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Simple but not simplistic


GRENVILLE PHILLIPS II

Simple but not simplistic

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BOTH ESTABLISHED PARTIES and almost all local and foreign-based economists are warning Barbadians to brace for severe austerity measures.

Some prominent economists are even calling for a devaluation of the dollar as a way to address our dire economic problems.

Surprisingly, none of these entities is being challenged to provide a plan showing how or when their austerity recommendations will end.

Instead, Barbadians are essentially being told to just shut up and prepare to get used to their austerity plans.

Solutions Barbados has published the only non-austerity plan for Barbados’ economy, and it has undergone about two years of rigorous public scrutiny. The plan has received overwhelmingly favourable responses.

Therefore, it is highly irresponsible for people to be advocating austerity, and it is reckless for some to be recommending something as radical as devaluation, without them first discussing the only published non-austerity option on the proverbial table.

Why won’t they discuss our published non-austerity solutions? I understand why the political parties won’t discuss them, because they have their own political agendas. However, why won’t members of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) discuss them?

This group will be most impacted by our plans, yet we were told that since we were not yet elected, we could not be allowed to share our plans with BCCI members.

That decision is regrettable. However, it is near lunacy for them to then join with the Barbados Private Sector Association and recommend austerity for the rest of us. Why are these, and other private sector groups, so eager to push austerity, rather than to discuss our non-austerity plan? It makes no rational sense. What could they possibly be afraid of?

For the past two years, we have encouraged discussion, even criticism, of our policy solutions in order that they may be improved. However, we have found that a specific set of people “run away” from discussion, and flippantly dismiss our solutions as too simple in order to stifle discussion. Let me confirm that all of our solutions were consciously designed to be as simple as possible – but not simplistic.

When approaching a problem, the first step is to design a solution that works. This initial effective solution is normally complex. The problem with complex solutions is that they are normally implemented poorly, because they are too complex for those responsible for their implementation.

Analysts of Barbados Government operations generally conclude that our principal problem is one of implementation. What do we expect if we persist in giving our public workers unnecessarily complex plans to implement?

Why would anyone design a highly complex plan when a simpler one would be more effective, more economical to implement, and less of a tax burden on Barbadians? Why indeed.

– GRENVILLE PHILLIPS II

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