For those of us who are accustomed to Caribbean economist Marla Dukharan’s frequently off-base and usually disproved observations about the nature and prospects of the Bahamian economy, her comments at Tuesday’s RF Economic Outlook were of little surprise.
Some of her assertions relative to our supposed over-dependence on tourism were just plain wrong on their face, while others demonstrated either a limited understanding of our circumstances or a mischaracterization of them.
For instance, she lists “deteriorating human development” in support of her argument against our basic development model, when in fact, according to the latest (2022) report, The Bahamas has maintained its status in the “very high human development” category and actually risen three places from 58th to 55th in the world, while its nearest regional rival, Barbados, has fallen from 58th to 70th.
She also makes false comparisons in her analysis, such as comparing our debt history with that of Barbados without pointing out that Barbados has had progressive income tax since before its independence and we (alone among independent countries in the Americas) have none.
If we did, our economy would have been in surplus since independence and poverty rates would be minuscule.
Ms. Dukharan herself acknowledges this (to quote her: “the tax system is regressive and therefore pro-poverty”).
But instead of recommending that we simply fix it, she quickly reverts to her default recommendation that we cozy up to the International Monetary Fund – a monstrous, neo-liberal institution that is hopefully headed into oblivion – together with the remaining architecture of post-war western global hegemony.
Instead of admitting that freely chosen top down economics and a freely chosen regressive tax structure are in fact the whole story of The Bahamas’ self-imposed debt “problem”, she instead advocates that we tie our fortunes to the world’s worst promoter of toxic neo-liberal economics whose “cures” have caused Barbados’ precipitous fall from grace in terms of human development.
– Andrew Allen