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Whose Responsibility is it? #30

In just one week and two airplane rides, the media, the speculators, the “expert” analysts, and the political spin doctors are up at full speed. Contradictions of opinions, historical precedencies, former diplomatic maneuvers, and fairly obscure academics are having their one minute soundbites that will give rise to yet another book.

They all focus on the unstable and seemingly volatile President Trump, who has set them in a frenzy of analyzing the rationality of a man who thrives on chaos. The concept of cursing your friends and embracing your enemy seem so illogical, but economic indicators seem to be predicting positive outcomes, and today the Stock Market indicators are up.

The President was in a rough mood with the other members of the G-7 especially the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and capped it off by refusing to sign the communique, and suggested that Russia should be re-admitted. I wonder who had a Cold War for decades with Russia? Which countries supported the USA with embargoes that hurt their own economies? Who are NATO allies?

Who is the largest economy and who loses in a trade war? Who claims to be the champion of democracy, pillories Cuba, Iran, but warms up to North Korea? Today the Stock Market indicators are up. 

These could all be final examination questions in a number of courses: logic; financial analysis; psychology; international relations; and risk management. The correct answer when translated to short term gains could make millions for the accurate “punter” as this seems to be a horse race that has been tampered with, but we have not yet pinned it on the owner, jockey, trainer, or the groom; perhaps it may be the bookmaker.

Our fascination with the flamboyant, innuendos, social media misinterpretations, fake news, focus our attention on the unpredictable, and distracts us from real opportunities (like Barbados). So here are some exams for the second paper:

  1. If Barbados devalues, will there be any bargain buys or investment opportunities in US dollars?
  2. Will hotel prices be reduced to allow a lower budget visitor?
  3. Will the future of tax-incentives be continued, discontinued, or revoked?
  4. Will Barbadian workers in the service industries become more civil to non-white visitors?
  5. What will the increase in income taxes and the addition of more company social payments contributions mean for business profitability?
  6. Will wealthy Barbadians sell out and migrate?
  7. What will the net pay differential be for UWI lecturers in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad after the tax increase and minus the cost of living when expressed in US dollars?

These are just a few of the obstacles/opportunities for expansion or contraction in the surrounding countries and trading partners of NAFTA and CARICOM. It is also an opportunity to sit back and do nothing but grumble about not getting paid for goods and services by Barbados.

The situation impacts the sources of UWI and UHWI funding and both must find ways of implementing counter measures and projects so as to avoid a financial crisis that will impact the plans for educational expansion. It requires a well thought out strategy right now.

James Moss- Solomon
Executive in Residence
Mona School of Business and Management

June 12, 2018

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