How to make sense of 2016

Go Lean Commentary

The year 2016 is coming to a close. In retrospect, it has been a “year of living dangerously”.

So much of the institutional progress that have been made in past decades have come under “protest” this year – think alphabetical organizations that promote integration like the UN, EU, IMF, OECD, etc. – and think globalization / trade pacts (NAFTA, TPP, CBI, etc.).

It is that bad! All aspects of Caribbean life has become dysfunctional: economics, security and governance. Here are some snippets from this Caribbean Yearbook; (this is just a sample in chronological order):

Surely, it is the conclusion of most that 2016 has yielded a bitter harvest.

This assessment is presented by the publishers of the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This 370-page publication asserts that the Caribbean region is in crisis but alas, a “crisis is a terrible thing to waste”.

What does this mean? Here goes…

The conclusion is that from the “ashes of 2016”, the Phoenix – symbolic for the Caribbean community – can rise and create a Way Forward.

This is not just true in the Caribbean, but for most of the world as well. It is possible to make sense of this tumultuous year. See this point developed in this editorial-article in The Economist magazine, here:

Title: How to make sense of 2016
Sub-title: Liberals lost most of the arguments this year. They should not feel defeated so much as invigorated

cu-blog-how-to-make-sense-of-2016-photo-1For a certain kind of liberal, 2016 stands as a rebuke. If you believe, as The Economist does, in open economies and open societies, where the free exchange of goods, capital, people and ideas is encouraged and where universal freedoms are protected from state abuse by the rule of law, then this has been a year of setbacks. Not just over Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, but also the tragedy of Syria, abandoned to its suffering, and widespread support—in Hungary, Poland and beyond—for “illiberal democracy”. As globalisation has become a slur, nationalism, and even authoritarianism, have flourished. In Turkey relief at the failure of a coup was overtaken by savage (and popular) reprisals. In the Philippines voters chose a president who not only deployed death squads but bragged about pulling the trigger. All the while Russia, which hacked Western democracy, and China, which just last week set out to taunt America by seizing one of its maritime drones, insist liberalism is merely a cover for Western expansion.

Faced with this litany, many liberals (of the free-market sort) have lost their nerve. Some have written epitaphs for the liberal order and issued warnings about the threat to democracy. Others argue that, with a timid tweak to immigration law or an extra tariff, life will simply return to normal. That is not good enough. The bitter harvest of 2016 has not suddenly destroyed liberalism’s claim to be the best way to confer dignity and bring about prosperity and equity. Rather than ducking the struggle of ideas, liberals should relish it.

Mill wheels

In the past quarter-century liberalism has had it too easy. Its dominance following Soviet communism’s collapse decayed into laziness and complacency. Amid growing inequality, society’s winners told themselves that they lived in a meritocracy—and that their success was therefore deserved. The experts recruited to help run large parts of the economy marvelled at their own brilliance. But ordinary people often saw wealth as a cover for privilege and expertise as disguised self-interest.

After so long in charge, liberals, of all people, should have seen the backlash coming. As a set of beliefs that emerged at the start of the 19th century to oppose both the despotism of absolute monarchy and the terror of revolution, liberalism warns that uninterrupted power corrupts. Privilege becomes self-perpetuating. Consensus stifles creativity and initiative. In an ever-shifting world, dispute and argument are not just inevitable; they are welcome because they lead to renewal.

What is more, liberals have something to offer societies struggling with change. In the 19th century, as today, old ways were being upended by relentless technological, economic, social and political forces. People yearned for order. The illiberal solution was to install someone with sufficient power to dictate what was best—by slowing change if they were conservative, or smashing authority if they were revolutionary. You can hear echoes of that in calls to “take back control”, as well as in the mouths of autocrats who, summoning an angry nationalism, promise to hold back the cosmopolitan tide.

Liberals came up with a different answer. Rather than being concentrated, power should be dispersed, using the rule of law, political parties and competitive markets. Rather than putting citizens at the service of a mighty, protecting state, liberalism sees individuals as uniquely able to choose what is best for themselves. Rather than running the world through warfare and strife, countries should embrace trade and treaties.

Such ideas have imprinted themselves on the West—and, despite Mr Trump’s flirtation with protectionism, they will probably endure. But only if liberalism can deal with its other problem: the loss of faith in progress. Liberals believe that change is welcome because, on the whole, it is for the better. Sure enough, they can point to how global poverty, life expectancy, opportunity and peace are all improving, even allowing for strife in the Middle East. Indeed, for most people on Earth there has never been a better time to be alive.

Large parts of the West, however, do not see it that way. For them, progress happens mainly to other people. Wealth does not spread itself, new technologies destroy jobs that never come back, an underclass is beyond help or redemption, and other cultures pose a threat—sometimes a violent one.

If it is to thrive, liberalism must have an answer for the pessimists, too. Yet, during those decades in power, liberals’ solutions have been underwhelming. In the 19th century liberal reformers met change with universal education, a vast programme of public works and the first employment rights. Later, citizens got the vote, health care and a safety net. After the second world war, America built a global liberal order, using bodies such as the UN and the IMF to give form to its vision.

Nothing half so ambitious is coming from the West today. That must change. Liberals must explore the avenues that technology and social needs will open up. Power could be devolved from the state to cities, which act as laboratories for fresh policies. Politics might escape sterile partisanship using new forms of local democracy. The labyrinth of taxation and regulation could be rebuilt rationally. Society could transform education and work so that “college” is something you return to over several careers in brand new industries. The possibilities are as yet unimagined, but a liberal system, in which individual creativity, preferences and enterprise have full expression, is more likely to seize them than any other.

The dream of reason

After 2016, is that dream still possible? Some perspective is in order. This newspaper believes that Brexit and a Trump presidency are likely to prove costly and harmful. We are worried about today’s mix of nationalism, corporatism and popular discontent. However, 2016 also represented a demand for change. Never forget liberals’ capacity for reinvention. Do not underestimate the scope for people, including even a Trump administration and post-Brexit Britain, to think and innovate their way out of trouble. The task is to harness that restless urge, while defending the tolerance and open-mindedness that are the foundation stones of a decent, liberal world.

Source: Publish Date 12-24-2016; retrieved from:

The foregoing article depicts that the magazine, The Economist, believes …

… “in open economies and open societies, where the free exchange of goods, capital, people and ideas is encouraged and where universal freedoms are protected from state abuse by the rule of law.”

Ditto for the movement behind Go Lean … Caribbean.

For the Caribbean, we now need a new way, a new year. We are looking forward to 2017.

The foregoing article is being brought into focus in a consideration of the Go Lean book; which serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book (Page 3), though written in 2013, makes the assertion that the Caribbean is in crisis. The book details that there is something wrong in the homeland, that while it is the greatest address in the world, instead of the world “beating a path” to these doors, the people of the Caribbean have “beat down their doors” to get out.

Why do people leave such an idyllic place? The book identifies a series of reasons, classified as “push and pull” factors. They are economic (jobs and entrepreneurial shortages), security deficiencies and governing misgivings.

The Go Lean book does not ignore these “push and pull” factors that cause our Caribbean people to flee. The book stresses (early at Page 13) the need to be on-guard for “push” factors in these Declaration of Interdependence statements:

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxvi. Whereas the Caribbean region must have new jobs to empower the engines of the economy and create the income sources for prosperity, and encourage the next generation to forge their dreams right at home, the Federation must therefore foster the development of new industries, like that of ship-building, automobile manufacturing, prefabricated housing, frozen foods, pipelines, call centers, and the prison industrial complex. In addition, the Federation must invigorate the enterprises related to existing industries like tourism, fisheries and lotteries – impacting the region with more jobs.

This commentary previously related details of Caribbean dysfunction and how to effectuate a turn-around in the region’s societal engines. Here is a sample of such earlier blog-commentaries: How to Effectuate Change in Crime Fight? Change Leaders ‘Necessity is the Mother of Invention’ Lessons from Iceland – Model of Recovery Repenting, Forgiving and Reconciling the Past Recipe for Successful Turn-arounds: Add Bacon to Eggs ‘Change the way you see the world; you change the world you see’ Migrant flow into US from Caribbean spikes Miami’s Success versus Caribbean Failure Book Review: ‘Prosper Where You Are Planted’ Having Less Babies is Bad for the Economy ‘Only at the precipice, do they change’

A turn-around of our failing societal engines is essential for the Way Forward.

Way Forward – an action, plan etc. that seems a good idea because it is likely to lead to success; i.e.:

  • A way forward lies in developing more economic links.
  • This treatment may be the way forward for many inherited disorders.

Source: Retrieved December 22, 2016 from:

An example of a Way Forward is the following VIDEO, highlighting the emergence of digital technologies as the lifeblood of today’s cities. They are applied widely in industry and society, from information and communications technology (ICT) to the Internet of Things (IoT), in which objects are connected to the Internet. As sensors turn any object into part of an intelligent urban network, and as computing power facilitates analysis of the data these sensors collect, elected officials and city administrators can gain an unparalleled understanding of the infrastructure and services of their city. However, to make the most of this intelligence, another ingredient is essential: citizen engagement. Thanks to digital technologies, citizens can provide a steady flow of feedback and ideas to city officials.

————————————— Start VIDEO Here —————————————————-

VIDEO Title: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) –,AAABDH-R__E~,dB4S9tmhdOoLUuQl3WENJQVceD9z2lER&bctid=5114134376001

See the highlights from the Empowering Cities research and hear how the City of Pittsburgh is using digital technology to put citizens in control in this short video, featuring EIU contributor Sarah Murray and Pittsburgh’s chief innovation and performance officer, Debra Lam.
find out how global businesses and citizens envision smart cities

Read the full report to find out how global businesses and citizens envision smart cities, with insights from 20 leading experts. Download the Whitepaper here.

—————————————- End VIDEO Here —————————————————-

This study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), investigates how citizens and businesses in 12 diverse cities around the world – Barcelona, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Singapore and Toronto – envision the benefits of smart cities.

For the Caribbean, we must succeed in our own action plan – Go Lean roadmap – for cities and communities so as to dissuade our own people from giving up and abandoning their native homelands. While no society is perfect, nor fully optimized, some countries have been better than others. Many countries in North America and Western Europe have become lands of refuge for our Caribbean Diaspora.

The Go Lean book and accompanying blogs posit that it will take less effort to remediate the Caribbean than to fix some other part of the planet. This is the charge of the Go Lean…Caribbean roadmap, to do the heavy-lifting, to implement the organization dynamics to impact Caribbean society here-now and make this region a better place to live, work and play. The following are the community ethos, strategies, tactics and operational advocacies to effectuate this goal:

Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influences Choices & Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – The Consequences of Choice Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – Minority Equalization Page 24
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Make the Caribbean the Best Address on the Planet Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Repatriate Diaspora Page 46
Strategy – Mission – Dissuade Human Flight/“Brain Drain” Page 46
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Union versus Member-States Page 71
Implementation – Assemble CariCom, Dutch, French, Cuba and US Territories Page 95
Implementation – Enact Territorial Compacts for PR & the Virgin Islands Page 96
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Steps for Self-Governing Entities – Laboratories for fresh policies Page 105
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate Page 118
Implementation – Ways to Benefit from Globalization Page 119
Implementation – Ways to Promote Independence Page 120
Planning – 10 Big Ideas for the Caribbean Page 127
Planning – Lessons Learned from 2008 Page 136
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora Page 217
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Urban Living Page 236
Advocacy – Ways to Impact US Territories Page 244
Appendix – Interstate Compacts for Puerto Rico and the USVirgin Islands Page 278

This Go Lean movement asserts that the current year (2016) was not so redeeming. We must do better… going forward, with our own Way Forward. From Day One/Step One, the roadmap calls for positive change; then it provides turn-by-turn directions for what-how-when-where-why to remediate, mitigate and empower our region forward.

Other communities will be making their own mitigation to make 2017 a better year (than 2016); our Caribbean will be in competition with them, in competition with rest of the world. Considering this competition as a race, we realize that we are behind, trailing our competitors. We have acute deficiencies in our societal engines: economics, security and governance. We must now fix these, so as to dissuade people from leaving their native homelands.

There are many empowerments that our Caribbean region needs to implement to mitigate bad years like 2016. But truth be told, 2016 was not as bad at 2008 – that year was so dire that it inspired the creation of this Go Lean roadmap. Many countries in North America and Western Europe have already applied their formal turn-around from 2008 and now enjoy productive economies; (i.e. Iceland is complaining about their 2% unemployment rate).

While the Caribbean have many problems to mitigate, our biggest crisis stem from the fact that so many of our citizens have fled their Caribbean homelands for foreign shores.

So the quest to fix the Caribbean, though noble, is easier said than done; but it is conceivable, believable and achievable! Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in to this Way Forward, the Go Lean … Caribbean roadmap. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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