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The economics of vision- Part 1

- A series of stories on why applying appropriate economic ideas, is the strongest route towards El Dorado, for the Virgin Islands
Dickson C. Igwe. Photo: VINO/File
Dickson C. Igwe

Now, once a government has decided upon its short, medium, and long term strategy, leading to realisation of a national vision, economics is the tool and vehicle to get the country to that “Promised Land.”

Economics is at the core of governance. That is why most countries are managed by politicians advised by economists. Global finance is driven by economic theory and economic thinking. 

Why is economics central to good governance? It is, because, economics is about the best way to manage scarce resources. Economics provides society with both macro and micro economic information, and appropriate statistical parameters, within which policymakers make decisions on everything, from social welfare, to security and defense.

Economics also attempts to guide governments and political leaders through the vast and tortuous maze of international debt management and the complex movement of financial capital between central banks, investors, and nations. Economics further advises society on bridging the gap between lenders and borrowers, and investors and investment requirements.

Ultimately economics is about obtaining the “best bang for the buck.” Economics is about getting value for money. Economics is seeking the best social and economic return for the human effort and physical resources naturally found in an economy.

Scare resources – human and physical- are the raw material of governance. And how scare resources are managed decides whether a country will achieve its aims, objectives, and goals, which lead to a country’s vision and dreams.

So, what outcomes are desired by Virgin Islanders and residents? Outcomes are short, medium, and long term. And the reader can go back to Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs, to determine desired outcomes.

In a nutshell, residents want to live in peace and safety. Residents want to work for a living. Residents want business opportunity. Residents want good education and good health care.

Once the preceding needs are met, then needs higher up the pyramid are desired.

Residents want to travel, send their children to college and university, own homes, and go on holiday. Higher needs include the pursuit of leisure, personal passions, interests, and hobbies, and retiring with affordable healthcare and sustainable pensions.

The list is long. However, without a well managed economy the preceding goals for residents is “pie in the sky.”

There is more. The national vision is the key to meeting the desires of voters and residents. Vision is a great asset for politicians. But without a vision and goals, there is nothing to aim for. When there is no vision, governance drifts and enters into self contradiction. Projects are not properly factored into the developmental needs of the country. There is waste and mismanagement. When there is no vision there is no joint objective. There is no policy cohesion. There is no national purpose. The end is failure of governance, and even worse.

Where there is a national vision, and national goals and objectives, governance has direction. Politicians sing from a single song sheet. Businessmen are offered a road to travel based on that national vision. Economic and public planning has direction. Every citizen knows their place within the context of that national vision. Even the opposition has a benchmark and measure to gage the performance of the men and women on the opposite governing benches.

The voter can tell over a number of years and milestones leading to the national vision, whether the government is meeting key objectives in a timely and sustainable manner. 

On the other hand, a vision can become a double edged sword. If a vision has not been achieved after the date when it should have been delivered, then there are answers that must be given. Why was there failure? If the vision was sustainable through the budgeting process then where did the cash go? How was the cash spent, and why was the cash not spent on national priorities?

Economics gives the answers to all of these questions. Vision is the destination. Economics is the horse and cart.

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4 Responses to “The economics of vision- Part 1”

  • Quiet Warrior (20/04/2019, 11:47) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    True, national success is a function of effective economic management. But what is economics? One definition is economics is the study of how individuals, institutions, and society chose to deal with the condition of scarcity. Scarcity is the universal condition that exists because there is not enough time, money, or still to satisfy everyone’s needs or wants. Simply, economics is the allocation of scarce resources and choices. Without scarcity there is no need to determine how to allocate scarce resources, ie, land, labour, capital......etc. Everyone practices economics everyday, ie, individual, businesses, government......etc. Government has limited resources so in order to provide the most/best services to the most people, it must employ effective allocation of scarce resources.

    In regards to vision, IMO vision is not a project, ie, there is a specific beginning and end dates but it is what an organization wants to become. It is dynamic and on going. For example, the BVI vision can be to be the top small destination in the region. This is not a project, for becoming the top small destination has no end date; it is an ongoing process.
    • Politico Nuevo (21/04/2019, 13:22) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      “In regards to vision, IMO vision is not a project, ie, there is a specific beginning and end dates but it is what an organization wants to become. It is dynamic and on going. For example, the BVI vision can be to be the top small destination in the region. This is not a project, for becoming the top small destination has no end date; it is an ongoing process.” Real talk. The vision ting is not the mission and is more than words. All the national effort must be focus on approaching, if not attaining, the vision. Indeed, it is an ongoing effort.
  • one eye (21/04/2019, 08:23) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hope government reading

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