You cannot blame your way to success


In the Stabroek News I read a column written by Angelique Nixon, a lecturer at the Institute of Gender and Development Studies at The UWI, St Augustine.

The article deals with Black Lives Matter and what it means for us in the Caribbean and a number of positive points are made about the movement helping blacks to regain their dignity and self-worth while working towards overthrowing global capitalism.

Ms Nixon then goes on to say: ‘We need real talk about the deeply flawed system of meritocracy (just work hard and you will succeed) that supports the system of global capitalism, which relies on keeping many people in poverty.’

Now, this is where I must suggest to Ms Nixon that she do more research on capitalism’s worldwide track record of moving more people out of poverty than any other economic system. Sure, extreme forms of unfettered capitalism where the top one per cent are now earning up to 80 per cent of a country’s wealth, are not sustainable and have to be re-calibrated, but show me one fully socialist country that is doing well.

I’m sorry Ms Nixon, but you ask the Cuban communist authorities what happens to an economy when you take away personal incentives from workers. I’ll tell you: it slowly descends into the grinding poverty that is the hallmark of life for everyone in Cuba, except, of course, for the leaders who live like kings.

While I am in favour of quickly implementing the changes to remove racial and economic injustices, it is important for all of us to understand in this highly charged emotional climate of today that you cannot blame your way to success and riot your way to justice.

Gregory Wight