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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Freedom of Nought

Its kind of ironic when you examine that the Caribbean which produces fluidity of movement and so many expressive individuals actually stamps down hard on free thinking. From economics, liberal thought, sexuality....you name it, conservatism reigns. And naturally there is a backlash. The overt and frankly hypocritical conservatism of our sexual landscape means that more people engage in experimenting with their sexuality than you can begin to imagine. Yes...even those people who pack the churches. In economics, its a hodge podge. Outside of Trinidad which is blessed with exploitable natural resource, the rest of the region has no defined productive economic approach. It is tourism, its offshore finance, its offshore ICT. We produce nothing, because we shot ourselves in the foot years ago by spitting in the face of Federation, even when Arthur Lewis provided a Nobel Prize backed economic approach model which he was willing to steward. All because a narrow group of people wanted to buy low and sell high across the region. And their political counterparts couldnt imagine devolving their power bases for a regional good. So here we are. Religious sexual freaks, capitalist socialists, and tourism depending foreigner skeptics. I am not sure what the way forward is, simply because wiser men than me have come and failed. But the answer surely has to lie in abandoning the ways that have gotten us into this mess, and not in rejecting free thinking.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Out of the box

The tourism direction Dominica is taking is extremely 'normal'.

Its also fighting an uphill battle which it shows little sign of winning. No doubt the reason is because tourism in itself is an extremely transient business, depending on a stability and income in a world when those two words are difficult to say in the same sentence.

I think we are at the stage where small countries like Dominica have to look towards getting people to move to the country, either as tax refugees from the first world, or as people looking for a superior quality of life. There is a greater economic theory surrounding this, but I'm not going to bore anyone who tries to read this.

Inward migration of economically self reliant citizens will aid in solving our biggest problem. A homogeneous and relatively closeted population with very little racial diversity.

All countries which develop do so because of an inward migration of intelligent people who have driven the development and economy of the recipient country. We have very little of this. It is the formula for innovation.

The problem is that both the current business community and the general political climate strongly protects the current status quo. And thats natural in some ways and counter productive in others. A new generation of 'citizens' with or without families, moving into Dominica, would radically 'up' both the income and IQ of the island.

As it is...unless we define a new taxation landscape and change an antiquated approach to inward migration (unbelievable but true), this country is going to continue to struggle to attract Foreign direct investment and ironically will struggle to protect its natural assets.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Discount

Since my return to the Caribbean I cant remember ever asking for a discount on anything. Sure, I will take a fair discount if offered but I usually believe that the price offered is the price the service or the product is being sold at. If I get it lower great, but I wont actively lobby for it. I wont go into a supermarket, look at an overpriced can of beans, and mentally calculate the margin from import (I worked in wholesale as my very first job after school). This is despite knowing its probably 3-400% margin on what its imported at. I am not obssessed with managing someone elses outcomes and risks.

Nope...I dont.

Yet, a supermarket man, an event owner, an insurance man, a telephone man, pretty much everyone who sells products and services they do not compromise cost on, and I never twist their arms on, see creative works as eminently negotiable and discountable. They will and have even approached employees behind the scenes to massage them to provide creative services at lower costs, of course directly.

As Daffy Duck would say its Deshpicable !

Its a common story whichever creative resources I speak to. The Caribbean has literally become a haven of intellectual theft. Barbados is one of the biggest leeching locations in the world, and countries like Dominica and Antigua routinely steal creative works, including music, photography and creative works, for reuse. Its an ideosyncracy which is odd when you consider the Caribbean has probably the greatest concentration of cultural and creative resources in the world.

A man will get 6 months in jail for stealing a bag of biscuits, but someone can take an ad, or a musical riff and reuse it without permission with a much greater 'theft' value and nothing is thought wrong. This is no watershed moment for me. The people who often decry the value of creative works usually cant do one even if you left them for a month with every possible tool and inspiration. And most people can upsell insurance and resell a can or beans or a bag of rice. I think we need to create a spoof campaign.