Clarification question

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    I would like to clarify the question that we are to discuss today.

    <i style=”color: #500050;”>In what way has the achievement of economic inclusion (economic citizenship) resulted in increased political participation or civic engagement? Under what circumstances do you think this is the case? Does it make a difference when people have achieved economic inclusion through collective or cooperative means? Are there gender and class differences in the nature of this political participation?

    When you say “the achievement of economic inclusion (economic citizenship)”, are you strictly referring to marginalized groups (or people that were previously dis-empowered) in a given society? The reason I ask this reflects the current reality of post-war Sri Lanka (SL). In the post-war period, the state has become even more centralized, and power has been further concentrated under the President. This creeping authoritarianism is buttressed by a powerful military. At the level of society, the hegemony of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism and polarizing identity politics further strengthens the concentration of state power. there is a visible deepening of capitalist development that will accentuate the social contradictions of capitalism and add a new dimension to state-society relations in SL. There are new elements within this regime that want to utilise state power for the purpose of capital accumulation within a market economy. what seems to be new under the current regime is the power of these new social classes. these political forces do not want a shift in economic policies from the direction of an open market policy. But they seek to utilise state power for their own ends within this framework. The current regime has considerable support from these classes. These classes are certainly not ‘marginalized’, but they certainly influence political decision making because of their economic citizenship. They have achieved economic inclusion through collective and cooperative means – patronage networks. Many politicians enter politics in order to access state resources for the purpose of distributing it through a patronage network and ensuring that they remain in power. what is alarming is that there is a large section of the SL population that does no see any problem with this phenomenon, and expects politicians to behave in this manner. Unfortunately, this environment is not conducive to the achievement of economic inclusion of marginalized groups. The trend we’re seeing now is the opposite.



    Godber Tumushabe


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