Some Heretical Thoughts on Economic Development – G.V. S de Silva

G. V. S De Silva had been the private secretary to Philip Gunawardena, Minister of Agriculture in the MEP government in 1956, and had been largely responsibile for the agricultural plan published by that ministry in 1957. He drafted the Paddy Bill which was brought to protect the rights of sharecropping and tenant farmers. Since then he has been concerned with the problems of peasant agriculture and of rural development. This pamplet discusses the issue of rural development in the context of overall economic development. G. V. S. De Silva argues here for a fundamental shift in the process of economic planning . That is about total subordinating of the urban or the so-called modern economy to the rural economy by diverting all financial and technological resources from the urban to the rural areas.

He bases his proposals on two theoretical principles: (1) the underdevelopment of the economy was the result of the lack of growth in the rural productive forces, and this in turn was a result of existing relations of production which enable the urban sector to exploit the rural economy through unequal terms of trade.(2) any effort at economic development that was urban centered and based on foreign technology, capital and markets would not only thrust the country into a state of greater dependency but would result in ultimate failure given the conditions of world economy. Instead of such a pattern of development, G. V. S de Silva argues for the development of rural productive forces that the reorganization of rural communities on a collective basis and the infusion of available capital and technology would release the pent-up creative energies of the rural population.

G. V. S. De Silva who was a Marxist was once a member of the Communist Party and left it on ideological grounds. He received his secondary education from Ananda Vidyalaya and graduated from the University of Ceylon in Economics in 1948 with a gold medal. He also studied at the London School of Economics and was a founding member of the SSA.

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