“For Arendt, the private sphere is the realm of necessity where life in the household and family life, sustained by labour, production and consumption, take the centre. In contrast, the public sphere is the realm of freedom and action, with its focus on the world rather than life; it is the realm of public discourse preserved for individuality achieved through excellence, creating memory and thereby culture. It is the public political realm that stabilizes the world, preserves worldliness through friendship of discourse among citizens. Technical issues such as “poverty” are mattes for the experts, whereas politics is about determining what form of government we need to have.
Arendt has observed that the moderns misunderstand and equate the polis, or the political ream with the social realm, whereas in the understanding of the ancients, the private sphere, the realm of household and family and the maintenance of life, was clearly distinct from the public sphere, the polis, the political realm that attends to the affairs of the common world. The ‘emergence of the social realm, which is neither private nor public, occurs with the emergence of the modern age which lasted from the seventeenth century to the early twentieth century which found its political form in the nation State (Arendt, 1958: 28).”
It is one year since Sri Lanka witnessed a dramatic regime change and the country has just stepped into a make or break year. How it crafts its political and economic vision now will profoundly impact its future.
Exactly a year after his election, President Maithripala Sirisena has initiated a welcome process to rewrite the country’s constitution. The Government is also moving ahead on transitional justice processes to address the UN Human Rights Council resolution unanimously adopted in September last year. However, progress on both the constitutional and transitional justice fronts, which seem to have the consensus of both the President and Prime Minister RanilWickramasinghe coming from historically opposing parties, depends to a large extent on the country’s economic future. Given the President’s affinity to the rural economy and the Prime Minister’s championing of economic liberalisation, the new economic reform agenda is likely to shape the path of regime consolidation and influence the stability of the Government. Continue reading Sorrows of the Lankan Economy By Ahilan Kadirgamar