HAS THE CYCLE BEEN BROKEN? | COMMENTARY BY CHARLES WILKIN QC (Aug 8, 2019)

In late 2015 I published a book called “Breaking the Cycle” in which I drew attention to the political tribalism from which our country has suffered since 1967. I also focused on the need for constitutional, governance and electoral reform. I documented the excesses of the Douglas Government up to and including the 2015 general election. I suggested that the result of that election won by Team Unity, a coalition of three political parties, raised hope that the never ending cycle of political tribalism would be broken. I warned however that change was not guaranteed. I wrote the following at the end of the first chapter: “Previous governments quickly fell into the entrenched partisan ways with the leaders consolidating power around themselves and their close associates. Will the new Prime Minister, Timothy Harris and his Team Unity government do the same? The jury is out and the clock is ticking.”

The purpose of this commentary is to reflect on where the country is four and a half years later.

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Emancipation From Programmed Dependency | Dr Patrick Martin MD

In November 1937, Marcus Garvey spoke at the MIS Hall, Lower Market Street. He said, “Your island is your garden of Eden”.  “You must work and get things for yourself”. 

Bob Marley sang similarly: “Not one of my seeds / Shall sit in the sidewalk and beg bread” (So Jah Seh, 1974). 

Seeking after government handouts is like sitting in the sidewalk and begging bread. This is exactly what programmed dependency encourages. A mentality of getting things without effort.

Programmed dependency exists when otherwise able adults are officially categorized as poor without scientific assessment including means-testing. Such persons may be given money from the Treasury without performance conditions. If not money, a contract, house or land may be part of the giving and receiving.

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Nobody left behind: maximising the health benefits of an inclusive local economy

This report makes explicit the links between health and the local economy, their interdependence, and the action that local authorities and their partners can take to ensure that health and wellbeing are key considerations in local and regional economic development strategies.

Public health
06 Feb 2019

Ensuring that the local economy benefits everyone – sometimes known as ‘inclusive growth’ – is a priority for local government.

The concept of inclusive growth was originally developed by economists working in developing countries, when organisations such as the World Bank realised that economic growth was not always resulting in the reductions in inequality and increases in living standards that had been expected.

There is increasing evidence that the benefits of wealth and a flourishing economy will not simply ‘trickle down’ to the poorest sections  of society.

Much of the work that Government can do to improve the economic prosperity of a country takes place at the national level. But the way local authorities tackle issues of local economic development can also make a positive difference to the wellbeing of the communities they serve.

Across the country, local authorities, supported by their public health teams, are making valiant efforts, in the face of significant financial constraints, to make this aspiration come true.

The issues discussed here and the many examples of good practice will help ensure that, when it comes to our work of economic development, nobody is left behind.

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The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change: The Lancet Commission report

Obesity is still increasing in prevalence in almost all countries and is an important risk factor for poor health and mortality. The current approach to obesity prevention is failing despite many piecemeal efforts, recommendations, and calls to action. This Commission following on from two Lancet Series on obesity looks at obesity in a much wider context of common underlying societal and political drivers for malnutrition in all its forms­ and climate change. The Commission urges a radical rethink of business models, food systems, civil society involvement, and national and international governance to address The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change. A holistic effort to reorient human systems to achieve better human and planetary health is our most important and urgent challenge.

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There is more than one economy | Neva Goodwin (2018)

Human economies can be understood in more than one way.

  • The private business economy is what economics textbooks are generally about.
  • The public purpose economy consists of governments and their agencies as well as non-profits and international institutions like the World Bank or the United Nations. The public purpose economy is a collection of institutions that are justified by their stated intention to act for some broader good than their own profit or enrichment – though they may differ widely in their definitions of what is “good”.
  • The core economy is where households and communities carry on their internal activities of production, distribution and consumption. The core economy’s justification and purpose is the survival and well-being of its members. It is located in home, family, and neighborhood; places that function as markets for emotional, social, and civic transactions. This paper will consider some distinguishing characteristics of these three economies – in particular: their goals or justifications; what currency they use; what kind of demand they respond to; and how they define and reward work.

The second half of the paper will offer reflections on the harms caused by an excessive dominance of the private business economy over the other two, with thoughts on some of what will be required to redress this balance. It will conclude with an image of a healthier relationship between humanity and our natural environment – a relationship that will inevitably come about, whether we choose to move into it positively, or are forced into it by breakdowns in all of our economies resulting from natural and social disasters.

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The public economy: understanding government as a producer. A reformation of public economics | June Sekera (2018)

In mainstream economics scripting, government is either bumbler or villain. Cast as market fixer, intervenor, enforcer or redistributor, the state cannot but act inefficiently or, worse, illegitimately. Public goods and collective action are called “problems,” the commons a “tragedy.” Even today’s so-called “public economics,” as represented by the “public choice” school, is decidedly anti-public. It was not always thus. More than a century ago, economists theorized the state as a framework of collective agency for public purpose and understood government as a producer meeting collective needs. A cogent concept of “the public economy” guided this nascent field of public economics, long since lost to historic upheavals and repression by proponents of market-centric rational choice theory.

This paper rejects today’s orthodoxy and its artful, but artificial, construct that subverts the ability of the public economic system to produce on behalf of the polity. I call instead for the embrace of a new public economics that returns to lost roots while breaking new ground by taking into account the biophysical imperatives of production. The model offered here takes a systems perspective (as did Quesnay and early 18th- century Physiocrats); recognizes a public economy with distinctive purpose and drivers (as did the “German Public Economics” theorist Gerhard Colm in the 1920’s); and focuses on government as a producer (as did Paul Studenski in the 1930s-50s). Finally, it draws on two centuries of physics and on 21st century systems ecology in recognizing biophysical imperatives inherent to production. Developing and promoting a cogent theory of the public economy system is vital to the effective operation and, ultimately, the survival of the governmental systems by which democratic nation-states function today. The simplistic type-casting of government, the “market-failure” rationalization for state action, the invalid imposition of market axioms and assumptions on the public domain, the disregard of public purpose must all be rejected. It is time for a Reformation of public economics.

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Beyond Science and Technology: Creating Planetary Health Needs Not Just ‘Head Stuff’, but Social Engagement and ‘Heart, Gut and Spirit’ Stuff | Prof Trevor Hancock

I have been involved in studying and working within what is now called the Anthropocene for almost 50 years, and in all that time, not only have we failed to make much progress, but the state of the Earth’s ecosystems has generally worsened. Yet somehow we must create a world in which everyone on Earth has good health and a good quality of life—a matter of social justice—while living within the physical and ecological constraints of the one small planet that is our home; this is the focus of the new field of planetary health. Our worsening situation is not due to lack of knowledge, science and technology; in broad terms, we knew most of the challenges and many of the needed solutions back in the 1970s. Instead, the challenges we face are social, rooted in cultural values, political ideologies, legal and economic systems, ethical principles and spiritual/religious beliefs. Therefore, we have to move beyond science and technology and address these broader socio-cultural issues by engaging in economic, legal and political work, complementing and supplementing ‘head stuff’ with ‘heart, gut and spirit stuff’, and working from the grass roots up.

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Wisdom and Responsible Leadership: Aesthetic Sensibility, Moral Imagination, and Systems Thinking | Sandra Waddock

Abstract The world needs wise leaders, but wisdom is clearly in short supply these days if the state of the world is any evidence. Just think of climate change, ecological damages done by modern industrial and agricultural practices, and collapsing and unfair mortgage and financial markets, not to mention the growing gap between rich and poor, as examples. But generally, the need for wisdom in leaders and managers, which is defined by Ackoff (Reflections 1(1): 14–24, 1999) as the capacity to think through the (short and long-term) consequences of actions, is under-appreciated. Using as a basis the argument that wisdom exists when three components—moral imagination (the good), systems understanding (the true), and aesthetic sensibility (the beautiful) are present (Waddock, Journal of Business Ethics Education 7: 177– 196, 2010), I explore the implications of this definition for teaching future leaders to be both wise and ethical in their decision making and actions.

Keywords Wisdom • Moral imagination • Systems • Aesthetics • Leadership

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SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS: Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) | Anticorruption Mechanism of the OAS

The Follow-Up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) is the Anticorruption Mechanism of the OAS. It brings together 33 of the 34 Member States to review their legal frameworks and institutions in the light of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

In the 16 years that it has been in operation, the MESICIC has adopted more than 100 reports with recommendations for States to strengthen their legal frameworks and institutions to effectively combat corruption in areas such as prevention of conflict of interests; conservation of public resources; government procurement; government hiring; ethics training; systems for registering income, assets and liabilities; civil society participation in the fight against corruption; internal oversight in companies to detect and prevent corrupt practices; criminalization of acts of corruption, such as transnational bribery and illicit enrichment; protection of whistleblowers; mutual assistance in prosecuting and punishing those who commit acts of corruption and, as appropriate, their extradition; and oversight bodies responsible for the prevention, detection, punishment and eradication of such acts.

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