Trinidad Express / Economist Marla Dukharan at the recent post-Budget forum at The University of the West Indies Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), was reported as saying that the government should stop trying to direct the economy by deciding which sector, like tourism for example, gets more or less assistance from the State. Ms Dukharan, according to the report, contends that the market should decide and government should limit itself to creating an enabling environment.

Since the discussion is about the development of local production systems, and of particular importance, those that are geared to the earning of foreign exchange, then the market to which Ms Dukharan refers seems to be the local investor/entrepreneur. May I refer Ms Dukharan to the work of Richard Thaler, the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, who says the market is not necessarily rational it its decisions. Hence we need to look at the past history of this market, the decisions it has made and the impact of its history on its present capability and capacity to adapt to our current economic circumstances- the depletion of our petroleum resource (shortages) and the concern that its and product prices will remain low for a significant period of time.

 

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