Thursday, November 16, 2006

Making Jamaica a Developed Country

Was reading today's editorial in the Observer and the head of the Planning Institute has apparently said that there is no reason why Jamaica cannot be a first world counttry by 2035.

He's right. All the ingredients are there. For such a small country it should be doing fantastically well. Just today me and His Royal Highness were watching the latest episode of Stargate SG1 and there they were, the 2 major characters, kicking back in a scene with a bottle of Red Stripe each big and bold in the shot. And in another shot after that.

There are plenty of reasons for Jamaicans to be proud of their intelligence, hardworking nature and innovation.

Yet how is it that with all of these qualities the country is in the state it is?

Two words for you.

Discipline and order. Or rather indiscipline and chaos.

Talent and innovation are fine, but if they are not channeled and if they exist in a country where chaos and inneficiencies reign supreme because of indiscipline, then you will fail, time and time again.

I have often expounded at great lenght about the problems in the UK but one of the things contributing to prosperity here is that there is order in many things and by extension efficiency. If you cannot rely on things happening on time for instance there are repercussions for planning and execution especially for businesses.

Also, you can't propser in a climate of so much rampant crime.

Jamaica should be a first world country already but it isn't. And it won't if certain cultural norms persist.

Those qualities and habits Jamaicans exhibit when they go to foreign, like being on time, going to work regardless of the weather, forward planning and abiding by the law (for the most part) among other things need to pertain back home. Otherwise nothing will change.

Also there needs to be some sort of conscious effort to have a social contract whereby self destructive behaviour isn't systematically indulged in, like mashing up the already shaky infrastructure to make a political point. Trust me, the wealty politicians won't suffer if you block the road, mash things up and prevent people from conducting business, but the poor people in that very community will. Better ways of dealing with problems need to be adopted and gains and consolidations made on the talent that exists. And most importantly, people need to vote strategically for the betterment of the country, not for partisan interests.

Time for the mashing up to end man.

Many may say that living abroad is a cop out, but in all seriousness, from where I sit coming back now isn't attractive - unpatriotic though that may sound. One conclusion I came to just before I decided to leave was that it didn't seem like Jamaicans want to live in a disciplined and ordered society so I felt I was just in the wrong place and needed to flash to somewhere where the cultural norm was more conducive to order and efficiency. And I was largely right. But that doesn't mean it can't change. But people have to want it to change.

Prosperity can only come for all if things do change and the type of change I'm talking about isn't easy. Wonder when the penny will drop or will it go on and on until all the good people have either migrated or been murdered?


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