Submitted by Looking Glass
We seldom look beyond our particular opinions, goals, beliefs or those of significant others to the context in which they have meaning and reflect the true state of affairs. All too often fabrication and criticism of reality is accepted as fact. There is no reason for the IMF or the Central Bank to fabricate our GDP growth. Increases in some of the GDP components such as taxes, Vat, construction (Pickering, Merricks, Four Seasons) house sales and loans (borrowed funds) may well be enough to generate the 2% GDP growth
IMF first became ‘involved’ in Barbados in 1991, discovered the loans to some of the regime to build homes were written off and has been ‘resident’ ever since, but prior to 2007 got little mention. In fact we were told that the IMF had been asked to leave (Nation 5/8.2006). Given the pre 2007 IMF comments about the economy under the BLP, it is hardly surprising that Lord Arthur and company would find it necessary to criticize the Central Bank and the IMF observation about growth. That a government who inherited an empty bucket was able to generate growth is a big slap in the face. Criticism for criticism sake or political purposes is not symbolic of virtue and does more harm than good.
The Central Bank not the PM or his cronies formulate/determine the GDP and notify the government who in turn apprise the people. In 1991 and again in 1993 we were told the GDP grew by 1% when if fact it had declined. Ask why the Governor resigned.
The 2006 IMF Report noted the “weaknesses in statistical information,” coverage and transparency of data, and that capital accounts transactions needed to be improved. A Forensic investigation would have revealed it all, the people would have been told, help would have been forthcoming and we would be better positioned to facilitate development. It is not too late but time is running out.
We tend to equate GDP with development which is misleading. In terms of growth economies are not static entities with fixed limits or ceilings. It does not reflect the true state of the economy or the nation and perpetuates the illusion of progress. Contrary to popular belief GDP is not synonymous with progress and an adequate measure of national well-being. Among other things it ignores debt accumulation, non-monetary transactions and unemployment. Changes in GDP growth means only that the economy improved declined or remained stagnant in a particular period in monetary terms.
Development (sectorial or national) means to expand or realise potentials, to bring to a fuller state of being and is qualitative. It incorporates the entire system, involves socio-psychological intangibles and a culture that recognizes the limits to growth. Growth means to increase naturally in size and is quantitative. When something grows it gets bigger but not necessarily better qualitatively. Growth in crime, security, unemployment, debt, foreign population and loss /take over of national assets does not constitute development; instead it amounts to progressive retrogression, National development incorporates the entire system. In part it involves socio-psychological intangibles and a culture that recognizes the limits to growth.
For much of Lord Arthur reign we were fed with “economic gobbledygook and carving up statistics and analyses to obfuscate the ordinary public,” much of which was accepted almost without demur and we even praised the man. It was noted to in Candles Under The Bed and Using Economics For Political Ends Can Be Destructive. Later I will present some articles written around 2006 that dealt with the matter.
Debt apart we were without powerful additions with which to fuel the economy, no defining force or culture to facilitate industrial accomplishment, no non-cyclical job generation industry to enable us to compete or even catch up. As was noted in Fallacy In Shoddy Robes profitable assets like the National Bank were sold and the Port and Airport privatized. He even claimed ownership of the Oval which has always been and remains private property. As a matter of fact the West and the Old North represent harbingers of things to come. His lordship set the deck chair on the Titanic of his own making. The fallout from his and to some extent our improbable actions, attitudes and behaviour now falling like a not so quiet carcinogenic rain we linger in the shadows of socio-economic degeneration.