REPORT #155 Jan 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Usually, when we talk about social justice, we are referring to equal educational opportunities, the provision of medical services to poor and rich alike, food and housing, public transportation, old age pensions for those that cannot work anymore and so on.

In the last fifty years since the end of World War 2, various experiments in political organization have been tried around the world in many countries, attempting to find social justice. The most common identifiers were Marxist/Leninism, Maoism, Capitalism, Dictatorship, Military governments and others. Here in the Caribbean, we have seen many of our so-called "leaders" and would be aspiring "leaders" experiment with Marxist/Leninism, such as the Jagan's, Seaga, Musa and Shoman and others around the Caribbean and Latin America. Democracy is an oft bandied about word, that is identified with Capitalism, but even democracy has come into disrepute, because it has many colors and stripes. There are as many graduations or more, of governments called Democratic than there are Marxist style variations. One could argue that the same crackpot "leaders" get elected regularly so they must be good, or popular; but we know that is not because of their ability, but because of the inherited colonial Empire Building political structures that controls party government politics through centralized mechanisms. The existing political party system in the Caribbean simply does not allow any alternatives. But we are not building a colonial empire anymore. It is time to build self sufficient nations and find social justice, the best we may, within the limited resources that we can afford.

Putting aside all this specialized jargon and technical slogan talk, there has been a sweeping set of changes going on unnoticed by fiery idealists and would be "LEADERS" over the last 35 years around the world.

The field of political science is becoming ever more quantified. Unlike theories, idealism and half baked crackpot political ideas, the field of political science with the advent of easy world jet travel, growing statistical bases and the use of number crunching computer capability is turning out some interesting results; that are not theories, but plain factual results. Empirical evidence beloved of the scientific world.

So, you young idealist and aspiring political "leader", do you really want to know what the best results are for achieving SOCIAL JUSTICE? You may not like the results, if you have a powerful ego and what politician does not have a powerful ego? Nor will you like the results if you enter politics to get rich, or your personality requires you to increase your turf, personal control and bloat your sense of self worth.

The best method of achieving SOCIAL JUSTICE, the number crunching computers say, are LOCAL GOVERNMENTS that are de- centralized. It seems, that when you have a situation in which government is broken down into smaller pieces, so that the clerk across the counter knows the individual on the other side personally, you get better social justice. It seems, that when smaller groups are in charge of policy and decision making, the sharing of scarce resources, both national and local funds, plus the setting of priorities, takes into more effective consideration, the poor, the uneducated, the sick and the weak. The worst performers in political studies are the centralized models.

We know this to be true from Belize also. Any study of Belizean Cooperatives, their members, their loans, their assistance programs, widows pensions and such will only re- confirm these world wide studies.

So, aspiring Belizean "Leaders" WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? Can you give up your ego for the greater good? Can you de- centralize political power? Can you devise government by consensus? Can you really release national revenue to Districts by Block GRANT systems to allow them to decide how to spend it according to local priorities without interfering?

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