Published On: Fri, Jul 5th, 2013

Doubts

Jacob Gelt DekkerA question I often get is,” If you had known what you know today, would you still have done the entire Kura Hulanda project?” The implication of such question is, “never!”

Entrepreneurs often plunge into new projects, because they operate under the delusion that what they are attempting is not risky. Mostly, halfway they discover the truth--- and, because it is too late to turn back, they are forced to finish the job, and that is what also happened to me, building and developing Kura Hulanda in Otrobanda and at Westpunt. So, it was done, not because I am so heroic, or had supernatural vision, but because I was naïve and did not see the risk. I lived life as it came, day by day.

Albert Hirschman (1915-2012), an American economist stated, “The only way in which we can bring our creative resources fully into play is by misjudging the nature of the task, by presenting it to ourselves as more routine, simple, undemanding of genuine creativity than it will turn out to be.” I could not formulate it better,” misjudging the nature of the task...” I had to fight and struggle to make something out of the most dilapidated part of town, and now 15 years later, am still fighting and struggling, to allow it to survive and blossom.

Civil servants, politicians and bankers are not entrepreneurs and like to lend their efforts and budgets only to projects with foreseeable outcomes, they are risk averse. At the same time, they hate to admit that society’s most successful achievements happened by stumbling, rather than through careful planning, it happened by an endless evolutionary process of trial-and-error. Market research and analysis, forecasting and projections, all mandatory for every entrepreneurial student these days, did not create ingenuity, invention, creativity and wealth, but people’s anxiety and desperation did.

The ongoing war, waged between young entrepreneurs and grey, risk-averse, ruling civil-servant elite, leads to desperation and enormous frustration, and frustration to anxiety. Frustration and anxiety can be bottled up for quite a while but eventually will always explode. The revolutions of 1795 and `1969 on Curacao mark the island’s present identity more than anything else.
Law and order are, to some extent, the obvious conditions for a gradual accumulation of skills, capital and investors’ confidence, and form the foundation of economic progress. As a paradox, these days, the most turbulent period in the existence the island of autonomous Curacao, the Plan of Action of Government was baptized , ” Peace, Tranquility and Prosperity.” But silent contemplation, navel staring, meditation and prayer only are not going to create any new wealth.

Anxiety is an unstoppable motive power to generate ingenuity and creativity. Watching the unfolding revolution in Egypt shows the onlooker that anxiety trumps by far law-and-order. Measuring success only by the stilted monolithic parameters of the economist did nothing. The mountainous obstacle of Morsi’s Islamic revolution was moved but the anxiety of the masses, no matter at what price.
It is only one year ago, when Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte attempted a Coup d’état on the island of Curacao. As a politician and as a person he seriously lacked credibility in his walks and ways and popular support of the masses did not materialize. After a few days, he had to relinquish power to the ‘ancient regime’ of grey, risk-averse, civil servants. The downward economic spiral that followed was even accelerated by a crime wave.

If crime is a primitive expression of creativity, a result of wide spread anxiety, than we must conclude that a successful social and economic evolution is underway, no matter how painful it may be today.

Who, which entrepreneur or political leader is going to grab the unguided energy of anxiety of thousands of young desperadoes on the island and bundle it into a powerful creative force??

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