“Hold fast to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard of me” – 2 Timothy 1:13
Whether the challenges with which we are faced are related to global, regional, national, sector, community or individual situations, there is one overriding philosophy that remains paramount. These challenges may be addressed by the power of affirmation where an affirmation may be described as a positive statement of truth which is spiritually inspired.
It is akin to the power of positive thinking. As human beings, if we make positive affirmations then positive outcomes are likely to materialise. If our focus is on negative things, then negative outcomes will materialise. It is the same law. Whatever you focus on, that outcome will materialise. So why not focus on the positive?
Last week I received a response to one of my recent columns. It was in the form of four globally related questions: (1) Is Entrepreneurship in conflict with caring for the poor and neglected by Government and Society? (2)How do we articulate and arrive at an equitable and God-fearing balance between Poverty and Riches? (3) Is Entrepreneurship synonymous with Capitalism? (4) Is Entrepreneurship synonymous with initiatives for Social and Economic development?
My response was: The role of Government should be to undertake policy, legislation, support services and the creation of a user friendly enabling environment for its populace. The role of the private sector is to grow the economy. We can only grow the economy by the achievement of one successful enterprise after another. Enterprise development is driven by entrepreneurship. The elements of enterprise development are invention, innovation, entrepreneurship and shepherding (to mitigate the risk of business failure).
Governments have to be creative in designing and collecting taxes to carry out its role above. Successful enterprises make profits some of which, through their Corporate Social Responsibility window, contribute to caring for the poor.
An equitable balance between Poverty and Riches can only be achieved by spiritually aware leadership who surround themselves with persons who have sophisticated skills to achieve the balance. Unfortunately these leaders are a rare commodity. Most leaders tend to be driven by short term political gains forced on them by the political systems within which their countries operate.
Entrepreneurship and capitalism are both driven by the profit motive. There is nothing wrong with the profit motive, indeed if an enterprise is not profitable and continually makes a loss the this is not sustainable. If an enterprise is marginally profitable then the investors become unhappy because they are not getting an attractive return on their investment. The leaders and managers of enterprises must positively affirm to strive for a high enterprise sustainability rate within the context of the triple bottom line (Environmental, Financial and Social factors).
There are disturbing reports that the Caricom Integration Movement is in a state of crisis for three reasons, namely (1) long-standing frustrations with its slow progress; (2) a serious weakening in its structure and operation over a number of years; (3) continuing economic retrenchment since the 2008 financial crisis and risk of a further downturn in 2012; and (4) Its weakness to function as a people centred movement because of inbuilt lethargy in our collective political leadership and also the bureaucratic inertia.
This can no longer be tolerated if the Community is to survive. If our focus is on negative things, then negative outcomes will materialise. Maybe we need to rethink the role of Caricom and devise and reaffirm an appropriate structure.
At the national level, Britain’s Prince Edward affirmed Barbados as a “model small state” but advised its leaders they would need courage, creativity and common sense to overcome the economic challenges. He was addressing a Joint Sitting of Parliament in the Senate Chamber, held in commemoration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and further reaffirmed that Barbados had demonstrated its maturity and self-confidence and that it actively seeks to learn from the past.
The West Indian Sea-Island Cotton Industry is now once again the subject of another Business Plan and Marketing Strategy, this time funded by the European Union and led by an Israeli Team Leader. There has been such lack of attention to germplasm bank maintenance and breeding which has resulted in deterioration in the quality of the fibre, over the last eight years, that nothing short of a miracle will now be required to resuscitate and grow the industry. Let us hope that by means of positive affirmation, the family silver can be polished to restore its former potential by diligently addressing its corporate governance, marketing, production, human resource and investment finance issues.
Community based organisations are usually the beneficiaries of grants from Government and funding agencies. They must, in addition, affirm to apprise themselves of the opportunities created by entrepreneurship thinking.
At the individual level, the impact of the recession has induced a major unemployment threat in the public and private sectors. Traditional jobs may not be sustainable. We have to affirm that private sector led national trading systems, for example, in agriculture and in the cultural industries, will have to be developed to create opportunities, not jobs, through a dynamic enterprise programme boosted by the shepherding and venture capital process. Even the sick must motivate themselves and reaffirm to get better quickly and rejoin the labour force. Of course, affirmative action is also needed by all concerned.
Finally, we affirm that all this will be developed in the context of sustainability.