Economics is the science of production and trade. It tells us that in the long run, both are maximized under a capitalist economy; and in the long run both are destroyed under an collectivist (un-free) economy. Observe the following quote is the mission of the Department of Statistics that illustrates the mindset of Bahamian politicians:
“To ensure that the Bahamian Government, Businesses and People are never hampered in their activities by any inadequacies of statistics, their recent trends or their interpretation: and in particular, to ensure that the managers of the Bahamian economy in the Ministry of Finance, The Central Bank and elsewhere, never lack adequate statistics nor argue about them.” [emphasis added]
“Managers of the Bahamian economy?” Bahamian government politicians think too much like socialists.
In a business, a manager makes decisions on how a firm’s resources are allocated as directed by the owner (shareholders and board of directors). This makes sense. All that businesses require is that their inalienable right to use their property to make a profit is protected (so long as they do not violate the rights of others). This is the fundamental purpose of government: to protect the rights of the individual (and thus businesses). By protecting the rights of all individuals, the government protects their property, and in doing so protects the economy.
So what does government “management” of the economy mean? It means that the government bureaucrats use the power of government to protect rights, to violate the rights of Bahamians, by physically forcing them from using their property as they wish. The classic example of such a policy is Nazi Gernmany, Soviet Russia, and the African states where people are starving. This is a moral abomination.
Morally, in a free country the government does not own the Bahamian economy–so it has no right to manage it. Any coercion by government on how private citizens must allocate their property is a violation of the citizen’s rights. Morally, government management of the economy is evil. Practically, planned economies operating under a rule of men to serve “the people” (as opposed to a rule of law that protects individual rights) does not work and has never worked–that is unless starvation is your goal.
Under capitalism, an economy must not be managed, but protected, i.e., the inalienable rights of those individuals producing and trading should be protected from coercion by private criminals and their public counterparts in government. To follow a sports analogy, government is supposed to be the referee who makes sure that everyone plays by the rules (respects the rights of others by not initiating force against them); it’s job is not to determine the plays, or decide who gets to play, or to decide who wins.
No the Bahamas is not a socialist state like Cuba — for now — because, the Bahamian people have too much “common sense.” Unfortunately, common sense is not protection in the long term, which requires that Bahamians think long-range via reason, logic, and knowledge of capitalism–all three of which are downplayed in our public schools.