RDF SYMPOSIUM - ON COMMEMORATIVE MAGAZINE
Declaration of Principles
NY Governor Pataki
Want to go home?
DEXIA - New Approach
Mo n Mo Music
Productivity and Economy
Health & the Diaspora
A Call to Action
Do You Remember When?
Technol. & Intel. Capital
Planning for Agriculture
Security & Development
Dominica State College
DSS in Partnership
Dominica & Integration
Education for Survival
Globalisation & Caribbean
Skills for Internet Age
Legacy of Rosie Douglas-1
Productivity and the Dominican Economy
By Dr. Clayton Shillingford
One of the answers to our Economic Malaise is to find ways to increase productivity. I‘m not an economist but I do know something about successful business. And our major businesses, agriculture and tourism cannot be described as being successful.
One of the answers to our economic malaise is to find ways to increase productivity. Increased productivity would signify that the economic activities are being conducted in a more efficient way. But how are these productivity gains to be achieved?
Certainly it won’t come about by allowing time to pass us by, by being late for practically everything, by spending useful time talking and talking about the same things at multiple meetings and gatherings, promulgating mepuis, propaganda, gossip or indulging in the new Internet addiction. These do not qualify as productive activities.
Living standards will not increase if there is no improvement in productivity and the economy. Higher profits for businesses from retail to farming will bring improvements in the economy. Other benefits such as better incomes, health care, education will flow from these gains. But all these advances depend on higher levels of productivity.
Science and technology are key to increased productivity. Consider the effect of efficient communications through the telephone to the impact of computers. But that will not be enough to lift our economy if everyone else has access to these technologies and often more of it than we do.
In a competitive world environment, technology is not enough. We need trained people to operate the technology so it can deliver efficient service. So we need also effective management and motivated, highly skilled workers. Is there anyone who would suggest that we have enough of these two factors? In fact through political favouritism, and victimization we often exclude the very people who could be most helpful in a job.
Many businesses to maintain productivity growth, especially in the US, move to cut costs, to increase efficiency and profits, and to be more competitive nationally and globally. Parallel with increased productivity is a decline in inflation. In large economies, it is possible to raise prices up to a point to overcome inefficiency and maintain profit growth. But our economies are too small and price setting is often out of our control, especially in our export industries.
Are our imports out of control? Are levels of debt to purchase non-productive and non-essential items part of the economic malaise? What about loan interest rates? Are these too high given the need to stimulate investment and the economy?
We need to change the way we do business. We need computers to assist us in doing things faster and more efficiently. We should encourage wider use of ATM’s to increase bank productivity. In agriculture implementation of more efficient farming methods will increase worker productivity, increase yields and ensure a satisfactory return to the farmer.
The Dominica Grammar School’s motto is “Mens sana in corpore sano”, a sound mind in a sound body. We need highly trained individuals with the mental and intellectual capacity to guide the development process. We also need a healthy work force to carry out the various tasks that are now required. Good health service is now a right and not a privilege. Worker safety and a healthy work environment will lead to improved worker productivity and ultimately better economic and social conditions.