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Showing posts from June, 2012

Preparing for the Coming Storm

It is all too easy to get caught up in what is happening in our relatively small economy and forget the bigger context.  By bigger context I mean the global economy which is still relatively unhealthy.  Mid June saw a G20 summit in Las Cabos in Mexico to discuss the uncertain fate of Europe and the global economy.   Away from the cameras and behind the scenes, it must have been an incredibly tense conference with a fair bit of finger pointing.
I read that the European President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters that ‘This crisis did not originate in Europe…this crisis originated in America”.  It is hard to forget where each of us was back in 2008 when the news channels were spewing out back to back horror stories which appear to have started with the U.S. subprime crisis.  Reports have suggested that the United States came under considerable pressure in Los Cabos to provide reassurance about impending economic uncertainties.  The U.S. is facing the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts,…

Shifting Political Culture

So I am writing this just after reading of the MSJ’s “predictable but timely departure” from a coalition government that describes itself as a “more transparent and accountable Government than any other before” it.  I confess to being one who is slow when it comes to bashing leaders.  Rather, I continue to advocate bottom up development, and the need for a consciousness shift by ordinary people as a precondition to any change in the quality of the leadership.  In addition, I also see serious value to understanding the socio-economic challenges taking place in other democracies and the extent to which they are similar to those in the Caribbean. 
All too often, politics is treated with almost religious fervour and we are unable to dispassionately discuss the issues and get caught up in personalities.  Some bizarrely expect that allegiance to a political party be as unconditional and as fervent as one’s allegiance to a religion of choice.  Looking at the mood of democracies across the wor…

Fixing the System

Last week I suggested that it is exceedingly difficult to understand economics without understanding politics.  Of course, the inverse also holds true.  Regardless, there is a growing chorus of voices critical of the existing social / economic / political system as having failed to ensure a sensible, just and sustainable distribution of global resources.  I firmly believe that the focus should be on awakening the people as opposed to blaming the leaders.  Please allow me to share two quotes with you.
The first quote is from the Scottish lawyer, Alexander Fraser Tytler, and his 1801 collection of lectures.  He says that “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury.  From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, a…

Throne Games

I am writing this the weekend of the Queen’s Diamond Jubliee.  As she celebrates the 60th year of her reign, Queen Victoria is now the second longest serving monarch after Victoria who served for 63 years.  There is definitely an air of excitement, if not patriotism.  This positive energy is most welcome on the back of less than positive news as some are predicting that economic turmoil in the UK, in the Euro-zone and in the United States will only worsen.
Allow me to summarise the scene as I see it. Here in the UK, devolution to Scotland, Wales and the English regions is very much on the political agenda.  In the U.S., the UK and on the continent, nearly every major government has been thrown out by unhappy voters in the last four years.  The latest is of course France.  Trying to explain it as left versus right seems to be inadequate.  The only major leader to have been re-elected since 2008 is Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, but it is hard to ignore the gains made by the oppos…