Doing good business - but at what cost?
THE EDITOR, Sir:
On Wednesday, the revised rankings of the World Bank's Doing Business Report was published. Jamaica showed significant improvement in the rankings with a 36-position jump to 58th. This, however, is absolutely no cause for celebration.
Anthony Hylton, minister of industry, investment and commerce, attributed this improvement in rank to legislation passed regarding registration of business and improved access to loans because of changes in collateral laws. This ranking should, for all intents and purposes, be viewed with scepticism.
The Doing Business Report examines different economies and ranks them in order of how easily a company can start operations. The lower your rank, the harder it is to do business in that country. The question arises: How does a country improve rankings? The answer: Deregulate.
The World Bank has for decades pushed for deregulation of economies. Deregu-lation is the removal of the normal rules that govern a country's economy, which is actually not doing good for business. In fact, as evident from the 2008 financial collapse, which was widely attributed to deregulation, it can severely harm an economy.
A more realistic reason for the improvement in ratings would be the massive devaluation of the dollar. The devaluation of the dollar lowers the labour cost to multinational companies looking to invest in Jamaica. Which is doing good business, except if you are Jamaican, in which case your labour is being exploited for low wages.
Among notable countries ranking high in the report is China. China's large, cheap workforce has made it a friend of good business and subsequent exploitation.
In our pursuit of economic development, let us strive to create economic freedom and not further chain ourselves to neo-colonialism.