Why the diaspora has made Jamaica economic situation worse vs better

I know I am going to get in trouble for this one, but I am willing to go ahead and make the point for what its worth.

It has been said that remittances is Jamaica’s  largest foreign exchange earner, contributing over US$2B per year .( I would like to make a point here. The term foreign exchange earner is really a misnomer for remittance , given we really do nothing to earn this money).

The money that comes in from remittances is largely ” free money” sent home by Jamaican nationals living overseas to support families back in Jamaica. In some cases families have put up the funds to send one of their own overseas with the hope that they will in turn send back a portion of their earnings to support them back in Jamaica.

Here is the problem I have with remittances and why it really has not helped Jamaica, in fact I will posit that it has made things worse for Jamaica.

I find that when people work hard for what they want they tend to do the following

  1. Make better decisions on how they spend their money
  2. They make better investment decisions
  3. They waste less.
  4. They are more frugal and circumspect
  5. They are more responsible
  6. They “floss” less

On the other hand, when the money is ” free” and the recipient  has done nothing to earn it, the opposite of items 1 – 6 is true.

If Jamaicans knew they would not get income for their poor decision making process, it stands to reason that they would make better decisions and where they are not sure, seek answers from those who have more knowledge that they do.

Jamaican voters cast their votes based on long standing political loyalty to either the JLP or the PNP and have been able to get away with it for a long time, due to ” free” money from overseas, which tends to somewhat “insulate” them from their poor decisions election after elections.

So on one hand, those in the poorest communities in Jamaica vote on the assumption that the PNP is likely to support them when they win, so they continue to vote that way. The others will go out and vote for more of the same type of poor governance as their is no consequence to their actions, knowing that they will be getting some of that US$2B that is likely to roll in again this year from relatives and friends overseas.

If people had to vote based on the outcomes of the economy ie on the basis that their existence and livelihood is on the basis of the outcome of economic growth and nothing else, I guarantee you that PNP would never serve more than a single term in office unless they are able to generate economic growth,

Today they don’t have to,  no one is starving or is likely to starve because we can all screw up our voting process , take no responsibility for putting in novices to run the country, because we can always call Jay overseas and ask him to top up the money he used to send to Western Union because prices have increased. These people see zero link between their bad decisions and the state of the economy and really don’t care, because money will some how come in from overseas.

This US$2B does not really help the economy in the way it should, as it largely wasted in booze, hair and other areas of non essential spending and is one reason I strongly believe why voters refuse to take greater care for whom they cast their votes as in the end, the income they receive is not as a  result of the output of their efforts or that of the Jamaican economy.

Now, not that all remittances are wasted as  some of that does go into education, the problem is those educated by this hardly have a different outlook on life from a Jamaican perspective.

Bless up

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