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Can't we think long-term like Chinese?

Published:Tuesday | May 16, 2017 | 12:00 AM


As the current leadership and policy debacle unfolds in the USA, we realise the dangers of short-term thinking based on anger, nostalgia, the promise of jobs, domination and antipathy to the previous president and administration.

We here in Jamaica have a short attention span, and an instant gratification mentality. Many of us want to 'eat a food' today and have fun. This is understandable, as many have been tightening their belts all their lives. Others of us have continued to earn here and invest elsewhere in the manner of the absentee British landlords of old.

Jamaica's good old days resulted in continued flows of mass migration, the development of the tribalised political state based on partisan patronage and clients, and the aggrandisement of far too few Jamaicans. We are now the No. 9 Caribbean country as a place to live, one of the worst places to do business as well as scoring high on press freedom and in some other areas. Overall, we have to become strategic thinkers.

How then can we move to become long-term thinkers with a vision that can inspire us to achieve what we are capable of. We like to talk the talk, but not walk the walk

Do we have a strategic plan? What does the 2030 plan say to me at the level of the individual and the family? Our leaders want to win the next election, with the supporters seeking to win the next jobs and contracts. Can we learn to think long term at home, at school and at work?

Who is to demonstrate that we can succeed taking the long-term road rather than the shortcut that draws blood? We can learn from the Chinese, who think in 50-year agreements and have had a civilisation lasting thousands of years. If not in the next 50 years, the Chinese will be in control of some of the prime resources of Jamaica and we will be onlookers and on the margins.