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The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – On Nearing Fifty (iv)

The changing mirror image

Jeff Cumberbatch - New Chairman of the FTC

Jeff Cumberbatch – New Chairman of the FTC

“Why should one man have a mirror image of you that you do not want to have of yourself? What kind of society are we striving for? There is no point in striving for Utopia, but you do not realize your potential…” – Mr Errol Barrow (1986)

I am compelled to begin today’s effort with a mea culpa or, in todayspeak, a “my bad”. In last week’s column, “Humpty Dumpty comes to town”, I wrote of the angst of Mr Ralph Williams at hearing Prime Minister Freundel Stuart refer to Barbados as “the freest black nation on earth” at the launch of the 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations earlier this month.

Now, having been provided with, and having perused, a copy of Mr Stuart’s speech at the ceremony, I am satisfied that the Prime Minister made no such claim then or at all, and I should wish to withdraw unreservedly the assertion on my part that he did so. I am further advised that the claim was in fact made in a video presentation at the event that listed a number of the ways in which Barbados has been described over the years. My error is purely to be blamed therefore on what I consider to be regrettably sloppy scholarship on my part -I trusted to faulty recall rather than double-checking the news report. My bad!

Incidentally, Humpty Dumpty has not as yet left town, if we are to judge from one topic of popular discussion this week, that of the incident relating to the punishment of a secondary school girl who refused to follow a teacher’s instruction to pick up from the ground a wrapper of some sort. Here, some contributors to the discussion sought to distinguish, depending on their view, between the toxic “garbage” and the merely untidy “litter”. I suppose that those who would “cavil on the ninth part of a hair” might convince themselves that there is a substantial distinction between the two, although it bears reminder that litter is ultimately placed in a garbage can…or is that a litterbin? Much like the issue whether Hog Food/King Dyal was indeed properly described as an icon or was merely a mascot.

Thirty or so years ago, the Leader of the Opposition as he was then, and imminent Prime Minister to be, now National Hero, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow, inquired of our citizens as to what mirror image we had of ourselves. It is indeed intriguing that this interrogatory preceded the Michael Jackson megahit, “Man in the Mirror”, that was released the following year. For a people not usually much given to introspection, this question resonated significantly, although it appeared that this was more for the allure of maxim than for the message that Mr Barrow intended to convey.

That was then. Clearly, at 20 years of age, the individual may be obsessed with his or her full-length “mirror image” –the unlined face, the pert pectorals, the six-pack abdominals, the firm thighs…Likewise, by analogy, the relatively young nation might have been more concerned then with its physical appearance –the tall buildings, the other material accoutrements, the balance of payments. Now, as we near 50, and as the human being perceives in many cases the encroaching facial lines, the effects of gravity on a once proud chest and the pre-arthritic knees, the mirror image itself becomes less endearing and emphasis is placed rather on the stability and wholesomeness of the structure.

At this stage, regular inspection of the body politic becomes essential for the state as well as for the individual. This suspicious lump here –should it be excised or best left alone? That worrying cough – a mere allergy or something far more sinister? The frequent nocturnal acid reflux –a decreased resistance to spicy foods or…?

Now the state should be concerned more with its fundamental and other obligations to its citizens –Are our people being afforded their basic entitlements in keeping with their rights to dignity, respect and autonomy? Is each individual being empowered to exercise his or her economic, social and cultural rights in addition so as to become a more productive citizen? Do we permit the people to enjoy the benefits of those international obligations to which we have committed ourselves? Has there been an attempt to encourage the mutual trust and confidence that ought to exist between the citizen and the state in a modern progressive democracy?

Equally, the citizen should become more mindful of his or her contribution to the national good, among other things. Does he or she indeed care for the welfare of Barbados or does this vary depending on the colours of the administration? Do we give an honest day’s work as due consideration for a day’s pay? Are our civic obligations being adhered to?

I sub-titled this essay, “The changing mirror-image”. Perhaps it is not that at all… Mirror images may now be passé. It is time now for the report card.

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71 Comments on “The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – On Nearing Fifty (iv)”

  1. Violet C Beckles January 31, 2016 at 6:24 AM #

    ‘Barbados as “the freest black nation on earth” at the launch of the 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations earlier this month.”

    Ministers/Lawyers,,, Free To commit all the crime you want and never be charged, Free to defraud the Nation, Free not to give a she-it about law or rule of law, Free to abuse the People and act as slave masters, Free to do nothing , Free to be crooks all around,Free to de-fraud ,crook, take , use, be, say all thing that are not true , Free is not a word to tell the truth of Barbados, Just the Free crime spry ,free range ,

    Like

  2. Anthony Davis January 31, 2016 at 6:35 AM #

    Mr. Cumberbatch, you have left out one important question! Do all employers pay a fair wage for a fair day’s work? Recently I’ve heard, especially females, complain that they are not being paid fair wages or, as one lady put it, being paid the way one would pay a coolie man. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys! The females who are cleaners, gas station attendants, one-door store attendants, etc. where they are in the majority, seem to be the most hard hit when it comes to such discrepancies. If the employer doesn’t give a fair day’s pay, why would one expect the employees to give a fair day’s work? The Ministry of Labour stipulated what the minimum wage should be, but it seems they do not check if that is being adhered to. Our females, above all, but not only, deserve better treatment. As former Prime Minister Owen Arthur said: “Massa day done!”

    Like

  3. Violet C Beckles January 31, 2016 at 6:43 AM #

    This person seem to do his home work , We need to listen to know what is going on in Barbados and the Caribbean and where we are today,
    Many parts listen to them for Your Sunday News and learning , ESF/// IMF..

    Like

  4. Jeff Cumberbatch January 31, 2016 at 6:50 AM #

    Mr Davis, I do not disagree with anything you wrote, but the concept of a fair day’s pay, unless legislated as in minimum wage, is a matter for the market or collective agreement. A failure to pay what the legislation demands would be a criminal offence.

    Like

  5. ac January 31, 2016 at 8:17 AM #

    That was then. Clearly, at 20 years of age, the individual may be obsessed with his or her full-length “mirror image” –the unlined face, the pert pectorals, the six-pack abdominals, the firm thighs…Likewise, by analogy, the relatively young nation might have been more concerned then with its physical appearance –the tall buildings, the other material accoutrements, the balance of payments. Now, as we near 50, and as the human being perceives in many cases the encroaching facial lines, the effects of gravity on a once proud chest and the pre-arthritic knees, the mirror image itself becomes less endearing and emphasis is placed rather on the stability and wholesomeness of the structure.

    But are we as a nation more focus on corrective measures or are we still looking in the mirror of denial hoping and praying that along the way another entity would re-emerge and be the saving grace that correct all our failures and short comings ?

    i belive that as a nation we are still holding on to a past through a now broken mirror of false hope and dreams

    Like

  6. MoneyBrain January 31, 2016 at 11:22 AM #

    The critical question at Fifty is what can we do to improve the National Economy and financial position of the nation and far more importantly the average citizen?
    Here is the case history of a very successful island from which we could learn key lessons and adapt to our benefit:

    In 1961, Sir John J Cowperthwaite became Financial Secretary of HK.
    So how did he engender the HK development miracle?

    His secret was to permit individuals to act as freely as practical without unnecessary constraints short of force or fraud.

    He opposed subsidies,tariffs, and governmental borrowing. Taxation was set Flat at 15%!
    Positive non-intervention.He saw his job as preventing Bureaucrats et al from doing harm by Intervention.

    When Sir John took over in 1961, average incomes were 25% of the UK’s. By the 1991, 30 yrs later, HK had surpassed the average incomes of the Socialist UK!
    He said, “In the long run the aggregate decisions of individual businessmen, exercising individual judgement in a free economy, even if often mistaken,is less likely to do harm than the centralised decisions of a Government, and certainly the harm is likely to be counteracted faster.”

    He had his admirers in the Economics profession–Milton Friedman was one—but he did not admire the Economic profession. Indeed he stated,” We suffer a great deal today from the bogus certainties and precision of the pseudo-sciences, including Economics and social sciences.” Growth is what lifts people out of poverty into affluence.

    It is important to understand that mistakes made by Bureaucrats/ Governments have far greater impact and are tougher/ slower to reverse than the mistakes of individual business people. In a response to being implored to subsidise the HK enamelware industry he countered that intervention would be a costly solution and would only lead to the inevitable death of this sector. He made it clear that HK had learned to use its resources of enterprise, capital and labour in other more profitable directions. The very definition of progress.

    He opposed currency controls because “money comes here and stays here because it can go if it wants to.” Freedom of movement leads to no need to move.

    Concerning the ability of government to set economic priorities or to handicap the success of competing commercial projects he developed a a simple rule: “I myself tend to mistrust the judgement of anyone not involved in the actual process of risk-taking.”

    He has been proven correct on numerous occasions, a prime example is the Solyndra fiasco where the US Government threw away $535 million on supporting the solar panel manufacturer.

    Even greater is the Ponzi scheme that is Quantative Easing and Zero Interest Rates. God must help us all when this fiasco unwinds. It is possible that this unwind has recently started and if so life in Bim and most of the World may soon be much worse than the previous 7 yrs!

    Like

  7. Vincent Haynes January 31, 2016 at 1:09 PM #

    MoneyBrain January 31, 2016 at 11:22 AM #

    Many individuals are incapable for a variety of reasons of making/keeping money in all societies………How did HK deal with their poor and margenalised,could not be from the 15%?

    Like

  8. MoneyBrain January 31, 2016 at 2:16 PM #

    Vincent
    Please note that I stated, “Here is the case history of a very successful island from which we could learn key lessons and ADAPT to our benefit”

    Your point is valid, Bim may have to charge 22% Tax or more BUT having the correct “entrepreneurial ethos”, the proper understanding of our objectives and unity of purpose. I think we should become more like Singapore ie Socialised Capitalism. Incentive and conversely disincentive as it relates to poor Government management, intervention, unnecessary interference in day to day activities etc.

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  9. MoneyBrain January 31, 2016 at 2:24 PM #

    It is interesting that when China decided to unleash Entrepreneurial spirit, their standard of living took off like a Saturn 5 Rocket in under 30 yrs after a longer period of Communism TOTALLY FAILED!

    Like

  10. balance January 31, 2016 at 4:04 PM #

    “Jeff Cumberbatch January 31, 2016 at 6:50 AM #

    Mr Davis, I do not disagree with anything you wrote, but the concept of a fair day’s pay, unless legislated as in minimum wage, is a matter for the market or collective agreement. A failure to pay what the legislation demands would be a criminal offence”

    Why must everything be legislated? Are there no longer values by which one can be judged? No wonder the standards and traditional values which have conscientiously held the country together on both sides of the spectrum have s declined rapidly over the last decade. Life is dynamic. Nothing should therefore be cast in stone.

    Like

  11. Well Well & Consequences January 31, 2016 at 4:15 PM #

    Is it not interesting that the legislators never follow anything that they legislate, they just expect everyone else to follow what they legislate.

    Like

  12. Vincent Haynes January 31, 2016 at 4:22 PM #

    MoneyBrain January 31, 2016 at 2:24 PM #

    I agree that we need to construct our own formula for forward momentum as communism and capitalism will always fail because of the human factor.

    China still has not found a way to satisfy the marginalised.

    Like

  13. Walter Blackman January 31, 2016 at 5:05 PM #

    “Are our people being afforded their basic entitlements in keeping with their rights to dignity, respect and autonomy?”

    No.

    “Is each individual being empowered to exercise his or her economic, social and cultural rights in addition so as to become a more productive citizen?”

    No.

    “Do we permit the people to enjoy the benefits of those international obligations to which we have committed ourselves?”

    No.

    “Has there been an attempt to encourage the mutual trust and confidence that ought to exist between the citizen and the state in a modern progressive democracy?”

    No.

    “Does he or she indeed care for the welfare of Barbados or does this vary depending on the colours of the administration?”

    Roughly 60% of the voting population care for our country’s welfare based on a DLP/BLP perspective.
    I would estimate that about 25% are independent minded and are deeply concerned about the future of our country regardless of which political party forms the government.
    10% don’t give a damn if Sunday comes on a Monday. Just give them the time, date, and venue of the next fete.
    5% can’t wait to get on a plane and get out of Barbados for good.

    “Do we give an honest day’s work as due consideration for a day’s pay?”
    Some members of the civil service, judiciary, executive, and legislature certainly don’t. Some private sector workers don’t. That is why it is extremely dangerous to plan policy or make decisions based on our bogus GDP figures.
    By the way, gun smugglers, thieves, bribe takers, dope pushers, swindlers, child molesters, and prostitutes put in much much more hours than are required.

    “Are our civic obligations being adhered to?”
    No. The “civic” (located at the top of Swan Street?) closed down a long time ago. That is the only thing civic that most Barbadians paid attention to.

    So Jeff, where do we go from here? Down, down, down?

    Like

  14. David January 31, 2016 at 5:15 PM #

    How do we change highways.

    Like

  15. Everton Rowe January 31, 2016 at 5:25 PM #

    Greetings to my fellow Bajans.
    Warm wishes to all.

    Like

  16. William Skinner January 31, 2016 at 8:38 PM #

    Well said. However why is the call always on the workers to be more productive? How can we ask workers to produce more when we have citizens still working for less than 300$ per week 50years after independence? How much more exploitation are the workers expected to take?

    Like

  17. MoneyBrain January 31, 2016 at 9:47 PM #

    We must not exploit workers but we should raise everyone’s standard of living, those workers intent on progress and development. We should be developing a positive attitude toward progress and success, we have definitely slipped badly compared with the objectives that Bim should have had for 2015 in say yr 2000.

    Regarding Minimum Wage we should appreciate that in the US if they were to mandate $15/ hr for small firms the following will often result. Owner has $75 currently for his 6 workers who make $12/hr. Pols mandate Min Wage of $15/hr then owner may have to fire one person in order to afford $15/hr for 5. In many cases the minimum wage wont help. What we need is a strategy/ies to grow the whole pie.

    While in Bim in Dec15 I saw a young lady who looked rather Phillipino, so I decided to approach her to enquire how come she was working in Bim( she was obviously dressed for work and returning home at approx 6pm) She said there are 5 Phillipinos working here for a firm of Cht Accts. WHY would that be required in 2015????????????? Big Uni at Cave Hill and not enough Accountants produced! Grads coming out with degrees and cant get a job because why? Seems the Education System is not properly fine tuned/ efficient/ effective.
    This shortage of Accountants has been so for many years! Do we need 1000 Sociologists?
    Bim is a relatively poor country we cant afford to waste resources by producing plenty grads in areas we don’t need. We must take proper thinking to heart.

    Like

  18. MoneyBrain January 31, 2016 at 9:50 PM #

    Everton we need your input on how to dig Bim out of this quagmire, I know you have had a good career in the US, time to help the mother country in this time of need.

    Like

  19. Well Well & Consequences February 1, 2016 at 8:16 AM #

    You are on point MoneyB…too many students making bad choices in majors at universities only to find out that they wasted time and money because the island is yeah big and their careers will go nowhere. Happens in the big countries also, then the graduated student has to immediately switch career paths…if they want to eat, pay school loans, pay bills etc.

    Some years ago there were students from the island, scholarship winners, many who were intent on pursuing actuarial science, too many wanted to be actuaries, the reality when they entered the top universities in Canada….not that many actuaries are needed anymore……finding jobs will be old hell, Canada will not hire foreign before their own, they have changed the way students who want to remain there after graduating are processed, more university time needed to start a new major.

    Therefore, they must get it right the first time, do research, find out the jobs/careers that are trending and go with what will get you a job or self employment, after graduation. One student I know personally was extremely brilliant in making choices and has now gone international.

    Majoring in English and Literature are a waste unless you plan to teach. Too many employers on the island apply for work permits when they have a pool of qualified locals to choose from…..

    Like

  20. Bernard Codrington. February 1, 2016 at 9:51 AM #

    University education is never wasted. The primary purpose of education is to develop cognitive skills. That is the ability to learn how to learn and to avoid faulty decision making skills. An educated person should be fit to take on any new skill requirements that surface in the future. Unless his degree was earned by rote.

    Like

  21. MoneyBrain February 1, 2016 at 10:26 AM #

    @Bernie Codgy

    I appreciate your point but are you aware of the large group of UWI grads that cant attain a proper job and become literally depressed. Some have come on this blog crying. How come when our Govt stopped giving free Uni education the faculty with the highest drop out rate was Social Sciences. Medicine, Engineering and Business held the lowest drop offs. Could it be that many were not willing to pay when their cousin or friend was an unemployed or frustrated SS grad?

    Bim is too small / poor to support large numbers of students who are just going to Uni for the student experience. In places like Singapore a much smaller proportion are mucking around, the major population is in Med, Law, Bus/ ACCT,Eng etc. It is totally ridiculous that we have to import Accountants from The Phillipines, India etc.

    Let me clearly state that Bim should support clever poor/ underpriveleged youngsters that could develop into excellent citizens but wasting resources on the third tier who just want an Uni degree is not productive. The emphasis should be placed on Bim’s needs first. In Canada about 40% of students entering Uni are wasting space/ money and are totally unsuited to becoming productive Uni grads.

    Like

  22. Hants February 1, 2016 at 10:45 AM #

    @ Bernard Codrington,

    You are correct.

    A University degree provides a foundation on which to build a career.

    I regret not getting a degree. Fortunately I live in Canada where you can cherry pick courses of study to enhance your work skills.

    Like

  23. Well Well & Consequences February 1, 2016 at 10:51 AM #

    And that too will go over the heads of many. University education is wasted when you are sitting at home for 5- 10 -20 years and cannot find a job while employers apply for work permits and pay the less qualified, less experienced permit holder 3 times what they would pay local graduates.

    Canada, and i know personally, has cut down on the amount of foreign graduate students who would naturally displace Canadians who cannot now find jobs.

    I swear…there are too many frigging ACs on this blog.

    Like

  24. MoneyBrain February 1, 2016 at 11:14 AM #

    WW
    I have a nephew from Bdos trying to attain PR status in Canada right now. He was educated in Canada and was permitted 2 yrs Work Permit post graduation. He has been trained by a company here and is qualified to fix certain high Tech equipment which is primarily used by Airports and UNIs in Canada. There are only 5 people qualified to the highest level like him in Canada. It is ironic that he is fixing machines that the Syrian migrants have to be processed through as refugees and yet he is being put through an elongated process to get PR status when he has proven himself and has an excellent track record with his company fully behind his PR app!

    Bim must plan well to raise up the citizens!

    Like

  25. Well Well & Consequences February 1, 2016 at 1:20 PM #

    You got it Moneybrain…the top 5% most brilliant post gad students are being put through some seriou paces just for status in Canada. and there is still no guarantee, the system has changed and students leaving the island must be prepared thoroughly. The large companies had put a hold on applying for post grad foreign students in the last year, potential employeeswho had aleady sign contracts were told the process has become more difficult….MoneyB

    The post grad would do well to make sure they can access international employ after returning from graduation and the leaders should be hard at work making sure that technology training in Barbados is raised to such a level that their post grad students on the island meets international work demands, like that student I mentioned….she is self-employed and chooses who she works for worldwide.

    The local leaders, if they can, need to see the bigger picture.

    Like

  26. MoneyBrain February 1, 2016 at 2:07 PM #

    WW
    Where are the “local leaders”?

    Can they see?

    Do they look?

    Like

  27. Frustrated Businessman aka Republic my ass. February 1, 2016 at 3:12 PM #

    Whatever plan you come up with will never be able to deal with the biggest challenge, the civil service problem.

    Half of the 25% of us that work for the civil service or statutory corporations are otherwise unemployable. That means that any reform of civil services and statutory corporations will create a huge national crisis of unemployment if the chaff are separated from the wheat.

    Further, it is a system that corrupts new recruits, especially the ones who work diligently, care about service and could improve the system for a few months until they are ‘put in their place’.

    We will never improve our country until we improve the services we pay for, cannot complain about and cannot replace by going to new providers.

    Business people from around the world will not wait four years for Town Planning permissions, ten years for judiciary services, six months for any other form of permit or license, delays through the Port etc.; it is only the businesses already stuck here that must.

    Until civil servants are held accountable and can be fired after prompt investigations and hearings initiated through a complaint process involving the Chamber of Commerce or Employers’ Confederation we will not solve our biggest national problem. ACCOUNTABILITY.

    Life in our downward spiral is just too sweet.

    Like

  28. Bernard Codrington. February 1, 2016 at 4:02 PM #

    We still need to look in that mirror and ask ourselves if we are happy with the man or woman in that mirror. We need to do some introspection even at age 50. So the Mantra is still very relevant. I would say more relevant. Are we happy with the fact that we gain independence and our criminal laws are being dictated by international organizations which we have joined? Are our morals or interpretation of Christianity to be determined by a decadent church in the Developed countries? How independent are we really?

    Like

  29. Well Well & Consequences February 1, 2016 at 4:06 PM #

    Moneybrain…..there lies the problem, they really don’t care, not enough to up the game anyway….their focus stops at yardfowlism, and all the other stupid things they do that are counterproductive to seeing the future generations move forward.

    As always, they will be left behind.

    Like

  30. Bernard Codrington. February 1, 2016 at 4:09 PM #

    On the economic side. What is the real meaning of the ratio of Debt to Gross domestic product. Do we not as individuals have mortgages 400% higher than our annual incomes? Does that mean that we are living above our means? When we finish selling off the national silver how are we going to meet the recurrent public expenditures? Perhaps we will have to sell the national ‘ Cornell “

    Like

  31. Vincent Haynes February 1, 2016 at 4:29 PM #

    Frustrated Businessman aka Republic my ass. February 1, 2016 at 3:12 PM

    You are quite correct,the civil service is the crux of the matter and the ones to solve it are the same class that made it so in the first place starting in the late 60’s.Inertia suits this class as special decisions can be made expeditiously when needed.

    Like

  32. MoneyBrain February 1, 2016 at 4:43 PM #

    @Bernie Codgy

    The last time deflation struck in a big way, my father was just 23 years old.
    Now, as deflation hits hard again, I’m 59.
    That just goes to show you how rare deflation really is.

    And that’s also why virtually no one alive today has first-hand personal experience with it.
    I don’t either.

    I vicariously relived my father’s experiences with deflation through the many colorful stories he told. But that’s not the same.
    I frequently visited Japan during its last two deflation-ridden decades. But that was also different.

    Despite all this, though, there is one thing that history teaches us with relative clarity:

    The collision of deflation and debt leads to disaster.

    Put yourself in the shoes of the average consumer, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
    If you’re mostly debt-free, you can probably get by even in deflationary times. Sure, you may suffer a decline in income. But if prices are being discounted on virtually everything you buy — gas, food, airfares, even rents — then the enhanced purchasing power of the money you do earn can help offset the pain quite a bit.

    The big killer is debt.

    If you think your bank is going to give you a discount on your monthly payments for mortgages, car loans, student loans and credit card balances, forget it. With rare exceptions, your debts are fixed and immutable.

    So unless you have a lot of savings, the exit door is through a bankruptcy court, and it’s not exactly a pleasant experience.

    You know what I’m talking about. You saw it yourself in the U.S. starting in 2007 — the year American households had piled up a record $10.6 trillion in home mortgages.
    And you also know what happened next:

    As soon as real estate deflation knocked on our doors, mortgage defaults and personal bankruptcies spread more rapidly than the Zika virus.

    Not-So-Smart Money

    You’d think most of America’s smartest CEOs, Politicians and consumers, would have learned a lesson or two from these torn pages of insane financial history.

    But the shocking reality is they haven’t learned a thing. Quite to the contrary, since the 2008 debt crisis, they’ve plunged headlong into debt with the same pathological lust for cheap credit as we saw in the housing boom.

    And the parallel, equally shocking truth is that some of the nation’s brightest investment pros have financed the madness with vast sums of stock and junk bond purchases.
    Look. Before the housing boom peaked, U.S. nonfinancial corporations had a total of $5.7 trillion in debts.

    Now, as of the last reckoning (Sept. 30, 2015), they’ve got over $8 trillion.
    Now, here’s the key (again): As long as the companies can command a decent price for their products and services, it’s not a big problem.

    But as soon as prices start falling, sales and profits follow.

    And suddenly, meeting debt payments looms as a huge hurdle each and every quarter.
    I’m not the only one worried about this …

    OFR Warns of Threats

    The U.S. Government’s Office of Financial Research (OFR) says the recent surge in corporate debts in America is a threat to financial stability. And in their 2015 report to Congress, OFR economists were quite explicit about it:

    “The ratio of the debt of nonfinancial businesses in the United States to gross domestic product is historically high and companies’ leverage (the ratio of debt to earnings) continues to rise. The hunt for yield and current historically low default rates are promoting easy credit and heavy borrowing.

    “Today’s low default rates seem unlikely to persist. Stress in energy and commodity industries from declining prices could spread as investors reassess their risks.”

    The OFR economists are even more worried about the collision of deflation and debts overseas. Their own words:

    “In many emerging mar­kets, such as markets in China, Russia, Latin American nations, and parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, debt levels in the private sector have reached historic highs after years of heavy borrowing. …

    “A shock that erodes perceptions about credit quality in U.S. corporations or emerging markets could pose a threat to financial stability.”

    The analysts at Fitch Ratings agree.
    They decry the rapid rise of corporate debt in emerging markets.
    They show how, in seven of the world’s largest emerging markets —Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey — private sector debt has now surged to a whopping 77% of GDP.
    And they’ve responded by putting more emerging-market countries on their “Negative Outlook” than at any time since 2009.

    But OFR and Fitch may still be underestimating the explosions that are likely when deflation collides with debt.

    Emerging-Market Debts About to Blow Up

    Last fall, I was in Russia, including their deep south.
    I just returned from Brazil a few weeks ago.
    I’ve also spent a good amount of time in China recently.
    And, in each case, I’ve seen vividly the collision course they’re on:

    In Russia, private sector debt has surged to almost 75% of GDP, including both corporations and households. While I was there, I met few people that had been laid off. But nearly everyone I know is suffering directly or indirectly from salary cuts. One good friend, an emergency-room doctor in Samara for over 40 years, says her meager salary has already been slashed twice. Another, who works in the federal court of St. Petersburg, has suffered a similar fate. Giant oil companies are on the brink. Big banks are next.

    In Brazil, private sector debt recently hit a new high of 95% of GDP. As long as incomes continued to grow, no one batted an eyelash. But right now, incomes are sinking fast. The malls we’ve visited have been deserted. Christmas traffic was abysmal. Consumer confidence has fallen to the lowest I’ve seen in my lifetime. Industrial production has plunged. And the entire economy is contracting at the fastest pace in over a decade. Petrobras, one of the world’s largest oil companies with $24 billion in debt, could be among the first giants to fail.

    China tops both Russia and Brazil, with private debts now up to a red-hot default-prone level of 185% of GDP. In other words, for every dollar of goods and services produced in all of China, the country’s corporations and households have $1.85 in debts outstanding.
    What about China’s economy? If you look strictly at government-polished stats, the economy seems to be less troubled than Brazil’s or Russia’s. But when I talk privately to average citizens and business people, I sense growing despair and fear. They don’t believe the government’s numbers. Why should we?

    Plus, all three countries have one huge additional problem:
    The value of their CURRencies is falling — even CRASHing. This means that any debt payments they have to make in U.S. dollars (or euros) are taking an even BIGGER CHunk out of their SHRIking incomes.

    Will Governments Come to the Rescue?

    Don’t count on it for three reasons.

    First, most emerging markets and advanced countries have already exhausted all the monetary and fiscal weapons in their arsenal — and then some.
    They’ve already cut interest rates — often to zero. They’ve already printed money up the wazoo. And they’ve already run down big chunks of their foreign currency reserves.

    When it comes to fighting deflation, they’ve been there, done that. And it obviously didn’t do diddly-squat to help them achieve their inflation targets — let alone prevent the rampant commodity price declines that are now sweeping global markets.

    Second, the governments of the world’s largest economies have done absolutely nothing to reduce their own government debt:

    At the latest reckoning the debt load of the U.S. government, even excluding all the uncounted extras, was 105% of GDP.

    Belgium’s was 107%; Portugal’s, 128%; Italy’s, 133%; and Greece’s, 197%.
    Worst of all, Japan, the world’s granddaddy of government debt, was up to a death-defying 246%, or more than double the levels of notoriously debt-buried countries like Ireland, Spain, Cyprus and Ukraine.

    Third, the central governments of many highly indebted countries have also thrust their fingers deep into the debt pile of private corporations. They own the indebted companies, run the indebted companies and are often the first to get stuck with the company’s debt before or after a default.

    Here’s the key — the point I made at the outset and the same point I’m going to make again right now:

    As long as INFLation continues, virtually all of these debt problems get swept under the rug. Borrowers earn more income, making it easy to pay off their debts. Plus, the real, inflation-adjusted cost of the debt payments goes down, making it even easier.

    But with DEFLation, the opposite happens. DEBTS suddenly loom LARGER.

    Borrowers default.

    Companies declare bankruptcy.

    And they set into motion a chain reaction of corporate FAILures and market collapses that topple entire economies.

    Whether or not things will get this bad in the U.S. remains to be seen. But in many emerging markets, the combination of deflation and debt is already leading to DISAster.

    We’re watching those countries carefully — especially China, Russia and Brazil. Unless global deflation ends very soon, I fear they could be the precursors of a future debt crisis that makes 2008 look small by comparison.

    Bim is in the crosshairs too!

    Save yourself because you should appreciate that the Pols will not!!

    Like

  33. Georgie Porgie February 1, 2016 at 4:54 PM #

    mb
    then the world is ripe for the advent of antichrist!

    Like

  34. Vincent Haynes February 1, 2016 at 5:03 PM #

    MoneyBrain February 1, 2016 at 4:43 PM #

    Interesting but frightening read……….

    Unless global deflation ends very soon…….how can that happen,we no longer have a gold standard,US currency will not be worth the paper it is printed on,even if the oil goes up,solar will kick back in.

    Humans have gone from the barter system to the currency system via coins and gold….what is next?

    Like

  35. millertheanunnaki February 1, 2016 at 5:06 PM #

    @ Georgie Porgie February 1, 2016 at 4:54 PM

    Would this “antichrist” also reveal himself in India China and Japan where there was no Christ?
    What about the Muslim world? Or do they have the own antichrist in the form of the Mahdi?

    Like

  36. David February 1, 2016 at 5:13 PM #

    @Vincent

    The world financial system operates using FIAT. It is a long time since currencies were backed by bullion.

    Like

  37. MoneyBrain February 1, 2016 at 5:19 PM #

    @GP
    Could be the time for the AntiChrist BUT surely is the time for plenty nuff WARS!

    This currency War we are in will cause hot war soon!

    How much longer will the US be in a position to take the negative effects of being virtually the only strong currency Nation?????????

    In 1933 in somewhat similar circumstances FDR mandated all Gold be turned in to the Banks for Govt coffers only. He threatened minimum penalties of $500K in todays money for transgressors. Once the deadline came, FDR immediately changed the price of Gold from $21/oz to $35/oz or 67% overnight increase.

    In recent years the powers in the US have been MANIPULATING the Gold price in the futures market BUT watch out when the pressure exponetionally!

    Like

  38. MoneyBrain February 1, 2016 at 5:28 PM #

    @Vincent

    Remember at school we were taught in History about clipping Gold coins, well today Pols have found the ultimate “clippers” JUST PRINT DOLLARS like there is no tomorrow and back them by the full faith of the Nation. RECIPE for Financial Disaster!

    If this action was logical why dont the Pols just send every citizen a cheque for $10mn??????????? WE could all be stinking rich right?

    Money creation and Debt are only good in limited quantities, proportional to the quality and need for whatever it is used for and the affordability of the interest cost. Today’s low cost leads to misallocation to very questionable projects. In Bim we call it CAHILL! lol

    Like

  39. Georgie Porgie February 1, 2016 at 5:36 PM #

    RE millertheanunnaki February 1, 2016 at 5:06 PM #
    @ Georgie Porgie February 1, 2016 at 4:54 PM

    Would this “antichrist” also reveal himself in India China and Japan where there was no Christ?
    What about the Muslim world?

    YES JACKASS YES

    Like

  40. Georgie Porgie February 1, 2016 at 5:38 PM #

    RE MoneyBrain February 1, 2016 at 5:19 PM #
    @GP
    Could be the time for the AntiChrist BUT surely is the time for plenty nuff WARS!

    This currency War we are in will cause hot war soon!

    YOU ARE AGAIN CORRECT MONEYBRAIN

    Like

  41. millertheanunnaki February 1, 2016 at 6:48 PM #

    @ Georgie Porgie February 1, 2016 at 5:36 PM

    Is that how you respond to a question you cannot find an answer to?
    Maybe your antichrist will come in the form of a reincarnated Dalai Lama called Zoe.

    With all that mouth you and Zoe have against other religions I am willing to bet you dare not call the Muslim Prophet Muhammad a false prophet and worshipper of Satan.
    Say it, GP, say that Mohamed was an antichrist and the Koran is blasphemous to the teachings of Yahweh and St. Paul.

    Like

  42. Vincent Haynes February 1, 2016 at 8:59 PM #

    David February 1, 2016 at 5:13 PM #

    We are saying the same thing…………question is…lets speculate,what comes next?

    Like

  43. David February 2, 2016 at 12:58 AM #

    @Vincent

    What comes next?

    More of the same, jumping from financial crisis to the other.

    Like

  44. Frustrated Businessman aka Republic my ass. February 2, 2016 at 11:02 AM #

    David February 2, 2016 at 12:58 AM #
    @Vincent

    What comes next?

    More of the same, jumping from financial crisis to the other.

    Not likely for us, Barbados has no more lenders to jump to.

    Like

  45. Colonel Buggy February 2, 2016 at 12:23 PM #

    The Ceremonial Broken Trident moving from parish to parish. After 50 years of Independence, could we not come up with a more original idea , than a parody of the Olympic Torch?

    Like

  46. de Ingrunt Word February 2, 2016 at 4:00 PM #

    @Jeff, there is indeed a wonderful nexus between the Right Hon Errol Barrow’s mirror image speech and the ‘Right Gloved’ Michael Jackson’s song. A few years ago I tried to incite/excite a lad into the messages from both with some interplay from both.

    Not sure I succeeded (the tribulations of trying to guide, lol) in my attempt back then….but in examining the two pieces it showed exactly how that old cliche resonated: the more we change, the more we remain the same.

    How else does one compare and contrast an elderly Barrow of WWII vintage and classics education speaking in much the same breath (on a totally different matter of course but very simialr context) as the youthful lyricist and entertainer who was raised around a very different dynamic.

    Additionally the more we think we are different in upbringing, class, culture and even race we are often more alike and share very similar value systems than we realize.

    “I’m starting with the man in the mirror
    I’m asking him to change his ways
    And no message could have been any clearer
    If you want to make the world a better place
    Take a look at yourself, and then make a change” …

    “What I wish to speak to you about very briefly here this evening is about you. About yourself… I want to know what kind of mirror image do you have of yourself? That is what I am concerned about. What kind of mirror image do you have of yourself?…

    … “They have a mirror image of themselves. … They have a desire to move their country forward by their own devices. They are not waiting for anybody to come and give them handouts….”

    Fade out chorus…”Make that changeeee”

    Later.

    Like

  47. MoneyBrain February 2, 2016 at 7:13 PM #

    @Word
    Well written, totally agree!

    We need true leaders in Bim not the jokers we have!

    Like

  48. Donna February 2, 2016 at 8:57 PM #

    MoneyBrain,

    Seems like the whole world is full of jokers rather than leaders. “Oh, what fools these mortals be!”

    Like

  49. MoneyBrain February 2, 2016 at 10:00 PM #

    Donna

    Tru dat! Sad!

    Like

  50. Colonel Buggy February 2, 2016 at 10:17 PM #

    The PM in parliament today, admitted that he was born out of wedlock. We knew all along that he was a Ba-stuart.

    Like

  51. Georgie Porgie February 2, 2016 at 10:50 PM #

    DO YOU MEAN BASTARD BY ANY CHANCE?

    Like

  52. Gabriel February 3, 2016 at 10:03 AM #

    I think a good 70-80% of Bajans are born out of wedlock.I would think it’s an undesirable choice given that on average,absence of a parent in the household tend to lend to unstable relationships as defined by behavioral scientists

    Like

  53. Walter Blackman February 3, 2016 at 11:44 AM #

    Gabriel February 3, 2016 at 10:03 AM #
    “I think a good 70-80% of Bajans are born out of wedlock.I would think it’s an undesirable choice given that on average,absence of a parent in the household tend to lend to unstable relationships as defined by behavioral scientists”

    Gabriel,
    Did the 70-80% of Bajans born out of wedlock make this “undesirable choice”?
    Because a child is born out of wedlock, does that necessarily mean that there is an “absence of a parent in the household”?
    Are you aware that thousands and thousands of Bajans born out of wedlock, including those who were raised by a single parent, got married and stayed happily married until death?
    Are you aware that many couples in Barbados lived lovingly and happily “in sin” for many years, and then became separated or divorced soon after “they went to the church”?

    Frankly, I am at a loss as to why this discussion has surfaced. The admission made by the PM in parliament does not amount to anything worthy of condemnation, censure, or ridicule.

    We have too many serious problems in Barbados to solve to be wasting our time on a non-issue like this.

    Like

  54. de Ingrunt Word February 3, 2016 at 12:45 PM #

    @Walter, alas it goes to the point made by MB re leaders/leadership. I too do not know the context of why the PM raised his birth history but clearly – as you suggest – its basically a non-point in the overall scheme of things —- considering he was elected PM despite that.

    We will always palaver on this norm called marriage and family life with its ideal of a two-parent household.

    But I think it’s fair to say that the two-mum/dad family dynamic in many western democracies; the dysfunctional male/female fam structure where kids learn more about crisis management, intervention and harsh word choices rather than growing up has long eclipsed the worn argument on the trials of single parenthood.

    A good, solid, loving relationship — male/female, ideally my strong preference– is what it’s really all about. Period.

    Maybe the PM was stressing that he turned out all right despite his birth status…and on that we can all agree to disagree…as we can, for example, re Mr Tom Adams whose parents from all historical reports were certainly ensconced in martial ‘bliss’ when he came into the world! He turned out all-right too…(refer to that agree to disagree ting)

    If we go down that road on our former leaders’ birth-history and outcomes it could get very bumpy..proving nothing!!! LOL..

    Seven paragraphs on a non-point. And I didn’t even touch on GP’s bastard remark (which the dict describes as “archaic and derogatory” . Oh lawd! lol.

    Later.

    Like

  55. Well Well & Consequences February 4, 2016 at 9:04 AM #

    There are more bastards that are the products of marriages…….a survey would settle that once and for all, just start in the same house of parliament.

    Like

  56. Hants February 4, 2016 at 9:26 AM #

    For the record I is a real bastard too. Maybe I can blame that on my failures.

    Like

  57. MoneyBrain February 4, 2016 at 11:38 AM #

    @Hants

    The word bastard in Bim is not worthy of time, discussion or ink, it should be banned from the Bajan lexicon.

    Like

  58. Hants February 4, 2016 at 11:50 AM #

    @ MoneyBrain,

    I Hants am a ​person ​born to ​parents who were not ​married to each other. I was a bastard when I was born and I am one now.

    However I would not use the term to describe anyone else.

    Like

  59. Jeff Cumberbatch February 4, 2016 at 1:40 PM #

    There are, by law, no longer any bastards in Barbados.

    Like

  60. Donna February 4, 2016 at 2:31 PM #

    I had married parents who quarrelled like cat and dog for twenty years. Is that any better?

    Like

  61. Hants February 4, 2016 at 2:58 PM #

    @ Jeff Cumberbatch,

    You mekkin me search to see if I can still be a bastard since I is a Canadian citizen. lol

    When contacted by CBC News and asked about the decision to deny the trademark, CIPO spokeswoman Sabrina Foran said “an initial report was issued on Oct. 8, 2015, wherein the examiner raised an objection pursuant to paragraph 9(1)(j) of the [Trade-marks] Act. The examiner relied on the definition of the word bastard as found in the The Collins English Dictionary.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/lucky-bastard-trademark-obscene-name-1.3360896

    http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/bastard

    So calling myself a bastard is a self deprecating fact. lol

    Like

  62. Hants February 4, 2016 at 3:57 PM #

    This defense lawyer is very good.

    imho her client is a violent freak and should get some jail time but I am just a layman.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/02/02/ghomeshis-lawyer-skillfully-handles-first-witnesss-bait-dimanno.html

    Like

  63. MoneyBrain February 4, 2016 at 6:03 PM #

    Hants
    I feel real sorry for any victim who has to face cross examination from this lawyer she was trained by the very best, Eddie Greenspan!
    The prosecution hopefully has prepared them for the psychological battering they most definitely are and will receive.

    Like

  64. MoneyBrain February 4, 2016 at 6:05 PM #

    Donna,
    Excellent point! Some parents are much worse than being an orphan!

    Like

  65. Colonel Buggy February 4, 2016 at 11:23 PM #

    The word Bastard is also used in engineering to describe a type of coarse- cut file.

    Like

  66. Alvin Cummins February 5, 2016 at 9:15 AM #

    @Moneybrain,
    Does a person not have the right to pursue the type of education or career they want to? Is it the choice of the individual to study accountancy; regardless of the number of accountants already in the system or Sociology, or Law? When in individual decides to further his/her career it is a conscious choice. Why ar so many of you critical of peoples’ choice.
    Why is there any type of debate on the word bastard.?

    Like

  67. MoneyBrain February 5, 2016 at 10:19 AM #

    @Alvin
    People have that right, sure. People also have the right to walk the streets of Bridgetown, post graduation hunting for an elusive job for years too! Most youngsters do NOT have a clue what they want as a career. They need realistic assistance, guidance as to what their job prospects will be, kind of incomes etc. How many would study X, if they knew that half the grad class of 3 yrs back still had not found work????????. Many Unis offering MBAs publish stats on how long it took grads to find work, average salaries etc. Average MBA providers cant charge $65,000 / yr if salary is likel to increase $25,000 post grad!

    Certain courses should be priced differently depending on the Nation’s need eg we need approx 100 Sociology grads / yr. So we know that 50% of entrants wont make it to graduation so we accept and fully assist the first 200 entrants to YR1 but depending on demand the next 100 or 500 students admitted are charged MORE $$$$$$$.

    We have witnessed the reaction when the Bdos Govt stopped paying for UNI the Social Sciences students dropped by half, why? How come Medicine, Eng, Law etc did NOT drop out significantly?

    It is the choice of the Individual to PAY MORE for studying fields that the Nation does not require. I know Bajans with PhDs in International Relations that cant find proper jobs for years!

    Like

  68. Vincent Haynes February 5, 2016 at 2:01 PM #

    David

    Lowdown in todays Nation is worth a read,especially where he talks about the 4 categories of whites in Bim and the funny part of that is that the same can be said of any grouping of people of the same pigment or tribes.

    We like to lump all Eurpeans as belonging to the first category and all slave desendants as belonging to the fourth category,when this patently not true.

    Like

  69. David February 5, 2016 at 3:58 PM #

    @Vincent

    Read it!

    He took a turn in Marsha Hinds-Layne.

    Like

  70. Well Well & Consequences February 5, 2016 at 5:31 PM #

    MoneyB…..Alvin is yet to understand that a major and drastic change has taken place re university to graduation to the world of work, he will only get it when the unemployment rate in Bim reaches 50%, but then will likely blame it on the people who can’t find work anyway.

    By all means, don’t guide people to understand their bad choices can be to their own detriment, just let them choose whatever and deal with the consequences later, why not.

    Like

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