Former political leader of the Dominica Freedom Party Kent Vital
Former political leader of the Dominica Freedom Party Kent Vital

Over the past two months, we talked about negative economic cultures and how these have been contributing to keeping back our progress as a nation. These cultures included the culture of poverty, the passive service culture, the envious or crab culture, and the culture of corruption. All these cultures are prevalent in our country to some degree, but the envious culture and the culture of corruption seem to be particularly strong and they are major factors that prevent our people from thriving. There is also the extractive culture and last week we noted that the ruling political deviants in our land are also would-be oligarchs. They are extracting every cent that they can from the people of Dominica and they are intentionally keeping the masses from prospering and from having economic dignity. They do this in order to have total control of the economy alongside having political control which they have been maintaining fraudulently.

While many of us lament that our country has lost the essence of what it once was, there is hope that we can restore our country! Let us bind together in this season. Let us start that journey by returning to the place where we are a nation that is full of Godly reverent fear. Despite the government, let us make extraordinary efforts to bring prosperity to the people. Let us work towards positive cultures – the dream culture and the commonwealth culture! So let us talk about these positive economic cultures.

The dream culture is a win-win culture! One of the reasons that the negative cultures we discussed before prevail is that many people fail to realize that we all can win if we operate with integrity, if we are creative, and if we deliberately look for win-win outcomes. If we are creative, we can build Dominica into a thriving country where all can have a good quality of life. Corrupt people either don't realize that or, they are too lazy to use their talents to contribute to that kind of country or they are impatient so they would rather steal from those who have worked hard and smart. In effect what they want is for them to win and for you to lose – they have a win-lose culture. Those with an envious culture prefer that they lose and you lose, either because they can't imagine that we can all win and so they allow their hearts to be filled with envy toward those whom they perceive to be succeeding. Those with the passive service culture accept a mediocre existence (they lose) while providing their services to the winners which are often a small segment of the society that are the traditional entrepreneurs. They fail to realise that they can have a fuller existence if they just move from their comfort zone.

In the dream culture, entrepreneurs pursue their dreams, but they realize that they would be most successful and fulfilled in doing so if they also help the people that they employ to fulfill their dreams as well and to have rewarding engagements with their enterprises. In effect, they are always seeking win-win outcomes.

When enterprises remunerate and otherwise reward their employees fairly and effectively for good work, employees feel valued and more motivated – which can overall boost the productivity and success of the business. This helps bring out the innovation spirit in otherwise passive service providers. Employees' happiness is increased in the process and they stay loyal to the enterprise and help grow the business. Some entrepreneurs mistakenly think that if they reward workers better that their businesses would be less profitable. It can actually be the opposite. If rewards are managed effectively, the profitability of enterprises can increase. But we do have much work to do to change the mindset of both workers and entrepreneurs.

If we look at our circumstances here in Dominica, we don't have the kind of government that wants the people to thrive to an extent that would challenge the dominance of the would-be oligarchs. But clearly, our country has enormous potential to become internationally competitive in at least a few areas, including in tourism. To reap such potential for the fair benefit of the majority of the people, we need better governance. But that notwithstanding, we the people can begin to make extraordinary efforts, despite the government, to cultivate a win-win culture as this can be a major condition to position our enterprises to excel. The time will soon arrive when a government of integrity will be in place and they will help champion a win-win culture in our nation. But in the meantime, let us press along. Let us, therefore, discuss some of the ways we can shift our thinking and efforts. First, we must value talent. In our enterprises, we must seek out the best talent available, nurture talent, reward talent, and retain talent. The most successful businesses do that very well. Let us expand on this next week and talk about the other shifts we need to make towards a win-win culture.

Kent Vital Economist