• Well, Beckles has always been a giant on the histories.

    However, there was no connection to what is currently the general tendencies in major world countries. He speaks as if all other things are stable, equal.

    Countries which are seeking to continue the consolidation of wealth into fewer and fewer hands. The hands of the political and economic elites, the one-percenters.

    For global elites have now found a new way of achieving their goals. They have decided to popularize political forces on the right. There has already been a populism of forces on the left.

    These tendencies accompanied by a growing proto-fascism will leave no room for Bussa’s, Barrow’s, Payne’s social justice ideals.

    It is unfortunate that the professor did not feel it necessary to make this critical connection.

    For the UWI, at Cave Hill, can certainly not be continually funded, at recent levels, given current circumstances regardless as to whose vision it was.


  • @Pacha

    Did you listen to the Q&A? He addressed the fact the world have modified economic models yet Barbados remains trapped in the old.


  • Let me see if I get it right… in 2016, 70% of Barbadians are in poverty and this percentage is increasing, 3% of the population owns 80% of the wealth, 90% of the population are excluded as economic citizens, Barrow’s vision has been betrayed by someone (Prof Beckles doesn’t say who), the present economic model is not only obsolete but retarding any economic progress and Barbados remains a most UNjust society.

    Remind me why are we celebrating our 50th anniversary of Independence again?


  • peterlawrencethompson

    It is a tragedy that my generation was not exposed to any Barbados history of consequence during our secondary school education ( but I still remember all the names and order of every single one of Henry VIII’s wives). I hope that Beckles’ work is widely taught in secondary schools now.


  • Beckles is not an economist, and he is clueless about the reasons for the dynamism of East Asian economies. He is hopelessly unqualified to offer advice on building a better future for the Caribbean.

    He relentlessly plugs the value of the university as an engine of economic growth, but not all universities are equal. The universities that contribute most to economic development around the world are those that focus on applied science, technology and business subjects, not on humanities and law. UWI has squandered most of the scarce resources invested in it, not just by focusing on the wrong subjects, but by failing to achieve and sustain the high standards required for instruction and research (in any subject) to be useful.


  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Ping Pong

    Do the statistics for poverty and income distribution seem correct to you? I would like to track down where Prof Beckles is getting his figures.


  • peterlawrencethompson

    @ chad99999
    It did not seem to me that Beckles offered any real advice for “building a better future for the Caribbean” beyhond saying that it was up to the “elites” to lead the way. He mostly pointed out that it was Barrow’s agenda to use UWI as catalyst for economic and social progress, to build a “just society.” He did claim that Barrow’s dream had been “betrayed” by the cutbacks, but I just took that as special pleading by the Vice Chancellor.

    The more interesting parts were of course the history: that is where he has some expertise. Is his analysis generally accepted in Barbados? among other academic historians? among the general public?


  • PLT

    In the Q&A session, Beckles clearly stated that we need to spend more on university education in order to catch up with the investments made in more successful countries he has visited in Asia and North America. He also advised that we democratize the economy by providing investment capital to small and medium sized businesses — because the older enterprises owned by the white elite are incapable of generating the economic growth rates we need.

    As I have stated previously, the problem with a democratization strategy is that most small enterprises are hopelessly inefficient. They cannot create the kind of wealth we are seeking. They waste scarce capital, which would be more effective if it could be concentrated in a few businesses built to benefit from economies of scale. The problem, as always, is to find the “right” businesses to invest in


  • @Peter L Thompson

    I cannot dispute Prof Beckles’ statistics as I have never investigated the subject. However assuming that he is accurate then he has certainly accused the whole Barbados nation building project of the last 50 years of betrayal and failure. Such a condemnation should provoke a response from both of the major political parties. None will be forthcoming.

    It was an entertaining speech that was fairly insipid in its recommendations and conclusion.


  • Beckles said he got his figures from the UNDP. These should be easily available.


  • @ David

    We watched the whole thing.

    The global position was only mentioned tangentially, as an after thought, in response to a question.

    Our basis case has always been that Bajans too often try to understand what is happening locally outside of a global context.

    Indeed, Barbados has been sent down the dead-end of neo-liberalism by people, including Beckles, and now that it has failed we are left scampering.

    And he is looking to redeem himself. We warned him that this would happen.

    This reminds us how the local Marxists/Communists were at a lost at the fall of the USSR, to find a political philosophy.


    We are minded that though the reparations case is sound ‘the powers’ have never settled such claims with powerless people, and never will.

    Look at the Japanese, the Jews etc. They only got settlements after they gained economic/political/military power.

    We have to be in a position to compel enslavers to pay. They NEVER respond to beggars because all we can do is to make eloquent pleadings. There can be no demand or else.

    And there are a lot of groups with as valid claims. That’s the nature of colonialism, capitalism, imperialism. They leave human wreckage in their wake.

    The Chagos islanders, the Mau Mau Freedom Fighters, the American Indians, the supporters of South African Apartheid etc.


  • Hillary Beckles is an economic historian by training.

    People talk about somebody not being an economist.

    That is BS. And they obviously don’t know at certain levels the simplistic nonsense about economy is merely one of several disciplines one needs to know to make sense of phenomena.


  • Pachamama

    Beckles is a historian. He is not an economic historian. An economic historian ( e. g, Arthur Lewis) will have read the classical economists, but will also be able to read and understand the mathematics-based research literature of 20th century economists, which Beckles cannot do. That is why Beckles is so clueless about the requirements of economic growth.


  • I lean towards Chad’s opinion.
    As soon as somebody mentions China, and some other Asian countries as EXAMPLES, I get uneasy. Bajans are not working for $3/hr and living in the squalor of many Chinese workers. THIS is China’s advantage, cheap and abundant labour. Yes as technology has been transferred to China as a means to increased production, they are learning how to build on that themselves (innovate).
    And when I listen to his take on BS&T/Massey, I wonder how deep his understanding of business, not history, is.


  • Sir Arthur Lewis was an economist, not economic historian and economic historians are not mathematicians. In fact, economists are not mathematicians unless specially trained.


  • A whole bunch of gibberish that seeks to explain the phenomena of 21st century life without understanding the underlying forces at play. Like basic goats debating the human strategies of their farmers.
    How the hell does someone seek to explain large scale integration technologies without any concept of p-n junction theory?
    Beckles has proven himself to be nothing but a shiite talker.

    He messed up on Mutual
    He messed up BIG-TIME with UWI Cave Hill
    He messed up with his children
    He is messing up with reparations

    The only reason we should be discussing his mouthing is to seek to understand how someone with so much potential could have done so much shiite…, to so many brass bowls, …for so long, …and at such high cost.

    The very fact that he starts by admitting that all we have to celebrate, after 50 years, is that we ‘have survived’ … after the level of resources that have been DUMPED into education is the biggest self-condemnation of all.

    We are now closer to being plantation slaves in Barbados than we were when Barrow took power. At that time we were moving in a direction of HOPE…
    50 years after – and AFTER he has held the TOP responsibility for defining ‘education, leadership and hope’ for Barbados – with unbelievable resources, we are moving helplessly back into slavery -with foreigners and local whites owning every shiite.

    ….AND WE HAVE DONE IT TO OURSELVES THIS TIME …. unlike our fore parents who were shipped here ‘vi et armis’ as slaves.

    Beckles should do us all a favour and go away.


  • Well, he is a world specialist in the economic rise of Japan and has written a PhD thesis on that subject.

    Surely, all areas, multiple disciples, are required for that. It cannot be merely single disciplined.

    Economics of any variety has very little to say. And once one becomes acquainted with the basic models it’s time to move on.

    But these kinds of things are difficult to explain to neophytes.


  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Ping Pong
    I noticed that Beckles said that he got his stats from the UNDP, so I went looking for them. I can’t find them. What I Did find was the UNDP 2016 Caribbean Human Development Report http://www.bb.undp.org/content/dam/barbados/docs/Publications/undp_bb_CHDR_2016.pdf?download.

    The UNDP estimated that 9.1% of Bajans are in “extreme poverty” (unable to feed themselves), but this is a 2001 figure… is it better or worse now? They put the overall poverty rate in Barbados at 19%… unconscionably high, but a far cry from the figure that Beckles cites, so I was wondering if there were other UNDP figures that I was missing.


  • @ Bushie


    It is beyond your dignity to involve people’s children in your attacks.

    We would expect an unqualified apology and withdrawal

    Yes, this blog gives us a wide berth but to involve the children or wives or husbands of our targets must be beyond the pale. Especially, when same are not public officials, these can never be fair game.

    In any event if you would have acquainted yourself with the official and original records of events you would have discovered that your current understandings are imprecise.


  • peterlawrencethompson

    @Bush Tea

    I think the historical narrative is illustrative rather than explanatory, so I did not expect any economic or development insights from Prof. Beckles.

    I’m more charitable toward Prof. Beckles than you appear to be… perhaps because he’s led me to a deeper understanding of Barbados’s role in the historical development of White supremacist ideology (albino-centrism in your lingo I believe). White supremacist ideology is very deeply rooted in Europe and the Americas. In the USA peer reviewed research has shown that over 30% of White people there think that Black people are “less evolved” than they themselves are… this is the cornerstone of White supremacist ideology. I’m not talking about just feeling uncomfortable when a Black person walks into the room (i’d estimate that at 80% from personal experience) this is bedrock racism so deeply embedded that it is virtually ineradicable, yet the vast majority of those White people who think that Black people are “less evolved” will vehemently deny that they are racist.

    Barbados was one of the most important petri dishes in which the infection of White supremacist ideology was cultivated between the 17th and 20th centuries. The 1661 slave law was undoubtedly the most important and globally influential act ever achieved by the Barbados legislature; it was the primary codification of White supremacy in the British Empire and it has left an indelible mark on Bajan society.

    I know you understand that White supremacist ideology infects Black people as well as White. It shows up in our parliamentarians’ abasement toward the plantocracy and plutocracy, in our fawning chase after Foreign Direct Investment, in the unseemly impatience of our young people to escape our little rock for London, New York & Toronto (mea culpa), in the craven search for foreign examples on which to model our own development, in a million small and not so small ways…

    Prof. Beckles legacy will not be his whining over underfunding Cave Hill; it will be what he has done to illustrate our history. Fifty years ago we began to sing a National Anthem that was all about our history… “We write our names on history’s page / With expectations great” but it was a narrow, misleading and perverted rendition of the historical record so it is little mystery that our great expectations have come to nought.


  • @Pacha

    No doubt Bushie will address your concern.

    In summary Professor Beckles is saying the vision for a Barbados is to transfer wealth to the unprivileged by developing world class education and health sectors. To his point, how can we compete globally if we have single digit undergraduates compared to the USA at 50% plus. His is a valid concern, it is the how we always find the challenge.


  • What percentage of school leavers go on to university? And of those, which ones do not have to do a foundation year? What percentage study law and the humanities and what percentage the sciences or STEM subjects?
    One way of rewarding achievement and punishing failing schools is to increase the budgets for the successful schools and cut that for the failing ones. Send the pupils at the failing schools to the successful ones, or get the heads of successful schools to take over the failing ones. Create super heads and give them salaries comparable to permanent secretaries. Make education more attractive than law.


  • @PeterLThompson

    Is it possible that Beckles is being “economical” with the truth? You may want to talk to Philip Greaves about Beckles’ use of “facts”.

    His speech was an entertaining presentation not to be taken “literally” (ahem…seriously). I think of the speech as a collection of metaphors within an allegory presented to those who believe that it was a profoundly intellectual and revolutionary act to attend a lecture at UWI that stated that black people were mistreated for hundreds of years in Barbados and still are being mistreated today.

    I agree with Prof Beckles that the Barbados Government has got to stop doing shite and take some (if not all) of the money dropping from the Money Tree growing behind Government HQ on Bay Street and pay for every boy on the block to go to UWI to do a degree in History and Politics or Cricket Studies.


  • @Ping Pong

    Do you disagree we have to move the single digit number that represents undergraduate certification?


  • David

    He also mentioned the Asian Tigers.

    At some point we have to find a way to survive.

    There is never any guarantee of surviving, no certainty. But we have to try a number of things we’ve not done before.

    In this, we are not convinced an ethos exist for developing such. We are a nation of copiers, not innovators.

    While Beckles seems to be avoiding land reform, as a hard topic, the reliance of the elites, which he is talking about now and which is seemingly more palatable to his new friends, flies into the face of nature, the dominant Bajan mentality.

    One good idea maybe to involve overseas Bajans, from everywhere, and widened the definition of who, what, is Barbados.


  • @ Pacha
    Sir Cave is a once-in-a-lifetime National talent… when judged by his natural brilliance. The damn man is talented beyond anything that is reasonable…. always has been…
    To whom much is given, much is expected.

    Here is THE MAN – fully equipped with the needed intellect AND balls – that could have been Barbados’ 21st century ‘Moses’….
    …and what did we get?
    …a meaningless, empire building exercise in futility….

    Shiite man! ..he deserve to be beaten with many stripes
    …and whacked with 105 size nylon….

    No apologies here … sorry.
    …besides, this in no Dompey here, he can handle it….


  • I am really not sure that simply a higher proportion of undergraduate degrees WITHOUT A OVERALL NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY would have any positive impact on any aspect of Barbadian life (how many psychologists do we need?).

    In 2007, 2009 and 2011 the Gross Tertiary Enrollment ratios for Barbados was 56.5, 70.5 and 60.5. For comparison the UK’s ratios were 58.7, 59 and 61.2. and for Japan the ratios were 57.8, 57.7 and 59.9.


  • @ Pacha
    At some point we have to find a way to survive.
    Boss, if this is all you want then it is better to die.
    Survive shiite!!
    The WHOLE point of life is DEVELOPMENT.
    The whole process is about learning to move ourselves and our conditions from being like that of animals ….and towards the status of the GODS.

    The phenomenal success of the Japanese in the last decades of the 20th century was directly linked to their (unknowing) adoption of this SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE of ‘continuous improvement’.

    The only thing worse than settling for mere ‘survival’ is the idiotic quest to regress backwards towards animal-like existence… like parros and bums.

    Education (the REAL deal) is the passing on of knowledge and skills needed to ADVANCE the development of a society. To improve conditions, relationships, health, recreation, work and all areas of life in the society.
    By definition then, children should collectively ALWAYS outperform their parents when education is successful.

    In the face of CLEAR indications that we were going in the wrong direction, Sir Cave kept marching on…focussing on mass-producing graduates …who are mostly nothing but glorified clerical assistants.

    Bushie only makes judgements on the outcomes…. not on the initial potential….
    The children of our former slave masters and Foreigners now own Barbados…and every day we look for more silver to sell to them by fire sale, ….in order to eat….

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ PLT
    I’m more charitable toward Prof. Beckles than you appear to be… perhaps because he’s led me to a deeper understanding of Barbados’s role in the historical development of White supremacist ideology (albino-centrism in your lingo I believe)
    Who the hell do you think it is that opened Bushie’s eyes back in the 90’s…..?

    Does Bushie question the man’s brilliance or oratory skills? ……..AT ALL!!
    But unlike you, this is exactly what leads the bushman to be particularly UNcharitable to him…. because he had (has) so much POTENTIAL to make such a difference….

    Have you ANY idea how disappointed Bushie is about his failure to bring his rhetoric to REALITY through Mutual? …through UWI? …through his unquestioned influence on the jackass political idiots prevailing in our Parliament?

    Instead it appears that he has leveraged his talents to extract ‘donations’ to UWI from the various targets of his public ire ….like Sagicor, COW and the other suspects….

    Steupsss… Unlike Caswell, who is talented in a way that CAN make a positive difference if he opted to do so, Sir Cave OWES Barbados big time….


  • I have a profound respect for Professor Beckles but he seriously dropped the ball at the Cave Hill Campus.UWI like Barbados is 50 years in existence.Like Barbados where we need to look inward philosophically then materially to solve our problems, he should have done also at UWI.Under his stewardship he looked out and expanded plant etc but losing the philosophical moorings of what UWI was,is and should be.UWI poured out graduates to transform the wider the community but should have realised that energy would have been spent eventually.The UWI should have transformed internally to become a beacon of self sufficiency for the Caribbean and world to see.UWI could have cut its costs and increase its technical relevancy , as a catalyst for research supplying its own water and generating its own electricity.After all he was there whilst Professor Headley was alive.That would have booned UWI own’s economic standing and reputation for academic, cultural and environmental currency as premier topics of conversation and example.Likewise Barbados must rebuild from within,we dont have alot of time.


  • @ Bushie

    The only point that was raised by us is the targeting of people’s children.

    You have not made contact with that.

    Instead, you have opted to be engaged in the regurgitation of worn arguments of this man’s failings.

    Unlike you, we have never been looking for any saviour. And Barbados, as a country, should not be so placed either. Thusly, the failings of no one person should so influence the country’s general trajectory, as you seem to presume.

    People come and people go. Everybody make what contribution possible and that is sufficient for us. We ask for no more from the individual.

    Two lines after we spoke about survival we also spoke about development. Both terms were used with a general application.

    Your application of a specificity to construct the straw man which serves your general and singular conclusion to everything is easy to do. We will never be so anchored.

    Your inability to consider, as beyond the pale, a comment involving the children of a public official, who themselves are not in the public square, speaks volumes. This is barbarism!

    For that is the only part of your argument that we will always have objection to.


  • peterlawrencethompson


    Yes, Beckles is “clueless about the requirements of economic growth,” but so are the overwhelming majority of academic and professional economists (their track record speaks for itself). The entire field of economics is “… a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.”

    The class of capitalist business people is equally clueless, and the less said about government bureaucrats, of either the left or right, the better.

    The main impediments to economic growth in Barbados are as follows:
    * Corruption— both in the public and private sectors
    * Cultural mindset— thinking that either the Lord or the government will provide
    * Lack of imagination— the tendency to search for answers in Singapore, or Finland or …
    * The ones that I haven’t figured out… yet


  • @Peter

    What the 2008 economic meltdown exposed is the failing of rational economics and the uncertain rise of behavioural economics.


  • David November 27, 2016 at 2:51 PM #

    No such creature exists as….rational economics….furthermore economics is not a science or an art form,it has no basis to build a premiss on,I have always said that it is akin to Alchemy turning lead into gold.

    The Profs credibility is always open to question as Peter discovered over simple stats….one always wonders what his agenda is.


  • Hal Austin

    is talking nonsense. I never said economists are mathematicians. I said 20th century economics is mathematically based, which is to say you cannot read and understand the research literature, or graduate with an advanced degree in economics from any respectable university in North America, France, or Germany without mastering calculus, differential equations and the theorems used for basic statistical analysis because those are the analytical tools used in most research papers.

    Of course, perhaps you can get a PhD from UWI just by reading some books from the 18th and 19th centuries, because UWI has lost its way.

    Arthur Lewis was an economic historian. His most important books (Growth and Fluctuations, Tropical Development, The Evolution of the International Economic Order) are all studies in economic history. His famous TIME BASED article on the dual economy and economic development with unlimited supplies of labour is a tweaking of ideas that can be traced back to David Ricardo, a classical economist If you look at the textbooks and articles on economics and economic growth published in North America, few of them mention Arthur Lewis, because he is regarded (merely) as an economic historian who pioneered development studies. Lewis’s textbook on the theory of economic growth is not used in the economics program of any major university because it lacks analytical rigor.


  • Professor Beckles’ relevance is quickly
    coming to an end. He made a big splash
    and will now end up where most of our
    intellectuals do: knowing all that is wrong
    with the world but hopeless at changing
    their own environment. It’s really no
    mystery because the system produced
    them; they want to change it but they
    want it to remain the same! It’s not going
    to happen.


  • professor-eudine-barriteau-sir-hilary-beckles

    Sir Hilary: Time for fresh guard

    25 November 2016

    AS BARBADOS CELEBRATES 50 years of Independence, one of its most respected academics is advising that the current model for development has become obsolete. The assessment from Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Sir Hilary Beckles, came a day after… Read More

    – See more at: http://www.nationnews.com/category/news#sthash.wzilg2Sz.dpuf


  • @ David

    There should be a price for both Arthur and Beckles, to pay.

    These two went after the neo-liberal model hard, long after it was clear that it was no more than a Ponzi scheme.

    Do you really think they are worthy of being a guide to the nation?

    Even BU was publishing articles about this 5,7,8 years ago.


  • @Pacha

    It is patently obvious none of our leaders in civil society has the ability to share a vision for Barbados.

    What is Mia saying as the government in waiting saying?


  • @ Pacha
    1…It was not Bushie who made it public that his children were sent to a particular school for a particular reason…

    2…Pointing out the failings of a parent is NOT targeting the children.

    3…Importantly, when you take up the job of chief educational icon of the land, your ‘children’ are many and varied.

    4…Finally, the ULTIMATE measure of success in this physical life, is that succeeding generations are better than their antecedents. There is therefore NO BETTER MEASURE OF A MAN, than the situation of his children.

    You may feel free to draw whatever lines you will in your sand, but Bushie’s whacker will not be guided by your arbitrary, sentimental lines.

    The stakes are too high.
    If it is a spade, Bushie will label it as such.


  • @ David
    It is patently obvious none of our leaders in civil society has the ability to share a vision for Barbados.
    Absolutely true.
    …and this is becoming clear even to them, and to their yard fowls.
    This is a PARTICULARLY dangerous situation in which we find ourselves.

    Mia is quiet because it is better to be silent and be assumed to have the answers, than to speak out and demonstrate that you are clueless.

    She has no better answers than does Stinkliar and Froon. She just happens to be much more intelligent. Unfortunately, intelligence is no substitute for WISDOM….. and there is only one source for this precious commodity….


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