Labour History 101
Do your capitalist uncles in Colombo talk about lka 'not being ready' for certain things? (gender equality, social mobility, robust artistic/cultural capital). Much of Colombo 'uncle-speak' finds an echo in the voices of colonial administrators from the early nineteenth century.
Can coercive, oppressive systems be justified with philosophy? The Scottish 'Enlightenment', for instance, influenced (or was invoked in support of) many colonial practices. The idea of stadial human development, in particular, held great appeal.
Take Ceylon's second Governor, Thomas Maitland. Maitland reversed his predecessor's abolition of the forced labour system which existed under the Dutch (replaced by cash wages), particularly in the cinnamon plantations. Maitland's effective re-institution of slavery was expressed in terms of Ceylon not being ready for free trade and a free labour market. He wrote, 'it was as if one of the ancient barons had pulled out of his pocked Adam Smith and said: I will apply to you vassals principles that you do not understand and will not properly apply to your circumstances for another 500 years.'