, with most of the family in hiding at a military base and only the president clinging to power. The latest to go: Mahinda Rajapaksa, the patriarch and prime minister, who was evacuated from his home this week after setting off clashes that left eight people dead across the country.


Over a period of decades, the small island nation of 22 million people had built a ,bloated state sector, robust social welfare programs that exceeded the country's means, a large military and an elaborate series of postwar construction projects. As economic growth slowed, it kept borrowing to pay.

Whew! At least America has done nothing like that.

The economic stress increased as pandemic travel restrictions dried up tourism dollars. Then came a disastrous ban on chemical fertilizers, as the Rajapaksa government pushed organic farming at a time when climate change was already threatening harvests and food security.

Just after the Russian invasion, Kyle Shideler, I think, noted that the Ukraine and Russia together were responsible for 25% of the world's wheat exports. He said something like "10% hikes in the price of wheat will cause economic crises, but 20% will cause governments to fall."

Sri Lanka was already headed towards crisis before Ukraine. Their calamity was largely self-engineered.

But Sri Lanka may be a preview of what's coming after Ukraine.

A friend sent me this: Sri Lanka's neighbor, India, has just outlawed all wheat exports, trying to hoard its wheat for its own consumption.

And India is the second largest wheat producer.

India, second-largest wheat producer, bans exports amid food supply concerns
Global wheat prices have increased by more than 40% since the beginning of the year

India, the second-largest producer of wheat, has banned exports of the commodity, due to a risk to its food security.

A Friday notice in the government gazette signed by Santosh Kumar Sarangi, the Director General of Foreign Trade, said that a "sudden spike" in the global prices of wheat was putting India, neighboring and other vulnerable countries at risk.

The export of wheat will be allowed in case of shipments where an Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ICLC) had been issued on or before the date of the notice and "on the basis of permission granted by the Government of India to other countries to meet their food security needs and based on the request of their governments."


Even though it is the world's second-largest producer of wheat, India consumes most of the wheat it produces.

I don't think India will be the last to cut off all wheat exports. This will be a chain reaction.

digg this
posted by Ace at 12:39 PM

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