Cost of Living Matter (2) – A Time to Remain Unborn

Some ‘insane’ Barbadians are asking the question again – is the standard of living we have become accustomed tosustainable. Is it sensible for us `a net importer and purchaser of foreign currency to promote and implement policies that guarantee we must BORROW billions in foreign and local dollars to fund the short fall not covered from taxes collected in the case of domestic and foreign earnings?

Many years ago, ironically at the tail end of the last economic boom which Barbados never recovered, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur warned Barbadians about dark clouds on the horizon and the urgent need to make adjustments. To be expected we continued to engage in immature partisan political ranting as the walls of our society cracked are now tumbling around us.

We are a tiny island with zilch natural resources having to depend mainly on the fickle invisible export of tourism to generate foreign exchange to pay for our conspicuous consumption habits. We continue to build oversized homes, purchase fossil burning expensive SUVs, travel to distant lands to fulfil manufactured aspirations , aspire to study at elite universities, select exotic foods from supermarket shelves, the benefits sold to us on foreign cable beamed into our homes 24/7. To any sensible and educated person the dinosauric economic model could not and does not sustain the level of expenditure we have to incur. There is a good reason why Barbados’ economy has been described as open and susceptible to what economists fondly refer to as exogenous shocks.

On top of the obvious challenge of managing a minuscule 6-8 billion dollar economy largely dependent on a fickle tourism product, there is sufficient evidence – see Auditor General Reports outlining a litany of public sector malfeasance (private sector is always complicit) AND corruption to conclude we make a challenging situation more difficult. With revelations coming out of the arrest of former government minister Donville Inniss et al, there is evidence a culture exist that feeds corrupt behaviour. Although not a unique circumstance to Barbados, Barbadians must hold ourselves accountable for the kind of country we want to build for our children.

Many in this space lived through the 2007/8 global crisis and the oil crisis of the 70s. It is evident from the experiences of the two episodes we have not learned enough to commit to implementing resilient ‘fit for purpose’ policies. WE have allowed ourselves to buy into the ‘good life’ of consumption fuelled by an economy built on beach ground. Even in the face of the obvious, we have to listen daily to bull pucky discussions designed to take us no where. Unfortunately with the multiplicity of agendas to satisfy, with social media a ready purveyor of the inane the blame culture has taken deep root.

It is 2022, according to establishment analysts were are on the precipice of another global recession, one that should it occur given our fragile open economy will again wreak havoc on the lives of Barbadians, decimating a debt ridden middleclass and moving the poverty line north. Our visionless leaders combined with a level of disengagement from Barbadians – who the blogmaster has always contended ceded entitlements under our democracy to the political class – will have to suffer again for it until we learn to do better. The reference to a people getting governments they deserve has been recorded countless times in this space.

To the immediate matter at hand summarised in the article shared by a BU family member:

Rising food prices are changing the way we eat and shop

Emily Peck Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios Visuals

Skyrocketing food prices in the U.S. are changing the way Americans eat and grocery shop — they’re buying more store brands, and less costly meat and produce. Some are now just making do with less.

  • Meanwhile, food manufacturers continue to “shrinkflate” — putting less potato chips or cereal in the bags and boxes that we buy.

Why it matters: This is inflation hitting home, contributing to the overall bummed-out mood of the nation.

  • Once upon a time, grocery shopping mainly fell to women, but these days 92% of adults do it. That means most everyone’s noticed rising food prices — and many have adjusted in ways both minor and potentially devastating.

Driving the news: The cost of “food at home” is up 11.9% from last year, the largest increase since April 1979, according to the scorching hot inflation numbers released Friday. Nearly every category of food the government tracks saw accelerating price growth. The most inflationary categories, as highlighted in a note from JPMorgan on Friday:

  • Egg prices up 32% year over year, thanks in part to a January bird flu outbreak that killed about 6% of commercial egg-laying chickens, as Axios’ Hope King explained last month.
  • Fats and oils were next on the list at 16.9%, partly due to the war in Ukraine, followed by poultry (16.6%) and milk (15.9%).

Unusual trend: The increases in prices for food at home are outpacing food-away-from-home, which is up *only* 7.4%.

  • This is “historically unusual,”JP Morgan notes. The growth differential is the widest since 1974, they said.

State of play: For a good snapshot of how rising food prices are changing behavior, we checked the most recent Beige Book — where the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks report on economic conditions in their area (h/t Planet Money’s Indicator podcast on this one):

Read full article

451 thoughts on “Cost of Living Matter (2) – A Time to Remain Unborn

  1. After the demise of the ‘Windward,’ which used to sail between BGI and SLU…… BGI and SVG, ‘every other week,’ there has been several discussions about a ferry service that would include other regional territories.

    In 2018, the World Bank recommended a ferry service that would transport people, vehicles and goods from North to the South of the Caribbean, after completing a preliminary study.
    The Bank was also recommended private sector participation be sought in developing the ferry service.

    In August 2016, the Daily Nation reported ,that a company registered in Barbados called, ‘Caribbean Ferry Service,’ was in the process of finalising paperwork to operate two vessels, ‘The Dream Jet Express’ and ‘The Opal Jet Express,’ for travel and cargo through the region,
    The service was supposed to be initially accessible to passengers from BGI, SVG and SLU. And, eventually, other islands would’ve been added to the itinerary.

    I can understand ferry services between Antigua and Montserrat; St. Lucia and Martinique; St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius; Dominica and Guadeloupe…… because those islands are in close proximity to each other.

    However, I question the viability of operating a service between Barbados and Anguilla, for example. Or, from Trinidad to Jamaica.

    This is a topic worth discussion.

  2. Pingback: Regional Transportation a Bane | Barbados Underground

  3. The natives social media platforms are angry no sense in pretending all is well

    Dear PM, we int in this together , I have not benefitted from the loans, you are so cheap and stingy with the loans for the ppl your assets, that what little you share for cosmetic, don’t work, the cheap ass medication don’t work, that is why ppl dropping down ⚰dead, you refused to pay tax refund to poor ppl, that need it, have them committing suicide, never saw a ppl so hopeless yet, the youth killing each other, the men have been emasculated, now begging and lining up for food, no jobs , ppl cannot elevate themselves, can’t understand how someone can have such an impressive background and empty, the loans you borrow is for you, you fixed the roads in the North, and caused flooding, how, your contacts are just like you all for self, not country, ppl borrow to build, to improve you borrow to pay friends, friends that don’t have your back, because you betrayed every body, how you smile in ppls faces and then stab them in the back, is a special skill, bajans trusted you, and you took them for a ride, imagine bajans have come to the point of thinking of killing themselves and children👶👧👦, instead of finding out the problem she is given the mental hospital number, that is how caring you and your yard fowls are, bajans deserve all you give them, because they are dotish, when you have a donkey, yuh does ride um, but karma/ nemesis have your number,

  4. Ironically, what is outlined in the above post, was equally applicable to the previous administration.

    And, the same yard-fowls who are now pretending to sympathise with poor people, were the same yard-fowls who were too busy defending, protecting and encouraging their political party, to take notice of poor people’s plight.

    The poor are just pawns in yard-fowls’ ‘political games,’ only to be suddenly remembered when their ‘party ain’t in power.’

  5. Well the natives eyes are awakened
    Barbados have a govt boasting about billions in reserves
    A govt eager and ready to buy back school supplies inventory from big business
    A govt allowing big Cruise to damage the coral reefs and asked nothing for repayment
    A society drowning in poverty and a govt telling the most vulnerable to await a committee approval before help can be giving
    Mia cares

  6. Saying “the natives eyes are awakened” gives one the impression they only woke up recently, after being asleep for a long time.

    But, the evidence suggests otherwise. The fact that under similar economic conditions, they voted against the previous DLP administration…… 30-0…… not once, but twice…… clearly indicates “the natives eyes (WERE ALREADY) awakened.”

    The resident yard-fowls are now conveniently remembering and showing sympathy for the same poor people they PURPOSELY ignored prior to May 24, 2018.

    How could anyone FORGET the previous DLP administration’s TREATMENT of retrenched former Transport Board employee LISA MARSHALL.
    DLP operatives LEAKED correspondence from her PERSONAL FILE to BU, insinuating she STOLE money from TB, simply because she was interviewed by the media and talked about how she and other former employees were given the ‘run around’ relative to the payments of their severance.
    The yard-fowls came to BU to CUSS Lisa for what they believed was embarrassing the DLP in public, and, in the absence of evidence, call her a THIEF.

    The resident yard-fowls conveniently ignored the cries of those poor retrenched former Beautify Barbados employees who had to wait over THREE (3) YEARS before being paid severance.
    They were too BUSY on BU ‘talking’ about ‘putting self before country,’ ‘team Barbados,’ ‘wrapping yourself in the flag,” and ‘the worse recession in 100 years’…… while trying to convince whomsoever they could, that poor were NOT “drowning in poverty.”

    This current BLP administration should be AWARE that a SIMILAR FATE awaits them as well.

  7. The Voice of the people being heard loud and clear across social media platforms



  8. Two nations under the spell of a groove: Persaud and Mia; the Guptas and Zuma. Barbados and South Africa are joined at the hips.

  9. The heat is one the complains brings reality to Barbados front door
    People patience is running our can only tolerate so much
    Dr. Greenidge belly full so his concerns about the people suffering is not his concern


    All MAM did for COVID-19🦠😷, is get funds, and renovated HP, thousands caught COVID, isolated 😫😢 and recover, the most old ppl and sickly ⚰, MAM, even infected the country, as she never closed the borders, and the biggest cluster, was after her election🗳️ concert , so have a seat,

    • Thanks Amit.

      We can agree there needs to be greater transparency about how the pricing mechanism works. Also how tax revenue flow work.

  10. You know you hAve a bias, but you want to be open minded so you remain silent. Events then align with your suspicion. If you are suing Ronnie Obama, then don’t hire ac as your lawyer ….
    From BT
    “Coroner Graveney Bannister adjourned the matter until that date after it was revealed that Ezra Alleyne, who was assisting DePeiza in the case, had been hospitalised over the weekend.

    Queen’s Counsel Sir Elliot Mottley, who is representing the Mottley family, told the court it “was unlikely” Alleyne would be playing any further part in the matter.”

    When you have different strokes for different folks….
    From BT
    “Sir Elliot, the deceased’s father, said he would also like to challenge the claim that the QEH ambulance does not normally transport patients from private institutions to the hospital.”

  11. Queen’s Counsel Sir Elliot Mottley, who is representing the Mottley family, told the court it “was unlikely” Alleyne would be playing any further part in the matter.”

    I saw that and wondered why Ezra’s co counsel didn’t inform the Court as is customary but as I observed sometime ago Ezra has been bought and sold.

  12. I too would like to know if ” the QEH ambulance does not normally transport patients from private institutions to the hospital.”

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