Economist Marla Dukharan’s Advice to Barbados, ‘Pick Your Poison’

Marla Dukharan – Economist

It is the opinion of BU the resonance of economist Marla Dukharan’s with the local population is not because she brings any fresh analysis to the fore. The reason is because she is perceived as an independent voice to be trusted. Her lucid commentary on local and regional economies which started when she was Chief Economist for the RBC with responsibility for the Caribbean has exposed a growing belief that several of the home grown economists have allowed themselves to become compromised by the lure of lucre from the political and economic class.

On the 23 August 2017 the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB) hosted a session which featured Marla Dukaran as the main speaker, the topic was Home Grown or IMF: What should Barbados’ economic recovery plan look like? From all reports it was a constructive session that served to reinforce the view among the professional class present decisions being taken by the government will not steer the country away from the economic precipice we continue to rapidly approach.

To give wings to the view that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) appears to be focussed on the political dimension to how we manage a tiny island is to review the agenda and resolutions passed at the just concluded DLP annual convention. Two items carried in a resolution was for the political party- that forms the government by the way- to issue a communication to Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite to investigate the qualification (or lack of) of Mia Mottley to practice law in Barbados AND the use of wire tapping equipment by former Commissioner of Police Darwin Toppin supported by you guessed it, Mia Mottley.  Sensible Barbadians are left to wonder why has it taken the DLP until the end of its second term to force these two issues to earlier resolution. BU’s position is not to defend Mottley or Dottin of wrong doing, it is to find the government guilty for politicising the matter IF there is credible evidence to support the charges. Didn’t Prime Minister Freundel Stuart promise to share the contents of the FBI file that has mysteriously disappeared? What about his reference to a list of CLICO investors he also promised to release? #JAs

To the credit of ICAB they brought in Marla Dukharan to focus on an anaemic performing economy while the entity charged with managing the economy took a decision at its annual conference to focus on issues not related to the economy. What the juxtaposition shows is that in civil society the citizenry, this includes Non Governmental Organizations (NGO), must continue to find ways to inform the public so that tension is brought to bear on policymakers to make the best decisions in the interest of the wider public.

What did Caribbean Economist Marla Dukharan remind us?

  • Barbados has been recording fiscal deficits averaging 5.4% in the period 2000 to 2017. It spiked to 10.4% in the fiscal 2013/14 and as dipped to 6% in 2017/18 on last report. In stark contrast for the same period growth has averaged 1.1% with a -0.1% decline in 2013/14 easing up to 1.6% growth in the current period. The point Dukharan emphasized is why with the billions in government sending it did not significantly move the growth indicator.
  • Barbados recorded the lowest fiscal multiplier compared to five other major Caribbean economies i.e..Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname and Bahamas.  The fiscal multiplier is defined as the growth generated based on government spend.
  • Debt sustainability threshold is noted at 55/60% of GDP. The analysis supports that a greater number has a negative impact on growth. It is a matter of record that Barbados debt to GDP is far north of 100%.
  • The monetary base has increased to almost 5 times, close to 5 billion from 2000 to 2017. The will obviously stress foreign reserves given the island’s high conspicuous consumption fueled by imports. The proof is in the fact foreign reserves of abut 300 million in 2017 are at 2000 level.

The solution can be linked to the expression offered by Mara Dukharan, Barbados will have to pick its poison. And it does not matter if DLP or BLP wins the next government.

99 thoughts on “Economist Marla Dukharan’s Advice to Barbados, ‘Pick Your Poison’

  1. Bajan Free Party/CUP-PCP.Violet Beckles Plantation Deeds from 1926-2017 land tax bills and no Deeds,BLPand DLP Massive land Fruad and PONZI on said:

    We , I told you this many years ago, until the Massive land fraud and PONZI of CLICO is cured nothing will work for Barbados, internal laundering of bank money and land will not fool people out side,, Minister up to the PM AG, MOF are crooks liars and scumbags.

    Most of the world is being nice by not calling names, You All will soon learn ,

  2. @ David,

    She has an advantage over our Bajan economist.

    Bajans prefer to listen to foreigners. It helps that she is eye candy for some of us. lol

    “She was Chief Economist for the RBC with responsibility for the Caribbean.”

    Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) today reported net income of $2,809 million for the second quarter ended April 30, 2017, up $236 million or 9% from a year ago

  3. David

    It must have some importance to locate what this economist says within the failures of western economic theory and practice to deliver for the majority of the peoples of the world.

    Indeed, since the western economy model has gained dominance the majority of the peoples of the world have been driven into deeper and deeper privations.

    Now some chadian jackass is going to asking where the proof is which supports this conclusion.

    It is all around you!

    So what we have is an economist who maybe correctly diagnosing ills. The problem is that the patient, the peoples of the earth, have been dying in our millions for decades while her medicine was working perfectly well on the body politic. It is curing the disease by killing the patient!

    Where are the critiques of the structures of capitalism that were bound to lead us here? And if these favoured voices had nothing to say about those fundamental distortions why should we give a raassssssoul about what they have to say now?

    Indeed there are generations of Caribbean academicians, public intellectuals and economic practitioners who have spoken/written about this substantial critique but in none of these present day discourses do we hear their names. As if we were born yesterday.

    Our deeper point is that we must stop paying homage to people because we may like them or agree with their general or specific argumentation when in truth and in fact these fuuuckers are killing us softly with their music.

    • @Pacha

      Have no problem with your feedback. The challenge is for Barbadians and wider Caribbean to ditch the traditional mindset and shift to tactics to drive a response to a new normal. We have to accept what it is first. This is where Marla can help to provoke discussion -to somewhere.

  4. What is most surprising is Dukharan left, what appeared to be a safe career with RBC, to jump on the Block Chain based Bitt Int’l. Would be interesting to know what “currency” her remuneration is in. Based on her knowledge, surely she isn’t accepting $Bds.

  5. @ NorthernObserver September 9, 2017 at 4:15 PM #

    I’ve wondered the same about the MOVE, BLOCK CHAIN Bitt maybe the latest iteration of a CLICO identity to SCAM/BILK the public out of their hard earned $’s, or maybe to launder money. Dukharans move is highly suspicious or downright STUPID. Her future credit-ability will no doubt come into question because of the move.

    Only time will tell.

  6. We look back at ten years of devastation:

    the bloated, inefficient public service
    the lack of speedy judiciary
    the lack of up to date statutes on offshore financial law
    the bad reputation of the local management of finances after nearly twenty downgrades
    the lack of any economic growth, compared to 2008
    the inability to borrow foreign currency other than IMF
    the looming devaluation
    the usage of NIS as Sinckler´s ATM
    higher taxes every year, resulting in the highest prices for food and goods in the region
    the most expensive tourist destination in the Caribbean
    the lack of any innovation in tourism
    the permanent drug war
    the demotivated work force
    the brain drain to other countries
    the difficulties of tertiary eduction
    the many public announcements without result (Cahill, Barbados as Republic etc)
    the bad condition of the roads

    No medicine is strong enough to cure the country in short time.

  7. @WC
    Today, we tend to associate Blockchain (a technology) with crypto currency. Yet the basis behind Blockchain, which is above my paygrade, opens the door for a whole new internet where digital information can be distributed without being copied. The guessing game is what industry(s) can commercialize and use this.
    What is impressive, is for something still relatively unknown, and not generating huge revenue, it is attracting huge investment and smart people (who have choices).

  8. @David
    I haven’t a clue if MD needs to work or anything about Bitt’s financial condition. Yet MD saw “something” in her current position, she didn’t see in her prior one? And what I do know is she is intelligent.

  9. And David you are suggesting that somebody who runs a blockchain can have something valuable to say.

    Well, if you don’t know, a BC in financial terms is some amalgamation of the emerging crypto currencies, public transactions, technology etc.

    About these we need to be very careful still. Like you were when many years ago we suggested this idea.

    To date there are no signs that this ‘new money’ is any more secure than fiat currency despite unquestioned growth.

    In fact, there are those who argue that crypto currencies are worse than paper money in many ways

    There can be no cure for our condition unless rooted in real money.

    Real money can only be gold, silver and some items of food.

    It is the ‘printing’ of fiat money which has created the national debt you oftentimes worry about. And crypto currencies are an extension of this.

    • @Pacha

      She is an economist by training and she had plotted Barbados’ performance on graphs and delivered in crystal clear language where we stand as a country, note BU did not list her prescription despite what the braying jackass just posted.

  10. Now we have heard from Marla. But a question still remains opened and unanswered by Mia and the opposition
    What remedies does the leader of the opposition have for barbados economy
    Needless to say that the learned economist has economic problems in her beloved Trinidad which she should first take care of rather than meddle in the affairs of barbados
    What business is it of Marla anyway
    Certainly she can use her precious knoweldge to save Trinidad economy an economy inspite of its oil fields have felt the dreaded knife of the international rating agencies several times resulting in down grades.
    But then again the question which ought to be asked of her is why would her country govt not listen to her advice

  11. “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
    “To talk of many things:
    Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
    Of cabbages–and kings–
    And why the sea is boiling hot–
    And whether pigs have wings.”

    “But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
    “Before we have our chat;
    For some of us are out of breath,
    And all of us are fat!”
    “No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
    They thanked him much for that.

                           Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll)

  12. @ David September 9, 2017 at 5:07 PM #

    Do not know what MD personal finances are, however do know about BITT. Do some checking yourself on BItt and it’s financer, then we’ll talk.

  13. @AS
    “What remedies does the leader of the opposition have for barbados economy”
    Remedies? By asking for a remedy you are suggesting something is wrong? The PM you support has “rubbished” and refused to alter any course he and his cohorts have set. Why change? I would offer the unions a 15% increase, remove the NSRL and call and request we print more money.

  14. Jesus H. Christ the crazy trini economist talking out her ass again. She runs her mouth faster than Jeremy Stephens . Like him its doom and gloom from her not a glimmer of hope or a solution. Her prophecies sound like wild exaggerations and untrue.

    What lucid commentary is she bringing yardfowl BU David? Kellmannomics more convincing than her fairy tales.

    When Branford Taitt was Minister of Health a foreign doctor attached to QEH boldly said most Bajans would die of AIDS long before year 2000. Taitt swiftly kicked him off the island. Last night on TV a local AIDS expert speculated Barbados should be AIDS free in the next decade.

    The Marla b***h in the same box as the head case doctor Branford Taitt booted out. She, Jeremy Stephens and another foreigner Tennyson Joseph are given way too much publicity by our lazy media. That threesome is a motley crew of attention hoes and drama queens.

  15. @David. Most of that fiscal deficit average accumulated between (2007 -2017). I stopped listen to the pundits about forex reserve and devaluation . Over ten years of prediction about imminent devaluation to no avail. Either the information about forex reserve decline, base money expansion , … is bogus or Barbados economy doesn’t follow general economic principle.

    • @fortyacresandamule

      The question is why should it be a mystery in a country burdened with homegrown economists and an established Central Bank where a repository of data exist?

  16. @Pacha. Excellent analysis of a more larger fundamental problem. An economic system that distribute to less than .1% of the population , wealth equivalent to the bottom 80% of the population needs serious correction. It calls into question the age old assumption about resource scarity.

  17. @Wily Coyote,
    The move of Marla Dukharan to BITT from Royal Bank is neither mysterious nor stupid. It is rather obvious. Young Abed and his colleagues at BITT are trying to innovate in the Blockchain space in a way that would connect it to the “normal” banking system and solve our derisking problem. They have US$50 million in venture capital but little credibility; they have never actually shipped a product. Dukharan was highly visible at her Royal Bank role, but visibility alone does not bring with it very high compensation. Bank CEOs are never hired from the ranks of economists, no matter how photogenic or famous; she had risen as high as she ever was going to at Royal Bank, she was at a dead end. So what were her choices? Politics? Perhaps. Another private sector bank? Not likely, she’s “branded” as Royal.

    At BITT she undoubtedly gets a salary increase in US$ payed out of their war chest, plus almost certainly an equity share of the company. If the company tanks, nobody will blame her, but if it takes off she will be as rich as Croesus. BITT gets an interesting injection of credibility when they are negotiating with the banks and central banks that are integral to the realization of their vision, and on top of that they get millions of dollars in free publicity because we can’t stop looking at, or talking about, Marla Dukharan.

  18. It is young Abed’s best business move to date. He’s much smarter than his dad, although that is not a high hurdle.

  19. @PLT
    the last time (that I saw) you fired an arrow across at a father, the recipient shut down the conversation. I appreciate because of family connections there was possibly a history beyond that. So why zing an arrow at Abed? None of us can be responsible for the actions of another family member, or their abilities.

  20. Let’s see Fruendel and his gang try to lie their way out of this

    “PREEMINENT INSURANCE RATING agency A.M. Best is one step away from raising a red flag on Barbados. The SUNDAY SUN confirmed that the United States-based entity has issued a new Barbados Country Risk Report in which it raised concern about Barbados’ “high” economic and financial risk. A.M. Best has ascribed a country risk tier (CRT) of… “

  21. BITT could hire 12 Dukharans…I would not trust any of their products, particularly as it relates to currency, digital or otherwise……particularly because of their shady US backers and more particularly because of that Abed involvement and other very shady minorities’ connection to the company.

    They are all trying to monopolize a strangle hold on the populations’ finances and use Barbados as the clearing house to get a strangle hold on the Caribbean’s people finances, not to mention their already well known, decades old illegal criminal activities throughout the Caribbean.

    It is a nasty scam devised to enslave the whole Caribbean by controlling their money.

  22. peterlawrencethompson September 9, 2017 at 10:36 PM #

    Correct, further, look at Royal’s recent actions in the Caribbean, a lot of sub entities have shut or decreased in size. Maybe Marla made a wiser decision than Wily / Northern assume? Maybe more in the mortar?

    • @Crusoe

      The other scenario is that MD was made redundant and or offered a package because the guys in Canada see no benefit to having a regional economist.

  23. If the current monetary system in Barbados is maintained, except that it is made 100% electronic, where everyone must have a bank card and there is no cash, what other improvements could Bitt or similar operations add to it?

  24. Marla Dukaran – M D

    Is reallly ….Mia Dildo

    Nothing more nothing less !

    A useless ….projectile !

    She PROJECTS ……Devaluation !!! – no such thing happens !!

    She PROJECTS…….Economic Collapse – no such thing happens !!

    Idiato !!!!

  25. David of BU

    I am not surprised the pending wire tapping story has caught your attention .

    A question for you in the interim :

    • Have you and Dr. George Belle returned the millions of $$$$ you scammed from UWI for that ‘ failed ‘ research project ???

  26. Angela Skeete

    is spewing her usual rhetorical political diatribe.

    She should be asking the bombastic Christopher Sinckler “what remedies he has for the Barbados economy,” because all of his economic policies have failed to achieve the desired objectives and he is unwilling to take advice, as evidenced by the “tongue lashing” he gave Marla Dukharan, Jeremy Stephen and all the other economists whose opinions differ from his.

    The electorate is not going to judge the performance of the Barbados economy by if Mottley presents policies or not.

    They will use the 19 consecutive credit rating downgrades, failed economic policies and a minister of finance who has been an abysmal failure, as the basis to form their opinion.

  27. Why are the police being so slow to announce the identity of the white male found dead at Malvern, St. George?

    Only reason I can think of is that some big-ups get caught-up, lol.

  28. Grenboy,
    Either politics or incompetence. Have they thought of bringing in Scotland Yard, the Mounties or FBI to assist? Have they thought of informing Interpol? What is the problem?

  29. Hal

    The man and his bajan partner(s) did importing knock-down (maybe stolen) vehicles from the UK, avoiding duty and selling them at the ‘market price’ on a cash-only basis. Cash-only would relegate them to looking for customers in the following fields
    1. Politics
    2. Drug Dealing
    3. Money Laudering

  30. @ Hal Austin September 10, 2017 at 9:13 AM

    Now you see the gravamen of the problem when it comes to the Rule of Law in the fast ripening banana republic called “Badbados”?

    The same problem there is with your Greenverbs and CLICO. But this one cannot be blamed on some “Failure” in the regulatory system as your usual wont but one of ‘who is who’ in this game of political protection. And more importantly there is no “Guyana-born DPP” to place impediments in the way of Law as you have opined on previous occasions.

    You should ask yourself who has bosom pals in high places just like your man Greenverbs; or even Bjerkham the blind gunslinger in the ‘child-killing’ play of cowboy and crook; or Baloney the fearless highway lawbreaker of motor child-slaughter; or even the Honourable Speaking’ sophisticated mugger of a pensioner in a wheel chair who was advised to get a lawyer instead of a banker by the very person who should be not only the moral compass of the nation but the person sworn to both Queen & Constitution to uphold the law both in word (letter) and in spirit.

  31. “Only reason I can think of is that some big-ups get caught-up, lol.”

    And then some, there is a whole criminal network to investigate, both local and foreign, because of that murder, those in the know are saying……and apparently it’s not just the boys on the block with their stupidity involved and being looked at,….either……

    Lol, lol……Miller…

    According to some the size of that particular criminal network is extensive and forced international police to be physically present on the island…..hopefully the foolish ministers try to

    We have been hoping for enough time that the secretive, organized criminal network on the island be exposed, looks like it’s getting there…let’s see how many they snare.

  32. Jethro,
    Have you ever thought of incompetence, is it corruption all the time? May be they have not identified the man because they do not know what they are doing.
    If the England-born deceased had a ‘Bajan’ partner, then she should be able to identify the dead man. What about officials in his home town? What about the British high commission? Have they searched his home? Have they found his passport and other identifying documents?
    What I find rather curious is that the British high commission has not intervened, nor have the dead man’s British relatives asked for Foreign and Commonwealth Office assistance.
    I think incompetence outsmarts corruption every time, as you insist.

  33. @ Hal Austin September 10, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    Go(o)d(n)ess Gracious! Or, to use the modern social media virtual equivalent, “LOL”.
    Incompetence my donkey clothed in my dear auntie’s panties!

    Wield and come again.

    This is the same cohort of highly-educated University graduates who after a stint of overseas training are large and in charge of the organs which grind the wheels of law and order after being oiled by the moral siphons commonsense and fairness.

    How come Bim can produce the likes of Lord you and Baron Bushie to see right from wrong and be able to differentiate competence from corruption but such fortune cannot be found in the area of Law enforcement and moral ‘good and bad’?

    You are not seeing the same kind of enthusiasm of resolution and publicity as you witnessed in the Kadooment day gun play at the Ok Spring Garden allegedly because of the players involved.

    Not this time by the ghetto show-offs looking for a name in the small-fry retail drug trade but with ‘highly-educated’ gangsters who not only defend ‘sophisticated ‘contraband territory in the port(s) of illegal entry but have the sword of Damocles over the heads of those who hold high political status.

    Yes, the same political figures who hold strategically important portfolios but depend heavily on the illicit proceeds of those involved in the drugs and gun trade in order to finance those politically regulated garrison-type electoral campaigns which the drug lords back- in return for Greenverbs-like protection and insulation from the Law- the real dons in the political chess game

    • @Miller

      Vernese Brathwaite being sent on leave with pay for 7 years is incompetence?

      The DPP holding files for 7 years is incompetence?

      Why bother!

  34. David September 10, 2017 at 6:48 AM #

    Precisely. Bear in mind what I said re recent events relating to foreign banks in Barbados. Shutting branches, shutting sub offices that relate to other parts of the businesses. Readily available information.

    Consider that in light of your suggestion and I suspect that you have the answer.

    @Fractured DLP stooge

    Why must you get insulting? Message too close to the bone, n’est pas?

    It is clear that incompetence is not the way to go in ‘our’ efforts to grasp at the branches hanging at the edge of the economic abyss for BIM.

    We need leadership and competence.

    Reality is, at this point, the only choice to get that is Mia, who will actually have the intelligence and street wise to get international help. Which is what is needed.

    As good hearted as Grenville P. seems, he is out to lunch on policies.

    • @Crusoe

      You have to learn to turn the other cheek when these political trolls comment with the purpose to disrupt. It shows the extent these idiots are prepared to put political party before national interest. Ignore them, when you comment you fall into their trap.

  35. Jethro,
    First, write in simple, understandable English and not in code. Who are the cohort of highly-educated university graduates? I am lost.
    Second, if you believe a university graduate cannot be incompetent you are living in cloud cuckoo land.
    A suspected murder is investigated by the police, who last time I checked, did not have to be a graduate. Some of their supervisors may be graduates, usually in law or criminology.
    The inability to identify an Englishman believed murdered in Barbados could be sorted even by people not trained detective. The queries I raised above stand. Go to Lancashire and ask questions.
    Again, cut out the hype and concentrate on the basic facts: incompetence trumps corruption every time.

  36. Barbadians get what they deserves. Corrupt Police Force, Politicians, Attorneys and dishonest workers throughout.

    Crabs in the bucket mentality and fooled that they are educated and literate.

    Having owned Businesses throughout the Region and taught at UWI I can speak first hand.

    No change of Government will make a difference as the island is in a downward spiral.

  37. Dukharan became a problem for her employer, since she exposed the high risk of any foreign investment in the region. Just compare her position and E&Y Focus on Barbados Budget 2017. The lads at E&Y tell us fairy tales about the future course in 2017. We were told since 2008 that the finances will recover. It NEVER happened. Where are the great new projects with inflow of foreign currency? The Chinese, the Arabs, the Canadians or another Fata Morgana after the fifth bottle of rum? Where are they? No local accountant at E&Y or any economist of another bank in Barbados will ever admit that their local investments are doomed. Dead men walking.

    Those who drive around Barbados, those who talk to the business leaders and visit local stores know that Dukharan´s projection is right. There is no remedy for Barbados which saves jobs AND cuts down the deficit. There will be no diversification of economic activities, since Barbados is too expensive to do business. The useless public talk during the last 10 years has revealed a common weakness of the local elite, namely the inability to act. Once upon a time, such economic conservatism was right, when Jamaica and Guyana experimented with socialism. Today such conservatism is lethal in a changing world.

  38. This is how we manipulate discussions in Barbados. Ms Brathwaite had nothing to do with the investigation in to the death of the Englishman; nor has the DDP’s office held the file for seven years on his death. So what is the relevance to this discussion?

  39. Going back to 2014 BU posted a blog to address the Laffer Curve theory. The traditional media has not made a big deal of this issue but it was mentioned by Marla during her session at ICAB and the reality that Barbados has reached the point where more taxes will result in less revenue.


    Increased Taxation Will NOT Work Mr. Sinckler. Have you ever heard of Laffer’s Curve…?

    by David on November 10, 2014 in Opinion, Politics Edit

    Submitted by Just Thinking Economics Who ever said that increased taxation will help Barbados out of its current mess needs to have their heads examine. We are already overly taxed and to inflict further pain…..”broadening the tax base”…. will do nothing more than to compound “the already poor” problems. Just imagine asking small incomers (working […]

  40. ” The useless public talk during the last 10 years has revealed a common weakness of the local elite, namely the inability to act. ”

    You make some valid points. However, a challenge is not the ability to act, rather the interest to do it in Barbados. They are unloading Barbadian assets, while investing elsewhere. Internal risk diversification if you will. Certainly, currency diversification.

  41. I think it was @Peter Lawrence who first raised the issue of the Laffer Curve in this blog. Marla mentioning it is not extra-ordinary.

  42. @David. Tax compliance and widening of the base is necessary. We can’t expect the PAYE earners and the few large businesses to shoulder 75% of the income tax receipt while sole traders, independent contractors etc pay next to nothing. The compliance rate for most taxes collected in this country is relatively low in relation to our high income status. We should transform the tax department into a IRS-style entity and agrressively go after the tax dodgers and fraudsters.

    • @fortyacresandamule

      Agree, we need tax reform -down with personal income tax and expand indirect tax system. A smple option like collecting road tax at the pump for example.

  43. @David. Indeed. Indirect tax seems appropriate and less regressive especially, when you consider the various accounting devices that the wealthy and big businesses use to reduce their income tax obligation.

  44. @Hal Austin September 10, 2017 at 1:11 PM #,
    I do not remember whether I ever mentioned the Laffer Curve on this blog; if I did it would have been to point out that Arthur Laffer is an ass, and the Laffer Curve a cheap confidence trick used by business elites to bamboozle the public.

    Laffer rose to prominence in the Reagan era because this was used as an argument for reducing tax rates. They had already decided to reduce tax rates of course, that’s what their campaign funders had paid for, this was just an ex post facto lamebrain excuse to justify their political decision.

    It is pretty much useless analytically because nobody knows where the peak of the Laffer Curve exists: is it at 29% taxation or 92% taxation? The varios economists have calculated answers ranging from 33% to 70%, so you see that nobody knows what the f*** the curve is really shaped like. Reagan I think used it to argue for reducing Federal tax rates from 25% to 22%, entirely outside of the zone that any economist thought would increase tax revenue (and of course tax revenue fell).

    • @Peter

      You should recall the discussion at the ICAB session with Mara referred to the Laffer Curve in the context of supporting a view that there is a point some believe where tax revenues fall at a certain level of tax imposition.

  45. @David,
    It would be efficient to collect road tax at the pump… but you would run into a growing problem with the increase in the proportion of electric vehicles on the road…

  46. Every business person in BIM knows that, regardless of who wins the next election, there will have to be a freeze on civil servant hiring, greater civil service efficiency and facilitation and a shed of statutory corporation money pits and teefin’ dens.

    The big difference in the outcome to the next election is that, if the DLP wins again, they will still not have the support of the foreign and local business community needed for economic recovery except for the bribe-payers, while, if the BLP wins, the return of business confidence and facilitation will immediately begin the process of recovery.

    As was the case after the last recession these idiots mismanaged.

    There will be no economic recovery under Fumble’s Fools. There was never any chance of it.

    By all accounts, the outright and blatant bribe solicitation of local and foreign business people has accelerated in the past few months.

  47. @ peterlawrencethompson September 10, 2017 at 8:02 PM
    “It would be efficient to collect road tax at the pump… but you would run into a growing problem with the increase in the proportion of electric vehicles on the road…”

    You have made a rather pertinent peep into the future with the petroleum-based ICE private car on its way out.

    But there will still be a need for third-party insurance as long as vehicles are using the roads.
    So why not let the insurance companies attach the ‘road-use’ tax onto the insurance premium payments and pay the tax over to the government like they do with other tax liabilities?

    Now that would throw the law enforcement cat among the law braking pigeons as far uninsured vehicle owners are concerned!

  48. @Peter Lawrence,
    The discussion involved someone coming out of Canada at the time. I remember saying exactly what you have said, that Laffer wrote this hypothesis on a dinner napkin and that is where it should have remained.

  49. @ Hal Austin September 11, 2017 at 11:13 AM

    So why not take a similar view on the Pareto efficiency or Pareto optimality hypothesis?

    Politicians certainly dismiss it in compiling their wish-list of pipe dreams contained in manifestoes, especially in resource-starved Barbados.

  50. Jethro,
    You suffer from an attention deficit problem. You always shift the subject of discussions. The conversation was about the Laffer curve, as was raised by Marla. I am not an economist, it is all foreign to me, as you know. But, be free, tell me what I should say and I would agree.

    • @Miller

      There is no need to be pedantic on this matter of the Laffer Curve, it was mentioned to support a view (on a view) shared by Marla and others at the ICAB session that Barbados may have reached a level of tax fatigue.

      Your point about leveraging the insurance cover is a good one.

  51. @ David September 11, 2017 at 12:01 PM

    The ‘pointed’ reference the Pareto principle was made as an ‘academic’ riposte to that all-knowing Hal Austin with his dismissive attitude towards a hypothesis which is clearly applicable to any informed analysis of the fiscal and economic challenges currently facing Barbados.

  52. @David,
    Dukharan did indeed refer to the Laffer Curve and implied that Barbados may have reached a point where tax revenues fall in the wake of increased tax rates. Nobody knows if this is true and we won’t know until we have the data in 2018.

    I do get dismissive about the Laffer curve because many conservatives invoke it as though they know where it peaks. Dukharan is on the side of the suits, but I am a traitor to my class, so we differ on this point.

    • Thanks Peter, you were present.

      To repeat, BU’s reference to the Laffer Curve was in the context you referred i.e. is there a case to be made for deminishing tax revenues based on current policy. This is the salient point.

  53. MD was only being “polite”. Her primary point (in print) is we (GoB) have consistently overstated revenue, while understating expenditures. Hence the growing deficits. Laffer conceptually, is why tax increases may not yield the calculated revenue, ie. another shortfall. For she isn’t buying the projections, despite recognizing them.

    She also pointed out that Transfers and Subsidies are now >1.5 times the size of salaries and wages. Because of the parliamentary rollback, the latter has become our focus, while we tend to ignore the train which is really gathering speed…Transfers and Subsidies (also debt servicing).

    Now to agitate the corridors…the primary reason the $Bds has not devalued, is because the financial elite are “propping it up”. It is simply not in their best interest to have it happen.

  54. @ David September 11, 2017 at 12:56 PM
    “To repeat, BU’s reference to the Laffer Curve was in the context you referred i.e. is there a case to be made for deminishing tax revenues based on current policy. This is the salient point.”

    The Laffer curve hypothesis has been manifesting itself as a factor of fiscal reality since the annual increases in the raft of both old and new taxes imposed on the taxpayers in a contracting transactional/expenditure-based economy.

    Since his August 2013 budget presentation, the December 2013 Ministerial Statement and every subsequent budget and ministerial statement the MoF has been giving Bajans the assurance that every tax increase was done in the national interest of growing the economy and reducing the fiscal deficit with the massive skyrocketing increase of 400% in the NSRL being the most recent incarnation and manifestation of the Laffer Curve in action.

    With ‘disposable’ foreign reserves almost exhausted the economic “facts” on the ground speak for themselves and provide ample evidence of the Laffer Curve being at more than hypothetical play in Barbados.

    When the Bajan taxpayers who are entitled to refunds (some since 2013), are treated with justice according to the Law then we could dismiss the relevance of the hypothesis to the current state of economic performance in Barbados.

  55. Economics, the dismal science, is yet to develo any successful theory, wether from pure theoretical first principle or empirical data… to make reasonable prediction about the real macro-economy. They say economists suffer from physic envy. There is definately some truth about that .

    • @fortyacresandamule

      What the global collapse of 2007/ exposed is the gap caused by the lack of understanding of behavioral economics.

  56. @fortyacres ”
    fortyacresandamule September 11, 2017 at 6:47 PM #
    Economics, the dismal science, is yet to develo any successful theory,”

    I disagree, most surely.

    Economics is fairly straightforward. The underlying theories are sound. The problem is, as David notes, behavioral economics. This encompasses governmental actions, commercial strategies, large criminal operations, as well as consumer spending.

    To get all of those ‘right’ is an insurmountable task.

    Look at the latest strategies by those who ‘would’ direct world resources i.e. the venture capitalists and hedge fund principals. They have used big data and social, engineering to place the current administration in a leader nation and have successfully achieved breaking the UK form the EU, aka Brexit.

    How can you allege that economics is dismal when the parameters being assessed are dynamic in nature.

    Surely physics and chemistry etc are fixed parameters, their ‘understanding’ being only limited and determined by man’s own understanding. But the parameter points are set.

    Economics is far more than a dismal science. Attribution of that description lends more to an understanding of the originator of such comment, than of the science itself.

    We know all science loves equations, so how about adding a factor to be included in economic equations, such as ‘Z’, for economics . ‘Z’ for all of the human behavioral unknowns in a situation.

    Unfortunately ‘Z’ would encompass so much as to lend no real value, except to understand why some may call economics dismal or of little accuracy.

  57. @Crusoe. Economics should be a sub-branch of psychology. Even at the micro-level the fundamental assumptions are flawed. First, human beings are not rational economic entities. Human beings are more complex than that. Second, markets move toward equillibrium, maybe so from a mathematical construct, but nonsense in reality. A super complex and dynamic system like the economy has no room for equillibrium in the real world.

    Plus you cannot theorise about macro- economic behaviour, starting with the assumptions from micro-economic therories and vice versa. It’s like trying to explain / predict the force of gravity at the macroscpic level, by extrapolating the theories of particle physics. It won’t work.

  58. Economists are so jealous of the guys in the hard science, that they even called their top prize in the field, the nobel prize in economics. Alfred Noble, bequeath no such prize to the dismal science. And most of the theories that have won the so-called nobel prize, neither are reproducable, nor can verified emperically on a consistent basis.

  59. 40 Acres

    Is poorly educated. He says things like, “Human beings are not rational, so economic models do not work”.

    Even when an economic model assumes rational behaviour, it is useful for predicting the tendencies or forces at work in the real world, because people are sometimes rational, even though they may not be always or consistently rational.


    Stop being an ass. Arthur Laffer is not an important economist, but he has a BA from Yale and a PhD in Economics from Stanford. He taught in the business school at USC and at Pepperdine.

    Which is to say he knows a lot more economics than you, and he has called for attention to supply side forces in the economy, which is a useful offset to the demand- side focus of Krigman, Stiglitz and many other prominent economists who are public intellectuals. Show some respect for that.

  60. Give us all a break Chad…

    It has long been established on BU that economics is a shiite ‘science’ created by those of limited intellect who could not manage the real sciences and had no talents in the Arts.

    What the hell is an ‘economist’? …21st century snake oil sales.
    It CERTAINLY does not meet the definition of being a science, and has been assembled around a late 20th century, post WW2, paradigm of growth and optimism – which has faded into history leaving the concept of ‘economics’ stranded on the rocks….

    Even ‘Economists’ (whatever the hell THOSE are..) now admit that the whole thing is a lotta shiite…

  61. Bush Tea

    Astronomy. biology, chemistry, geology and physics, (probably what Bushie would consider as “the real sciences),” require a knowledge of mathematics.

    For example, it is essential for a physics student to be proficient in mathematics…………… algebra, geometry, trigonometry, etc. In addition to mathematics (which is a form of problem-solving), it is helpful for the prospective physics student to have a more general knowledge of how to tackle a problem and apply logical reasoning to arrive at a solution. (Sounds similar to economic concepts, Bushie?)

    Economics, especially at post graduate level, also requires the student to be proficient in mathematics………….. multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, real analysis, statistics, logarithms and indices, linear and simultaneous equations, geometric progressions: interest and growth, sigma notation and matrices, differentiation and integration, etc.

    How could you conclude an economist to be of “LIMITED INTELLECT who could not manage the real sciences,” when economics and physics both require knowledge of mathematics………..but would not describe a physicist similarly?

    I know that proving you to be incorrect creates a fundamental problem for you; rather than admit or yield, you would “shift the goal post,” while using witticisms to relieve the awkward feeling.

    Engineering, according to Wikipedia, is the application of MATHEMATICS, as well as scientific, ECONOMIC, social, and practical knowledge, to invent, innovate, design, build, maintain, research, and improve structures, machines, tools, systems, components, materials, processes, solutions, and organizations.

    However, the general consensus is that engineering is NOT a science either.

    Then your views about engineers should be similar to your views about economists.

    In the future, I’m expecting you to write “engineers” (what the hell THOSE are….)

  62. @ Artax…
    Bushie has NO ISSUE with being proved wrong…. it is WELCOMED….honestly…
    BUT, given the SOURCE of Bushie’s knowledge, ….good luck with THAT!!!

    Do you know what qualifies a field of study to be called a science?
    …or do you want some assistance..?

    Mathematics is ALSO needed to be a Minister of FineAnts too … but looka ours…!!!
    Mathematics would be useful if a minister planned to collect $10 per person from Bajans to build a stadium too …especially if he can get this to add up to $20M…..

    OBVIOUSLY the need to understand mathematics – in and of itself – does not make a field of study, or practice, into a ‘science’.

  63. @ Bush Tea September 12, 2017 at 6:35 AM
    “Give us all a break Chad…
    It has long been established on BU that economics is a shiite ‘science’ created by those of limited intellect who could not manage the real sciences and had no talents in the Arts.
    What the hell is an ‘economist’? …21st century snake oil sales.
    It CERTAINLY does not meet the definition of being a science, and has been assembled around a late 20th century, post WW2, paradigm of growth and optimism – which has faded into history leaving the concept of ‘economics’ stranded on the rocks….
    Even ‘Economists’ (whatever the hell THOSE are..) now admit that the whole thing is a lotta shiite…”

    So is religion! The most unscientific “lotta shiite” humans ever expurgated from their brass-bowl minds.

    Have you ever stopped to consider that those 21st Century snake oil salesmen aka economist have simply replaced the priests and religious magicians of the past selling the same old bullshit of creating Heaven on Earth by selling an impossible dream of an easy life?

    Maybe Artax has a ‘fundamental’ point regarding your Big Boss Engineer (Brass Bowl Engineer aka BBE).

    BBE might just be another quack posing as a figment of Bushie’s imagination fertilized with an extravagant dose of human shiite from Bushie’s burning backside.

  64. Bush Tea

    I NEVER IMPLIED that “the need to understand mathematics – in and of itself – does not make a field of study, or practice, into a ‘science’……..”

    My point is………… if physics and economics require PROFICIENCY in mathematics, then to say an economist is an individual “of LIMITED INTELLECT who could not manage the real sciences” is non sequitur.

  65. @ Miller
    …and your point being…?
    You are correct about religion….
    Perhaps it is GP and Zoe that you may wish to address…. not stinking Bushie… who has been at war with such ‘snake oil pushers’ now for YEARS…

    @ Artax
    Perhaps the best qualification for a field of study to be considered a science was given by Carton and Hofer (2006) where they assert that “if the measures used in a discipline have not been demonstrated to have a high degree of validity, that discipline is not a science”
    As you know, no two ‘economists ever seem to concur – and even individuals are unable to give consistent results over different time frames.

  66. @ Artax
    My point is………… if physics and economics require PROFICIENCY in mathematics, then to say an economist is an individual “of LIMITED INTELLECT who could not manage the real sciences” is non sequitur.
    A valid point.

    However, IBHO (in Bushie’s humble opinion) any highly intelligent fellow who CHOOSES to pursue such a field of study, when he has the CAPACITY to make a useful contribution to society via a “REAL REAL” field of study…. suffers from an even WORSE ‘limitation of intellect’ than a fellow whose academic capacities constrain him from doing any better…

    ….so it is the same “limited intellect’ …only worse… 🙂

    ha ha ha

    • We are splitting hairs!

      Less formally, the word science often describes any systematic field of study or the knowledge gained from it

  67. Bushie

    is a clever individual and a “verbal contortionist.” He must have an IQ of around 140.

    He previously stated: “It has long been established on BU that economics is a shiite ‘science’ created by those of limited intellect who could not manage the real sciences and had no talents in the Arts.”

    …………….. which, if interpreted within the context it was written, means people “who could not manage the real sciences and had no talents in the Arts” are of limited intellect and would endeavour to pursue “easy courses,” one of which is economics.

    However, when challenged about the logic of his statement, being the “verbal contortionist” he is, Bushie conveniently “shifts the goal post” to jest:

    “………..any highly intelligent fellow who CHOOSES to pursue such a field of study, when he has the CAPACITY to make a useful contribution to society via a “REAL REAL” field of study…. suffers from an even WORSE ‘limitation of intellect’ than a fellow whose academic capacities constrain him from doing any better…”

    Bushie, I admire your determination to stay afloat when the air is slowly escaping from the rubber dinghy…….. but you cannot qualify your former comment with the latter, since both comments are “mutually exclusive.”

  68. Wunnah don’t realize that getting BT to admit he is wrong on any topic is like pinning jello to a wall, it ain’t gonna work he would have made a superb politician ( perhaps he is).

    Art ax should move on, don’t waste your time.

  69. What is ‘Behavioral Economics?’

    According to Investopedia: “Behavioral Economics is the study of psychology as it relates to the economic decision-making processes of individuals and institutions. The two most important questions in this field are:

    Are economists’ assumptions of utility or profit maximization good approximations of real people’s behavior?
    Do individuals maximize subjective expected utility?


    “Behavioral economics, along with the related sub-field behavioral finance, studies the effects of psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors on the economic decisions of individuals and institutions and the consequences for market prices, returns, and resource allocation, although not always that narrowly, but also more generally, of the impact of different kinds of behavior, in different environments of varying experimental values.”

    Or we could read the “Behavioral Economics Guide 2017,” edited by Alain Sampson, PhD

  70. The maximum level of taxation was reached long ago.

    Barbados taxes like Scandinavia but offers 3rd rate social services and bullets flying around, food prices higher than Switzerland, productivity like Mozambique. In other words, an economic concentration camp.

    The categorical error of the local elite is their obsession to copy every sh… from Britain with their many ministries, civil servants, embassies and bureaucracy. Whatever the Brits crap, Barbadian decision makers take it for gold. Some kind of Stockholm syndrom, indeed.

    We need a smart and slim solution, streamlined and fitting to a MICROstate like Barbados:
    – electronic administration, not a royal bureaucracy, with decisions within a week for business and building permits
    – fast judiciary, not colonial badges and sleeping judges
    – small subsidiary civil service, not a civil service as a mass employer of last resort
    – low consumer taxes, not the highest taxes in the region
    – flexibel currency, not a religion called pegging, far away from national productivity
    – solar power for the whole island and solar powered vehicles, not silver Mercedes for the new plantation class
    – a better tourism product, not the same golf courses and drinks like the last 50 years.

  71. @ Artax
    Sargeant’s non-commissioned jealousies notwithstanding, Bushie is READY and WILLING to admit to ANY error that you are able to produce… and the Bushman hereby apologises in ADVANCE …since, being human, he MUST errr from time to time…
    HOWEVER, you will need to COME GOOD … because Bushie THINKS before he writes….

    Let us do this slowly (so that Hal can keep up…)

    1 – Bushie said.. ” It has long been established on BU that economics is a shiite ‘science’ created by those of limited intellect”
    Points to note:
    A- It was established on BU
    B- It was CREATED by persons of limited intellect.

    2 – YOU Interpreted this to mean that “”people “who could not manage the real sciences and had no talents in the Arts” are of limited intellect and would endeavour to pursue “easy courses,” one of which is economics.””

    Do you understand the DIFFERENCE between”CREATED BY” …and PURSUE /STUDY/ CHOOSE?”
    IF SO….
    Perhaps now you can follow the deduction that ‘any highly intelligent fellow who CHOOSES to pursue such a field of study, [that had been CREATED by a dimwit] when he has the CAPACITY to make a useful contribution to society via a “REAL REAL” field of study…. suffers from an even WORSE ‘limitation of intellect’ than a fellow whose academic capacities constrain him from doing any better…”

    @ Artax
    Don’t follow an NCO like Sarge into the trenches. You are much better suited for the officer’s mess… the drinks are much better.

    Apologies also the the big boss David(BU) for splitting some more hairs…. It is always fun doing so with Artax….
    ha ha ha

  72. @Chad99999, said “Arthur Laffer is not an important economist,” we agree so far; and “he knows a lot more economics than you,” we are still in agreement: I was not disputing his qualifications.

    I was simply pointing out that the Laffer Curve, the work that he is notorious for (and probably embarrassed by), is useless. It is a political tool, not an economic one. It is either so obvious as to be trite: everyone knows that at a 0% tax rate revenue will be zero, that revenue will increase with an increase in rate, but that at a 100% tax rate the economy will not work and a lot of people will be disinclined to pay. So somewhere between 0% and 100% the tax revenue will be maximized. All this is trivial. Unless we formulate a theory which can predict the shape of the curve, which Laffer fails to do, we have nothing but a pointless “just so” story, not an analytical tool.

    The only time that I am aware that Laffer himself had significant policy input into using the Laffer Curve, it was an atrocious failure. Reagan slashed tax rates, revenue failed to increase as promised, and he ended up tripling the national debt.

    By the way Laffer acknowledges that he did not invent the curve, the idea goes back at least as far 14th-century Tunisian scholar Ibn Khaldun.

  73. “the Laffer Curve … is useless. It is a political tool, not an economic one”.


    Political tools are not useless. Laffer has mobilized the political arguments for tax cuts and for avoiding tax increases.

    The Laffer Curve is actually both a political tool and an economic tool. In economics, it has spawned new research into the punitive effects of taxation.

  74. @Bushie. You are not far off point. Political economy has transition to modern day economics by the less-than- gifted pure mathematicians and theoretical physicists. You see, when these individuals were flunking in their first choice discipline, they then migrate to the field of economics, because it was amenable to mathematical abstraction.

    Rigor and abstraction replaces common sense and concreteness . That is why economics has become so MATHEMATIZED today. The founding fathers believed, that, in order to establish respectability credibility, and prestige, the discipline should be underpined by mathematical abstraction.This is where the physic envy comes in. Even with all its ‘MATHINESS’, the pretentious discipline has no more respectability than astrology in my opinion.

  75. Economics is largely about ideology NOT science

    There are many examples:

    The unscientific assumption that markets are free and fair and not be protected by parties.

    That actors are not biased by advertising and other propaganda

    That CBs are somehow independent actors not influenced by politics, political interference, international diktat.

    That free trade is somehow unconnected from enforcement actions

    That reductions in taxation translate into increase capital investment and more jobs etc

    That corporations operate in environments of true competition with no desire to seek monopoly or oligopoly.

    That corporations are not dependent on government for expansion, military and other support to capture domestic and foreign markets

    That slave wages are helpful to all involved even when middle classes are being decimated

    That ownership and control are to be separated.

    And we could go on all day!

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