Features

Creating A Sustainable Industry, Jobs

Image of Bud Slabbaert
Image of Bud Slabbaert
By Cdr. Bud Slabbaert

EVERYONE wants treats. You do and so do investors, business people and politicians. Let’s make everyone happy. Can that be done? Not having the evidence that something exists, yet does not mean that it cannot exist or cannot be done! Let’s not argue by lack of argumentation but get at it with an open mind, some logic and, just for the heck of it, some imagination. We promise the ‘investor ‘a unique global sustainable industry development with a secure return of investment!’

Why do we want investors anyway? “For a strong economy”, politicians will say; “more profits”, business people will say. It’s like one wanting a smart phone and the other a high definition TV set. It’s neither a smart nor a high definition point of view. There are two concerns in each life and it is important to understand and accept which is what: Things you want and things you need. If it’s is put that way, you may want an investor, but do you need one? What you really need is employment! Employment brings revenue and buying power. Once you have what you need, you can afford the things you want, like a strong economy, profits, a smart phone and a HD TV set. I can envision that the dynamics will become so strong that some taxation is not needed anymore. Now I’m making everyone happy from the poorest to the richest.

‘What a treat, keep going,’ most will think. ‘What a quack, selling healing lizard oil with bull sacrifice to solve an employment problem,’ others will think. There is no such a thing as opening a can of jobs. We have to create them through a unique global sustainable industry development with a secure return of investment. First, a short lesson in economy from the time when I studied economics in Germany. I will not bore you with a lecture; in fact it’s simple. Money that you make with your own hands, or hands plus brains is ‘own capital’. If you use ‘own capital’ to start a business, the business belongs to you and the perks are also yours. If all members of a community jointly invest in a business, it’s theirs, and they can harvest the benefits. I’m not suggesting to create government owned businesses. What is made on the land by people of the land, is the asset of the people and the land. If you use ‘foreign capital’, you work, get paid but the perks go foreign!

A question before we continue creating a sustainable industry and employment. Do we want to grow a community of chamber maids, waiters and taxi drivers? Do you consider making beds, serving drinks and driving cabs until retirement age a sustainable activity? By now, we probably have some common ground in believing that ‘own capital’ is a good thing. However, there is a capital flight problem! The flight of human capital or brain drain. Bright and skilled people emigrate because of the lack of opportunities in their homeland. Others get a higher education abroad and don’t return because of the lack of employment that is compensated in accordance with their acquired education level. Some true ‘own capital’ is moving away. Our challenge is to reverse brain-drain into brain-gain.

Let’s inventorize our strengths to develop a unique industry. Sun, palm trees and platinum beaches? Not unique, many coastal areas in the region and worldwide have them. Sunlight for solar power? Sure, but is hard to export and as for solar panels they are manufactured cheap in the Far East. We are an island surrounded by water; what can we do with water? Seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is water and Vittel is sold all over the world. For every suggestion there is a counter-argument. Try harder! It doesn’t take an old gold digger to point out that it makes no sense to look for the precious yellow metal on already claimed territory. He will also tell you that you have to wash a lot of dirt in your pan to find a nugget. Yet, some people believe that a gold vein is found right under the surface and it needs no more than a toothbrush to wipe away some soil. By the way, did know that gold panning is often marketed as tourist attraction at the former gold fields. Too bad we don’t have those gold fields. We need innovative ideas.

Innovation here we come. You present something new that hasn’t been heard of yet. People like to measure things by known standards. So they ask: What is it? A pear or an apple? You tell them it’s a “Pearple”. They will pee in their pants for laughing at you. Critics will fight you using all the options at their avail to argue that it isn’t even a joke, but rather an insanity. However, an open-minded investor actually tries your “Pearple”. He believes that it tastes good, it’s nutritious, and the texture and colour are appealing. No competition yet. It has all the positive elements for marketing an innovative product. Prices can be dictated and profit margins can be high. Success is yours. Your rivals will try to copy your winning accomplishment. How to remain leadership? You develop “Rhubalad”. If you haven’t heard of that one yet, it’s hybrid of Rhubarb and Salad. Did you get the essence of my story? Just three words! Leadership by Innovation.

Let’s stick to water since we have so much of it around us. What can be done with water besides drinking it, extinguishing fire or taking a bath? We can dive under water, swim in it, or float on top of it. Can we create an industry out of floating? Building rafts is done else; not distinctive enough to create a new industrial activity. What if we make them big, special and therefore unique? If we have to think, we might as well think big; it doesn’t cost extra. How big? As for a float, a mega float maybe, or a smaller float that is a mega solution, or a combination serving a mega number of people. Big, as for an industry? A multi-million industry! Looking at things from a different angle than what you are used to, and you will be surprised what things really look like. Dare to question existing answers and you’ll be amazed what solutions are available for problems that seem to be, but not really are. Look beyond your horizon and you may discover a new continent!

What is special about something floating that is worth considering? If you don’t have enough land for a development, build a float. No earth movements, no deforestation, no expropriation. You are creating usable new area and keep the valuable land for other purposes. You can relocate a float. With a float you can do things in areas where there is no land at all, or things that cannot be done on land. A floating platform can be marketed and sold. Those are just some ideas. You may have guessed that I’ve been thinking about this before. I do believe in all honesty that this can become an industry. I envision that two unique global sustainable industry developments with a secure return of investment may be born on Saint Lucia. You can read about it in my next VIEWPOINT.

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