Wednesday, July 1, 2009

T. Khemraj replies to Elizabeth Daly, ghost letter writer

Ms Daly misinterpreted the economic points raised
June 30, 2009 | By Christopher | Filed Under Letters

Dear Editor,
It is obvious from Elizabeth Daly’s letter (Kaieteur News, 26-06-09) that this individual did not understand the economic points raised by my letter (Kaieteur News 17-06-09). Instead the writer supposedly prefers to appeal to the old tried PPP technique of personal attacks, bottom house tricks and rum shop intelligence. However, it is precisely these emotions and uninformed arguments that my 10 points on the nature of the donkey-cart economy seek to eradicate.

I sense the writer is quite tetchy on the subject of the “grow more food” campaign. The unknown Ms Daly must have a lot of high personal aspirations and ambitions invested in the “grow more food” campaign, which I did not seek to disparage. I merely wished the PPP understands there is a thin line between self-sufficiency and Sir Arthur Lewis’ subsistence level of living.
But I still do not believe it is a good long-term strategy although it might have reduced prices in the short-term. In a demonstration of astounding incompetence, Daly referred me to a letter in the SN in which someone attributed the falling food prices to the “grow more campaign.” That is supposed to be the evidence the policy is working, according to this individual. Nevertheless, not only are they aiming at self-sufficiency (which is akin to subsistence at the small farmer level), but also they are driving down the prices farmers must earn. Sir Arthur Lewis must be turning in his grave!

The letter writer has an uncanny degree of influence to get her responses published the very next day in both Kaieteur News and Guyana Chronicle. I have to wait three days for Kaieteur to publish my stuff and the Guyana Chronicle will not even touch mine. I suggest she takes economic lessons.
As a result, I would like to assist this aspirant to high levels by tutoring the individual on economics as it is important to see the big picture when in high up places. For instance, the writer demonstrates serious shortcomings by challenging me to challenge the IMF/WB statement on Guyana.
This person, however, does not seem to know that these institutions have specific boundaries within which they offer praise. For instance, the IMF focuses specifically on stabilisation and would not even touch industrial policy (the IMF and WB do not have a single scholar on industrial policy on their research team; they amuse themselves with deductive theoretical models developed by scholars in the advanced economies), which is a point I alluded to in earlier letters and this aspirant missed this point.
In other words, these institutions are concerned with stabilizing a donkey-cart economy and not transforming one. The latter is the task and responsibility of the PPP government working with the Guyanese people.

Therefore, I will develop the course outline and provide all reading materials free of charge for our very hopeful letter writer. But the writer must provide name, home address and profession to the media houses – Kaieteur News and SN in particular, so I can mail the free textbooks and reading materials. Otherwise, it makes no sense talking about economic matters. In the course outline, we will also have to deal with the difference between industrial policy and the National Development Strategy. We will have to show the letter writer that Mauritius, Belize, Barbados, The Bahamas and Suriname are still developing countries.
In closing, I have to revisit Daly’s interesting per capita GDP number for 1991 being US$231 against US$1214.3 in 2008. Given those numbers per capita GDP – real GDP divided by the population – grew at an annual compound rate of 10.9% over 16 years. Now, that’s fantastic stuff that I do no see in the real GDP growth numbers over the past 16 years. Was the population shrinking? Is that a good thing given that Guyana exports 83% of its skilled workforce?
Tarron Khemraj

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