Western meritocracy on the face of it is underpinned by a system in which the talented persons are chosen on merit and they move ahead on the basis of their abilities and achievements.
Don’t believe the hype, in the West as in the Caribbean the dice is loaded in favour of class, political affiliations, race and gender. However, at least in the West there is an attempt to obscure these factors in the selection of their leaders.
And whatever we think of George W. Bush, sound intellectual ability and grasp of facts tends to be a basic requirement of leaders in Western democracies.
Does this reflect Caribbean life as we know it?
Well despite the pool of educated and qualified people available to Caribbean Governments, nepotism reigns supreme in most Caribbean states. There is also an inexplicable winnowing at the early retirement age of 55 which causes an insensitive butchering of highly experienced staff, which are replaced by a new generation doomed to go through the entire learning process without the benefit of their predecessor’s guidance.
This is made worse by the greed of the wealthy classes and their indiscrete desire to populate every part of the political and economic system with their progeny.
Added to this are the open jaws of greedy mongrels that prey on good and honest natured Caribbean people through so called investors; allowing them easy access to their homelands’ assets at a knock-down price.
What can be learned from our Western cousins?
England and the America with whom we share extensive links constantly complain that the gap between rich and poor keeps getting wider, yet do little to stop it. In the past 30 years figures show that 1% of the UK’s population got richer by an increase in wages of 150%.
In America if you are born poor, statistics show you are likely to remain poor. Economists have coined the term ‘the rent seekers’, which means bankers, lawyers, financiers and accountants are allowed to run rampant taking money from the bottom to feed their lifestyles at the top. Sounds familiar?
Mother England taught us well!
There is no rocket science involved in the success of Asian countries. Both China and India decided to enforce stringent policies on transnational corporations that protect their interests.
Corporations wishing to invest in these countries were required to leave behind up to date technology that enabled them to become self sufficient.
It was Richard Smalley a renowned American chemist, nanotechnologist and Nobel laureate who said “by the year 2010 90% of PhD students will be of Asian descent”.
Of course with 20% of the world population being Chinese they have a distinct advantage in the intellectual arms race. So we see the Chinese planning landings on the moon and India sending space probes.
Asians are working on a 20-30 years planning cycle compared with the 5 year plans Caribbean Governments are satisfied to work with. They are copying the functional parts of Western civilisation, whereas the Caribbean is indiscriminate in embracing the sublime and the ridiculous in equal measure.
These countries have no fear implementing rules to protect their sovereignty whereas Caribbean states remain eager to tell the world how few regulations they have to prevent carpetbaggers raping their resources.
Perhaps this explains the steady and consistent rise of Asian economies whilst the pillars holding up the West are beginning to crumble.
In life it is naturally expected that some people will become more successful than others, but should it always be by virtue of exploitation? The creed of ‘greed is good’ has run rampant through the Caribbean to an extent where people hungry for selfish financial rewards outweigh those with a desire to perform an honest day’s work for a fair day’s pay.
Greece shows us that retiring our heavily qualified and experienced persons too early, is madness. On top of that, blocking those with international experience in the Diaspora from returning to their country of birth; denying them opportunities at home is a policy constructed in the backroom of a tropical crazy-house.