Sri Lanka has to leverage knowledge, new ideas to move forward: Prime Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s education system, research organisations and private companies have to work together to develop human resources, and take the country forward using knowledge and new ideas, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said.

"It is our intention to move forward with knowledge-based innovation," Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said opening a ‘Techno City’ in Homagama, near the capital Colombo.

"The main material for that is human resources. We have to develop human resources."

"The education system, research firms and the private sector have to get together to develop this."

In many countries, Sri Lankan experts were working in science, health, technology, finance and management.

He said, if only Sri Lankan experts in the US were brought together, Sri Lanka would become a global powerhouse.

He said the US had become a powerful nation because the country worked on the principle of allowing people with knowledge to come into the country.

"Could we have imagined a Facebook (/social media network) 10 years ago?" he asked. "We have to think in new ways. There are driverless cars now. Many ideas are there."

"From many ideas, one tenth of one percent succeeds, and rich capitalist companies are born."

Analysts say many new ideas are commercialised in the US because the country has free trade, economic freedom and the freedom to think, and ideas that succeed in such a competitive market place will also succeed in the rest of the world.

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Under a true capitalist system, many people and companies come up with ideas. The one that succeeds is chosen by the general public and the consumer, not the state.

In the US, the government or politicians have no idea what the community, the people and businesses will do next, but they have the environment to do it.

Economic philosophers have pointed out that the most successful true capitalist companies are not ‘powerful’ at all and do not have ‘power’ over their customers.  They compete with other firms, kneeling before the consumer, especially the less affluent or ‘bottom of the pyramid’ customers involving the ‘mass market’.

Businesses that operate with the coercive power of the state (mercantilist or crony companies) that suppress the freedom of consumers and the poor will lag behind companies that come up with disruptive new ideas to please customers.

To succeed in the US, ‘capitalists’ owners have to think of new ways to please the consumer all the time and are held hostage by their customers.

Some ideas are rejected by the consumer, which makes up the market, leading to losses for business owners and their entire business may fail. But society does not pay for the mistake.

On the other hand, in countries with state planning, interventions and coercion, mistakes and losses of politicians and bureaucrats are borne by the whole society, with the poor paying the highest price. (Colombo/Sept23/2016)

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