Is Self Reliance Undermined By Social Policy?

Subject Charles Knighton

Photo Credit: LoopBarbados

Schizophrenic seems the most apt description of so-called socially progressive governments including, of course, Barbados. Not a week passes without some government minister calling for more citizen self-reliance while other ministries continue to foster a dependency on government by broadening and deepening the metaphorical social safety net. Human nature being what it is, originally well intended social safety nets meant to be used as springboards to self-reliance have instead become hammocks of dependency for far too many.

The Advocate’s editorial of Dec. 5, “Positive approach” mentions, inter alia, the important nexus between extracurricular activities and the social fabric, particularly via volunteerism. The editorial further suggests that such volunteerism “can help address many of the disciplinary issues encountered in our schools and the wider society” as volunteering fosters a discipline which “imparts a feeling of accomplishment and engagement as volunteers develop empathy for others and a greater social awareness.”

Let us engage in the following social experiment to gauge at least somewhat whether self-reliance is undermined by government policies, and whether volunteerism can indeed produce the social benefits the editorial suggests.

Let all children volunteer to contribute to their school’s upkeep in exchange for vouchers redeemable for privileges that school kids value. Initially, the inculcation of such positive attributes as being on time, maintaining a proper attitude and displaying the proper respect for those in authority trump how well they perform their assigned tasks. Together with the social benefits enumerated in the editorial, think of this as an experiment in capitalism (work for reward) and self-esteem building (status through achievement).

To determine whether children use this opportunity as a springboard to self-reliance or as a hammock of dependency, tax the vouchers and give a share of earned privileges to those who chose not to participate.  The lessons learned through such an experiment would surely be enlightening to those willing to see.

0 thoughts on “Is Self Reliance Undermined By Social Policy?

  1. Recently i suggested to one of our well known bloggers “miller”to voulenteer his services and Undertake a “clean up” campaign with some of his rich freinds to educated bajans about the negative social impact in regards to litter being thrown around our high ways and byways .also i did implore him that he himself would make a difference in the actual cleanup .however that idea was shot down by miller stating that an adventure of volunteerism was not part of his social genre since he paid taxes

    • There is no doubt that most Barbadians see social care as an entitlement and we have morphed into a mendicant mentality. The challenge, and it is a big challenge, is to break the back of it. Our politicians obviously don’t have the political will because they rule by flying kites when they have to make hard decisions.

      On 8 December 2012 14:09, Barbados Underground

  2. You just need politicians to man up and deal with the situations. Both parties need to come together and denounce Mendicants. Explain to the mendicants that we cant continue this way. In turn the politicians should implement policies to facilitate the growth of independent businesses. We need to work together as a country. IT IS TIME YEAH !

    But mendicants have a right to be mendicants. It is part of the reparations owed to the mendicants , they know it and they will demand it

    • Volunteerism like entrepreneurship are not traits that will fall from the sky. BU is sliding to the belief that a circumstance moreso that any classroom or orchestrated learning drives the correct attitude/mindset required to be self reliant.

  3. How/about the church,s role in volunteerism.they seem to do a very good job on Sundays in motivating the congregation in giving of their oferings and tithes.why not carry that same generosity in advocating volunterism as part of the church duty in the most vigourous ways.

    • The Church is a segment of civil society comprised of the very individuals from the wider society. Nothing special about the Church who have to pay to clean the graveyard. Where does the Pride and Industry come from as represented in the Coat of Arms? It must come from an attitude forged from a national experience(s).

  4. Collectively of course. However the church,s role must not only be that of civil society but a permanent stamped ingrained within that society from which one can draw inspiration and be a positive role model in activism not only doing when called upon but be a willing and eager to give generously to society even when it hurts not waiting for the call of duty to come to the church but being a representative of the call of duty by example

    • @ac

      What defines the Church? An institution which currently is battling itself? The Church is comprised of ordinary people which is currently unable to inspire enough to grow its membership. How then can it motivate in any significant way wider society to do anything. Bear in mind its congregation is ageing and does not represent an energetic and robust profile.

  5. True ! however the church,s battle is within itself and the lack of inspiration may in fact due to the lack of inclusion wherby the earth have seek refuge in intolerance and not undrstanding the differences that makes up society.which in part the finding itself in a state of isolation and a flock looking for leadership not only from the sunday diatribe inside the matter how much in the congregation the duty of the church in social activism would be meaured from the outside with good reason .

  6. You cannot reorder a society by a lotta long talk. You need a revolution.

    Breaking news on CityNews Channel TV in Toronto. “RUMOR that Rihanna and Chris Brown are getting married in Barbados at Christmas.”

    Expect a lot a papparazzi in Babadus fuh christmas.

  7. If rumour is true, good luck to her. He was pictured recently smoking, not one, not two, but three ganja cigarettes at the same time in, I think, Amsterdam.

  8. ac | December 8, 2012 at 2:08 PM |
    How/about the church,s role in volunteerism.they seem to do a very good job on Sundays in motivating the congregation in giving of their oferings and tithes.why not carry that same generosity in advocating volunterism as part of the church duty in the most vigourous ways
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Beside the Salvation Army, the Roman Catholic and the Seventh Day Adventist volunteers are out there almost every day catering in some way to the needs of many of the less fortunate in the society, but unlike the politicians ,they do not make a song and dance about it and call in the press every time they give a meal or clothing to someone.

  9. Volunteerism ,most of the time in Barbados means You and not Me. Your child and not My child. Speaking of allowing school children to maintain some the school premises. Wasn’t this done at the newer secondary schools, up until the mid to late 60’s ,before we turned into a nation of complainers.
    I recall a time when , under the umbrella of the Future Centre Trust, ex British Army and BDF Soldier Andy Coward, and various volunteers, used to drive the ABC ,and other highways,and pick up light garbage thrown mostly from passing vehicle. Barbadians, both as individuals or Companies did not make the first move in volunteering to supplement the services performed , for pittance, by Andy and his various assistants. Leave it to the government . That volunteer service was terminated, and for a while the SSA had some individuals allocated to certain areas of the highways, but this too has come a cropper. In fact its better these days to leave the overgrown grass at the sides of the road, because when it is chopped down, not mowed, it exposes tons and tons of the same light garbage that Anderson & Co were trying to tackle,and it stays there.
    With the recent enactment of laws which now see the taxpayers supporting children whose fathers, have other uses for his money,it really looks like the Government will have to take care of many in this society from the proverbial cradle to the grave.

  10. I’m all for volunteering but we need to separate the “do gooders” from the “good doers”. I can think of several examples in Barbados but I don’t need to name names but observant people will be aware of those that fit in a particular camp.

  11. @ ac | December 8, 2012 at 10:09 AM |
    “Recently i suggested to one of our well known bloggers “miller”to voulenteer his services and Undertake a “clean up” campaign with some of his rich freinds to educated Bajans”

    Thanks for the advice, ac. But you should know by now by my strident defence of OSA against your vile lies the miller is a follower and not a leader.

    So hear this:
    Tell the educated members of both Houses of Parliament especially the Ministers responsible for Health and the Environment to stop the long talk and the annual promises of enforcing existing legislation or introducing tougher rules. We want to see action. Let them and other pillars of this so-called educated Christian society lead by example by volunteering their time and service in the clean up of Barbados on a biannual basis and then I will jump on the public bandwagon. A biannual exercise in volunteerism along these lines would be inspiring, educational and motivational to the ‘average Joe Blogger’ like the miller.

    Remember, ac, Barbados is more than an economy it’s also a society. So stop this foolish talk about educating Bajans about the dangers of littering and illegal disposal of garbage.
    Are you telling us that those Bajans who have receive 50 years of free education- even to tertiary level- and drive around in their SUV’s with their ‘homegrown’ garbage to dump on other people’s properties or along the roads are in need of education?
    Many of them travel to Canada and Europe and would not dare drop a sweetie paper or tissue in sight of others or the cameras. Why here in Barbados?

    Next thing you would want the miller to do is to illegally trespass on the many properties around Bim and voluntarily remove the thousands of ugly derelict and abandoned vehicles harbouring rats and other vermin and willingly bring them to your residence for safe disposal.

  12. yes! miller ask not what your country can do for you! but what YOU can do for your country. Not a bad piece of advice if you would put in in FULL FORCE. Now go and show your love for country by being an advocate for change through volunterism and not only by paying taxes.

  13. @ ac | December 9, 2012 at 8:53 AM |

    Why don’t you deal with the meat of the matter or the proposal posited instead of your jingoistic advice regurgitated by the ruling class to get idiots like you to join the army and become cannon fodder while they remain in their ivory towers enjoying sweet life from the profits of war?

    Yes, ac, when I see you on the garbage collection trail instead of outsourcing your domestic duties I will follow suit. You have privatized all your household tasks thereby freeing up much time for you to volunteer for the role of chief cook and bottle washer in the clean up Barbados campaign. Now get marching with shovel and garbage bag in hand. Don’t forget your gloves and wellies, to boot!

  14. More than ever we need to look at the rebirth of a real Local Government,and not just a political party satellite . Its quite clear that the overstaffed ‘Central’ Government members are not interested in these such mundane subjects as Sanitation ,agriculture and rural road works. They prefer to grand stand on such topics as the economy, tourism, UWI , and foreign exchange. We will forever have to suffer the indignity of walking through p & s in the back alleys of Bridgetown, survive alongside of a growing and out of control population of rats, African snails, and millipedes that are having a feast day in the many many decentralised garbage dumps at every street corner and clump of bush all across the country.
    Local government officers used to live in the community , and had to suffer the same pitfalls as those who voted them in,and as a consequence had things put right before the problems started to fester ,as they do today, as many of those who represents us in parliament, only accords us a 5-yearly pilgrimage ,when they alight from their ivory towers in the exclusive Heights or old Plantation yards, to yet again con the same suffering people into letting them remain loitering in Palmetto Street.

  15. Volunteering is not a panacea for incompetence and bad acts of citizens.
    Volunteering should be used to improve the life skills of our young people.
    My Daughter did it during her high school and University years helping at risk youth with homework and after school sports Basketball,volleyball etc.

    Keeping Barbados streets and Beaches clean is the responsibility of the Sanitation department of Government.

    They should do like Toronto and “sub contract” the cleaning of Bridgetown streets to a private contractor.

    The cleaning of Beaches should also be given to private contractors.
    Under our soon to be enacted Integrity Legislation there should be no conflict of interest issues.

  16. @ Hants | December 9, 2012 at 12:24 PM |

    Thanks, Hants! Excellent reasoning and well presented.

    At least ac would listen to you. Expect her to come with some “ram-goat-bring-game-cock and bull story” about her real meaning of volunteerism.

    Why would anyone risk their health and safety to undertake jobs for which there are people employed who are trained and given the appropriate equipment to perform such public health protection tasks and paid responsibilities?

    We could as well outsource or privatize these “public’ functions if we can’t get the people paid to perform them without we the public having to resort to begging and cajoling and more effectively exposing and shaming.

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