BU readers know that we have been fascinated at the intervention by Professor Howard, in the ongoing debate regarding the emerging government policy being quietly propagated by the government of Barbados about their immigration and population growth policy. The Professor’s perspective like Mascoll’s, although absent of any scientific analysis, is a perspective which never the less is shared by many Barbadians. BU has invited Professor Howard to interact with our online community but he obviously prefers to operate in the tried and trodden sphere of the traditional media. Perhaps, this is the dichotomy which we face as a Nation that a Professor at our highest institution of learning, whose sole objective should be to educate the people is unwilling to use all means available to do so. Our view was reinforced when we read the recent letter submitted to the newspaper by Professor Howard which ended with this paragraph:-
Let me restate my argument for the last time. The bad effects of population growth in small island ecosystems far outweigh any perceived benefits. The “population time bomb” results in overcrowding, congestion, pollution of all types, degradation of the environment, nutritional deficiencies, and the overuse of public services.
I rest my case.
– MICHAEL HOWARD
Our focus on the narrow position taken by Professor Howard in his last submission to the media in no way diminishes BU’s previously stated position. We agree with the Professors’s line of reason which shores-up our faith in the economics discipline which has sadly struggled to integrate the social needs of countries with its multiplicity of scientific theories. We are optimistic that we have misinterpreted Howard’s reluctance to engage the public on this matter any further. BU suggest to Howard that he has only just scratched the surface on a matter which deserves more debate in our country. The debate is very relevant as our regional governments rush to implement CSME initiatives. Maybe more relevant is the fact that as a nation which is proud of its educational standard, the policies which Barbados implement will no doubt be adopted by others. We hope that Professor Michael Howard can share any scholastic work done on the subject at hand, penned by himself or others. The country deserves a more robust debate on this issue and should not have to witness these arrogant displays from our academics. How do these people sleep at night knowing that they are shortchanging the public by withholding their knowledge? The reluctance by most of our academics to inject ideas and hypotheses which have been tested in the public forum can be compared to doctors violating their Hypocratic Oath. We suggest that many of our economists should be required to read philosophy as a prerequisite to become accredited.
We have criticized Professor Howard, but at the same time we acknowledge his mild interventions into the public domain; others should do the same.
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