Growth with inequality: neo-liberal reforms in Sri Lanka

03 Nov 2014 - Commentary

This paper reviews recent issues and trends in poverty and vulnerability in Sri Lanka in the context of neo-liberalism. For purposes of contextualisation, reference will be made to the evolution of economic liberalisation, social inequality, and social protection, since 1977. It begins with an analysis of the contemporary neo-liberal policy regime with its distinctive Sri Lankan characteristics. It proceeds to describe the social and economic crises associated withthe current policy regime, and selected mechanisms by which these crises are transmitted insociety. In particular, the impact of the reforms on vulnerable groups is detailed. The scope of poverty-alleviation programmes in this era is reviewed, as is their effectiveness. In the concluding section an argument is made for the eradication of poverty through a different structural adjustment of the economy based on breaking from neo-liberalism and seeking redistributive justice at home, as well as abroad through confronting unequal relations in the global economy.

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