Too many people feel they are being left behind by a system unfairly stacked against them

Dear Editor,

Saturday’s media report of the previous day’s meeting between government and the unions operating in the sugar industry is a most welcome sign. I am sure all Guyana feels a collective sense of relief that while such meetings ought to have been held as a pre-requisite before the government initiated the decisions that led to the closure of factories and displacement of thousands of sugar workers (virtually putting the cart before the horse), some reparation might be forthcoming. I wish the government and unions the best of luck and pray for divine guidance in their future talks. In this regard I wish to commend the following to both sides:

A recent publication of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) featured an analysis of the loss of trust and confidence in society and the need to build trust and a common purpose. The publication, in my view, resonated so much with our Guyanese situation that I feel obliged to publicly share the gist of it, with the hope that our decision-makers might be moved accordingly:

Thematically, the article highlights that “economic and political upheavals reflect a misalignment between business and economics on one side and accepted societal outcomes on the other; we therefore need to re-examine some long held assumptions”.

The article claims that too many people feel that they are being left behind by a system unfairly stacked against them and identifies a number of factors in this regard, including:

  • Lack of confidence in how the economy operates and in trust in institutions such as government, media and business as well as partisan politics.
  • Financialization ie, the narrow view of value being based on financial metrics. Regular readers of our own Dr Ian McDonald’s ‘Ian on Sunday’ articles will recall how consistently he has also been identifying the myopia inherent in the ‘GDP’ being used as a primary indicator of national success and shareholder value as a primary indicator of corporate success.

We now also see the fallacies of the above in government’s approach, so far at least, to our sugar industry which has obviously created quite a tragedy with the powers that be apparently unmindful of the effects of the closure of several estates on the thousands of sugar workers and their communities.

Finally, the authors advise against losing sight of the fact that “well managed market economies have consistently delivered economic growth and social progress more successfully than the alternatives and can continue to do so. They also noted that “change entails managing a set of dualities instead of seeking answers in the choice among apparent opposites like ‘financialization’ or ‘technology’ or ‘people’. They conclude that both financial and societal targets should be explicitly framed.

Yours faithfully,

Nowrang Persaud

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