Published On: Thu, Jan 12th, 2017


Jacob Gelt DekkerThe road to economic growth starts with investment in education. But more than just passing on useful knowledge is needed; training and drilling are essential parts of the package.

“Uncoachable kids become unemployable adults. Let your kids get used to someone being tough on them. It’s life, get over it."  (Patrick Murphy, Alabama Softball).

Many young parents fail to bring discipline into their families, thus laying the groundwork for a future chaotic life of their children and often failure. Generations earlier, disciple, training, and drilling were left to Jesuit priests, but they disappeared from the stage.

“The Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism,” by Max Weber( 1900) showed how rigid disciple, education, and training combined with a Calvinistic lifestyle of worldly asceticism, became a source of economic growth and capital accumulation in Western Europe and the USA. But Calvinism has also disappeared from the stage of dominant, society-shaping religions.

Currently, in the developing world it is the explosive growth of Evangelicalism that is creating modern economies. Pentecostalism appears to have taken over the "discipline" of Calvinism. Religions change over time, so it is not meaningful to fence for one, or another. The world knows about 3,000 gods, and believers adhere to their one chosen God and declare all others false.

How religion and its social behavior can retard economic development became blatantly clear to the world with the ISIS-phenomena; their objective was not economic growth but destruction. Note:  Islamic economics is a subject unto itself, and a single example does not represent an entire religious group. One can also argue that Catholicism and it strong anti-intellectualism in the Middle Ages retarded economic growth enormously.

So, let us stick to the elements of training, education, and drilling, which seem innate to the teachings of some religions.  In most of South America and the Caribbean, recently moral leaders have not stepped up to the plate. Even in the narco industry, religions stand aside.

Priests, or whatever elusive titles the moral leaders bestowed on themselves, do not care much about the economy and have not made any contribution providing children with the training they lack in their household upbringings.

Politicians have done very little that had any effect. The efficacy of their rules, regulations, and laws resulted in even greater numbers of drop outs, and never in the creation of an effective workforce, ready for 100% employment as the objective.

Most carefully the ruling elite carefully placed TRIMS ( transmission isolating mechanisms), to exclude the undesirables. It is very hard for any poor kid to escape its environment and thus break the cycle of poverty. Most likely scenario is that he will run into Hermetic roadblocks.

The integrity and true intention of your governments can be measured by the success rate of upward mobility of the poor.

By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Opinion columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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