Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems
THIS FINAL CHAPTER ON SRI LANKA examines the effectiveness of the Sri Lankan government in resolving the problems facing it. Two serious problems stand out. The first is the crisis of economic development and the difficulty meeting the material needs of the people. The second is the need for a resolution of the two civil wars that have engulfed the country since 1983. Both of these problems pose a serious threat to the maintenance of stable and representative government in Sri Lanka.
Most of the political systems of the Third World are faced with an economic development crisis. They are trying to meet the needs of their societies with a limited amount of resources. But their failure to develop economically can lead to dissatisfaction among the population and the potential for political violence and unrest. The developing nations of the world are faced with a series of cruel choices, none of which offer clear- cut solutions.
Sri Lanka faces a similar dilemma: Should the country try to take care of the immediate needs of its people by investing its scarce resources in nutrition, health, and educational programs (basic needs)? Or should it strive to develop productive industries that will lead to greater economic growth and well-being in later years? The government of J. R. Jayawardene made a very controversial and determined response to this quandary that appears to have been made permanent by the three presidents who have succeeded him.
Sri Lanka has had a long experience investing in the basic needs of its population. These efforts have led to very high levels of social well-being,