Jamaicans deluded — expecting to get rich without innovation

Monday, August 26, 2019

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Dear Editor,

It is obvious that our politicians and thought leaders do not have the formula for economic growth. They rant profusely that growth rates are too low to achieve prosperity, but few comment on the necessity of productivity and innovation.

Productivity and innovation are the ingredients for economic progress.

Easterly and Levine (2001) note that around 60 per cent of the cross country variations in growth rates of per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is due to differences in productivity growth.

On the other hand, innovation results in higher levels of efficiency and savings; therefore, increasing output. With more savings, firms have an incentive to innovate and explore new markets; thereby boosting growth and enriching consumers.

However, Jamaica ranks poorly on all ingredients. During 1976-2017, productivity growth was 0.61 per cent annually and, according to the World Bank (2014), we lack an innovative private sector.

Moreover, international consultant Adriana La Valley recently informed us that over the past 10 years, Jamaica's private sector growth remained flat, with total factor productivity hovering at 1.6 per cent.

Jamaicans are really deluded if they expect to get rich without smart work and innovation. Further, their indolence is aided by weak leaders who refuse to hold them accountable for their productivity. The only conclusion to be drawn from analysing Jamaicans is that they enjoy being laughing stocks.

Lipton Matthews

lo_matthews@yahoo.com


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