Friday Comment: A Perpetual Recession

The Caribbean Is One Nation.

                                                                    Friday Comment: A Perpetual Recession




Fidel Castro understood our historical realities
We ask ourselves today: What really is a recession? As regional leaders continue to grapple with high unemployment , widening deficits and scarce foreign exchange, we are forced to conclude, that our region has not yet been successful in overcoming the great recession, we encountered after slavery was abolished and the one that continued as we won adult suffrage and  eventually independence and nationhood in the 60’s.
It is therefore quite fair to conclude that economies built exclusively on slave labor cannot escape recessions or economic doldrums, once the slave labor is removed. We talk about the glory days of sugar, when it earned foreign exchange. The second question is: Foreign exchange for whom and whose economies? Certainly, if the earnings from sugar were ploughed back into our economies, great empires would have emerged.  It is quite nostalgic to talk about the good old days but it appears that the good old days served cake to one group and crumbs to another.
How come the sugar that built wealthy empires for the Mother countries has now become a dangerous albatross around our necks? The reason is clear- once labor is included in the costs; the Mighty Sugar began to yield smaller economic gains. And this is the problem that regional governments have been faced with since the 60’s. In a catch 22 position, we had no choice because the colonial masters knew that economic slavery minus the beatings and depravity they once inflicted, would lead to stagnant economies. The reason why Comrade Fidel Castro was successful in making sugar the pillar of Cuba’s economic management was because he removed its profits from the hands of a few.
Throughout the rest of the region, governments used the sugar industry as an employment tool while continuing to distribute the real earnings to a selected few. Pontificating that we removed the masters with flags and national anthems was taken as synonymous with removing their wealth. Not true. It never happened.
Unless we accept the fact of this harsh reality and have a very enlightened connection with the truth, we would continue the vicious perpetual poverty that characterizes the region. It should now be crystal clear that reformed economies cannot be successfully built on the foundations left by slavery and colonialism. Call us jokers or dreamers and if you doubt us, have a chat with Comrade Castro! He knew it was impossible to redistribute wealth if it is left in the hands of those who had owned it in the first place. In order to change any economic system, one must first seek to change the society itself. While many will argue that he did not create any utopia, at least it cannot be argued that he was ignorant of our historical realities. And for that esteemed credit must be given.

We therefore conclude that our region has been in recession for centuries because even when the so-called economists were boasting about real growth ,the poor were in a perpetual recession ,and so they remain after 50 years of flags and anthems.
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