Friday, July 20, 2007

Growth versus development

Two sayings that apply to Jamaica are 'If you don't know where you are going then any road will take you there' and 'If you do the same thing every day then you will always get the same results'.

Quite frankly, if you do not have an objective in mind and just keep going with the wind, then you don't have to know which road to take, and if you are happy with the results you are getting then there is no need to change your actions. If, however, as in Jamaica's case, you want to get to developed country status in 25 to 30 years, then it is necessary that you 'change course'. No pun intended.

Another question the young people are asking though is who is going to change the course, as illustrated by their dissatisfaction with both political parties not focusing on issues, but carrying on the same politics we developed in the dark ages of the 1938 riots.

Same cry
Is it any wonder then that if we continue to practise the same politics that we have always done, we will get nothing more than the same political campaigns and promises that are never usually fulfilled? But as I said to someone recently 'a promise is a comfort to a fool', and no doubt we have been repeat fools for believing the same promises every five or so years. But such is the literacy level of Jamaicans that we continue to be impressed by whoever speaks or looks good and then bawl out about hard times for the ensuing five years until 'feel good' time comes around again, and like fish to bait we are sucked in once again.

The so-called intelligentsia amongst us are not excepted, as their strategies for Jamaica's success flutter like a weathervane with the direction of the wind. One day they profess that Strategy A will work and when it does not, 'no problem', we just shift to Strategy B. In the meantime, of course, Jamaicans have gone deeper into debt and the masses continue to be content with the illiteracy into which they have been from the days of slavery until now.

This sort of behaviour is to be expected from those who have not had the benefit of a proper education, but when I hear people continually professing economic growth as the messiah for the Jamaican economy, year after year, I wonder if we have really grasped the problem Jamaica faces. And even though economic growth should not be difficult to achieve, it continues to elude us.

My point though is that growth is not necessarily the same thing as development, which is what Jamaica needs. It logically follows, by definition, that if we are to achieve developed country status then what is needed is development. Economic development is not the same as economic growth, and it seems to me that one of the issues we have is that we have always been satisfied with growth, when growth can be destructive to the economy. Although, if targeted properly, it can lead to development.

I say this because GDP growth focuses not on development, but rather just measuring the value of the domestically produced services and goods in an economy and comparing it against a previous period. So if last year the constant value of all goods and services produced was $100 and this year it is $102, then we have 2 per cent growth. On the face of it, this looks fine until we dig into the numbers. When we look at the January to March 2007 quarter we see that GDP grew by two per cent. Construction and installation grew by a whopping 7 per cent, Electricity and Water by 4.7 per cent, and Real Estate and Business Services by 2.4 per cent. This sounds great, as it must mean that economic activity is taking place and things must be good. The truth is that we have always seen good growth in these areas.

Growth paradox
Why then, if we are showing growth, irrespective of how minute most of the times, are we still seeing a declining dollar, galloping debt, large fiscal deficits, inflation concerns sometimes, shortages in hospital inventories, frequent industrial unrest, and people not being able to afford hospital or school fees? Not to mention the frequent power cuts that disrupt our productive base. Isn't it supposed to be consistent with the concept of growth that instead of the challenges increasing each year, people should be seeing their lives improve?

The fact is that growth is not necessarily consistent with development. The areas of significant growth pointed out above are all areas of consumption that have a high import content. When you look at the same quarter numbers, you will see the sectors that have the best potential for exports - Agriculture grew at four per cent, but all the others had dismal performances - Mining and Quarrying at 0.8 pe rcent; Manufacturing at 0.2%; and Miscellaneous Service (includes Tourism) at -0.1 per cent. It is for this reason that while we have been boasting of increased exports, we are still seeing an increasing trade deficit, which is at the heart of wealth creation. In other words, this is the measure of how much Jamaica earns versus how much it spends and is the measure that affects devaluation.

So it seems that increasing exports is bad for us. The problem, of course, is that the infrastructural support for development is not there. If we want growth, we can easily achieve it by importing more than we did the year before and by borrowing money to increase salaries to increase spending power. We will not have development, but will have phenomenal growth.
It is apparent then that the emphasis must be on the things that lead to development, because if we put that infrastructure in place then development will happen. It is obvious that one of the reasons for our economic situation is because our focus has been wrong. Even after the 2.5 per cent growth we had last year, we still have a justice system that seems to wait until enough time has passed for the complainant to die or forget about the case before it comes to trial. We still have citizens complaining about police brutality with regularity. We still have a government bureaucracy that is hostile to businesses. We still have high levels of indiscipline on the roads. We still have high crime levels, including in schools. We still have roads that simulate earthquakes when one is driving.

If we are to achieve developed country status in 25 to 30 years then it is not only important that we grow at six or seven per cent, but we must address the institutions necessary for a developed society. We need an independent and corruption-free police force. We need an efficient justice system, including proper accommodations. We need to make quality education and health available to our citizens. We need to ensure that citizens' rights are protected. We need to grow local businesses instead of constantly looking for overseas investors. This is what development is about, not just increasing the value of goods or services, especially when the import content is so high.

These are the issues that persons want to hear about on the campaign trail. These issues are the ones to be discussed in the context of globalisation that will eventually leave us behind if we do not properly discuss and act. But if the objective is not about development, but just to increase the value of goods and services produced, then we are on the right track.


Jamaican Girl said...

DC, just saw your comment on a blog I totally forgot I had! I am sure by now you realise that I have my other blog at Wordpress that I work on daily, as you have "blogrolled" me. I encourage all well thinking Jamaicans to read your articles weekly. In fact I look forward to reading the blog more than the Gleaner (you write in the Gleaner right?) I will continue to blogroll you and post your article links. You always say the right things...the things I would like to say but too hot-tempered to be so calm and rational:) Take care and keep on blogging! I am actually a postgraduate student at UWI doing my MSc in Sociology of let me tell you off the bat...I don't beleive in the "trickle down" theory which basically posits that once the economy grows then all is well....

Anonymous said...

Good writing as always Dennis. In my opinion, until Jamaicans comes to grips on how public policies affect their personal lives, they will continue to be fooled by the same promises every five years. The fact is that what is free is not always good for them. I like your explanation on the differnce between economic growth and development....indeed it is very accurate. Keep up the good works. Recently I have been asking myself, which political party in Jamaica represents conservative economic policies as there is no clear ideological difference between the PNP and JLP.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog as for me. I'd like to read something more about this matter. Thanks for giving this info.
Joan Stepsen
Cool geeks

Anonymous said...

Not bad article, but I really miss that you didn't express your opinion, but ok you just have different approach

niz said...

Hello .. firstly I would like to send greetings to all readers. After this, I recognize the content so interesting about this article. For me personally I liked all the information. I would like to know of cases like this more often. In my personal experience I might mention a book called Generic Viagra in this book that I mentioned have very interesting topics, and also you have much to do with the main theme of this article.

Anonymous said...

Hello to every one, the contents existing at this website are in fact amazing for people experience, well, keep up the good work fellows.

Also visit my weblog ... bmi calculator for men

Anonymous said...

It is the best time to make some plans for the longer term and it is time to be happy.
I have read this post and if I may just I wish to suggest you few fascinating things or suggestions.
Maybe you can write subsequent articles relating to
this article. I wish to read even more things about it!

My web-site - ideal waist to height Ratio

Anonymous said...

Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if
you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can
recommend? I get so much lately it's driving me mad so any assistance is very much appreciated.

Also visit my web blog: calories burned walking

Anonymous said...

I was able to find good info from your blog articles.

Here is my homepage :: ideal waist to height ratio

Anonymous said...

May I simply just say what a relief to uncover somebody who genuinely understands what they're discussing online. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you aren't more popular because you most
certainly have the gift.

Feel free to surf to my blog post - perfect waist to hip ratio

Anonymous said...

Thanks very interesting blog!

Here is my web-site: diet plans

Anonymous said...

Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as
long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog?

My blog is in the very same niche as yours and my users would truly
benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
Please let me know if this alright with you. Thank you!

Also visit my website ... Diets That Work

Anonymous said...

This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic.
You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa).
You certainly put a new spin on a subject that's been discussed for many years. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!

Look at my web site :: diet that works

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Its really amazing post, I have got much clear idea
regarding from this post.

My site :: what should i weigh for my height

Anonymous said...

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though
you relied on the video to make your point. You
clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your
intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

Here is my web-site - raspberry ketones

Anonymous said...

Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative.
I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if
you continue this in future. Numerous people will be
benefited from your writing. Cheers!

my blog: diet that works

Anonymous said...

bookmarked!!, I like your site!

My blog diets that work fast for women

Anonymous said...

Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice while
you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog website?
The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit
acquainted of this your broadcast provided
bright clear concept

Also visit my blog ... waist to height ratio chart

Anonymous said...

Yes! Finally something about elected.

My blog post - raspberry ketone diet

Anonymous said...

It's actually a nice and useful piece of info. I'm happy that you just shared
this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this.
Thank you for sharing.

Here is my web-site - weight loss calculator

Anonymous said...

Great blog here! Also your web site loads up very
fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

my web-site ... fastest way to lose weight

Anonymous said...

I am actually pleased to read this blog posts which includes tons of useful information, thanks for providing such data.

My homepage: healthy diet plans

Anonymous said...

Heya i'm for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

Here is my homepage :: healthy diet plans

Anonymous said...

A person necessarily lend a hand to make seriously articles I would state.
That is the first time I frequented your website page and so far?
I surprised with the research you made to make this particular submit incredible.
Magnificent job!

Look at my weblog: best diet plan

Anonymous said...

Greate pieces. Keep writing such kind of info on your page.
Im really impressed by your blog.
Hey there, You've performed a fantastic job. I'll certainly
digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I'm sure they'll be benefited from this website.

Here is my webpage: diet plan

Anonymous said...

naturally like your website however you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts.
Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I
find it very troublesome to inform the truth on the other hand I'll certainly come back again.

my web site: tips on how to lose Weight fast

Anonymous said...

Awesome post.

Also visit my website; what should i weigh for my height

Anonymous said...

Awesome post.

Look at my web page :: what should i weigh for my height

Anonymous said...

Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your website, how can i subscribe
for a blog website? The account helped me
a appropriate deal. I were tiny bit familiar of this your broadcast provided
brilliant clear concept

Here is my weblog: Buy Raspberry ketone Plus

Anonymous said...

Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to
and you are just too wonderful. I really like what you have acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way
in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it smart.
I can't wait to read much more from you. This is actually a tremendous web site.

My web-site ...

Anonymous said...

Hey there, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.

When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine
but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!

Other then that, very good blog!

Here is my web blog; diets that work for women

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics discussed here?
I'd really love to be a part of community where I can get advice from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Kudos!

Take a look at my web blog ... bmi calculator

Anonymous said...

Wow, this paragraph is good, my sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to inform her.

Review my web site bmi calculator for men

Anonymous said...

Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
The words in your post seem to be running off the screen in Internet
explorer. I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I'd post to
let you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon.

Stop by my homepage hip waist ratio

Anonymous said...

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site so i came to “return the favor”.
I am trying to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a few
of your ideas!!

Here is my page acai ultralean

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I'm inspired! Very helpful information specifically the final section :) I handle such information much. I used to be seeking this certain information for a very lengthy time. Thanks and best of luck.

My webpage:

Anonymous said...

I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is
written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble.
You're wonderful! Thanks!

Also visit my web-site Diet plans that Work

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to go to see this site and reading the views of all mates regarding this article, while I am also keen of getting know-how.

Also visit my blog post pure hcg

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article! This is the kind of information
that are meant to be shared across the web.

Shame on Google for now not positioning this put up higher!
Come on over and discuss with my site . Thank you =)

My webpage ::

Anonymous said...

I am genuinely thankful to the holder of this web page who has shared this wonderful piece of writing at here.

Feel free to surf to my webpage ... Raspberry Ketone Diet Reviews

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that's both equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head.
The issue is something which not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about.
I am very happy that I came across this during
my hunt for something concerning this.

Here is my homepage; saffron morrisville nc

Anonymous said...

Asking questions аre genuinеly pleasаnt thing іf yοu are nοt underѕtanding anything entirеlу, but thіs piece of ωrіtіng presеnts pleasant
understanding evеn.

Feel free to surf to my wеbsitе :
: hcg diet injections
my page: hcg diet news

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you actually realize what you're speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Please additionally discuss with my web site =). We may have a link change agreement between us

Here is my website ideal weight calculator

Anonymous said...

Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice even as you amend your site, how could i subscribe for
a blog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal.
I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast
provided brilliant clear idea

My web page ... how much should i weigh calculator

Anonymous said...

I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet visitors, its really really good
article on building up new weblog.

my webpage: acai ultra lean reviews

Anonymous said...

I would like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this site. I'm hoping to see the same
high-grade blog posts from you later on as well.
In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me
to get my very own site now ;)

Here is my webpage; Donna

Anonymous said...

There's certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I really like all the points you made.

Feel free to surf to my blog Lipo Slim

Anonymous said...

Yes! Finally someone writes about quick weight loss.

Also visit my web blog Green coffee weight loss :: ::

Anonymous said...

I always used to study post in news papers but now as I am a user of web so from now I am using net for content,
thanks to web.

Feel free to visit my homepage: raspberry ketones reviews

jeje said...

converse shoes
air max 95
yeezy boost 350
adidas nmd
nike air max 2016
jordan 6
yeezy boost
golden goose outlet
jordan shoes
kobe byrant shoes