New Minister of Economic Development
Political and economic organizations of the island of Curacao have been at odds with each other for a long time, and since the 10-10-10 autonomy, even more than before. Its paradox: economic prosperity on the island dependents very much on the success of globalization of its scarce production, whereas Island political ideology of nationalism is working counter to these objectives.
In principle, economic globalization is most successful when it can ignore national frontiers and compose a bouquet of the most favorable production ingredients, such as labor, know-how, transport, source materials, and energy. By contrast, the Island-policy is emphasizing the importance of nationalism, predominantly through isolationism. Creation of protective, trade-, immigration and import barriers runs counter to the global economic system, in which the island economy it trying to perform. Consequently, the island is no longer competitive in international markets. The economy does not have sufficient flexibility to adapt to competition and compensate shortcomings, as laws prohibit it. Island policy has made international competition on price, service, quality, and security impossible.
So Curacao's economy has become one of the losers in the region and has become an antiquated political entity, structurally unable to grow. Desperate Island politicians, often blind sighted by ideological dreams, seek remedies for the failing economy with solutions that negate, or even further obstruct the functioning of the global economic system.
The challenge for the new Minister of Economic Development is to reconcile these paradoxical powers, to remedy paralyzing legislature and bring the island's economy back to fruition. The former Minister may have spent considerable attention on individual markets but never dared to touch the basic framework of economic institutions, laws, and regulations. The parliamentary support for the past and the future government was, and will be again, extremely weak, making any ideological change extremely tedious.
With elections less than one year away, the efficacy of any policy or Minister can be questioned, so the Island economy may continue to be anemic due to prolonged paralysis.
By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Opinion columnist for Curaçao Chronicle