Let's face reality
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Jamaica has no equal. While the margins and operations of many producers of commodities the world over have not recovered from the 2008 financial debacle, due to depressed commodity prices, price increase on commodities in this country is a monthly reality. Since 2014, oil price on the world market has seen almost a 50 per cent decline, but in Jamaica oil prices at the pumps are almost as high as when oil was fetching US$90 per barrel. One of the most entrenched economic doctrines in free-market economies is that it is the availability and the demand of a product or service that determines its cost. But in Jamaica, despite the banks and other licensed foreign exchange dealers purchasing, on a weekly basis, more US dollars than they sell, the price of the US dollar continues to skyrocket.
The ease with which business people can increase the price of their products and services remains one of the biggest impediments to growth and development of the local economy. Companies' reports invariably reveal that the massive increase in margins reflected in their balance sheets is hardly ever due to increased production and productivity, but rather to increase in the price of their goods/services. Creativity and business astuteness become major casualties, since all that is required of management is the audacity to constantly increase the price of products/services.
This country cannot continue to sacrifice production and productivity just so that a handful of persons can become wealthy in the shortest possible time.
Perhaps, more than any other single phenomenon, Jamaica's perennial high cost of living is responsible for much of the anxiety and depression so many of our people have become victims of. To our own peril we as a nation have chosen to ignore the fact that anger and resentment must be the natural result of a people who find it a constant struggle to provide the basic necessities for living.
Let us not bury our heads in the sand but instead face reality and come up with solutions.