I have been painstakingly following the events of the Greek sovereign debt crisis, and the article yesterday entitled #ThisIsACoup: Greece bailout demands spark social media backlash against Germany struck a deep chord within me as the issue of our own sovereign debt crisis and our handling of it has been on the forefront of my… Read More
As many of you may or may not know, over the past years I have become very concerned about the state of health of our Federation. For those of you who have taken the time to study my in-depth article, The Secret to a Healthy Nation, you would have noticed that I have taken pains to document… Read More
So it is in this spirit that I wish to frame my discussion with you today. I have been asked to speak specifically on the topic, of “New Politics: Still Searching for Representation”. Your choice of topic, I sense, has been motivated by a realization that our previous post-colonial experience of democracy has been weighed in the balance and it has been found wanting. I also sense, that you would like hear some concrete proposals in order to make your dialogue more meaningful. In my paper today, I therefore wish to fulfill your terms of reference by engaging in both diagnosis and prescription. I will therefore endeavor to do the following:
First, in speaking specifically to the question of the representation deficit, or the failures of representational politics, I present a brief diagnosis of what are the specific challenges to Caribbean democracy that we are faced with in the present. I will emphasize the present, because as I have shown with the Douglas Hall statement, and as you know very well through the work of Lloyd Best, the problem of finding a new and relevant model of governance in the Caribbean has been as old as Caribbean independence itself. In diagnosing, therefore, I will give a general account of the Caribbean condition today, showing how the world has changed since the fifty years of independence, and how the new reality has challenged the economic and political assumptions upon which Caribbean independence had been pursued. Secondly, I will move from a general reading of the Caribbean condition, to identifying the specific ways in which the failures, reversals and shortcomings in representative politics are reflected. Finally, I will conclude with some prescriptive comment.
I wish to add, that unlike what has been attempted before, my prescriptions will not be specific. One of the dangers in prescribing is the pitfall of speaking in a social and economic vacuum. No political order exists suspended in air. Every political order is merely a reflection of the possibilities allowed by the material and economic social circumstances in which the politics is played out. The political system is always a reflection of the outcome of political contestation between competing interests within the limits of what the economic material conditions will allow. As Marx has put it: “While men make History, they do not make it in conditions of their own choosing”.
Indeed, one of the weaknesses of Lloyd Best and others who have attempted to prescribe detailed accounts of what a future democratic form may look like, is that often their prescriptions have been presented in a social and economic vacuum. Political forms are only determined in the context of concrete politics and concrete practice. In fact, many a taken-for-granted political practice was discovered only in the midst of real struggle, without which those forms would never see the light of day. It is only actual struggle and political practice which can truly determine what is possible.
For these reasons therefore, my prescriptions, will come, not in the form of detailed prescriptions of what a new executive or legislature should look like, or how many members should sit in this chamber or how many members should sit in that body. Instead, I will endeavor to provide an account of the concrete political moment of the present, showing what I think is possible and why I am proposing that we are on the threshold of a new politics and a new democracy.
If I am able to achieve those things, I think I would have fulfilled the task asked of me here today, and I would have provided the Convois with a basis for discussion.
Reproduced from: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62407-1/fulltext (After signing up at the website, you can access the article for free) Volume 383, No. 9917, p630–667, 15 February 2014 The Lancet Commissions The political origins of health inequity: prospects for change Prof Ole Petter Ottersen, PhD, Jashodhara Dasgupta, MA, Chantal Blouin, PhD, Paulo Buss, MD, Prof Virasakdi Chongsuvivatwong, PhD, Prof Julio… Read More
I share the following thoughts on the two year election which was eventually held on Monday 16th February 2015. 1. Political tribalism is still as bad as it ever was in St. Kitts and Nevis, as evidenced by the vicious nature of the election campaign and by the ruthless machinations of the electoral process. The… Read More
https://www.pimco.com/insights/economic-and-market-commentary/global-central-bank-focus/the-shadow-banking-system-and-hyman-minskys-economic-journey The Shadow Banking System and Hyman Minskys Economic Journey | PIMCO “Hyman Minsky’s theory on the nature of financial instability proved unnervingly prescient in explaining the rise and fall of shadow banking.” BY PAUL A MCCULLEY MAY, 2009 This paper is the basis for a speech I’ll be giving in Tel Aviv in June,… Read More
The Charitable-Industrial Complex – NYTimes.com As more lives are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to “give back.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/27/opinion/the-charitable-industrial-complex.html The Bigger Picture – Mental Capital and Wellbeing http://www.bis.gov.uk/foresight/our-work/projects/published-projects/mental-capital-and-wellbeing Please click on the images twice to enlarge the system maps. Mental Capital through life… Read More
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life… “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. “One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and… Read More
It is said that we are defined as individuals and as a collective by the stories we tell and the games we play. As a nation of laws, the stories we tell revolve around our political party affiliations, and the games we play focus on finding the loopholes and the backdoors in our legal system… Read More
A TALE OF TWO SHOE SALESMEN There is a tale about these two shoe salesmen who travel to a third world country in search of new business opportunities. One man calls his wife the moment he lands, telling her, “Honey, I’m coming back home. There’s no hope here. Nobody here is wearing shoes, so there’s… Read More