Government_Headquarters_(Cabinet_Office),_Barbados

The Business Blog – Informing a Relevant National Financial Debate

Joseph E. Stiglitz

Joseph E. Stiglitz

My own theoretical work long ago showed the flaws in Schumpeter’s analysis, and now empirical results provide strong confirmation. Today’s markets are characterized by the persistence of high monopoly profits…If markets are fundamentally efficient and fair, there is little that even the best of governments could do to improve matters. But if markets are based on exploitation, the rationale for laissez-faire disappears. Indeed, in that case, the battle against entrenched power is not only a battle for democracy; it is also a battle for efficiency and shared prosperity – Monopoly’s New Era by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Although billions of dollars have been invested by successive governments to educate Barbadians there has been the lack of a quality national discussion about financial issues -devoid of political clap trap. In the media there is only Patrick Hoyos who shine in the land of the blind, on the Hill they all seem to be aligned to a political party or have become mired in the theory of the discipline. 

After nine years and counting behind the dashboard of BU it is patently evident this deficiency has come back to haunt the country. For eight long years of economic challenge the discourse about the economy has been underpinned by the rhetoric of who is to blame B or D. There is the saying that one should never allow a good crisis go to waste. It is difficult for the sensible  and the independent among us to discern an economic philosophy developed by the political and academic leaders of Barbados.

The article quoted by the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Joseph E. Stiglitz should encourage educated Barbadians to demand more from our educated class. The purpose of education ‘has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life’. BU is resigned to the view that our educated class has been failing Barbados. The KPI to measure performance in the education system should be how well our key agencies in the country are performing whether the learning institutions, state agencies, judicial system, political parties, financial system, sports organizations, non governmental organizations etc.

The last two sentences by Joseph Stiglitz should give all Barbadians reason to pause.

But if markets are based on exploitation, the rationale for laissez-faire disappears. Indeed, in that case, the battle against entrenched power is not only a battle for democracy; it is also a battle for efficiency and shared prosperity.

What comes to mind is the heavy Canadian concentration of ownership in the banking sector, the heavy concentration of Trinidadian ownership in the distribution and retail sectors,  the heavy concentration of ownership of Trinidadian ownership of the media sector/ The only spaces in the economy controlled by locals are the Church and the Credit Unions. Why has the level of investment in education not given us the savoir to lead enterprises in key sectors of the economy? Why has the level of investment not given us the savoir to implement top drawer social policy to safeguard the quality of life Barbadians have become accustomed. 

Lastly, who will step forward from our indigenous educated class to be the Joseph Stiglitz? What is today’s plan for Barbados to meet the future.

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23 Comments on “The Business Blog – Informing a Relevant National Financial Debate”

  1. David May 16, 2016 at 7:03 AM #

    Spent the last hour watching Bloomberg Surveillance. How refreshing it is to see experts from the private sector and public sectors being grilled by qualified journalists about all aspects of the economy. All meant to inform the public.

    Like

  2. David May 16, 2016 at 9:25 AM #

    Three ways the Caribbean can strengthen financing for private companies

    By Jamaica on May 16, 2016 06:00 am

    by Therese Turner-Jones   Growing up in The Bahamas, I remember my grandmother’s asue. There weren’t any banks where she lived on the island of Inagua, and even if there had been, it wasn’t customary for women to frequent them. To adapt, women (and sometimes men) formed their own informal savings groups, known asasues. As […]

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  3. Well Well & Consequences May 16, 2016 at 10:46 AM #

    Other islands call the suesue known in Barbados as meeting turns , am told they are no longer as prevalent on the island, the banks hold sway and make all the money.

    There is no more community spirit for building financial independence. ..the nastiness of politics and politicians put an end to that….the people are now responsible for returning that spirit to their communities.

    Like

  4. Artaxerxes May 16, 2016 at 10:51 AM #

    @ David and BU

    Is it true that PM Stuart will be holding a press conference today?

    If this is true, then elections must definitely be around the corner, or something spectacular happened to force Stuart to speak to Barbadians other than in a DLP controlled forum.

    Like

  5. David May 16, 2016 at 10:53 AM #

    Have not heard Artax, who holds a press conference on a bank holiday?

    Like

  6. caribbeantradelaw May 16, 2016 at 11:03 AM #

    @David, while I share your concerns, I respectfully have another perspective. There are a few “on the Hill” who regularly add their voices to issues of national interest, whether through contributions to the newspaper or otherwise. I won’t call any names for fear their names be dragged through the mud by others on this forum.

    Unfortunately, the nature of partisan politics in Barbados is so pervasive that even if one does not have a political agenda, one is seen as having one. It is this consideration and the fear of victimisation which may make some academics less keen to publicly add their voices to issues of national concern, especially if they may be perceived as “attacking the government”.

    Bear in mind that these people have families to support as well. While the layperson may contend that academics should rise above these human fears, the fact that most people on here use pseudonyms shows this is a real concern and it is hypocritical to suggest otherwise.

    I also disagree with you academics adding their voice to public discourse will make any difference. Barbadians are PASSIVE and too many are blinded by political allegiance. Academics can write briefs, speak on the TV ad infinitum and it will not change anything. Too many Barbadians are more content to malign the people speaking out and accuse them of having a bias than using their submissions as a catalyst for wider debate and action. That’s the sad reality of the state we are in right now.

    Like

  7. David May 16, 2016 at 11:07 AM #

    @Alicia

    One has to apply logic. It is up to the academics to develop sound strategies to ensure there message resonates and or avoid political labelling. Let us take Jeff Cumberbatch for example, he obviously has a political preference but are you able to label him based on his public interactions. In fact to the contrary.

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  8. caribbeantradelaw May 16, 2016 at 11:29 AM #

    @David, academics are not spokespersons who are adept at public relations They are educators and researchers. Even if they choose their words carefully to avoid being perceived as having a bias, some will still be so perceived because of something as innocuous as with whom they socialise or when/where they decide to make their interventions.

    Like

  9. David May 16, 2016 at 11:35 AM #

    @Alicia

    Academics are educated individuals who also have access to expertise to fashion an effective message. Importantly why educate our people only to have to cower at the sign of intimidation. This is a general point. Let us take you as an example, you comment on BU under your name, a bold undertaking on your part, yes you have taken a little flack but in the main your contributions are received as sincere devoid of political poppycock.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. caribbeantradelaw May 16, 2016 at 12:08 PM #

    @David, thanks for your kind words but my situation is different from most academics in that I generally write on issues of trade and development as opposed to more politically-charged issues. I am less likely to be accused of having a political bias than someone who writes on issues of governance, for example. However, even I exercise restraint in some of the things I say or issues on which I comment, lest my intervention be misinterpreted or misconstrued.

    Just to be clear, I agree with you that it would be nice if we had greater discourse on issues. I watch with envy the sorts of debates and panel discussions I see on TV or I used to attend first hand when I lived overseas. But my main point is that in the context of a small society like Barbados, there are human factors which impinge on the willingness of some academics to put themselves out there. Even so, my personal belief is that most Barbadians are either too disenchanted or too politically entrenched to care what academics have to say and that for me is the biggest tragedy.

    Like

  11. Bush Tea May 16, 2016 at 12:29 PM #

    @ David
    Alicia is right, but unfortunately, only because it seems that our academics are incapable of articulating a political position that is strategic in nature, …and not aligned to any of the two main existing sets of jobby.

    We only ever seem able to have one of the two shiite options represented.

    Is it not the academics who should be conceptualising an ideal governance system? …and if not them, then who?
    Is it not the academics who should be articulating an ideal Barbadian financial model – based on pure logic, research and common sense? …rather than just commenting on the bribe-focused strategies being milked by the BDLP?
    steupsss…
    If our academics represent the ‘head /brain’ of the country it is no wonder that we are in duck’s guts… perhaps it is not that “most Barbadians are either too disenchanted or too politically entrenched to care what academics have to say “….. but that the academics ain’t really saying nothing…

    Like

  12. David May 16, 2016 at 12:33 PM #

    @Alicia

    Agree to a point.

    A big part of the problem is there is no commitment by a significant number of academics from the Hill to engage the public. In fact this was admitted to by a professor at Ellerslie recently when the Republican issue was being discussed. What we have are only a few who engage publicly especially the political scientists. The academics need to meet and strategize the most effective approach to informing the public.

    Like

  13. David May 16, 2016 at 12:39 PM #

    @Bush Tea

    Our comments crossed. If not the academics the Fourth Estate have a role. It is not rocket science. They can have a look at Bloomberg as one example to appreciate the importance of reporting financial information. An enlightened public is a prequsite to an engaged public.

    Like

  14. Pieceuhderockyeahright May 16, 2016 at 12:58 PM #

    I agree with CaribbeanTradeLaw regarding how ANY PUBLIC COMMENTARY by anyone, targets them as being troublemakers, SOLELY BECAUSE THEY HAVE VOICED AN OPINION – PUBLICLY.

    Our respective Caribbean societies are caught in the national psyche manifestation of “little children must be seen AND NOT HEARD”

    The reward for being outspoken in this country, is to be punished, as Wayne Willock’s life in teaching, has clearly underscored.

    And therein lies the conundrum faced by these “Academics… educated individuals who also have access to expertise to FASHION AN EFFECTIVE MESSAGE.

    Those are my caps not yours.

    Finally Blogmaster I would like to use this example to present a third aspect of this problem.

    It does not mean to impute any lack of competency to CTL or others.

    The Stig is the character who drives on that TopGear programme previously hosted by the fellow who got fired recently, after hitting a colleague, you know the guy who talked about nigger.

    Stig – accomplished driver, record speeds on an enclosed racing track etc.

    Can Stig, versatile driver as he is, extrude a piston to put in the Maserati or the Ferrari on the Bugatti he drives?

    Theory, once it needs to be reduced to practice, makes many of us (and I emphasize us here since I am part of the phenomena) very incompetent/impractical/off-scope

    The Practicuum of Life shows up many of us to be lacking in the pertinent skills to make these lofty things that we speak of, Realities.

    So we have fear, coupled with ethereal concepts, commingled with automatic ostracizing just based on opening your mouth giving us what we have a place where incompetent neophytes occupy the positions where the decisions are made, and the actions ensue, ruling the day.

    Which has proved to be a recipe for Disaster

    Like

  15. Atrue Freeman May 16, 2016 at 2:07 PM #

    We look forward to more information on LIberty Global’s plans for C&W in Barbados and how this may affect local shareholders http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/81284/flow-cwc-owner

    Like

  16. David May 16, 2016 at 2:18 PM #

    @Atrue Freeman

    You listened to the interview today and must have noted the CEO John Reid put a question mark over fiber to the home strategy?

    Like

  17. Atrue Freeman May 16, 2016 at 2:41 PM #

    Does that mean that LG may consider selling the Barbados operations? I believe that LIME-Flow already has 100% fibre in place only for some homes to be switched. I think that the local shareholders are also interested in whether LG plans to seek 100% ownership of the Barbados company and the dividend policy in the future.

    Like

  18. David May 16, 2016 at 2:49 PM #

    @Atrue Freeman

    Sell to who? the FTC must be evaluating concentration of ownership?

    Like

  19. Pieceuhderockyeahright May 16, 2016 at 3:02 PM #

    Whuloss Blogmaster!!! Whuloss

    Surely that is the best joke here today

    “…the FTC must be evaluating concentration of ownership…”

    You put the term the Fear Trading Commission in the same sentence with “evaluating”??

    Dat is a good one, i see that you are the top of your game recently with the provocative statements and leading questions. lol

    Like

  20. Artaxerxes May 16, 2016 at 3:27 PM #

    I agree with caribbeantradelaw re:

    1) “There are a few “on the Hill” who regularly add their voices to issues of national interest, whether through contributions to the newspaper or otherwise.”

    2) “Unfortunately, the nature of partisan politics in Barbados is so pervasive that even if one does not have a political agenda, one is seen as having one. It is this consideration and the fear of victimisation which may make some academics less keen to publicly add their voices to issues of national concern, especially if THEY MAY BE PERCEIVED as “ATTACKING THE GOVERNMENT”….”

    3) Even if they choose their words carefully to avoid being PERCEIVED as having a BIAS, some will still be so perceived because of something as innocuous as with whom they socialise or when/where they decide to make their interventions.

    Unfortunately, it is impossible to convince “die hard supporters” that their political party consists of mere human beings who are not perfect, but susceptible to mistakes. Hence, there is a “backward” perception among this type of supporter that everything a politician does or policy initiative he/she implements is ALWAYS CORRECT and to be critical of that action or policy means the critic is deemed a supporter of the opposing party.

    Take Dr. Tennyson Joseph for example. He is a political scientist and many topics of his newspaper column are usually based on politics. The underlying political environment at this time does not favour the ruling DLP administration. I believe that Dr. Joseph, through his articles, is only expressing this reality in a manner based on his academic training, which allows him to critically analyze the prevailing environment and express an informed opinion.

    Unfortunately, however, his analysis may not be consistent with what politicians and supporters of the DLP may want us (and by extension themselves) to believe. As a result, he is automatically labeled a supporter of the BLP and becomes a victim of pejorative xenophobic comments reminding him as a St. Lucian, rather than commenting on Barbadian politics, he should concentrate his efforts on St. Lucia.

    Ironically, this same group embraces St. Lucian born Mara Thompson as their “queen,” despite the fact that she engages in activities similar to what they accuse Dr. Joseph of undertaking, because she is a member of the DLP.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Exclaimer May 16, 2016 at 4:50 PM #

    I know that what I’m about to say will not be popular. I do not, entirely, blame our government, neither our business leaders for the demise of our nation.

    In Barbados we compare our education prowess against other countries within our region and are proud that our country has educated a population with close to 100% literacy levels. We have a tendency on this blog to discuss which school we attended. Most of you are convinced that you have received a level of education comparable to the best.

    Let’s take a look at Kenya. The population of Kenya is 45 million. It has a total of 48 universities. Both countries have a surplus population of highly educated citizens. What do these two countries have in common? Well, they both have staggering high numbers of foreigners and foreign companies who dominate their domestic economy. Ref: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36132151

    I believe that there is something in the DNA of the Negro which keeps their development permanently stunted. An educated population should be knowledgeable. It should not only keep in check an underperforming government but should be driving government policy. Take a look at countries like France. The French population is highly literate, takes an interest in philosophy and at a drop of a hat would take to the streets. How I wish it were so in Barbados.

    My fellow Negro brothers and sisters we have a problem.

    Like

  22. Well Well & Consequences May 16, 2016 at 5:58 PM #

    Yes Exclaimer, it’s called self-stagnation and it appears the more educated black people become the more they stagnate each other, starting with the shithead governments.

    Like

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