Notes From a Native Son – How the Eurozone Crisis Threatens Barbados

Hal Austin

Europe is in serious crisis. Greece, a culture that has abandoned hard work and resents paying taxes, goes to the polls in the middle of next month to vote for its economic future. The decision voters in that southern European nation – the home of democracy – have to decide is if they remain in the 17-member Eurozone, or get out. Damned they do, damned if they don’t. The truth is that an economy which makes up only two per cent of the Eurozone could not, in normal times, be such a destructive threat to the single currency area, farless the global economy, but these are not normal times. Remember how a single wholesale bank, Lehman Brothers, disrupted the system? Banks in the other southern European economies – Italy, Spain, Portugal – and Ireland are also under enormous pressure, and the massive exposure of French and UK banks to the area also make them vulnerable.

But it is the German hugely successful economy that is in real danger, since, like the history of capitalism, German prosperity is build on exports – mainly to southern Europe. While this drama is being played out in Brussels and Frankfurt, most Barbadians would rightly ask what has all this to do with them. Well, the answer is far more than at first meets the eye. First, while global leaders, from China to the US, hold their breath, it should be remembered that the Greek tentacles stretch throughout Europe and across the Atlantic to the US, through the hidden workings of the global banking system. Also, unlike 2007/8, when China rescued the world, the world’s second strongest economy is also itself in trouble.

More important, Britain, our main tourism market, although it is outside the Eurozone, the 17-member economic union is its main trading bloc, with massive banking exposure to the markets. Already there is enormous capital flight from Athens, first corporates and the wealthy moved lots of cash out of the jurisdiction, corporates to bank elsewhere and rich individuals to buy property in Britain and other ‘safe’ havens.

To complicate matters further, Europe is also the biggest market for the US, even though Obama has been trying to shift this towards Asia-Pacific and previous presidents, notably Bill Clinton, have structured the Free Trade Area to rebalance this dependency.

In the meantime, the DLP government is silent on what it is doing to shore up the Barbadian economy, even though in December a group of its economic wise men came up with a master plan to rescue the domestic economy. Whether it finds the group’s proposals attractive is not publicly known, since in the silent world of Barbadian policymaking information is restricted to a few insiders.

What we do know, is that its cheerleader in chief, the governor of the central bank, is often making the most preposterous statements, which in a small blog it is not fair to inflict an extended analysis on readers. One recent outburst stands out, and it typifies most of  the voodoo economics financial statements he tries to mesmerise people with.

In his recent address to the Barbados Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers, he described the Barbados economy as “stable” and said the engines of growth would be foreign exchange earnings and savings sectors of tourism, international business and financial services, agriculture and agro-industry, and newer alternative energy industry.” It is not practical to go in to detail to untangle this economic mumbo jumbo, but I will look at a few of the points he made.

Foreign exchange earnings are part of the litany of received wisdoms that Barbadian policymakers indulge in, but like most things economic, there is a half truth. Foreign exchange earnings are important for growth, but how are we going to get these earnings? The tourism sector has collapsed, and if we continue to wish for the return of British tourists then we will be waiting for another five years or so; what international business is he talking about, companies like AIG? Read former AIG chairman Hank Greenberg’s statement to the New York attorney general; it is there on the internet.

What agriculture is he on about? Barbados is just over 100000 acres, about the equal of a medium sized sugar plantation in Brazil or Australia. In any case, most of our most arable land is now used for middle class housing. As for agro-industry, who are our agricultural scientists? What work are they doing on our flora and fauna? Are they doing any research on the pending food crisis? What is the genome of common Barbadian fruits and plants?

We can ignore the nonsense about new alternative energy since this government – and previous ones – would not know an energy policy is the sun crashed in Broad Street.

Then you have an inactive prime minister claiming that the debate has moved beyond the green economy to the blue economy, this in a country that has over fished so much that even the flying fish have run off to Tobago, when we no longer have enough sea eggs for a decent party, when young people no longer know what is a conch and the Animal Flower Cave, one of our few genuine sites of scientific importance, is dying because of over-use and the dumping of debris.

The basic solution is staring policymakers and politicians right in the face: Barbados imports more than it exports, most of it in foodstuff, the reason for the current account deficit.

The other example of short-sightedness is its ignoring of the historic shift in global financial power, which coincided with the banking crisis and following recession and crowed it of serious discussion.

The neglect of Africa is diabolical given the worsening global food crisis and the need to provide reasonably priced essentials for this and future generations of Barbadians. What, for example, prevents this government from entering the futures markets and buying a basket of essential goods to secure our basic food needs? Why, having taken due diligence, cannot the government – or national insurance scheme –invest in future rice supplies from Sierra Leone, for example, or even preferably from Guyana and/or Haiti?

Why cannot the government do, as the Arabs and Chinese are doing, take out a long lease on arable land in Africa to supply our food needs and, in addition, sugar cane to produce the molasses for our rum? This is the stabilisation that the macro-economy badly needs, followed by jobs for the all important 16 to 24-year-olds, and which the government is trapped like a rabbit in oncoming headlights when it comes to creating a sustainable policy to resolve this crisis of job creation.

In fact, apart from borrowing like a teenager maxing out on a credit card, the government and its key advisers do not have a clue as to what to do. They are hoping, praying, that something magical comes along, like some foreigner bearing the gift of a massive investment.

One way out for the government, apart from convincing other Caricom members to establish a single currency (I like the name Caribe), is to decouple the Barbadian dollar from the greenback, fix against a basket of commodities and currencies, including the Trinidadian, Guyanese, Eastern Caribbean and Jamaican dollars, and devalue against the euro and pound sterling.

In this way, we will stabilise prices with our key Caricom trading nations, drive up luxury imports from the US, and reduce the cost of a holiday from the UK, which in the short term is the driver of the economy.

One other consequence of devaluation is that it effectively drives down labour costs, which is a major problem. At the same time, government should cut back drastically on its own spending, zero-rate a basket of goods for VAT and raise sales tax on luxury items, including new vehicles, even those used commercially, and gasoline.

I would also like to see a hypothecated taxation system so that taxpayers know what they are paying for, rather than the present system of feeding the Consolidated Fund like an alcoholic on a night out, so politicians could use it as a piggy bank.

In the meantime, government should stop the greenback from being legal tender in Barbados, giving a limited time for all those stockpiling the currency under their mattresses to exchange them for the Barbadian dollar. After that, any hording of the US dollar above a set amount (say US$5000) should be deemed a criminal offence punishable by a time in prison and for non-Caricom naturalised citizens and those with a right of residence, loss of citizenship and deportation.

Analysis and Conclusion:
One unmentioned consequence of the financial and economic mess in the Eurozone is the rise of neo-fascism. In Greece, the extreme rightwing has won parliamentary seats for the first time since the second world war, and in the first round of the French presidential elections Marie Le Pen won over six per cent of the popular vote.

But there is also a more direct threat to the Barbados tourism UK market is that if Greece were to leave the Eurozone and return to the drachma, the subsequent devaluation would make Greece a much more attractive, and nearer, holiday destination, than the punitive long-haul trip to the Caribbean.

All this brings us back to the cosy consensual rhetoric of Barbadian economic debate, in particular the fiction that there is growth in the economy, yet the chief propagandist for this view, the governor of the central bank, provides little evidence to substantiate his views. Understandably, one of his jobs is to reassure the nation that everything is all right, but there is a difference in reassuring and, to my mind, misleading.

The crude reality is that the Barbados economy is in recession and has consistently been since the 2007/8 banking crisis because of the uncompetitive labour market (one of the reasons, though not the only one, for so many hotels going out of business or having cash flow problems), an artificially high standard of living expectation, and uncontrollable government spending.

In the final analysis, Barbadian monetary and fiscal policies are so chaotic that even re-reading the Central Bank Act does not make it clear what the remit of the Bank is: is it monetary policy, managing inflation, economic stability, or all three?

Further, and an irritating feature of the local financial environment, is that often official prices and other figures are given in US dollars, such as loans from international and regional bodies, which marginalises the local currency. This is cardinal sin that is often repeated by local retailers – pricing in US dollars in a bogus belief that the tourists will understand, even though the majority of tourists come from the UK. It sends the wrong message.

Another problem is that labour costs in Barbados are far too high, fuelled by the silly belief that Barbados has a ‘first world’ standard of living. In basic economics, there is a trade off between wage inflation and unemployment and the real social crisis facing Barbados is youth unemployment. So far, government does not seem to remember this.

The problems in the euro area should be used as a catalyst for fundamental change.

40 thoughts on “Notes From a Native Son – How the Eurozone Crisis Threatens Barbados

  1. Just as a matter of interest, here is a BBC report from Feb 2012: “How Goldman Sachs Helped Mask Greece’s Debt”:

  2. With the EU in turmoil one wonders why it has not fuelled more discussion in Barbados? The implication of an unstable Europe is huge for a world which includes the Caribbean.

    Can we be this petty to continue to view our problems in a fish bowl?

  3. can we be so petty to continue to view our problems in a fish bowl

    Denial coupled with a fast forward approach of thinking we are exempt from the realities and challenges that other large countries are facing

  4. I agree with the sentiments of the article, description of the Euro crisis and its wide ranging implications.

    However, a few thiings: The International Business Sector does actually bring significant inflows to the economy, still. Both in taxes but moreso in jobs, rents and ancillary services, including hotel stays etc.

    The tourist sector, while nothing like the 70’s heyday, continues to inject significant inflows from the igh end i.e. West Coast market.

    So, agreed that some of the proclamations by Gov’t are mumbo jumbo, but those two had ‘some’ validity.

    On to the solutions.

    – agriculture, this is one of the areas that a number of us pointed out many years ago as needing redevelopment. The food import bill, much of it unhealthy pre-packaged nonsense anyway, is way too high, as you say.

    this is why the answer then and continues to be a major thrust in agriculture (one of the suggesitons a few years back on these fora was to work a joint venture with Guyana in Guyana, for food production.

    – on devaluation, no it is a double edged sword. While technically you are correct in it reducing labour costs, it is very inflationary, on account of our industries such as hotels being import driven for many infrstructural and operational items, thus the only saving there IS teh labour costs, which will adjust post devluation due to natural rises, expctations and lviing standards. So, not an option. It will not solve the ultimate issue, which is local production whether being services or industrial, or agriculture.

    The crux of the matter is to prooduce more, import less, nevr mind devaluation.

    Yes, we import too much expensive vehicles (can be limited, help small mechanics work on older cars), too many clothes (can be made here and help small industry) , food (can be produced here and Guyana), and we need to export more.

    That is the issue and where we need to focus.

  5. I do not like this article. Its title is misleading. I thought I would have been exposed to the economic bridges which bind Barbados to Europe. All I am reading here is a rehash of what the BBC has been programming for sometime. The discussion needs to focus on how does Barbados survive when the total collapse comes. Obviously no help shall becoming from the developed world. How can we in the Caribbean pool our resources with a proper plan now, to better face the coming economic disaster. The white people in Europe and elsewhere shall do what they have to do to survive; the question is what are Caribbean people doing to survive. Obviously, article of this ilk shall do little to prepare us.

    • @lemuel

      Do you deny that the author is painting a reality which before we do anything there must be an awaking in the population?

      Many Barbadians are clueless to the challenge an EU in turmoil can cause for us.

      They all want to go to Limegrove on weekends, shows on thew hill, eat out DAILY at KFC , Chefette, send their children to private school, pump their gas guzzlers and complain about the price of gas etc.


      Whenever we try to push for more productivity the unions get involved.

      Let us admit there will be tension but it cannot stop the movement to generate more productivity.

      We cannot continue the same old ways of doing business and this applies to the trade unions 1960s approach as well.

      The trade unions have been so lousy managing their environments that they are struggling with succession.

  6. “Greece, a culture that has abandoned hard work and resents paying taxes” – taken from the above thread.

    “I would also like to see a hypothecated taxation system so that taxpayers know what they are paying for, rather than the present system of feeding the Consolidated Fund like an alcoholic on a night out, so politicians could use it as a piggy bank” – taken from the above thread.

    Taxation is exactly one of the major causes of this political financial bankruptcy that is raging throughout Europe.

    Taxation is also one of the major indicators of the intellectual political and financial bankruptcy of this Western model of development.

    Taxation is also one of the major causes of the gradual but irreversible long run decline (unless a PDC Government or any other taxation busting party comes to office and abolishes TAXATION) in the productive and distributive affairs of this Western-oriented country called Barbados.

    Hard work + the government stealing portions of any one’s income, payments, transfers = sheer oppression and subjugation.

    Taxpayers?? Of course not. The fact that the government is every day flagrantly robbing the relevant peoples, businesses and other entities of countless portions of their incomes, payments, transfers make them damned TAX victims. So, there is absolutely nothing EDIFYING GLORIFYING about using the term TAXPAYER to bring positive to what is a very gory horrible political state of affairs. You are indeed TAX victims that are being robbed by a violent sanction-toting unproductive blood sucking black led government.

    The time has come for most politically conscious citizens to get up and vote out these backward dark ages DLP/BLP factions from out of the parliament of this country for their madness of continuing to wage such callous assaults on them and their properties and for putting them into such serious and appaling states of victimhood – a la TAXATION – whereby such TAX victims are most likely to end up speaking or writing like the HALF BAKED HALF RAW POLITICALLY CONSCIOUS author of the above thread.

    With the present taxation/money system it is impossible for any individuals to know what the government is STEALING FROM THEM AND ALLOCATING TO WHATSOEVER PROGRAMS PROJECTS OUT OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT IN INCOMES, PAYMENTS AND TRANSFERS THAT IT ROBS ENTITIES OF ON A DAILY BASIS.


    • @PDC

      Let us agree that the government may be accused of not allocating resources in the right areas but not stealing.

  7. To David:
    Most Barbadians would have head of the crisis in Europe. You may surprised by the number of Barbadians who get remittances from all over the world. When things like these happen the poor know for they are the ones who feel it. What I am not seeing in the Caribbean or here in Barbados is the discussion on economic security, food security and survival through exposure by economic ties.

    • @lemuel

      Minister Kellman announced on a CBC talk show yesterday that an announcement on an agriculture initiative is imminent. Hopefully it will not have to be delivered in phases. To the government: see how effective communication can be? The use of the word phases will remain in the lexicon of Bajan politics for time to come.

  8. David,

    We assume that you have previously checked the definition for stealing in a few dictionaries??

    Any how here is another definition from (we have limited such to the meaning we find most relevant –


    [steel] Show IPA ,verb, stole, sto·len, steal·ing, noun

    verb (used with object)
    to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right, especially secretly or by force: A pickpocket stole his watch.

    We – in the PDC – cannot mince words at this stage.

    We must not be found to be open apologizers for, or silent accomplices to, the EVIL of government, David.For future generations will hold us dearly and rightly responsible for failing to correct such egregious wrongs and evils such as TAXATION.


  9. To david:
    I am surprised that you have so much faith in the political class in Barbados. Much of what they go around spilling comes from some civil servant who is trying hard to please them in order to get a promotion to the “S” scales. We have no real discussions in Barbados because real discussions would put most if not all of the political class on the run. Are you surprised that many of our politicians are not too bright? Couple this with the situation where the political class is positioning many persons with little or no ability in senior positions in government. We are sitting on a social and economic disaster and no one seems to have a clue. Kellman tries his best but he does not have the real answers required for this time.

  10. The premise of the article is a good one and I would like to thank Mr. Austin for bringing this issue to the attention of many on the blog because we are a Nation of navel gazers unable to see beyond our neighbour’s “paling”.

    However it is a pity that a writer of Mr. Austin’s ability is unable to divorce himself from the personal attacks that permeate these discussions. On second thoughts it is an opinion piece so he is fee to convey his opinion.

    I wrote the following a few days ago “the country is like a “moses” caught in the middle of a hurricane it doesn’t go where you want it to go, it goes where the wind and the waves wants it to go.” I don’t think that changes no matter which Party holds the reins.
    There is food for thought in Mr. Austin’s article but I will focus on one particular morsel “Why cannot the government do, as the Arabs and Chinese are doing, take out a long lease on arable land in Africa to supply our food needs and, in addition, sugar cane to produce the molasses for our rum?”
    When I read that I thought he can’t be serious, the Chinese are pouring billions of dollars into Africa and it is this money that is fuelling their entry into the continent from the North to the South. They are the new imperialists who take advantage of many corrupt regimes to exploit the resources of these “poor” African countries. They import Chinese labour (males) housing them in barrack like accommodation with little contact between the workers and the local residents. The few Africans who manage to get work in these operations (mainly mines) are treated like service animals ( this is no different than how the Chinese treat their own workers in China). Some Chinese workers do meet some of the local women and in Bajan parlance “breed” a few of them and when the people complain to the local authorities the worker is shipped back to China and some poor African household is left with another mouth to feed.
    Essentially how does Austin expect a country like Barbados with meager resources to lease land in Africa in competition with the Chinese?. Who is going to staff the operation? Did he read the suggestion by Mia that Bajans should lease land in Guyana for a similar operation? How well was that received? Bajans don’t even want to go to Guyana to till the land. Even if it was possible with local African labour whose ships or planes would we use to ship the produce back to Barbados?
    Mr. Austin could do with an Editor to weed out this type of pipe dream before he submits these articles

  11. @ Sargeant
    May be the present or coming administration will (lacking the internal fortitude) be brought to a place where the necessary millions will be redirected from a bloated, inefficient civil service and tourism into a lease type operation in Guyana, coupled with the necessary inputs into a two year national service plan (no waivers allowed) to make it palatable and meaningful for the participants, their country and the host country. Outchinese the chinese if you will.

  12. You seriously cannot, if you want an open modern economy, imprison people for having foreign currency. That way lies siege economy and retaliation and advisories to foreigners not to come to Barbados, However, a lot of the rest makes some sense. Forget the idea of tying the country by currency to an even more ramshackle ship (our “colleagues” in Jamaica etc) and simply ensure that Barbados is competitive, offers a good product and by all means devalue against the US dollar. Otherwise, larger governments in the region will be telling Barbados what to do and there will be no stopping them (“in future the Caribbean single market is investing just in Tobago and norther Jamaica tourist industries, and the others will be gently run down…” you can hear it now). Yes, when the Greeks have the sense to leave the euro they will have a lively few months and then they will have a currency they can control and devalue and you are right – UK tourists will flock there in vast quantities. It WILL happen. So make sure that there is always a welcome here and that the deep links with the UK are not fractured by daft actions and rules which make tourists go away and say “never again”.

    btw it is a myth that the Greeks do not work and do not pay taxes. International stats show retirement ages of UK, Germany and Greece, for example, as fairly close. In ALL those countries there are many who retire on full pensions a decade or two below the official retirement ages. But on average they are very similar. The propaganda put out about the Greeks is designed to obscure that fact that they are in the wrong currency and that even if they worked 23 hours a day, seven days a week and never retired, they would still be in the mess they are in.

  13. “a culture that has abandoned hard work and resents paying taxes” are we talking BARBADOS, sounds like it.

  14. @ David

    I assume you mean that we are glad to receive ideas from ANYONE who wishes to ‘inject’ them into the discussion. I don’t think we’re practising a caste system are we?

    • @robert

      Of course, this is why Hal must be encouraged to continue to inject his ideas in the Bajan blogospehere. No idea or concept is too trivial or inconsequential. Unfortunately in Barbados today we happy to take a passive slant on the issues while at the same time taking potshots at those who dare.

    • It is illegal to hoard foreign currency in Barbados. The issue therefore becomes enforcement.

  15. @ Sarjeant, Crusoe, Lemuel and Joe Vialli


    But even in its absurdities, I agree that the post is thought provoking.

  16. With respect to Mr Vialli, what he is saying does not make economic sense. We want to peg to our main trading partners and a basket of commodities to introduce an element of stability in our exchange rate and trading policy. This is Economic 101. Caricom is our main trading partner. We import a lot from the US, a trading imbalance that should be redressed, thus decoupling from the greenback and devaluing, along with the pound sterling, making imports from the US more expensive and giving UK tourists, our main tourism market, a bigger kick for their buck.
    As to the criminalising of the hording of the greenback, as Mr Vialli well knows that in the Caribbean smuggling cash (ie the US dollar) across borders is the main method of capital flight. In any case, why should a foreign currency be legal tender in an independent jurisdiction? If people have greenbacks, then they take their cash to a bank or an approved money exchange institution.People, in particular business people, horde money in order to avoid the prying eyes of the taxman.
    The euro is not legal tender in Britain, the Eastern Caribbean dollar is not legal tender in Barbados, and Kittians think the Bajan dollar is Monopoly money. I know.
    As to the Greeks, they work for longer hours than Germans, take fewer holidays and go sick less often; however, Germans are more productive, according to the statistics. They just work smarter.
    Let me also say something about Africa: it has the youngest work force, the most arable land in the world, most commodities and, most important of all, a 300m middle class, equal to that in China, more than India’s and equal to the entire population of the US. This is not a market to ignore.
    The only problem is that with 54 nations, there are too many tariffs and customs barriers to get through. If the early 21st century is China’s, the middle and latter part of the century could be Africa’s. All that is needed is good government.

    • It is illegal to hoard foreign currency in Barbados. The issue therefore becomes enforcement.

    • Hal, the euro and the US dollar are legal tender in the UK. They are widely taken (it is just that it is not obligatory). Barbados has a non-convertible currency which is not the case in the UK, The idea of a Bajan fortress and building walls to avoid “capital; flight” is a little old fashioned and impossible under all circumstances to control in the modern era without gross interference with civil liberties and without effectively ending or subverting trade. Those who argued against “capital flight” 30 years ago when the UK abandoned capital controls and just said “take everything out if you want, we don’t care”, were wrong wrong wrong when they said the UK would lose all its money and assets. More money came in (confident that it could be taken out again) than left. With respect you miss the point – by assuming that anyone who uses cash must be drug dealers or criminals you create criminals out of law abiding people who choose to arrange their affairs to suit. It is cheaper almost always to use cash. You can never create “stability” in exchange rates unless you impose a straightjacket. And that straightjacket may work for a while in some situations for some people – but not for long.That is the problem with the euro – it is a straightjacket and one size of straightjacket does not fit all!

  17. Much of what has been written about above involves the competitiveness of the Barbadian economy, and particularly labour. Devaluation does not address this, because labour will still be unproductive, and it will push up the price of raw materials for thos industries still operating. To add to this, the government is about to introduce new labour legislation that will set the country back even further. What is needed now is a re-structuring of the economy, which involves the re-structuring of many companies, large and small. It won’t happen because the labour legislation makes it too expensive. If a company needs to re-organise its workforce, to make it more efficient, it cannot do so without paying them all out and starting over, even if the re-organisation will give them better pay and conditions. This is madness.There appears to be an ongoing myth in Barbados, that is also held by the politicians, that employers, companies, are rolling in money and are just exploiting the workers to make huge profits. This is because they know nothing about the business landscape in Barbados, or how Barbadian companies work, how large they are, and they make absolutely no attempt to find out. Introducing the Employment Right Act will be like adding another 100 lbs on to the back of the horse that’s trailing the field.

  18. @David

    Why would you want to condemn a Bajan who seeks to inject ideas to the blog discussions?
    That was not a wholesale condemnation, just critical of a suggestion that didn’t make sense.

  19. @ David

    And Serjeant’s response is appropriate. Of course, everyone must be encouraged to offer their views. But if they do, like the rest of us, they make themselves siubject to scrutiny. And that cannot be wrong either. It may serve to perfect a good idea, after all. Who knows – H Austin, who has obviously got plenty of ability, may one day realise that he does not have to write a textbook to make his point; may make a serious attempt at coherence; and may even drop some of the tribalism. Actually, he has broadly succeeded in this post. So great for him. Thankyou H Austin.

  20. The Euro crisis is an example of how badly our global economic system is designed and by extension is a result of unrestrained capitalism. In this system shareholders are princes and princesses of a banking monarchy. Taxation has always been the main means of keeping monarchies afloat.

    Let us be mature about this and recognise that humans have designed the monetary system to benefit a few more than the majority.

    We created this thing we call money but we do not share it out equally.
    Why not simply rate every working persons hour of toil the same? Why not have one value for all national currencies? Why not just create the numbers (money) on computer screens and credit them to the working populations accounts by some central authority.?

    Why not just have this central authority pay every working person a huge some of this credit/money, they have created and permit people to spend it on whatever they want?

    If we paid each and every worker a million dollars a year, would they not do the things they do now and more? Build houses, develop new business’ employ people, take holidays, buy consumer goods and make economies vibrant?

    The trick is to not tie labour and input costs to wages. They are all artificial anyway. The money only has the value that we assign to it because it can be inifinite, we can create as much as we want.

    We wear down our populations through almost lifelong labour and destroy our social fabric in the process. Why should someone work (be employed) for 40 years and then seek to rely on a pension/ Why not seek employment for 5 years. At a million a year we could, if we choose retire younger, leave jobs for those now entering the workforce and find out what it is to really live and enjoy this wonderful planet we inhabit. Time for our families, the elderly and infirm. We can slow the pace of life to allow us to live longer, in better health and to appreciate the balance of our environment.

    In this Utopia the only thing we have to control is sale prices for goods and services. Again we can set whatever rate we want for the cost of production so long as it is not linked to wages. So cost of production can be as low as we wish, the central payment authority would manage all wages, not employers.

    Banks based on profiting from debt do not need to exist and once again they are something that we have created and allowed to rule us. Like a monarchy.

    The box is broken, time to think outside.


  21. maat no matter how much the labourer is paid the cost of living would always outspaced the wages it was so designed to keep the minority rich or it would become a case of :the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few” What we need is balance in the financial world but that would never happen because the kings and queens of the financial world would never give up that power and the ability to control the masses .

  22. Mr. Clyde “the Glide” Mascoll, in his last entry in his column – What Matters Most – in the Daily Nation, Thursday, May 24, 2012, again risked presenting a very embarrassing picture of himself as a so-called economist.

    We do not know if others have spotted it, but once more we are hoping that Mr. Mascoll is not about to make another tremendous gaffe.

    But, why this UWI lecturer has been from time to time caught up in these types of situations, we do not know.

    What the PDC can say however is that he certainly seems to have a knack for, and a sense of obtaining fulfilment out of, rushing ahead of the pack in making certain unstudied statements too many times, at some times, and then only after he has been challenged later on the said statements, or then only after he has been found out by others he later realises that he and his statements are in fact behind the pack. Case in point was in the early 2000s during the breaking of the GEMS scandal, which he did so much to bring to the public’s attention, the squandermania and corruption that were taking place in the GEMS project, then only later to screw up much of what he did with some verbal concoction called – JAWS – which he had wrongly alleged was some acronym for some non-existent enterprise.

    The last recent Mascoll gaffe has involved his falsely misrepresenting that there has been “a secret deal” between the Government of Barbados and the IADB. Again, he has been repudiated by many people including the equally gaffe-making, foot in his mouth, lying mendacious Minister of Finance, Mr. Chris Sinckler.

    Surely, in such cases, these gaffes do not add to Mascoll’s credibility or to his political stocks as a political figure.

    For a person who claims to be a high valued researcher, it certainly does not help him either that he has been caught making so many unresearched unstudied errors of fact.

    Anyhow, the following statements are what this former parliamentarian – Senator and House of Assembly member – was reported to have written in his last Daily Nation submission about the recently controversial IADB’s bid to fund the government’s so-called fiscal consolidation programme with the IADB: “Furthermore, rather than using the IMF in an unofficial capacity to get access to the IDB’s money, the government will be forced into an official programme with the IMF.

    In the current circumstances, the money which the government is hoping to receive from the IDB for the tax measures already in place would come from the IMF. Somehow, the IMF is making money available for a partial IMF-type stabilization programme”.

    Well, let us hope that this time around Mascoll, for the sake of facts alone, is correct in his making these types of statements. But not for the sake of making the broad masses and middle classes of Barbadians suffer more and more. For, what Barbadians do not need right now is another IMF program – although this is where it seems the country is heading owing to the dreaded ill-conceived fiscal and financial policies of BLP and DLP governments over the last 16 years or so. Pity that so many people are concerned about a joke political opinion poll, when Barbados is faced with such stark and dire possibilities.


  23. Read this article penned by Tony Best, Nation’s New York corespondent:

    Olga Kalina (FP)
    By Tony Best | Sat, May 26, 2012 – 12:09 AM

    BARBADOS’ ECONOMIC CONDITION may have worsened because the Government didn’t act fast enough to address its financial woes when they emerged.

    But Barbados wasn’t alone. According to Standard & Poor’s, the major Wall Street credit rating firm, Jamaica and Belize suffered the same fate from the fallout of the recession that struck Europe and the Caribbean in the first decade of the 21st century.

    Was tickled pink when she (Olga) used the Baltic States as an example of countries which reacted quickly to the global recession by implementing austerity measures. She lamented that Barbados and other Caribbean countries are ruing the fact they did not follow suit. It forced BU to have a look at the type of economies the Baltic Countries are in command compared to Barbados and others in the Caribbean and had to question if Olga was being fair by her comparison.

    Here is a good article from The Economist which dissects the Baltic economy and reason from recovery. Bear in mind the Baltic countries are heavy export countries with a low debt to GDP.

  24. Joe, we must agree to disagree. But two factual corrections: the euro and the greenback are not legal tender in the UK, They cannot be officially used over the counter and must be converted. What is legal tender are travellers’ cheques. And, you are putting words in my mouth. I have not said anything about about people hoarding cash being drug dealers. I said the main reason for hoarding is to escape the attention of the tax man.
    You are building a straw man by talking about fortress Barbados. The argument in Britain about capital flight, as you put it, was about a high rate of taxation, which chancellor Nigel Lawson brought down to 40 per cent. There was no national debate 30 years ago in the UK purely about capital flight, nor is there one now.
    Your suggestion about ‘stability’ is wide of the mark. The reason why the US dollar is the global reserve currency and why most commodities are priced in dollars is to provide just that stability, That is the only straightjacket.
    You are simply wrong on this too.

    • Well Hal, yes we must disagree (!) but as I have just spent euros in Marks & Spencer in London (and they are taken at numerous other shops in London in particular) and as prices are displayed in both, I am not sure you are correct. You do not have to exchange currency to spend it. There was a major debate about capital flight in the UK before the Thatcher government abolished all exchange controls shortly after the party won the election, and the essence of the arguments revolved around whether “all our money and assets would disappear”. They did not, in spite of all the panicky talk by the Labour Party and the unions.


  25. This debate is getting us nowhere, but I do not want you to mislead people. First, the so-called debate about capital flight: where is the evidence. I have access to the biggest financial libraries in the country; I have trawled through back issues of Hansard and have talked to some of my colleagues with better memories and their recall is similar to mine.
    On the use of currencies – by the way, Marks & Spencer is an official money changer and gives some of the best rates, especially pound-dollar.
    More to the point, if a trader knows the exchange rates, or believes he does, he can offer to accept money to the value of the advertised price.
    The eurozone is our biggest trading partner and for businesses in the West End of London, the tourist area, you will find restaurants etc accepting the euro, even the dollar.
    But in the sub-urbs and sticks why will not. It does not mean it is legal currency. A better example of this is Scotland, which is part of the UK and which as you know has its own currency.
    Most people south of the boarder do not accept the Scottish pound, yet when I go north they accept the English pound. That is the nature of the beast.
    When I go to Europe I have to use euros, although in Eastern Europe I use the greenback, but not the euro..

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