Recession demands major changes
Barbados is at a stage where it can no longer depend on traditional areas for its growth and development.
This assessment came from Dr Don Marshall, lecturer and deputy dean in the Department of Management Studies at the UWI Cave Hill. He was speaking at the opening of a Job Opportunities for Business Start-up (JOBS) faculty symposium at the Cave Hill School of Business last Wednesday. The theme was Fostering Innovation And The Entrepreneurial Mindset.
Marshall said the traditional areas of tourism, international business and the financial services sector were not enough to aid in the growth and development of the economy, adding that careful attention should be given to expanding production.
“As we stand right now we are at the threshold of something new,”?he said. “You can call it crisis or opportunity. But we have come to a point where our development paradigm that rested heavily on discretionary spend of North Americans and western Europeans is facing its deepest and severest crisis.
“The impact of that great recession on countries like ours is witnessed by the narrowing of the productive base in our economies, by the drying up of our foreign exchange earning capacities, and by the high cost of social reproduction of our sales in our various classes of groups.
“It is also witnessed in the way in which we do development in these parts. We rely heavily on tourism [and] international business,” Marshall said.
The academic assessed that economies of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean had “long been rooted in import trading, insurance, banking, commercial agriculture and international business”.
However, he said the advent of the recession required a major change.
“In the meltdown, one by one each country has had to face up to the nature and orientation of its development policy, of the kind of entrepreneurship that it needs to incentivize and the need to relook patterns of accumulation . . . . and so we have to address our narrowing productivity base,” Marshall added. (MM)