Saturday, October 11, 2008

Silly statements

Two silly statements I read today,
Let's forget that 2. for the moment. Why does His Excellency think that the govt. should not sell any state owned land?
President Mahinda Rajapaksa adding that the future generations should be able to enjoy the benefits of these assets as we enjoy them today as a result of a great sacrific of the patriotic leaders of this nation. [link]
I see. Mr.President would not sell, for example, Water's Edge, because he'd like to preserve it for the future generations. Because Water's Edge you see, is "a result of the great sacrifice of the patriotic leaders".

Actually, I don't see. In fact, that strikes me as a whole lot of nonsense. The state owns 85% of the lands in this country. That's a lot of dead capital. A good proportion of this can be used for productive development. Instead it's locked away,  apparently preserved for future generations.  
Ironically, most people will find those two statements appealing. I think it's derived from a fundamental misconception about the nature government, this romantic, yet nonsensical idea that "government is us". So state enterprises, state-land is seen as somehow being collectively owned by "us". Hence the phrases like "selling" to describe the process of privatization. 

A lot of bad public policy can be averted if many of 'us' come to realize one simple thing : Government is not 'us', it's just government

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