This article originally appeared in print as the Letter to the Editor in the Jamaica Observer, on Thursday March 6th, 2014.
LOVE THE POOR, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US?
by Lipton Matthews
A prosperous society is one in which all citizens are treated equally regardless of their gender, race or economic standing within the society. We often comment on discrimination based on race and gender, although Jamaica has made strides in terms of gender and racial equality.
For example, in 2010, British-based newspaper The Independent noted that Jamaica had the highest ratio of women in high-skilled jobs, therefore outperforming the other 19 countries which were examined. There are even companies with black directors this is in stark contrast to colonial times.
However there seems to be an attempt by some in the society to deny rights to those who have accumulated their wealth, whether by inheritance or hard work. The Ministry of Housing’s recent decision to disobey the ruling of the Supreme Court by seeking an injunction to prevent New Falmouth Resorts Ltd from evicting squatters who unlawfully occupied its property is an example.
Now the teachers of social justice choose to inform us that Jamaica is the product of an inequitable society created by slavery, therefore we must not demonise the descendants of slaves who don’t own a piece of this rock called Jamaica.
Successive administrations should have created an environment that was conducive to growth, thereby stimulating investments, boosting tax revenues and empowering the masses to purchase properties for themselves. Smart governments enable productive citizens, because without them quality of life would be worse.
We are not equal in terms of talents, and we must not strive for equality, because if all men were equal we would be left with mediocrity. Can you imagine how dismal the world would be if people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were average?
Jamaica needs an alternative to both the present Administration and the Opposition, which seems to be proudly embracing the welfare state. It does not make sense for us to be saying that Jamaica is ready for investments when we find it so difficult to protect private property which is a basic requirement for success in a capitalist economy.
The prime minister talks much about the poor, and she pushes PATH, JEEP, and CDF, she even put up new fencing, all for this group. There are many groups to defend the poor from unjust treatment, but no organisation to protect the productive class from excessive state regulations. We can’t have such a society, if those with superior skills are not allowed to be effective, then the masses will never be elevated.
Lipton Matthews is a first year law student and is unusual in being a Libertarian-Conservative Jamaican Adolescent who believes in the virtues of Capitalism. He can be reached at email@example.com.