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AS I SEE THINGS: Changing attitudes to knowledge


Brian M. Francis, [email protected]

AS I SEE THINGS: Changing attitudes to knowledge

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There is absolutely no denying that we all live in a technological era where information on almost anything conceivable is available to each one of us in an instant with a simple click of a computer mouse. 

Hence, it would be reasonable to conclude that people, having easy and quick access to information via the World Wide Web, will be knowledgeable enough about certain matters so as to prevent being taken for a ride by those among us who think they have some kind of monopoly on facts.

Sadly, though, the reality is that many among us either choose to be uninformed about simple current events or do not care sufficiently to be in the know. Consequently, they allow others to influence them in ways that leave much to be desired. 

That is exactly how I feel every time and, definitely, with too regular frequency, when I have to excruciatingly listen to and read some of the idiocy on television, radio and newspapers emanating from a wide cross-section of perceptible gurus including politicians, businessmen, financial analysts and social commentators.

The truth is, I cannot be too bothered by what others have to say since we are all free to express ourselves in writing or orally on all matters of national concerns as long as we do not defame anyone. What worries me, though, is the fact that some among us simply accept everything they read or hear without undertaking any critical examination of all pertinent information, even in cases where an abundance of data exists that can easily shed light on the topics under discussions.

Whether, therefore, it is about the current state of, and prospects for, Caribbean economies; or the financial viability of the millions of dollars being spent by the Government of Barbados on the country’s 50th anniversary of political independence from Britain; or the sale of national passports to bring governments much needed current revenue to finance huge and rising public expenditures on education, social services and health care; or the relocation of what is deemed important national parks for recreation as is now hotly debated in Grenada; we as serious people must take time off to undertake sober reflections on all issues that affect our daily lives and use every bit of publicly available information to arrive at autonomous positions. Otherwise, we will, forever, remain hostages to those who wish to control how we ought to be thinking on all critical matters.

Going forward, then, each time we listen to our governments’ presentations of annual budgets, we should gather as much information as possible that would allow us to critique the presentations on the basis of facts. 

On every occasion that we read reports from the Caribbean Development Bank, the World Bank, the Inter American Development Bank, or the International Monetary Fund on the current state of economic affairs in our countries, we should allow our creative minds to switch mode and immediately question everything in those reports that seems to contradict our understanding of the economic realities facing Caribbean countries.

In a nutshell, unless we change our attitudes to knowledge, we will continue to fall victims to all sorts of perspectives, irrespective of how baseless they really are. 

The moral of this week’s contribution, therefore, is that we all need to wise up and do so quickly before it becomes too late and we forever remain the victims of our own lack of interest in knowing better!

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