Month: November 2017

The Way of the One Trough

History can be studied from an infinite number of perspectives, and no historian can study them all.  I study history from several different perspectives, one being seeking patterns among nations.  There seems to be a model that former colonies do not appear to deviate from once they have been granted independence.  It currently comprises seven phases.

Phase 1 is the period of competitive elections, where politicians tend to compete by enticing voters with promises of free government services.  Two dominant political parties typically emerge, each with its own philosophy of financing the country’s development.  Typical financing methods include: taxation, borrowing, nationalising productive industries, or combinations of these.

Since politicians rarely have any relevant management experience, the country soon finds itself in debt.  Once the debts exceed a maximum limit (40% of GDP), the debt becomes unsustainable.

Phase 2 is the period of the debt spiral.  An economy in a debt spiral cannot recover unless the established political parties drastically change their development philosophies.   However neither of them do and the debt accumulates until the country is on the brink of economic ruin.

Phase 3 is the period of the final election.  Normally, the party who promised to place the country more in debt wins the elections.  However, there comes an election when both established parties are fully aware that they cannot keep their election promises.  But they make them anyway, since that is the only way that they know how to compete.  Thus, they guarantee the economic ruin of the country.

Phase 4 is the period of military intervention.  With a ruined economy, severe austerity and poverty becomes the people’s daily experience.  Social unrest follows and it is directed towards the politicians.  The people realise too late that the politicians have economically ruined a once prosperous country with reckless promises and corrupt practises.  Concerned for their safety, the politicians seek protection from the military.

Phase 5 is the period of military take-over.  With limited revenues, the government is unable to pay public workers, and the military starts to manage an increasing number of government services.  Eventually, the military leadership grows tired of sharing power with the incompetent and corrupt civilian leadership, stages a coup and takes over.

Phase 6 is the period of military control.  The military leadership have no experience in managing productive sectors of the economy, and are shunned by the international community.  So they tend to develop alliances with ruthless dictators who teach them how to maintain control by intimidating citizens.

Outspoken speakers, writers and singers are persecuted.  However, soon the paranoid leaders resort to the torture and murder of anyone suspected of being a threat to their rule.  Needless to say, all women, except the very young and the very old, become targets of rape.

Phase 7 is the period of tolerated deception.  After looting all that can be looted from the country, the military appears to submit to international pressure and agrees to hold a general election in order to select a civilian government.  The military leader resigns, leads a political party and wins the general election, thus maintaining control.

Every former colony that became independent after World War 2 can find itself in one of the periods; although, surrendering a country to the IMF can prolong Phase 4.  Barbados is currently in Phase 3.  However, we have a unique opportunity to create an entirely new path.

By electing any established party, we would have selected the way of the one trough.  It will be a Barbados where the political trough is the only one that will be filled.  Politically favoured individuals will be allowed near the trough where they can only hope for spillage when the politicians feed.  The rest of us can only hope that those near the trough will be kind.

In a Solutions Barbados administration, there will be no political trough.  The rain will fall on all of us, and we will each contribute a small portion (10%) to look after our most vulnerable.

Choosing the Right Boyfriend

As we approach the inevitable General Election, voters have a most important decision to make.  Who will they select to manage their affairs for the next 5 years?  During this time, political parties will try to entice voters to vote for them.

There are currently 3 political parties with over 20 Candidates.  The Democratic Labour Party (DLP), the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), and Solutions Barbados (SB).  The BLP and DLP are skilled at wooing voters, who, for this article shall be called Lady Barbados.  They are the equivalent of boyfriends whom she has had in the past.  Solutions Barbados is a new suitor.  How can he convince Lady Barbados that he truly cares for her?

Her experience with Boyfriend DLP has not been exciting.  He goes out with her but insists that she pay for everything.  The items are not the most expensive, so she pays for them.  He has made it clear that if she selects him as her boyfriend, he will never pay for anything.  She will always have to pay for herself, him and his friends, because he does not work.

Her experience with Boyfriend BLP is a lot more exciting.  He takes her on expensive trips and lavishes her with expensive gifts.  She feels so lucky to have him.  Then he presents her with a bill for all of the items.  She is shocked to learn that he had added her name to his credit card making her responsible for all of his purchases.  He tells her that she must pay the entire debt.  He also makes it clear that if she selects him, he will keep her in unsustainable debt by doing the same thing – but she will enjoy the gifts.

Lady Barbados is so disappointed and hurt by the actions of present Boyfriend DLP that she is considering returning to Boyfriend BLP.  Then she meets Solutions Barbados and he immediately shows her how she can pay off her debts without much difficulty.  He also works with her to start a new business and generate another revenue stream.  He then helps her renegotiate her employment contract with her employer to protect her future earnings.

Solutions Barbados knows that she has been hurt by previous boyfriends, and is attentive to the cautious manner that she now approaches monetary issues.  So he prepares detailed financial plans for their future together and encourages her to get professional analysts to examine them and advise her accordingly.  He does this because he truly cares or her.

Lady Barbados considers her options and realizes that she no longer remembers the harm done to her by Boyfriend BLP – time has healed the wounds.  Now, she only remembers the expensive trips and gifts, and longs for that experience after being burdened so long with cheap and lazy Boyfriend DLP.

Solutions Barbados tries to warn her about the previous irresponsible ways and reckless debt promises of Boyfriend BLP.  However, she gets angry.  Why must I talk negatively about Boyfriend BLP?  Why can’t I just woo her without spoiling her dreams of an expensive lifestyle – the fine wines, tender sirloin, exquisite deserts, expensive jewellery, and Paris by night?

I try to convince her that our planned future will allow her to purchase any of those things herself.  But I am losing her.  I try to bring her back to reality, but she is lost in her dream world.

She is certain that no-good Boyfriend DLP has to go.  But the recollection of the good times overpowers her.  She can smell the food, taste the wine, and feel the excitement of opening a present that she knows will be wonderfully delightful – oblivious to the fact that she will be forced to pay for it all.  If she makes the tragic decision to return to Boyfriend BLP, she will never know the stable future that she just, in a moment, gave up.

Choose wisely Lady Barbados.