We have a culture resistant to progress

Thursday, December 07, 2017

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Dear Editor,

Recently Prime Minister Andrew Holness bragged that his Administration facilitated the creation of 60,000 jobs since last year and GlobalMarkets named Audley Shaw as the publication's finance minister of the year. These achievements must be commended.

However, the present Administration must acknowledge that a growth-inhibiting culture may derail targets. For example, several of our young men expect to become wealthy quite quickly, without sufficient work. The disadvantage of such a mindset is that more young people will engage in illicit activities to gain status. This is problematic because many of them are already criminals.

Culture plays an important role in development, and numerous Jamaicans are unable to delay gratification, which unfortunately is a feature of what sociologists would call a “progress-resistant culture”. A progress-resistant culture is the opposite of a progress-prone culture. In the latter, individuals are innovative and forward-thinking, and not dependent on others for material gains or untrustworthy.

Presently there is no way Jamaica can achieve Vision 2030 with a culture resistant to progress. If one wants empirical data to indicate that culture is holding back the country, then they can read the numerous reports indicating that Jamaica is a low-trust society lacking in innovation. These are all features of poor societies. However, the belief of some Jamaicans that they do not control their destiny is the biggest obstacle to success. This trait exhibits itself in the immense mendicancy that can be seen everywhere in Jamaica. It is unfortunate that healthy young people will boldly declare that they are poor because the system is oppressive. Such individuals do not seem to believe that they can change their circumstances. It is even more disturbing that individuals residing in Jamaica will proudly accept handouts and refuse job opportunities.

Readers may not believe these examples, but such cases do exist. But nothing is more outrageous than when beggars, especially men and street boys, admonish people for not being charitable, like it is their responsibility to support their existence.

The sad reality is that the state of our country is not funny, but disgraceful and political leaders are stupid to think that anything can be achieved when several citizens are just anti-progress cretins.

Lipton Matthews





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