Get in tune with harsh realities

Stock image source: pxhere.com
Stock image source: pxhere.com

THE EDITOR: Public-sector wage negotiations have begun and with them, the usual unfortunate sabre-rattling by some involved.

Two principles are really at play here. The first is a tenet of family law, where a divorced spouse demands to be kept in the condition he or she has grown accustomed. The quantum of alimony payments must reflect this. The second is informed by an economic reality – you must learn to live within your means.

In today's world, we are grappling with a pandemic the likes of which have not been seen in our lifetime. Covid has ravaged not just health but economies.

Warfare is currently being conducted in the global theatre with all its disruptive effects. It is suggested that famine may soon follow.

We live in a world where certain truths have become evident. Chief among them is the fact that the cost of things has gone up and quite likely this will continue. Also, there are supply-side challenges that promise to get worse. These are economic realities we cannot overlook.

Government has offered a two per cent wage increase to the one group who kept their jobs during the dark days of national lockdown – the Public Service. This certainly does not seem like a lot.

The point unions are making is that their members must be able to maintain their standard of living regardless of how much prices rise on the world market. Certainly, a government can accede to this request.

However, in super-quick time the country's limited earnings would be frittered away and when our fortunes turn again and the price of energy falls, we would be left in the lurch, with nothing to show for it.

There is only one way out of our conundrum. Instead of adopting the fractured family construct of a spouse demanding to be kept, we need to apply real economic principles to achieve real economic results.

If we are to live as we desire to live, we collectively need to create as much wealth as we consume. We can no longer live above our means. Either we make do with less, or we create new wealth.

Government can't do it alone. Counterintuitive as it may seem, we need leaders who won't just give us everything we demand. We're going to have to do like the Chinese: eat little and live long. At least for a while.

JOANNE K JOSEPH

San Fernando

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"Get in tune with harsh realities"

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