John Hinderaker has been writing at PowerLine about the economic catastrophe taking place in Sri Lanka. Until very recently, that country was “not only food-secure, but a major agricultural exporter” of products like rice, tea and rubber.
One would think that creating prosperity and lifting millions out of poverty would be welcomed by government and social activists. But no. The government of Sri Lanka decided to mandate new policies prompted not by the recommendations of anyone with experience in industry, commerce or basic economics, but by the howling of environmentalists demanding “all organic” farming.
Despite the fact that more than 75% of Sri Lanka’s farmers used synthetic fertilizer, the Sri Lankan government banned it outright.
The results were predictable. In one year, Sri Lanka’s rice production dropped by 14%, forcing the country to spend hundreds of millions importing a product they had formerly made enough of to feed themselves and export. Production of tea and rubber similarly collapsed. The price of food has quadrupled, and many staples, including liquid petroleum gas that Sri Lankans use for cooking, are in such short supply that citizens must stand in line for them, when they can get them at all. With its exports reduced to a trickle, Sri Lanka’s government