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Jamaican-born US strategist to launch book at UWI, Mona

Published:Sunday | September 15, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Professor Evan Duggan (right) in dialogue with Dr Peter Blair Henry at a 2011 Thought Leaders' Dinner & Lecture at the University of the West Indies, Mona. - File

Jamaica-born Peter Blair Henry, dean of the Leonard Stern School of Business, New York University, believes the First World has much to learn from Third World economies.

Blair Henry has had the diverse experience of living in both the Caribbean and the United States, having migrated to the United States at age eight, where he went on to study at Stanford University in California and later in the United Kingdom as a Rhodes Scholar.

The world-renowned strategist used his expertise in economics in combination with scholarly research and a wealth of experience to produce the book Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth, which will have its local launch next Tuesday at The Undercroft of the Senate Building at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus.

Blair Henry is highly regarded as one of the world's leading analysts in the area of international economic policy.

In 2008, he led Barack Obama's Presidential Transition Team in reviewing lending agencies, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In 2009, Obama appointed him to the President's Commission on White House Fellowships.

The local book launch will allow Jamaicans a chance to weigh in on its provocative content.


Professor Evan Duggan, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the UWI, Mona, said: "In an effort to have a more solution-oriented focus, the UWI continues to invite speakers that will challenge our thinking and expand our perspectives. We are excited to host the Jamaican launch of this book, as it provides significant insights into how our country can approach its search for solutions."

Blair Henry provides answers to the fundamental question: "Which policy reforms, implemented under what circumstances, actually increase economic efficiency and help countries make the most of their scarce resources?"

The professor has authored numerous academic articles and book chapters, and has earned a reputation for a series of articles which defy conventional wisdom about global capital flows, debt relief, and the role of institutions in economic growth. Perhaps the most interesting of these pieces, 'Institutions vs Policies: A Tale of Two Islands', inspired NPR's 'Planet Money' and 'This American Life' to travel with Blair Henry to the Caribbean for a first-hand view of the economic disparities between Barbados and Jamaica.

Turnaround, Blair Henry's first full-length book, highlights how Third World nations such as Brazil and Indonesia have made an economic turnaround in spite of stringent measures placed upon them within the last decade. It proposes that the crises currently being faced by First World countries may be alleviated by following the examples of these emerging nations.

Dr Densil A. Williams, acting executive director of Mona School of Business and Management, noted: "Turnaround provides important lessons not only for developed countries which are suffering from a crisis, but small low-growth economies like Jamaica can also adapt some of the lessons to turnaround their poor growth performance. We hope that the Jamaican launch will continue to stimulate the discourse about the tough policies that Jamaica must implement to ensure its long-run growth."