Jamaica’s Elite Flawed Argument For JEEP:


 A quick observation of  an expansive Article in the Sunday Gleaner of January 29th 2012 authored by veteran Journalist Ian Boyne titled :JEEP: NO LAUGHING MATTER. (jamaicagleaner.com)

Ian Boyne has long carried the stigma of having sympathy for the Jamaica Labor Party, of course it is certainly within Mr Boyne’s right to articulate a point of view irrespective of the opinions of those who disagree with him. However reading the text and coming to grips with the tone of his rather lengthy thesis, one wonders if this piece was not an attempt by Boyne to get back to left of center or in simple language an attempt to curry favor with the ruling party.

 Ian Boyne
In his Article Boyne said quote:The ILO’s particular concern is that despite large stimulus packages, these measures have not managed to roll back the 27-million increase in unemployed since the initial impact of the crisis. Clearly, the policy measures have not been well targeted. Indeed, estimates for advanced economies regarding different labour-market instruments show that both active and passive labour-market policies have proven very effective in stimulating job creation and supporting incomes.
Where does this 27 million number come from? Boyne despite his lengthy epistle failed to strike a coherent line that the average reader can attach himself to, is this a world-wide number? And if it is, how does the International labor Organization come up with this figure, when there are actually 10’s of millions of people all over the world whom are unemployed, underemployed and in some cases unemployable? That aside though, Boyne went on to talk about people who argue for a market driven economy in disparaging terms using slangs like ” neoliberal” to describe the Jamaica Labor Party platform of a market driven, market necessary, economic model that must be at the center of  growth and developement. Accusing a conservative party like the JLP of having what he characterizes as neoliberal suggests that Boyne just acquired that terminology into his vocabulary and is not yet sure what it mean, it is actually an oxymoron .

 It does not take this entire boring thesis to say so very little . What are you doing talking about neoliberal perspective in the same sentence with the JLP? The JLP has never been a liberal party and still isn’t, what country are you living in? And while we are on that subject, the policies Boyne are espousing and lauding, giving credit to the PNP, was recently revealed to be the brain-child of the JLP.

 Austerity as we have seen in countries like Greece Italy and others is exactly the wrong way to go . whenever Government pulls back on expenditure so does the economy , if the economy constricts there are less job creation that is economics one-o- one. I am unaware of the origins of these voodoo economic arguments , of course the market place is exactly the correct creator of jobs and not government, how are government jobs sustainable if they are not backed by a solid and vibrant private sector which is the real engine of income generation? Market economy requires discipline and dedication ,it will not happen overnight, but when it does it  does launch disciplined countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and others to include Brazil into prosperity. Many nations like China and others are now shifting away from the failed socialist big government policies that have kept their populations impoverished for generations. Yet his doctoral thesis seem to be suggesting that cheap government handouts camouflaged as jobs, which by the way are going to be paid for with borrowed money, is somehow a net positive for Jamaica. I am sorry  but if that is the general mindset, and it might be, based on the results of the last elections,then God help Jamaica.   I cannot believe anyone would quote bodies like the ILO as credible organizations on job creation and sustainable growth . Boyne’s article is about three decades late .

Boyne seem to believe that the economic boom that China and Brazil has experienced was as a result of rigid Governmental control and administration over their economies. The opposite is true, relinquishing Government death-grip on economic activity was exactly what large populations like the aforementioned two had to do to start seeing economic growth and yes an explosion in employment through globalization.

For the record ,there is no evidence that these economies are flourishing because of government, in fact there is factual evidence that because companies can do business with these countries, taking advantage of cheaper labor and less bureaucracy, their economies have been significantly helped.

The need to put idle hands to work cannot be over-emphasized, it is rather important that we find work for our youths. People must have hope, young people graduating from schools must have something to look forward to, I am in agreement with Boyne on that, but  Boyne is wrong in believing that the country can afford to throw borrowed money away on work that bear no fruits and offers no positive return. Boyne had this to say :

FDR created the Civil Works Administration (CWA) in November 1933 as the US headed into its fifth depression winter. CWA did not offer tax breaks. Unemployed people were put to work. In a fascinating article in the December issue of Harper’s magazine (‘More government, please!’), Thomas Frank says CWA “did not wait for grand projects to be fleshed out: It simply sent people into the nation’s public spaces to rake leaves, shovel snow, fix roads, dig ditches and so on. The programme’s administrator, Roosevelt confidant Harry Hopkins, had famously spent more than US$5 million in his first two hours as a federal official. At the CWA, he found jobs for four million people in two months.”

News Flash Mister Boyne, America did not borrow that money it paid out to its people, secondly America is one of a few countries which can print money and to some degree hold inflation down because of its ability to create goods and services for others to consume. Secondly monies spent by Franklin Delano Roosevelt was spent on maintaining existing infrastructure and building others. What JEEP proposes to do is to siphon off borrowed money designated for infrastructural developement to unsustainable crash-programme handouts by politicians.

Havent we been down this road before? Haven’t we seen these policies before? Have they made Jamaica better? Yet in the next sentence Boyne turned right around and said this:

It is true that emergency public works programmes are just that – emergency, unsustainable work. But no one can accurately estimate the benefits of finding work, for even a short period, for some idle hands – for whom the Devil can find lots of work.

Clearly Boyne misses his own point, on the one hand he seem to understand the simple concept, that crash-programme work is unsustainable, and costly , yet on the other he espouses it arguing the negative, that no one can accurately estimate the benefits of finding work for idle hand if only for a short time, whilst in the same breath making the case for what he himself said, quote: (“no one can accurately estimate“).

These are the same tired old arguments which have been used time and again by elitist  lazy socialists who want nothing but scraps to fall from the table of the rich to the floor so that the underclass may fight over them. They continue to argue for the most labor intensive of employment even as the industrial age has passed and we are in a completely immersed in a digital age. So Boyne and the proponents of crash programme argues for temporary de-bushing of gullies while the people who do the work floss with their iPhone’s. The proponents of crash programme work fail to come to terms with the stark facts in our country. Jamaicans have more cell phones and other tech-gismos than most people in industrialized developed countries, where do they get the money to purchase these devices, does anyone seriously believe giving borrowed money to political hacks will solve our problems,? If they want to make a difference with borrowed money how about spending it on skills training? That way the country may see some returns on it’s investments. Jamaicans continue to pretend that our country is marching toward  first world status when the reverse is true, we are trying to build a 21st century country on a 20th century economy. The Soviets tried building a 20th century military on a 19th century infrastructure, history is replete with instances like these . The definition of a fool is someone who does the same thing and expects a different result.

Sorry Ian Boyne you do make sense on occasion, this is not one of those occasions.

Those who support (JEEP) are simply trying to relieve their conciences of the guilt they feel at  seeing the poorest of our people struggle to survive, unable to provide for their families through the dignity of work. That is a tragedy, I’m just not sure if relieving one’s conscience will be enough to compensate for the cries of the poor this time around.