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Growth first or people first.

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    Growth first or people first

    Good economic signs are on the horizon; so said the finance minister. There has been a percentage increase in GDP and a fraction of a percent decline in unemployment.

    Yet, the country's human development index (HDI), which has moved constantly upwards since the 1980s, is at a level where Jamaica has slipped in its ranking.  The HDI measures the overall progress of citizens, and was developed by the UN in the 1980s because economic data like GDP and average income, obscure factors such as poverty.

    While any patriotic jamaican must be thankful for the improvement in the economic indices,we must be also mindful that the poverty levels have increased by two percentage points in the past few years. Thus, again we are having the paradox of growth and poverty dancing together.

    One will note that during the last few IMF programmes, and the policies that the government pursued after, the gap between rich and poor never narrowed. Moreover, the majority of persons listed as poor, also were measured as being employed. Simply put, the working poor always seems to suffer and never feel the benefit of any progress. And although we ask workers to make sacrifices until things improve, and hear of 'trickle down' economics, there is no basis for such beliefs, because no such economic theory exists. Any redistribution of income or benefits from GDP growth, must be from Government policy. And it has never happened in this country. Words, slogans and taglines are not the same as pro-poor or pro worker strategies

    Thus, as we celebrate the small movement and thank God for small mercies, let us wait and see if any of the scraps will fall from the table.

    post by Dr. Orville Taylor