The Kassippu Conundrum

As a friend quite rightly pointed out, recent increase in taxes in hard liquor will potentially have some crazy socio economic affects mainly as a result of the seemingly ignored existence of locally brewed illicit liquor a.k.a kassippu.

Increasing prices of hard liquor will only drive the poorer consumer towards illicit liquor. Increasing health hazardz in an already not-so-healthy workforce. And as prices in general continue to rise this will only increase. This will cause loss in productivity which will in turn reduce economic growth. Also, growth in the kassippu market will mean an encouragement to crime, which will increse in power thus effectively discouraging honest citizens from contributing to the economy.

The government can have avoided this with more stringent controls on brewing illicit liquor. But they convineitly pass the buck to the cops. And the cops wont do anything about it cos the illiegal breweries are usually in cahoots with a politician or two. Funny place we live eh?

The government seems like its stuck in a mire of sorts. Stuck in quicksand if you may. With no one to pull it out. So it needs to somehow get out of the quicksand all by itself. Now struggling to get out will only make it sink deeper in to the quicksand, but if it doesn't struggle, it wouldn't reach that branch to pull itself out.

Desperate attempts at pulling itself out are translating into badly thought out tax policies that will do more harm than good in the long run.

Sri Lanka has a badly skewed alcohol consumption model. It is absolutely convoluted. When most of the rest of the world is consuming 98% of soft liquor and 2% of hard. We consume 94% of hard liquor and 6% of soft. 64% of that hard liquor is illicit. For more, read this intriguing LMD report here.

Number 44

Damn! That was fast. And well, you could say I was an Obama supporter if you like. Personally I don’t think things would have been a lot different in many areas even if Mccain came into power but well Obama was, interesting. The man is full of theatrics and I was kind of expecting a nail biting finish. Instead he just breezes through.

I will not give you a blow by blow of it since you’re probably already plugged in to CNN from morning or something. Still wish I could’ve stayed back at home though. It’s great entertainment. Probably the last bit of drama that we’ll get in a while. And that’s what this race has been so far, super entertainment! I’m sorry it’s over. I guess we can all go home now.

Obama. Huh. He’s got the hype alright. But if people are imagining him to be a Jack Black in high school and shake everything up in the While House then I think we’re all in for a bit of an anticlimax. Nope, now it’s going to be back to the old routine of bill passing and legislation. A bit scarier ‘cos the democrats seem to have an overwhelming majority now. Personally I’m more concerned about the war. Destabilization the Middle East and South West Asia has to stop. Human rights violations in the Gaza strip have to stop. Give me a president who will change that.

A Note to Mr. Fowzie

I mean what is this place coming to? We have a petroleum corporation that claims it’s making losses no matter how much the Oil price fluctuates in the market and the consumer prices raised nevertheless. They claim the cost of oil is too high and that we barely pay for it with 150 rupees a liter! Well I’ve got news for you my dear Mr. Fowzie, when a corporation such as the PET Corp operates; the costs that are incurred are not just those of purchasing of the forsaken oil barrels. It’s the fixed and operational costs of the petroleum corporations itself. And you have massive inefficiencies on your PET ORG that will probably see you making losses even if oil rises to 500 effing dollars per barrel.

I heard that there are around 600 employees in your so called organization signing and out of every day and peacefully taking home their month end salary without putting in an ounce of work. Chiefly because they are never really physically present to work! I’ve heard about free petrol to hordes of mostly unnecessary top officials and their family members driving massively fuel inefficient SUVs (duty free I might add) which obviously incurs the necessity to transfer the cost of their maintenance upon us, the average Siripala of the Sri Lankan economy.

I’ve heard of fantastically inefficient red taped management cultures, tedious process driven operations, excess staff, yawny HR policies (I don’t even know if you have an HR department) and every single textbook management practice that is typical of a stone age corporation. You Mr. Fowzie need to wake up and smell the garbage under your bed.

Do you think we are fools Mr. Fowzie that we cannot see the idiotic logic behind your argument? Do you think we are brainless? Well apparently you do. And apparently we are. Because the vast majority of us Lankans haven’t actually realized exactly why you are making losses. It has largely nothing to do with the prices of international oil. It has however, a lot to do with a corrupt and staggering government bureaucracy.

What shall we do Mr Fowzie, go out into the streets and riot? Riot against the burden of pampering your useless corporation which eats up reserves like a king having his breakfast? Oh but to do that we’ll need to have the support of the masses at large now wouldn’t we? We’ll need to have the farmers and various artificers and small time traders that make up almost 80% of this country’s economy. And you’ve got them nicely tied up to a coconut tree eating pani rambutan off your hand and believing that your government is actually doing the best it possibly can for the country now haven’t you?

Is that why Mr. Fowzie that you and Mr. Rajapakse’s government are suppressing technological development in the vast rural areas of Sri Lanka? Is that why IT is so restricted in its spread in this country? Is that why the internet is so little used except by us city-slickers with nothing better to do than browse Facebook and surf porn? Is that what you are afraid of? Are you afraid of knowledge?

Is that why u are clamping down on the media? So that you and your cronies can keep milking the country’s masses till the economy is just taut skin on a mass of bones? Are you using the war as an excuse? I must admit, as far as excuses go, it’s a great excuse.

You’ve sold patriotism to everybody; everybody is buying into your definition of it. Well I’ve got news for you, this place is still supposed to be a democracy. And in a democracy patriotism need only be defined as sense of love for your country, and that does NOT necessarily mean Mr. Fowzie that patriots need to support the war or be behind the government in every single thing they do. But you obviously think otherwise don’t you? Oh yes, anyone who speaks out against the administration’s policies is obviously a scourge on society, he deserves to be kidnapped, decapitated and dumped in the Kelani river. And I’m with you on that, like I was with George frigging Bush-eater when he invaded Iraq.