Third World Countries and Resistance to Development

I was in a strange part of town, because the car needed repair and the BMW shop was across town. As I was walking to the East-West Highway, I saw this piece of paper and idly picked it up. A kid named Garrison (I blanked out his last name) who is in Grade 7-4 was the author.

This first thing that struck me was that someone in Grade 7 cannot spell mathematics (see the red arrow in the pic). There is a popular TV show that pits adult contestants against Grade 5's and let me tell you, someone in Grade 5 can certainly spell mathematics.

The second observation, was the ease of the questions. A grade 7 math problem should look like this:

Three ducks and two ducklings weigh 32 kg. Four ducks and three ducklings weigh 44kg. All ducks weigh the same and all ducklings weigh the same. What is the weight of two ducks and one duckling?

The Ministry of Education in this country does standardised testing and the average hovers around F to D-.

The country is developmentally resistant. There are many reasons for this, but the prime reason is government corruption. In these islands, there is no penalty for bribing voters, absconding with public funds or graft and corruption on public projects. The government wants the people fat, dumb and happy so that they will not have the mental wherewithall to recognise what is going on.

In a previous blog entry, I noted Lawrence E. Harrison's determinants for developmentally resistant countries. They are:

  1. Degree of identification with others in society – radius of trust or sense of community
  2. Rigor of the ethical system
  3. Attitudes about work, innovation, saving and profit
  4. The way authority is exercised within the society.
In the tropics, there is tribalism, cultural laziness, monolithic economies and slack ethics throughout the entire fabric of society.

Tribalism takes on many forms. It is the government official granting a contract to his family. There is also another form called Black Crab Syndrome, where when a Black person gets in a position of authority or achieves a higher level, he jealously guards it, instead of giving others a helping hand to his level.

The cultural laziness is not limited to the Black population. We have the mañana attitude of the Latinos where why do today, what you can put off until tomorrow. My belief that this is related to the populace's ability to own land. In Canada and the US, where anybody can aspire to own land, there is no mañana attitude. If you can work, you can achieve something real. This is not true in Third World Countries.

Monolithic economies such as found in these islands also holds back people. 75% of the economy is tourism, and the jobs are all low level service jobs. It is a bedmaking economy. Such a monolithic economic doesn't let people escape unless they find a way through corruption, shady business dealings, running drugs, or strangely enough, starting a church.

The slack ethics are disgusting. The former Minister of Immigration took a Rolex watch as a bribe from Anna Nicole Smith to fast track her residency. He resigned, but was not charged despite the fact that it was bribery and that crime exists on the books here. Instead he was re-elected as member of Parliament. The previous government regularly told the people not to believe what their eyes were telling them, but to swallow the official propaganda, and many did.

I believe that the ethical slackness, is again due to economic marginalisation and the inability to pursue the American Dream. When you put corrupt governments into the mix, development will never happen. These islands are all ex-colonies of Great Britain. They were shed by the UK because maintaining them was a money pit. They could never maintain themselves. As independent countries, they are expected to do so, but do not have the revenues. And what revenues they bring in, are squandered by corruption, inefficiencies and incompetence.

This cycle will not change until one of two things happen. The first is a total economic collapse, and a will to rebuild something better. The second is the election of a totally altruistic government. There is a third option, and it just happened to the Turks and Caicos after the corruption of Michael Missick. That option is for Britain to repossess the colony to get it back on its feet.

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