Barbados Economic Agenda For The Present But The FUTURE Untold

Prime Minister David Thompson

Prime Minister David Thompson

Prime Minister David Thompson like President Barrack Obama has adopted a PEOPLE oriented style, some describe it as populous. After one year in office he has had more interactions with the media than his predecessors; with a promise of more to come. Time will tell if the frequency of the interactions will wane as the global financial pressures continue to spiral.

Although conceding that the Prime Minister has performed well in the interactions so far, we believe that there is a debate which our PEOPLE, media et al have failed to persuade the Prime Minister to engage. It is said that behind every dark cloud is a silver lining, the economists and financial analysts speak to opportunities to be grasped during economic downturns. While we understand the defensive economic strategies which the government is currently mobilizing,  the big void appears to be the incoherent vision of Prime Minister Thompson on how he plans to reposition the Barbados economy for the future.

In the few and brief explanations about his government’s economic plans for Barbados, Prime Minister Thompson predictably outlined the challenges which the interconnectivity of world economies have wrought on the world. An arrangement which is known as Globalization. We thought there was the opportunity for the journalists present at the  recent press conference to probe the government’s economic agenda more fully.

The line of argument which has not been explored in the Barbados space has been what is call The Complexity Theory.  In a nutshell it agrees with the fact that world economies have become interconnected but adds a caveat… “Complexity Theory argues that societies become progressively more unstable and vulnerable as the network of interconnections within them increases — not particularly good news for a globalizing system in which increasing complexity is precisely the thrust of economics, finance, manufacturing, technology and almost everything else we do.”

The interconnectivity of the world’s economies has precipitated as we all are witnessing a meltdown of an unprecedented scale. The fact that it originated in the US bears-out a key point of Complexity Theory. The point we are making is highlighted by asking the question: What if the US economy does not recover in the near future?  The foreboding question is what if it does not ever recover?

The underpinning driver of globalization is free trade. Long gone are the days when trade was defined as excess goods and services traded to other countries based on price and relationships. Long gone are also the days when developing countries benefited from quota agreements and grants in full recognition by the developed world that they would always be able to more efficiently organize and allocate resources (factors of production). Barbados has joined other developing countries forced to signoff on economic partnership agreements and similar agreements. Agreements which will ultimately solidify the stranglehold which developed countries have on the developing given their comparative advantage in the production of goods and services. These goods are exported to the developing world in volume which have the affect of decimating the indigenous industries and making us fully dependent.

President Barrack Obama has entered office promising hope. Countries like Barbados which continue to pursue traditional policies will pray fervently that he is successful given the USA’s influence on the world’s economies. It is interesting if not not providing hope that 40 year old Peter R. Orszag, Obama’s Budget Director headed the consultancy firm which advised the Central Bank of Iceland before it went bankrupt. Iceland up to that point was considered one of the world’s successful and model countries. He also was advisor to the Russian finance ministry in the 90’s at a time of rampant financial malfeasance.

This is an attempt to provide a reality check for the BU family and to provoke the query, what if?

If we persuade ourselves to examine the dark side of the global economic disaster some may find the position of Dmitry Orlov a most troubling exercise. In a nutshell he is a proponent of  the comparative theory of superpower collapse. In the same way the superpower Soviet Union collapsed in the mid-90’s, he is of the few that the drastic drop in crude prices will precipitate a similar occurrence for the USA.  Many in the BU family must be asking by now why are we painting a picture of gloom and doom? Unfortunately this is another view which is  a real outcome and one which our leaders must be cognizant.

Don’t despair, Orlov suggests that as a country and region we should focus on the logistics of efficiently delivering  Food, Shelter, Transportation and Security.

Part II to come!

Thanks to GG for some of the material for this blog.

  • David, you have been on this for a while. I work in the area of economic analysis.

    Let me set it out for you as I have seen it overf the 14 months: 1. Budget Speech July 2008 2. Speech to the Private Sector Consultation on the Economy 3. Report of the Working Group on the Economy.

    Do you want me to pull the pieces together for you?

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  • @Wuh?

    Please do.

    To have to search our newspapers to get our national economic strategy maybe indicative of our concern.

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  • The P.M has set a precedant that I hope he is aqble to keep, since if he slows down or stops altogether, the oppsition would be given more fodder to work with. However, I must give him kudos for coming to the public, the electorate to make his reports.

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  • David,

    These documents are public. Budget on Nation Website, GIS site, Barbados Government Site!

    Other Reports available from private sector, trade union and government offices.

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  • @Wuh?

    We appear not to be on the same wave length. What we are reading and hearing about are the tactics as part of a defensive strategy to deal with the current economic situation. What we need to hear/read more of are the strategies to reposition the Barbados economy to sustain growth for the next say 20 years.

    For example how will the government procure our food security, what about our energy plan i.e RE?
    How will we reshape/build our cultural industries to create new opportunities?
    Lets look at our educational system which is still driven by the ‘collin tie’ era etc.
    Just a few.

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  • David, I’m pleased to see you revisiting our likely economic prospects.

    I do detect a little more than “what if ?” in your post, particularly so with your reference to Orlov.

    BTW for any free thinkers out there, the Feb 14th post on his Club Orlov blog is a thought provoking analysis from someone who has witnessed first hand the collapse of the USSR and sees the same conditions repeating themselves in present say USA.

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/

    My belief is that the current mania for bailouts and stimulus packages are the desperate actions of a drowning man clutching at straws.

    The ludicrous idea that the answer to all our ills is for the public to take on the reckless debts of the current financial system, to enable it to survive to create more debt would be laughable were it not so suicidal.

    Imagine going to your local branch manager with that business plan!

    Its time we realised that Globalisation is snake oil, and the industrialised nations, being too lazy to make anything any more, are its salesmen.

    The current system requires growth to survive, growth requires energy and we have no spare capacity.
    Both demand and supply curves for oil imports are so steep that any small shift in either causes wildly disproportionate price swing.

    Supposing these bailouts do work, and green shoots of recovery start to appear, the demand will bring about a swift return to $150 oil and another crisis.

    Luckily, we being 20 years behind the curve, and so little manufacturing ever to become a player in this new form of slavery, have a head start in re-structuring our economy to weather the inevitable system collapse.
    We need to concentrate on the four basics as above Food, Shelter, Transportation and Security.

    An opportunity may exist by mandating these new community councils some input and participation in the setting up local partnerships and communal land use projects.

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  • David…The Silver lining is afar off and there’s no such animal known as free trade.
    This Complex Theory didn’t just fall out of thin air. This is all a part of the agenda that has been in the planning stages for centuries (even though it was creeping up on us slowly) and is now coming to fruition under the guise of that man eating monster known as GLOBALISATION or what I call the MATRIX. Woven deeply within the arteries and veins of this inter-connectivity are forces incessantly at work to ensure that the majority of the loot obtained thru globalisation is divied up amongst a nano few and this few get to totally DOMINATE & CONTROL the many. This domination and control are maintained thru propaganda, lies, deceit,warfare, poverty, disease, drought, famine, political upheaval…..Mini States like Barbados don’t have much to offer in terms of natural resources and since its mainly a service sector based economy, it should prepare for the day when there will be no one to serve. As I mentioned previously SHE is in an enviable position where she’s blessed with year round sunshine, arable land and seafood which can be a buffer against this impending doom. And this is another reason why the PM should put an immediate STOP to immigration so that Barbados will definitely be in a position to take care of her own esp. those and their descendents who toiled and laboured to build it to its present level of prosperity. Now is the time for BARBADOS to STOP, look inward and do some self-examination. What has Barbados gained from globalisation and at what expense. And is it beneficial to HER as a whole, not just a few at the top. And now is the time for her to chart her own course and at the end of this man-made disaster NO INDEPENDENT, FORWARD-THINKING, SELF-UPLIFTING BLACK NATION should ever entangled in any system, be it economic, political, educational…where a few kleptocrats/criminal gangsters decide that they are gonna pull the rug out from under everyone and cause a TOTAL collapse of all systems. There is something inherently wrong with such a SYSTEM. Right now all we are preparing for is their hegelian dialetic – thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis i.e they created the problem, the people call for a solution and bam! they give you the solution (one world everything) that they had in the planning stages from the get-go. Barbados needs to look inwards and to stop taking orders from external forces. SHE can weather this storm.

    ST……”My belief is that the current mania for bailouts and stimulus packages are desperate actions of a drowning man clutching at straws.” Disagree with you here bro. This is all in the works to finally drain the jugular of the masses. Look and see where its going. Cui bono? The man at the bottom of the rabbit hole is NOT drowning. He has all the life vest he needs.

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  • ST says:
    Its time we realised that Globalisation is snake oil, and the industrialised nations, being too lazy to make anything any more, are its salesmen
    ————————————————
    How do you propose we re-structure our economy? and to what? I am not disagreeing, I genuinely want to know!

    Barbados may be 20 years behind (a plus no doubt) but it is also said that Barbadians have become a dependent lot, are to obese, suffering high incidents of diabetes and other lifestyle deseases, and are not productive enough,….and this is within a largely service base economy.

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  • Hopi:

    Although, as you may have realised from previous posts, I am extremely suspicious of the manipulations of Morgan Stanley, Citibank and their paid lieutenants the Federal Reserve.

    But that should be the subject of another dedicated thread.

    As I’ve already said the system is working perfectly for those who designed it (your nano few ), but discussing the string-pullers here is likely to divert comments away from Barbados’ reactions to the collapse as it affects us here and now.

    A discussion urgently needed.

    I’m keeping my powder dry, hoping for a lively discussion to develop, and look forward to taking on the supporters of the status quo later.

    AH:

    I believe the present global economic structures are terminal decline, and it will not be a question of selecting an alternative, small island states will have to face reality as it affects them to survive, and all we can do here is throw in ideas.

    As it affects you, I see the security business booming, but not sure about your Dow dabbling.
    Perhaps you should liquidate the stocks at the next spike, and have a word with your boss about partnership. LOL.

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  • ST……Oh no. Its the other way around. Morgan Stanley and Citibank are the paid lieutenants of this monster, the Federal Reserve even though they are so interwoven, the difference may be indistinguishable and I don’t see any diversion fr B’dos’ reactions to this collapse since its all interwoven, hence the domino affect.

    btw… What’s up with “keeping the powder dry” seeing that I addressed you as bro. Pls correct me!

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  • Sis:

    Check again on the main shareholders of the Fed.
    You say the tail wags the dog?
    Not while Mr Rockefeller runs things.

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  • ST….Superceeding Rockerfella is Redshield! But what’s up with the powder?

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  • Sis:

    Check again on the main shareholders of the Fed.
    You say the tail wags the dog?
    Not while Mr Rockefeller runs things.

    The “keeping the powder dry” thing?

    As Boney said “never interrupt your enemy whist he is making a mistake”.

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  • Rocky is Rothschild’s general for this re-run of JP Morgan’s 1929 victory.

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  • If we are to accept that the rapid fall in the price of crude oil precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union and in recent times the current global crises was exacerbated because of it, those countries that can wean their economies from using oil as a significant input stand a chance of surviving to a reasonable standard.

    In Barbados oil as an input dominates how we generate output in our major productive sectors. It is interesting to note that the BLP was very strident when the government passed on the market price when the oil price was spiking not too long ago. So far the government has stated its policy is to pass on market prices give or take a few dollars based on timing. We agreed with the government if it is they want to give Barbadians the message that we have to change how we do business. So far it has not been working. The price of oil has receded and Barbadians are back to their old ways. Human nature?

    Barbados needs to become more aggressive by seeking alternative energy solutions at the national level, people can conserve so much but it will not have the significant impact required.

    Given our almost 100% dependence on imported food the government should start to build strategies which targets this alarming situation. We can/should develop our fishing industry to the extent that we catch as well as process fish.

    The other area which government should lead is to expand our polytechnics and expand our school curriculums to grow generations of people with the technical prerequisites to be self employed. The curriculum should be aligned to provide goods and services currently imported.

    So that energy alternatives, food security and retooling the educational base are three good places to start as far as we are concerned.

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  • ST….. Ok mam, I’ll let that powder stay dry! Since Rocky is Redshield’s general doesn’t that make Redshield the big dog?

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  • I think the Barbados government has to take some harsh decisions that may not go down well with some people but it is necessary to do it now. The good thing is that it is early in their term of office and even if Barbados doesn’t come out of the crisis by the next elections, once the positive signs of a full recovery are there, the government must take the maturity of the non-partisan electorate into consideration.

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  • Scout:

    We have not begun to suffer as yet.

    There is no exposure to this madness, except for megalomaniacal jet-setters from Trini who bought into this print your own money myth. ( oh yes and their hangers on ).

    Divorce ourselves from the debased greenback now, or face serious devaluation.
    Yes forget protecting insurance policies, unless we break away from the $US soon, all our savings may go down the tube.

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  • Hopi and Straight Talk

    Check Wikipedia on the connection between the Rockefellers and Richard Parsons who is the CEO of Citigroup.

    I’m becoming a conspiracy advocate slowly but surely.

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  • Hopi

    The first thing on the agenda would be to rid the political parties of all of the corporate lawyers that are pulling wool over people’s eyes (If it were only possible). Lawyers as trained servants, by instinct serve he who pays the most and he who can pay in green backs.

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  • Anony……Two don’t walk together unless they agree so I have to check him out later. Ain’t nothing wrong with being a conspiracist, that’s how the world is run. Welcome to the club.

    BAFBFP…….So you’d have to get rid of your esteemed PM & BaRat! Seems like their only function is to keep the pyramid together. BaRat is a loss cause but I’m not sure of your PM. Wha do you think?

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  • David…….I’m on board with your proposals and when this ship finally sinks I WANT GREATER TIES with the MOTHERLAND. Forget about the exploiters and traitors. I know that something BIG & GREAT can come out of this tragedy for the children of the SUN.

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  • Hopi
    Esteemed PM? From whence does the esteem originate?

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  • @ST

    I believe the present global economic structures are terminal decline, and it will not be a question of selecting an alternative, small island states will have to face reality as it affects them to survive, and all we can do here is throw in ideas.

    As it affects you, I see the security business booming, but not sure about your Dow dabbling.
    Perhaps you should liquidate the stocks at the next spike, and have a word with your boss about partnership. LOL.
    ===========================
    I don’t have much, and therefore not much to lose. Thanks for the unwanted advise, but what about your “IDEAS” for dealing with this “Terminal structural economic decline”? Give it to us “Straight’

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  • Gear Box…..That esteem doth generate from under the veil that’s been pulled over the eyes of the sheeple.

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  • @AH
    “…but what about your “IDEAS” for dealing with this “Terminal structural economic decline”? Give it to us “Straight’
    ***************************************
    Adrian, after the Titanic had struck the iceberg there could only be one sensible ‘IDEA’ for dealing with the ‘decline’…
    …..a life boat.

    What more do you need to see- to realize that the ‘unsinkable’ vessel called civilization is going down?

    The only question is- where and what is the lifeboat?

    My pal Straight Talk understands the weaknesses in the Titanic design and sees the dangers … but refuses to contemplate the issue of the lifeboats…

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  • @Bush Tea… I happen to find myself awake at this hour on this day — I was awaiting the return of a good friend, and wanted to witness the successful launch of Kepler.

    I am happy to observe that both have gone according to best laid plans…

    @BT: I do find it somewhat amusing that you mention lifeboats.

    After all, as you yourself state, was not the Titanic believed to be unsinkable?

    And was this not the reason that not enough lifeboats were available to the passengers? Any why so many died?

    “She’s made of Steel, Man! She can sink!

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  • …precisely my point CH.

    Would you not agree that most commentators discuss the current dilemma in terms which suggest that somehow ‘things will work out’?
    i.e. “She’s made of Steel, Man! She can sink!

    …and therefore we have all kinds of responses (stimuli?) except a move to the lifeboats.

    I am particularly impressed with the expert analysis of Green monkey, ST, and others in analysing the cause and extent of the damage to the titanic.They also explain why things will only get worst….
    ..the question is WHAT ARE THE ACTIONS NEEDED FOR SURVIVAL when the thing goes down….
    ‘where are the lifeboats?’

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  • Can technology rescue us again, just in time?

    The possibility of a cheap, reliable method storing full grid amounts of electricity.
    Solar power night and day.

    For our sun-blessed rock, let’s hope this method is successful.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=tr10&id=22116

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  • The only other earth that kepler gang find to escape their impending doom is back to the CAVES from when they came.

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