The Age of Magic Money
Can Endless Spending Prevent Economic Calamity?
In January 2015, Maithripala Sirisena surprised the world when he defeated his old boss Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka’s presidential election. His victory was followed by parliamentary elections in August, which reiterated the demand for democratic reform and improved governance. Soon after, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP), the country’s two big Sinhala–Buddhist parties, agreed to form a coalition government. The nation was now set to turn its attention to a wide-ranging reform agenda to address some of the problems that plagued it during Rajapaksa’s decade in power, including corruption, nepotism, and the excessive centralization of power.
So, how has it done over the past several months? To be sure, Sri Lanka has taken some steps in the right direction, and Sirisena definitely looks keen to govern in a less authoritarian fashion than his predecessor. To take one prominent example, there