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Navigating the Storm of Transition

Navigating the Storm of Transition

 

March 23, 2024

 

As I sifted through the news this morning, two articles about the state of affairs in the Netherlands, one of the richest countries in the world and the mother country of the Kingdom, caught my attention. One delved into the struggles faced by a quarter of employees in paying their bills (van Erven Dorens, 2024), while the other highlighted the relentless surge in house prices, nearing record levels once again (van Gurp, 2024). These revelations brought to mind the staggering global issue of poverty and its far-reaching consequences, drawing parallels with the dire conditions akin to the law of the jungle in places like Haiti. It's a universal concern that demands our attention.


But before delving into these broader issues, let's address some local matters that have been weighing heavily on my mind over the past 24 hours. A lengthy parliamentary debate ensued regarding the recent travels of parliament delegations—an ongoing saga with little tangible outcome, especially during these crisis-ridden times. Meanwhile, as some members engage in extravagant shopping sprees and questionable activities abroad, many citizens struggle to make ends meet. It's disheartening to witness such disparities in priorities.


The heavy-handed tactics employed during tax collection, exemplified by the recent incident at a small physiotherapy practice, highlight a troubling disparity in priorities. While some individuals struggle to make ends meet, others engage in extravagant behavior without consequence. This underscores the need for a fair and transparent tax system that supports small businesses and individuals during times of economic hardship, ensuring equitable distribution of the tax burden.


Amidst this disheartening scenario, a glimmer of hope emerged as the parliament finally approved a law banning single-use plastics—a significant step forward in environmental conservation. However, this triumph is marred by the relentless march of construction projects that encroach upon precious natural spaces, all for the sake of dubious benefits. The need for sustainable development becomes increasingly apparent, as echoed by concerns raised by economists and citizens alike.


The Association of Economists' concerns about the sustainability of tourism on our island resonates deeply, particularly since I addressed this very issue back in 2022 (Goede, 2022). Unfortunately, at that time, my arguments were met with ridicule by certain quarters. However, the Association's acknowledgment of the pressing need to address the carrying capacity of our tourism sector reflects a growing awareness of the delicate balance between economic growth and environmental preservation. As stewards of economic policy, their advocacy for a more holistic approach to prosperity underscores the importance of prioritizing long-term sustainability over short-term gains. Their insights serve as a timely reminder that our economic decisions today will shape the future of our society and environment for generations to come.


During a recent visit to the mall, conversations invariably turned to the exorbitant cost of living, particularly concerning food prices—a stark contrast to reports of economic growth touted by the Central Bank and the behavior of members of parliament. This dissonance underscores the urgent need for a more holistic approach to economic and social development, as advocated by the Social Economic Council in their pursuit of "brede welvaart" or broad prosperity. This in a context of a new social contract.

We find ourselves amidst a perfect storm of transition, yet many remain oblivious, consumed by the struggles of daily survival. The complexity of our predicament eludes politicians and policymakers, creating a profound disconnect with the growing ranks of the impoverished. But amidst this turmoil, there lies a glimmer of hope—the potential for grassroots initiatives and citizen-led solutions.

In this turbulent landscape, dissent is not merely a voice of opposition but a cornerstone of democracy—a catalyst for change and progress. It reminds us that individualism is not the norm; rather, it's our collective strength and solidarity that will see us through these challenging times. As we navigate this storm of transition, let us remember that our greatest asset lies not in our differences but in our shared humanity.


The situation in Haiti serves as a stark reminder of the global dimensions of poverty and inequality. The law of the jungle prevails in a society where basic necessities are scarce, and the most vulnerable are left to fend for themselves. It underscores the urgent need for international solidarity and concerted efforts to address systemic injustices and uplift communities trapped in cycles of deprivation.

 

 

 

References

Goede, M. (2022, June 25). Is de toeristische sector op Curaçao uit ontwikkeld? Retrieved from Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/de-toeristische-sector-op-cura%C3%A7ao-uit-ontwikkeld-miguel-goede/?trk=articles_directory&originalSubdomain=nl


 

 

Miguel Goede

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