International Economist says Caribbean cannot insulate itself against global economic shocks

An international economist says there is very little the Caribbean can do to insulate its self against global economic shocks.

Professor Amar Bhide’ who has written extensively on world economics, says  Caribbean government can learn much from the mistakes of the United States.

“There is the expectation in some places that the adjustments are made by governments. The best adjustments are made by individual business people…refocusing efforts on trying to get where the customers are.”

He delivered the 13th Memorial William G Demas Lecture organized by the Caribbean Development Bank in the Cayman Islands on Tuesday night and says countries of the region should not expect external sources to provide hand outs to deal with the impact of the global economic crisis.

“If you (the Caribbean countries) get yourself into a fiscal hole, there is no one who is going to pick you up and if people lend you their money temporarily, it will come due,” he said.

Bhide is also warning against reckless spending by regional governments, saying it would be best if they left the attempts to rise out of the economic slumps to local entrepreneurs.

“It is extremely fashionable in the States, at least among some people to say that governments can revive the economy through significant stimulus spending, (but) I am deeply skeptical that this can be done in the United States.”

“The governments have a role in making sure they don’t mess up,” Bhide said.

“I think the best governments can do is to not make mistakes, not take reckless action and trust to the enterprise and enthusiasm of your entrepreneurs…to figure out how best to adapt to the new world”.©

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