Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Don't like your score? Change the rules (again)

Sri Lanka's rejiggering the main price index less than two years after the last blatant wool-pulling exercise. This time they're even dropping alcohol and tobacco from the basket, clearly choosing to believe their own fairytale that temperance can be enforced - and apparently has been achieved - with the help of a few TV spots and millions of posters.

I heard that an old journalist (maybe too old to care anymore) had interrupted a Buddhist monk trotted out to sing the government's praises in decidedly non-secular areas, asking what exactly the reverend was celebrating, given that the reporter had just been to one of the lavish vote-buying parties at the Palace where the drinks flow freely.

Another little birdie tells me His Highness had nudged and winked away the concerns of a delegation from the meat industry about the similar blanket ban on slaughtering with "don't worry about all that, we also must have something to eat no!"

Finally, an unintended consequence of a blanket ban on animal slaughter (keeping in mind that I am personally against the taking of lives but also willing to step back and think of wider consequences): Apparently a commercially viable dairy operation needs to cull 20% of its herd annually, something one large operator has already had problems doing thanks to enthusiastic preemptive rent-seeking despite the anti-slaughter bill only being in proposal stage. So, overnight blanket ban on slaughter --> further reduced local milk production --> more imports --> less foreign exchange, and more reasons for the propagandists to squeal about foreign conspiracies - except in this case too, the problem is local, not foreign.

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