Keep the Change: Being ‘Basic’ about Basic Needs

Go Lean Commentary

The strong urging to the Caribbean today is to:

Be more Basic.

What exactly does this mean?

Sometimes the reference is good, sometimes bad, and sometimes ugly.

What does Basic Mean? –
In slang, basic characterizes someone or something as unoriginal, unexceptional, and mainstream. A basic girl—or basic bitch as she is often insulted—is said to like pumpkin spice lattes, UGG boots, and taking lots of selfies, for instance.


According to Green’s Dictionary of Slang, basic emerges as slang for someone or something as being “unexciting, unexceptional, or uneventful” in the 1970s. This is an outgrowth of the negative sense of basic as “plain and simple”.

The slang especially stuck to women. In their 1984 song “Meeting in the Ladies Room,” the R&B girl group Klymaxx call a woman basic for making moves on another’s boyfriend. [(See Appendix A below)].

The 2000s saw the rise of the term basic bitch, or a woman who is uninteresting and mainstream in her tastes, interests, style, or personality. Comedian Lil Duval had a 2009 video about the Basic Bitch. [(See Appendix B below)]. The 2011 song “Gucci Gucci” by Kreayshawn features the hook: “And we stunting like / Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada / Basic bitches wear that shit so I don’t even bother.”

Basic has since become associated with unlikeable, predictable, and ordinary things, especially associated with young white women.


While basic can describe anyone or anything considered disagreeably mainstream, it especially insults, as noted, young white women. As basic and basic bitch spread in popular culture, some women aren’t oblivious to their supposed basic-ness but ironically embrace it. But men, be very careful about calling a woman basic, let alone basic bitch. We don’t recommend it.

This is not meant to be a formal definition of basic like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of basic that will help our users expand their word mastery.

The take-away from this foregoing “ugly” definition is that “basic is ‘plain and simple’”.

The plain and simple requirement is that the 30 member-states of the political Caribbean need to do a better job of fulfilling its basic needs: food, clothing, shelter and energy. Globalization has failed us – we must do the Basic ourselves. We do not necessarily need – though we might want – all the fancy solutions.

  • Hungry? Go Fish … or go outside and pluck from a family garden or a family farm. How about plucking eggs or tree-ripen selections from fruit trees (think tomatoes) or a fattened bull for slaughter?
  • Naked? Pull out the sewing machine and make a garment; sweatshops in low-wage countries are the breeding grounds for this virus. How about Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) garments; i.e. mask, gowns, tunics, jackets?
  • Homeless? Gather the building materials and construct a house. Zoning and HOA rules must be agile and flexible. How about allowing family gardens and/or community gardens in urban areas? Barn-houses in rural areas?
  • Stranded? Use the wind to move a turbine and/or move a vehicle (boat) from Point A to Point B. How about generating electricity from alternative sources (wind, sun, thermal and tidal), then powering electric cars?

Thanks to the Coronavirus – COVID-19 crisis, the world is re-thinking the fulfillment of these basic needs. Believe it or not, in every jurisdiction Food Service workers are now regarded as Essential Workers. This is a fundamental change – a shift in values – for jobs that had previously been valued as inconsequential or unworthy for most, except the lowest in society; think  the new immigrants (Migrant Workers) toiling in the fields and the packing houses.

Are these ones now “essential” or sacrificial?

Or are they now … simply Basic?

It’s time to acknowledge the change … and Keep the Change to our value systems. It is time to acknowledge that fulfilling our basic needs is a basic requirement for survival as a people and a collective society.

So often, the basic needs for Caribbean survival were just delegated to others, only fulfilled through imports. But now that it is April 2020 and the world is locked-down, sheltering-in-place, the majority of people have had to avoid gathering for all but essential interactions in order to “flatten the curve”. Those who gather and distribute our food are now more valued and more expensive.

Have you noticed the increase in prices for our necessities? We can no longer be “cute”, only desiring the fancy brands. No, we now have to be basic. We need to Keep this Change.

The 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean had originally asserted that doubling-down on Basic Needs was the key to reforming and transforming the societal engines in our Caribbean homeland. The book stated that the best way to reboot the economy and recover from the Global Crisis – that time it was the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 – was to double-down on the Basics. There is an actual advocacy of this purpose in the Go Lean book; see here some of the specific plans, excerpts and headlines from Page 152, entitled:

10 Ways to Create Jobs … in the Caribbean Region

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market Confederation Treaty: Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU)
The CU will allow for the unification of the region into one market, thereby creating a single economy of 30 member- states, 42 million people and a GDP of over $800 Billion. The CU’s mission is to create high-paying jobs for the region, beyond the minimum wage (defined below). Many high-wage industries would be promoted, incentivized and regulated at the federal level, even new industries created. Jobs come from trade; the CU goal is to improve trade. The CU will thus institute Enterprise Zones and Empowerment Zones – SGE’s – with tax benefits: rebates, abatements – as job creation pockets. The CU will capture data, micro and macro economic metrics, to measure the success/failure of these initiatives.
2 Feed Ourselves
The industries of agri-business allow structured commercial systems to grow, harvest and trade in food supplies. Many of the Caribbean member states (Lesser Antilles) acquire all their food in trade, the agricultural footprint is very small, though some countries (Greater Antilles, Belize, Guyana & Suriname) have a low opportunity cost for producing food. But with the Trade Federation in force, intra-region trade will be the first priority. When the demand is qualified, quantified and assured, the supply and quality there in, will catch up.
3 Clothe Ourselves
With textiles manufacturing; fashion merchandising and logistical industries, jobs can be created in the supply of apparel, shoes and accessories. Today, 90 – 99% of the supply is foreign trade. But once the CU regional demand is qualified, quantified and assured, the local supply will catch up further. 4
4 House Ourselves
In the US, it’s a truism of the National Association of Realtors® that “housing creates jobs” [239]. With the repatriation of the Caribbean Diaspora, local building supplies and new “housing starts” will emerge in the Caribbean. Plus, the CU will facilitate mortgage secondary market and pre-fabulous construction thereby fostering new housing sub-industries.
5 Update Our Own Infrastructure and the Industries They Spun
6 Help Regional Businesses Find Foreign Markets
7 Steer More People to S.T.E.M. Education and Careers
8 Welcome Home Emigrants [ or Repatriates]
9 Welcome “Empowering” Immigrants
10 Draw More Tourists

Every month, the movement behind the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean present a Teaching Series on a subject germane to Caribbean life. For this April 2020, our focus is on the impact of the Coronavirus on the Globe, region, each member-state (national), community and each family. There is the need to re-focus on the changes this crisis has ushered in and to Keep the Changes that were always needed for implementation. This is entry 4 of 5 for this series, which details that there is the need to double-down on Basic Needs (food, clothing, shelter and energy.

The full catalog for this month’s series is listed as follows:

  1. Keep the Change – Lower Carbon Consumption abating Climate Change
  2. Keep the Change – Working From Home & the Call Center Model
  3. Keep the Change Schools – Primary to Tertiary – making e-Learning work
  4. Keep the Change – Basic Needs: Cannot just consume; we must produce as well
  5. Keep the Change – Mono-Industrial Economy: ‘All eggs in 1 basket’

Don’t get it twisted, this Coronavirus-COVID-19 threat means death and devastation for many people and it has devastated the economic engines of most countries – our Caribbean homelands included. There are no Ands, Ifs or Buts; changes are afoot. Some good, some bad and some ugly.

Yes, we can … Keep the Change for the good benefits. We have always needed to do a better job for Food Security. In fact this was the subject of a whole series in December 2019 where we identified these issues, challenges and solutions:

  1. Food Security – Bread Baskets on Land and Sea
  2. Food Security – Temperate Foods in the Tropics
  3. Food Security – Opportunity: 1 County in Iowa raises all the Beef for a Caribbean Cruise Line
  4. Food Security – FTAA: A Lesson in History for servicing Local Foods
  5. Food Security – Big Chicken – Low-hanging fruit for all Poultry needs

The points of reforming and transforming the Caribbean eco-systems for other basic needs – think clothing, housing and energy – were also elaborated upon in many previous blog-commentaries; consider this sample: ‘Missing Solar’ – Inadequacies Exposed to the World The Housing Industry can save us – in Good Times and Bad Way Forward – For Energy: ‘Trade’ Winds EU Assists Barbados in Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency Leading with Money Matters – As Goes Housing, Goes the Market Robots Building Houses – More than Fiction Science of Sustenance: CLT Housing Science of Sustenance: e-Clothing p=10367 Science of Sustenance: Energy Tesla unveils super-battery to enable Alternative Energy for homes Caribbean People have thrived in Fashion industry – Oscar De La Renta Real Estate Investment Trusts – Solution for financing Housing industry

Call us Basic … I dare you.

Rather than an insult, we need to be proud to be more technocratic in the fulfillment of our basic needs. “Plain and simple”, we need to:

  • Feed Ourselves
  • Clothe Ourselves
  • House Ourselves

We should be insulted that we are NOT Basic.

This is why we must Keep the Change.

Coronavirus COVID-19 is not a good happenstance – people are dying.

However, if we can use this crisis to forge change in our society, force changes to our “community ethos” (the Will to Change) and to the societal engines for economics, security and governance, then those sacrifices would not have been in vain.

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste!

We hereby urge all Caribbean stakeholders to work to reform and transform our homeland. How? The strategies, tactics and implementations are all identified, qualified and proposed in the pages of the Go Lean book. It’s a full roadmap for change. A complete roadmap to make our homelands better places to live, work and play. 🙂

About the Book

The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are

The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 11 – 14):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv.  Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

xxx. Whereas the effects of globalization can be felt in every aspect of Caribbean life, from the acquisition of food and clothing, to the ubiquity of ICT, the region cannot only consume, it is imperative that our lands also produce and add to the international community, even if doing so requires some sacrifice and subsidy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A VIDEO – Klymaxx – Meeting In The Ladies Room (Official Video)  –


Posted Dec 25, 2009 – Best of Klymaxx:

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Music video by Klymaxx performing Meeting In The Ladies Room. (C) 1985 Geffen Records

#Klymaxx #MeetingInTheLadiesRoom #Vevo

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  • Song: Meeting In The Ladies Room (Radio Edit)
  • Artist: Klymaxx 
  • Licensed to YouTube by: UMG (on behalf of Geffen*); ARESA, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA – UBEM, BMG Rights Management (US), LLC, Sony ATV Publishing, CMRRA, Abramus Digital, EMI Music Publishing, LatinAutor – PeerMusic, LatinAutor, Audiam (Publishing), LatinAutor – SonyATV, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., SOLAR Music Rights Management, and 4 Music Rights Societies


Appendix B VIDEO – @LilDuval BASIC BITCH! –

[This content of this VIDEO is profane, misogynistic and racist; highly inappropriate, but still considered art.]

Posted Aug 3, 2009


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