Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.







**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Link(?) Between Garbage and Economic Prosperity

Fellow blogger, and soon to be MBA graduate, Amit Uttamchandani, has had enough of how Bajans treat their environment, so he's written about it in the letter below. It's very pointed and for many of us who live in Barbados, very familiar. Many would say to Barbados "It's time to clean up your act: Barbados is littered with litter". Some of us have written on this topic of abuse of the environment, as observers and sometimes as cleaners-up after others in various 'beauty' spots. Amit's letter is a spoof. I sending it to me, he wrote "...of-course I'm being silly and sarcastic, but maybe it'll make people thinking about the environment a bit". But, he is being anything but silly, and I encouraged him to send it to the local papers. Whatever they choose to do with it, it will be seen by a part of the world's public on his blog (see http://pullpush.net/)and other blogs, such as mine.

Barbadians say they care about their beautiful country. But they have a funny way of showing it.

Dec 2, 2009

Letter to The Editor

Sir, I am writing this letter to you today because I would like your assistance in thanking someone.

A few days ago, while driving home from work, I noticed someone throwing their garbage out of the window of a bus waiting at a junction.

Sir, it is this individual that I would like to thank and I am seeking your assistance in doing so by asking that you publish my letter. What follows is for him (or her):

You see, when you (i.e., the throw-er of the garbage) threw whatever you threw out of the window, you weren't littering, you were doing your bit for the economy! You were trying to show us that there is another way besides tourism!

You probably figured that if everyone else were to throw their trash out of the windows of buses and cars and trucks and whatever other vehicles that had windows that were available to throw trash out of, that it would result in the SSA going on a mass recruitment drive, or, increasing the salaries and wages of its current employees (as a result of the increase in trash).

You are clever, whoever you are. They (whoever 'They' are or were), wouldn't just let the trash sit there and pile up. No, you knew that someone would come behind you and clean it up at some stage.

You never intended to act in a selfish, dirty, disgusting, shameless and disrespectful manner. You were merely trying to achieve two important objectives: 1) Job creation and 2) Increased wages and salaries! How noble of you!

An increase in employment and/or wages would be good news for everyone! Wouldn't it? Yes Sir! More people working (and earning more we hope) means more money being spent in the local economy. Hah! Who needs tourism?

However, tread lightly here, my friend, be wary of inflation. IANAE (I Am Not An Economist). Inflation is, from what little I've read, a general increase in the supply of money and/or credit. This in turn may cause the prices of goods to increase (so long as there is no equal increase in the supply of goods).

More money in people's hands means they can offer more for various goods and services. This may result in people themselves driving up the prices of said goods and services (provided that the amount of goods and services remained at pre-inflation levels and did not increase in line with inflation).

A poor simple example: A and B want to buy a car. C, the seller is offering the car for $5,000. A and B can't quite afford it. However, because of every one's increase in littering, the SSA recruits A and B (or increases their existing salaries or wages).

A and B can now afford the car, maybe even afford to pay more than the asking price. Assume that C, the seller, knows of A and B's new found wealth (hmm, no information asymmetry here), C, may increase the price of the car knowing fully well that A and B can afford it and provided that D, E, F, G etc, don't plan on selling their cars (the amount of goods and services after inflation is still the same, but the amount of money available to buy said good has increased), C raises the price.

But you know what? IANAE (I Am Not An Economist).

In conclusion, I'd like to thank you, but be careful of this inflation thing. Carry on smartly! We need more like you! Folks like you who care about this country by adopting unusual methods in order to secure economic prosperity (i.e., throwing your garbage out out of a bus thinking that it will create employment and raise salaries and wages).

Happy Holidays!

Amit Uttamchandani.

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