To get beyond the market and the socialist divide, economists in Sri Lanka need to engage more conscientiously towards a national understanding with regards to the benefits and limits of the market economy, Verite Research observed.

How market principles and other social values are brought together to inform and form a coherent platform for designing economic policies for the country must be looked at, Executive Director of Verite Research, Dr. Nishan de Mel said.

There is some expectation of developing the concept of a social market economy to capture such a synthesis and we have been studying the concept for its potential, beyond its use as a political slogan, he added.

“In Sri Lanka, the political leadership periodically shifts between the positions of the two main political parties. The economic policies tend to veer between more outward facing and more inward facing strategies with regards to developing the country. This causes disruptions in policies and plans after each political cycle. The back and forth as far as the policy direction is concerned tends to create an uncertain policy environment, and hobbles long term economic and social progress. We argue for an understanding of economics that frames the possibilities and limits of a market economy, taking into account recent developments in economic theory, research, and the many economic crises around the world that have prompted significant rethinking over the last few decades. In terms of a vision for economic research as well as a general understanding of these issues in the society, it is important to address these matters and seek an economics which goes beyond the market,” he mentioned.