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Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
Economics of a Small Place
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Economics of a Small Place
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Economics of a Small Place

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Final product of a research project I conducted on and in the Caribbean island of Antigua, which was sponsored by the Donald. H. Harrison Honors Program at Birmingham-Southern College. The final …

Final product of a research project I conducted on and in the Caribbean island of Antigua, which was sponsored by the Donald. H. Harrison Honors Program at Birmingham-Southern College. The final product is a magazine in the style of Time magazine.

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  • 1. A N TI G U A January 2010 The Economics of A Small Place ANTIGUA January 2010 1 Ryan L. Melvin
  • 2. Special Contents Thanks Fact Sheet 3 Book: A Small Place 4 Economic Development 9 The Museum of Antigua and Briefing: Inequality/Industry 17 Barbuda, whose staff helped me set up several of my interviews and were kind enough to let me Voices of Antigua 20 use their research library. Commentary: The Line 27 Interview with Dr. Murphy 28 Travel Tips 30 The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center, whose director took the time to explain to me some of the more pressing issues on the island. The Methodist Church in the Image Source: www.archaeologya Caribbean and the Americas, ntigua.org/biograph y.htm whose Connexional Secretary, Otto Wade, and staff member, Haley Mills, travel Phyllis Edwards, sat down to companion and bodyguard Dr. Murphy, who took time out talk with me, set up staff extraordinaire. of his busy schedule to talk to interviews, and served as a local me about island culture and the contact in preparing for the trip work of Jamaica Kincaid. to the island. Author's Note Special thanks also go to Dr. Rossmann, who agreed to sponsor this project; Dr. Hagen, for her guidance from the initial stages through the final product; and Meredith Wiggins in BSC's Writing Center for reading over my work. Als, it should The Donald C. Harrison Honors Program for be noted my layout blatantly rips off Time providing motivation, inspiration and funding. Magazine. 2 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 3. Antigua in Brief Sources: Population - Family pic. iconarchive.com; first column and mortality: World Bank; Racial data: everyculture.com; Remainder: UN data; map: eird.org. The Island - Flag: unimaps.com; Data: UN data. Society - telephone, internet, and import/export: Un data. Poverty data: "Living Conditions in Antigua and Barbuda: Poverty in a Services Economy in Transition," Prepared by Kairi Consultants Ltd in Association with the National Assessment Team of Antigua and Barbuda, made available by caribank.org. NOTE: Some data may be for Antigua and Barbuda, date The Numbers 90,000 85.8% 30,000 Population people of live in adults can read* the capital city, St. John's 0.8% annual 93% of people 11/1,000 growth rate are of African decent infant mortality rate 38% of the 13% of people population in cities are unemployed * 2009 Human Development Report states 99% literacy rate 75 170 The Island degrees F ­ lowest square miles of land average temp. for Antigua and Barbuda 85 degrees F ­ highest average temp. 21.4% is forested 38 endangered species 41.4 inches of rainfall A Guide to Antigua's Flag 179 100 Society telephone subscriptions per residents The sun represents the "dawn 72.3 100 of a new era." 18.3% 15,485 internet subscribers per residents Red is for the "dynamism of the people." or below local poverty level of $2,366 8,414 Black is for soil, representing the African heritage. USD, with just above the line. 82.4% The three layers ­ gold, blue, and white ­ together represent of those living in poverty own a TV; 90.7% 20.3% Antigua's tourism resources ­ sun, sea, and sand. own a stove; own an car; and 10.7% The V in the figure is a symbol for "Victory." range is 2005-2009 own a computer. Source: Museum of Antigua and Barbuda ANTIGUA January 2010 3
  • 4. Book A Small Place The thing you have always One islander's suspected about yourself the minute you become a tourist take on tourism is true: A tourist is an ugly human being. ­ A Small Place, p.14 A Small Place, by Jamaica Kincaid is a diatribe Next, the monolithic tourist considers how against tourism. Its powerful, second­person wonderful it is to escape bad weather and come to narrative form gives pause to potential travelers. a place where it hardly ever rains. Such a tourist This work is not – for the most part – about the fails to consider what actually living in a place environmental impacts of tourism, as one might where it seldom rains must be like – constantly expect in today’s increasingly eco­conscious dealing with drought. The tourist then leaves the world, but about the cultural impact. Kincaid airport, moving quickly and smoothly through spends her 81 pages lamenting the lack of self­ customs, being exempt from searches by virtue of identity Antigua has due to its high – nearly being white. absolute – reliance on the tourism industry and Leaving the airport, the tourist gets in the car the lingering effects of British rule. with a swindling taxi driver who may or not Kincaid starts her text with a narrative of actually have a license. The car is a nicer model what a tourist might see and experience upon first than most people in the U.S. can afford, because arriving in Antigua. At the airport, a tourist sees the government encourages banks to make loans the name V.C. Bird – prime minister at the time for cars. Government ministers own some major when A Small Place was written. But why would car dealerships. On the way to the hotel, the someone want to have an airport named after tourist sees a closed library, which was damaged himself? Why not have your name on a school, in 1974 by an earthquake. On the front of the library, or hospital? In Antigua, the answer is building is a sign that reads, “Repairs are because the quality of these institutions is too low. pending.” Once settled, the tourist orders dinner No one would want an Antiguan school, library, – food produced in Antigua, shipped to Miami, or hospital named after herself . and then back to Antigua. 4 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 5. It is at this point that Kincaid An English Place states the thesis of the first section of her book: “A tourist is an ugly The next section of Kincaid’s human being.” According to Kincaid, book focuses on ways that Antigua tourists are not ugly people in their A walk down has changed during her lifetime. day­to­day life. They are only “ugly She says that the Antigua she grew High Street human being[s]” when they are up in no longer exists, for two tourists. When a person decides to reasons. The first is “the usual be a tourist, that person goes “from reason, the passing of time.” Things being that nice blob just sitting like a change with time. The second boob in your amniotic sac of the reason is “the bad minded people modern experience to being a person who used to rule over it, the visiting heaps of death and ruin and English.” It is this second reason on feeling alive about and inspired at which Kincaid focuses her attention. the sign of it.” Kincaid begins by saying that Tourists marvel at the the English have “hardly any idea “harmony” with nature that less­ what to do with themselves now developed nations have. The tourist, The street that was once the that they no longer have one quarter center of Antigua's colonial however, actually thinks of this of the earth’s human population government now houses harmony as “backwardness.” bowing and scraping before them.” restaurants, local businesses, Kincaid accuses the tourist of She goes on to say that the idea of and stray dogs. believing “their [the native’s] building an empire was a bad one ancestors were not clever in the ways from the start and that “no natural yours [the tourist’s] were.” As the disaster imaginable could equal the tourist observes these strange harm they did.” Kincaid states that people, she never takes the time to the English caused such harm by imagine that maybe the people living loving their home so much that they in that place might not like her. tried to turn every place they visited But why would people living on into England. Rather than Anglo­ Antigua not like those who come to forming the world, Kincaid says, visit? According to Kincaid, the they should have stayed at home. reason a tourist leaves home is so Before Antigua became that he can escape the “banality” of completely independent, all of the his own life. As Kincaid says: government of Antigua as a colony "For every native of every place took place on High Street. In her is a potential tourist, and every reminiscence on this part of the city tourist is a native of somewhere. of St. John’s, Kincaid first recalls the Every native everywhere lives a life library that once sat atop the of overwhelming and crushing Department of Treasury. Along banality and boredom and with the library and the treasury, desperation and depression, and there was a post office, a courtroom, every deed, good and bad, is an a place to get a passport at the attempt to forget this." government offices, and Barclays It is the tourist that finds a way Bank. At this point, Kincaid to escape his own banality. The explains that the Barclay brothers natives who are watched by the were slave traders, and when slave tourist “are too poor to escape the trading ended, they made even reality of their [the natives’] lives; more money in the banking industry. Kincaid says most and they are too poor to live islanders her age remember the properly in the place where they name of the first black cashier hired live.” The natives are stuck at home; at Barclays. meanwhile, the tourist is turning the Here, Kincaid’s tone switches natives’ boring lives into a source of from dispassionate explanation to entertainment. unadulterated hatred: ANTIGUA January 2010 5
  • 6. Book A Small Place “Do you ever wonder why some people blow “told these girls over and over again to stop things up? I can imagine that if my life had taken a behaving as if they were monkeys just out of certain turn, there would be Barclays bank, and trees.” This was not racism to Antiguans. They there I would be, both of us in ashes.” thought they British simply had bad manners. Her anger comes from the way that the This section of the text closes with an Barclay brothers, as slave traders, treated so many accusation that all the English ever taught human beings. She says that for those treated like Antiguans was to lie to, cheat, steal from, and kill commodities, “heaven is not enough of a reward,” each other. The reason that people like the and for those who turned human beings into Antiguans don’t like capitalism is that for a long commodities, hell is not enough of a punishment. time they were themselves capital. Kincaid says To drive home the point, Kincaid then describes that the English destroyed her own history for the the Mill Reef Club, which was built exclusively for sake of glorifying their own. They made Antigua white people, where black people were allowed a broken place without an identity of its own. All only as servants. Similar to the bank, everyone of of this Kincaid writes in the second person, so it is her generation remembers the name of the first not simply the British who broke Antigua, it is black person to stay at the Mill Reef Club. “you.” As an example of how white people treated the inhabitants of Antigua, Kincaid tells the story of a Czechoslovakian dentist who came to Antigua A Changed Place to escape the Holocaust. In Antigua, the man set himself up as a pediatrician. Before allowing After her polemic on the British, Kincaid talks patients to see him, according to Kincaid, he more about what causes her anger and what would send his wife out to inspect them to make motivated her to write ­ another street in the sure that “there was nothing else about us – apart capital city of St. John’s. Just a few blocks over from the color of our skin – that would offend the from High Street is Market Street. doctor.” For example, Kincaid recalls one visit to One day while walking down Market Street, the doctor before which Kincaid’s mother made Kincaid looked around her and realized that sure there was no dirt under Kincaid’s nails, on Antigua was in worse shape than when it was her neck, or behind her ears. ruled by the British. She asked herself how Kincaid also tells of a school headmistress Antigua could have gotten into such a poor hired by the colonial government to run a girls’ situation. The answer, Kincaid says, is known by school, which had only recently started accepting all Antiguans: “The government is corrupt. Them children born outside of marriage. According to are thief, them are big thief." Kincaid, no Antiguan had considered that this Kincaid’s primary exemplar of the problems now­removed rule might have existed to keep with Antigua’s government is a library. As she black children out. Kincaid says the headmistress said earlier in the text, there was an earthquake in A brief history of Antigua 1775 B.C.E. Ca. 35 C.E. 1493 1632 1640s 1666 First recorded Arawak­ Columbus English Slavery and French rule Source: Museum of Antigua and Barbuda date of speaking names colonize sugar­ Antigua for 3 humans in people settle Antigua after Antigua growing come months Antigua on the island a cathedral in to the island Seville, Spain 1736 C.E. 1808 1834 1939 1967 1981 Prince Klaas End of slave Emancipation Era of trade Independence Complete plots slave trade of slaves unions begins in Association independence insurrection with Great Britain 6 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 7. Market Street is appropriately named, as it contains numerous local shops and street vendors. Antigua's public library currently sits above Lolita's, a local boutique, on Market Street. 1974 that damaged the original library. The tourists “buy all those awful things that tourists library’s collection was moved to what was always buy, all those awful things they then take supposed to be a temporary location – above a home, put in their attics, and their children have to boutique on Market Street: throw out when the tourists finally die.” “Imagine, then, the bitterness and shame in It is government corruption that Kincaid me as I tell you this. I was standing on Market blames for this transformation of the capital city. Street in front of the library. The library! But why Foreign businessmen who own property on is the library on Market Street?” Antigua often also have diplomatic passports from She goes on to ask how the government has the small island country. Whenever a new taken so long to repair such an integral part of the development from foreign investors shows up, it island’s culture. Kincaid reminisces about the old often turns out that the construction company library, saying that she used to spend the evenings belongs to the same government minister who of her childhood there, sometimes trying to steal approved the development. Similarly, when the books that she liked the most, and being condominiums are constructed, several rooms are thwarted by the librarian. The librarian in the sometimes given to the minister who made the current location, says Kincaid, cannot even locate construction possible. Also, most government the books that people request from the collection. vehicles, Kincaid points out, are the model sold by The old library was beautiful and iconic; the a dealership owned by one government minister. current library is someone’s attic and an Amidst all this trouble, Kincaid doesn’t seem appropriate metaphor for Kincaid’s perception of to think the situation is likely to improve with the island today. time. She laments the fact that children are often Kincaid vocalizes her frustration and that of encouraged to attend Antigua’s Hotel Training those who left the island many years ago and School. The school, Kincaid says, “teaches return home to find it in its current state. She says, Antiguans how to be good servants, how to be a “Antiguans returning to Antigua after a long good nobody, which is what a servant is.” She absence … are shocked and offended by the sight suggests that even though the people were of a library sitting on top of a dry­goods store.” emancipated from slavery, they still don’t have In place of its old position as the center of their freedom. In her view, Antiguans are still island government and culture, St. John’s, says slaves – slaves to a corrupt government, slaves to Kincaid, has become a tourist trap, a place where tourists and the tourism industry. ANTIGUA January 2010 7
  • 8. Book A Small Place Kincaid proceeds to list the problems the even their lives are tourist attraction. The corrupt government and the tourism industry government corruption simply adds to this feeling have brought to the island. Among these of low self­worth. problems are drugs, which the government A Small Place concludes on a different note ignores. There is a house of prostitution, which, than the rest of the book. Kincaid talks about the according to Kincaid, is run by friends of the unsurpassed and unchanging beauty of the island: prime minister. There are also casinos that cater to “The unreal way in which it is beautiful now that the tourists. Kincaid also tells of a time when the they [Antiguans] are free people is the unreal way government knowingly allowed meat in which it was beautiful when they were slaves.” contaminated by radiation to be sold on Antigua. The text's last paragraph conveys a sense of She continues with tales of cloak­and­dagger hope. The people are no longer slaves. They are conspiracies about the deaths of officials who no longer “human rubbish.” But neither are they opposed the corruption on the island. noble and exalted. Kincaid says, “They are just Kincaid says that Antiguans have absorbed human beings.” tourism into their day­to­day lives so fully that Those awful things that tourists always buy What exactly do tourists buy on Antigua? During a meeting with the director of the Gilbert Agricultural & Rural Development Center, a non­profit organization on Antigua, I found out. 45% 42% local art 33% 32% T­shirts A cruise ship filled with 31% tourists docks near Heritage Quay in St. John's. other clothing jewelry momentos e.g., keychains T-shirt Image Source: clker.com 28% local pottery Throughout St. John's are also duty free shops with higher­end items. 8 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 9. Development Economic Report Source: "Living Conditions in Antigua and Barbuda: Poverty in a Services Economy in Transition." Prepared by Kairi Consultants Ltd in Association with the National Assessment Team of Antigua and development on Antigua Do the numbers agree with Kincaid's assessment of Antigua's development? According to economists Todaro and Smith in both of these complaints seem serious, only a small their text Economic Development, there are three segment of Kincaid’s work is dedicated to them, so core values of economic development: sustenance, it seems safe to assume that Kincaid does not give self­esteem, and freedom from servitude. In them much weight. economic terms, part of Jamaica Kincaid’s Do the economic data agree with Kincaid on argument in A Small Place is that these three values this first issue of sustenance? According to a report are not all at work in Antigua’s development. prepared for the Caribbean Development Bank, healthcare does seem to be widely available to the population. For example, 89.6% of children born in Antigua are delivered in a hospital. However, Sustenance the number of assisted births is likely much higher, as it is the poorest fifth of the population that has The first value – sustenance – covers whether the greatest percentage of hospital births – 94.1%. people in a country can meet their basic needs. Higher socio­economic brackets of the population Basic needs are goods or services necessary for life have the ability to pay for other methods of – including food, shelter, healthcare, and safety. In assisted birthing. Furthermore, the report states short, economic development requires that the that Antigua and Barbuda achieve almost 100% goal of all economic activity be to improve the immunization of children by the age of 5 – that is, overall quality of life for the populace. According 100% of the World Health Organization’s to Todaro and Smith, such improvement is recommended immunizations. indicated by rising per capita incomes, elimination According to the report, Antigua has both of absolute poverty (the state where a population’s public and private health services, both of which basic needs are barely being met), job creation, and seem to be widely available. In fact, 33% of the Barbuda. Accessible at http://www.caribank.org decreases in income disparity. population uses community clinics, and 24.8% of Kincaid seems to indicate only a minor lack in the poorest fifth of the population utilizes private terms of this first value. According to A Small healthcare. As far as Kincaid’s complaint that the Place, Antiguans do not – or at least did not when richest in the population use healthcare outside of the book was written – trust the doctors on the country, only 1.7% of the richest fifth of the Antigua. In fact, whenever government ministers population (which is 0.5% of the total population) fall ill, according to Kincaid, they fly to New York, use out­of­state health services. However, it is true because they do not trust Antiguan doctors. that only people from the richest fifth of the Furthermore, Kincaid makes a passing reference to population use non­Antiguan healthcare. One Antigua’s defense force, which she says is too negative, however, is that only a little more than small to actually defend the country. Although half of the population (51.1%) has health ANTIGUA January 2010 9
  • 10. Development insurance, with 35% of the poorest fifth having insurance and 69.1% of the richest fifth. As far as the other indicators of the population’s ability to meet needs, 13.4% of Antiguans are unemployed (cf., 10% in the U.S.). In terms of safety, only 3.1% of islanders report being victims of crime annually (cf., 3.73% in the U.S.). Also according to the report, 5.5% of the population has inadequate access to running water (meaning no piped water) and 20.4% of the population has low­quality housing (defined as a pit latrine “or worse”). The final measure suggested by Todaro and Smith for the first development core value is “lessening income inequalities.” Unfortunately, there does not seem to be long­term data on Antigua’s economic disparity, so an accurate determination on whether inequalities are lessening is unlikely. However, there are current analyses on economic equality for Antigua. Analyzing Inequality There are many ways to measure the level of An old construction sign on a road from English Harbour to economic inequality in a country. One standard measure is the Gini index. In order to calculate the Shirley Heights serves as a metaphor for Antigua as a Gini coefficient, economists use something called a developing country. Lorenz Curve. Lorenz Curves plot percentage of income (or consumption) versus the cumulative Health and Poverty Statistics for Antigua Births in a hospital 89.6% Children Immunized ~100% People with health insurance 51.1% Poor access to water 5.5% Chart Source: "Living Conditions in Antigua and Barbuda: Poverty in a Children not in school 4.2% Services Economy in Transition" In this chart, "indigent" means unable to purchase minimum amounts of food, and "vulnerable" means living at 125% of Unemployment rate 13.4% the poverty level. 10 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 11. percentage of income recipients (see Lorenz and Gini box). Lorenz curve and Gini index for Antigua and Sources: U.S. Data - Wolfram Alpha. General development data and Analysis instructions - Todaro, T.P. and S.C. Smith, Economic Development, ninth edition, 2006, Boston: Peason Addison Wesley. As a type of yardstick, Lorenz Curves have a line that runs along the diagonal of the graph (45°). If the population measured by the curve had Barbuda perfect equality, the actual curve would match this benchmark exactly. Actual Lorenz Curves bow away from the 45° line – the line of equality. The larger the bow, the more inequality there is in the population. For example, a perfectly unequal population – where one person or household made all the income – would run along the bottom horizontal axis and up the right vertical. Such a A line would be as far away from the line of equality as possible B Someone who looks at a Lorenz Curve can get an idea of approximately how much inequality there is in a population by seeing how far the curve is from the diagonal line. A Gini coefficient quantifies this difference by dividing the area Chart Source: "Living Conditions in Antigua and Barbuda: Poverty in a Services Economy in Transition" Annotation between the two curves by the total area under the and shading, mine. line of equality. Therefore, a Gini coefficient of 0 would report perfect equality, and a Gini The Lorenz Curve (curved line) plots coefficient of 1 means perfect inequality. cumulative percent of income (or in the case of According to Todaro and Smith, 0.50 to 0.70 is the graph above, consumption) versus considered a highly unequal distribution. cumulative percent of the population. For Populations in the 0.20 to 0.35 range are typically example, if you were to go over to 30 on the considered to have a relatively equal income horizontal axis, the value on the vertical axis distribution. For comparison, the United States of matching that point shows the percent of America has a Gini coefficient of about 0.45. consumption for the bottom (or poorest) 30% of The Caribbean Development Bank gives a Gini the population. At 50 on the horizontal, the coefficient of 0.48. This value, according to the vertical value is the percent consumption for the report, is “high, even by Caribbean standards.” By lower 50% of the population. Finally, 100 on the general standards, this number is just below the horizontal axis shows the consumption percent lower limit of the highly unequal range. However, for the entire population, which must be 100%. by comparison the U.S. really isn’t doing that In a situation of complete equality ­ where much better. The report suggests that the everyone (or at least every household) had the Antiguan government’s preference for indirect same income ­ the Lorenz Curve would match methods of taxation and the large number of the line of equality (straight, diagonal line). Such possible tax exemptions play a role in inequality. a situation does not exist for any significant population in the world, so actual curves fall under the line of equality. A Gini coefficient is what's known as an aggregate measure of inequality, meaning that the coefficient attempts to condense inequality data into a single number (see below). This number shows quantitatively how much difference there is between the actual economic distribution and perfect equality (0 is perfectly When contrasted with local shops and middle­to­low income equal and 1 is perfectly unequal). housing, high­end tourist spots like yacht clubs and resorts Area A create the appearance of economic disparity. Gini coefficient = Area (A+B) ANTIGUA January 2010 11
  • 12. Human Development Index Sources: Calculation instructions from Todaro and Smith, 2006. Antigua and U.S. Data from 2009 UN Human Development report, undp.org. Warning: Math Ahead (but with careful explanation) In the 1990s, the United Nations decided to [ log (GDP/capita) ­ log (100) ] Income Index = make a comparative analysis of developing and [ log (40,000) ­ log (100) ] developed nations. In order to facilitate quantitative comparison, the UN developed The For Antigua, the results is Human Development Index (HDI). Income Index = 0.873 The index attempts to combine multiple aspects of developed society into a single measure, which ranges from 0 to 1. The lowest rank, 0, Life Expectancy Index represents the lowest measurable development, and 1 represents the highest measurable development. The UN estimates that the current maximum This value is calculated using weighted reasonable life expectancy for a country is 85, and the lower limit is 25. The life expectancy index is averages (meaning some variables count more than calculated by subtracting 25 (the lower limit) from others) of life­expectancy, education, and standard a country's life expectancy and dividing that of living. In order to calculate the HDI, four figure by the the upper limit (85) minus the lower pieces of information are needed. They are GDP limit (25). per capita, life expectancy, adult literacy rate, and school enrollment. Life expectancy (Life expectancy) ­ 25 Index = (85 ­ 25) Antigua HDI raw data Antigua Life expectancy index = 0.786 GDP per capita ($ PPP) 18,691 Education Index The education index is where the weighted Life expectancy (yrs.) 72.2 (est.) averages come into play. This index first converts the percents to decimal form (divide by 100). These numbers are then called the adult literacy Adult literacy (%) 99.0 index and the gross enrollment index. The education index is calculated by adding two­ thirds (weighted more heavily) of the literacy Gross enrollment (%) 85.6 (est) index to one­third (weighted less heavily) of the enrollment index. For Antigua, the result of this simple calculation is Income Index Education index = 0.945 The income index requires Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in U.S. dollars For the final calculation of the HDI, each of these Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). PPP compares the three calculated indices are equally weighted into purchasing power of a country's currency to that an average, meaning that one­third of all three of the U.S. dollar by comparing how much certain figures is added together into a final number. For goods cost in one country to how much they cost Antigua, this is in the United States. The maximum a country can achieve in GDP per capita is $40,000 PPP, a HDI = 0.868 benchmark set by Luxembourg. The HDI which gives Antigua a rank of 47 among the 187 algorithm uses a natural logarithmic function in nations compared by the U.N. Compare this to the order to convert the GDP per capita to a decimal. twelfth­ranked ranked U.S. with an HDI of 0.956. 12 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 13. Development Inequality = Bad? Before moving on to the final two core values instability. When a small segment of the for development, there’s a question that needs to population controls inordinate amounts of capital, be answered. Why is reduction of inequality so that segment is able to lobby political institutions important to economic development? It seems like to create policies that result in more control of there should be an obvious answer, but things get capital for the upper class, widening the gap. a little more complicated when you realize we’re Using capital for lobbying and political purposes not talking about poverty. A nation could removes it from industrial sectors where the eliminate poverty and still have quite a bit of money could encourage increased economic inequality. growth. Furthermore, Todaro and Smith reference the histories of Iran and El Salvador as examples of inter­country conflict and political upheaval that result from extreme inequality. The final reason for assigning a negative value judgment to inequality is society's view of it. Whether morality should be a factor is a debate for another time. Either way, the fact remains that people make moral judgments and often make decisions based on them, and in terms of morals, inequality is generally considered a bad thing. Along roadways away from tourist­heavy and yachter areas, the landscape contains old shack houses and private construction projects that stalled when funds ran out. Perhaps a look back to a basic economic development can help with figuring out why a lot of emphasis is placed on inequality when dealing with development. The economists Todaro and Smith provide three primary answers to the question of what’s wrong with inequality. The first reason is that a large income gap leads to an inefficient economy. High levels of inequality usually correlate to small fractions of the population qualifying for credit and low levels of saving. Savings typically come from the middle class, since the highest earners in the upper class tend to spend money on foreign travel and luxury goods. Economists refer to this phenomenon as capital flight. At times, capital flight even results in the lower class saving and investing more in a given nation’s economy. Finally, economic inefficiency becomes a cyclical effect. High­ income sectors emphasize quality in higher education, often at the expense of primary Back in St. John's, where tourists arrive frequently via cruise education, which the poorer sectors need to have ships, construction projects continue, unplagued by the improved to get out of poverty. insufficient fund base that troubles less­developed sections of Second, extreme inequality leads to political the island. ANTIGUA January 2010 13
  • 14. Development Self-Esteem local population constantly sees people from developed nations coming to visit. Jamaica The last two values of economic development Kincaid was making this very point when she are less quantifiable than the first category (though wrote that Antiguans envy tourists because that won’t stop me from trying). Self­esteem and tourists have the resources to escape their own freedom from servitude are also interrelated – banality and boredom. By seeing people who especially for a one­industry service economy like are comparatively rich all the time, Antiguans Antigua. who don’t have as much are continuously reminded of their own poverty, causing a feeling of low self­worth. It is important to remember that these statements are really just conjecture at this point. In order to know if Antiguans really do have low self­esteem as a result of tourism, someone needs to go ask them about their thoughts on tourists, which is exactly what I did. However, I’m saving those conversations for later (later being page 20). In the meantime, though, we can look at Antigua’s score on the Human Development Index (see page 12), since Todaro and Smith suggest that economic prosperity is linked to self­esteem. Antigua scores a 0.868 on the HDI, ranking them Just a few minutes' walk from where the cruise ships dock in 47 of 187, which is in the top third of countries St. John's is a casino, which, according to locals, is a analyzed. By comparison, the United States scores significant attraction for tourists. 0.956, making us number 12 of 187. Antigua is not at the top of the list, but they are definitely not at Self­esteem is about having a sense of self­ the bottom, either. worth and not feeling like a pawn for other In fact, as of 2008, the Organization for people. Although what it means to have this Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) strong sense of identity might vary from culture to labeled Antigua a high­income country, putting Sources: 2008 OECD Data - worldbank.org; 2003 OECD Data - Todaro and Smith, 2006. culture, there are some modern values that seem them in highest category of countries when ranked somewhat widespread. The most prominent of by income per capita – for the economists in the these values, Todaro and Smith point out, are the audience, GNI per capita. It might be interesting desires for economic prosperity and technological to note that this ranking is an improvement from capabilities. 2003 when Antigua and Barbuda was ranked as an Just offhand, this idea seems like it would be Upper­middle­income country – the second particularly true for a tourist economy where the highest category. Buildings outside of tourist areas have nowhere near the shine of those in St. John's or other spots frequented by tourists. 14 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 15. Source: Piraszewska, K. "Economic Significance of Tourism in the Lesser Antilles." Miscellanea Geographica. Vol. 1 2, 206. 269-275. Just outside of the East Bus Station, which is used by tourists and locals to navigate the island, vendors sell Antigua bags, t­ shirts, and other souvenirs. Freedom from Servitude Kincaid argues that Antiguans don’t have the freedom to choose what they spend their lives Since the idea of self­esteem includes not doing. Her main example is that children are feeling like a tool for others to use, it is connected encouraged to aspire to attend a school that to the idea of freedom. Jamaica Kincaid links teaches individuals how to work at hotels. Antigua’s services economy to the island’s history Kincaid's point is that Antiguans work in tourism, of slavery. In her view, the rich people in the and that’s just the way it is. They don’t really world see Antiguans as objects of interest – things have a choice. In describing this last value for to be seen, like tourist attractions. In her mind, development, Todaro and Smith use some this state is reminiscent of a time when the people language that is, coincidentally, apropos of of Antigua were objects for sale. Antigua’s history: “Freedom here is to be understood as the sense of emancipation from alienating material conditions of life and from social servitude to nature, ignorance, other people …” (emphasis added). How much freedom do the people of the island really have in their careers? As I tried to find out exactly how much of Antigua’s economy depends on tourism, I found estimates ranging between 40 and 60%. The problem was that there was no explanation for the method used to arrive at the percentages. What qualifies something as depending on tourism? I eventually found a study with a satisfactorily explained ­ and pretty insightful ­ method. The study, “Economic Significance of Tourism Several banks on Antigua serve tourists through in the Lesser Antilles,” was done by Katarzyna currency exchange and 24­hour ATM access. Piraszewska at the Institute of Developing ANTIGUA January 2010 15
  • 16. Development big surprise, however, comes with the redone employment figures. According to the study, the percent of jobs on Antigua that depend on tourism is a whopping 94.8%. So, if we’re asking the question of whether someone can have a job not related to tourism, the answer is “not really.” But, if not having a job in tourism just means not directly interacting with tourists, then people have a pretty good shot, since only 33.6% of jobs are directly related to tourism. Now, there is one glaring problem with these figures. They are old. The paper giving these numbers was published in 2001. The problem is that most current figures on tourism don’t provide much information on what the basis of the numbers is. The U.S. State Department reports a figure of 50% for Antigua and Barbuda (even this figure is a little dated, being from 2005). Assuming that this number represents the tourism industry and not the tourism economy, that Every Sunday and Thursday night at Shirley Heights (the represents a 48.8% increase from the earlier figure highest point on the island) there is a steel band and reggae of 33.6%. If the tourism economy figure similarly singer, along with grilled food and drinks. This twice­weekly increased, then all of Antigua’s (actually, a little party, with a cover charge on par with U.S. clubs, is a major more than all of it) economy would be dependent attraction for tourists. on tourism. Countries. The method used is called the satellite accounting method. Rather than limiting itself to employment and transaction statistics that are directly related to tourism – like hotels, restaurants, resorts, etc. – the methods tries to find jobs and transactions that exist because of tourism – that is, ones that are indirectly related. For example, the soap being used in hotels where tourists stay would not have been purchased if it weren’t for tourism. Fortunately, the study parses out the direct and indirect data for comparison. By just looking Along the city streets in Antigua's capital, tour guides and at the part of the GDP of Antigua and Barbuda taxi drivers offer excursions and transportation. made up of the tourism industry – that is, directly from tourism – the figure is 24.0%. I have to say, Regardless of the dates and exact numbers, it Source: 2008 Tourism Industry % of GDP - state.gov after having gone to Antigua, if someone told me is quite apparent that Antigua’s economy is that only 24% of the GDP came from tourism, I overwhelmingly dependent on tourism, and wouldn’t believe it. (By the way, the number that almost all of the job market services tourism in most Antiguans give when asked is 85%). some capacity. So, at least by the numbers, Similarly, by looking at employment directly from Kincaid may have hit that one on the nose. It the tourism industry, 33.6% of jobs come from certainly doesn’t look like someone from Antigua tourism. can have a job not related to tourism, since in 2001 Now, looking at what the study calls “Tourism about 95% of the jobs came from that area. Economy,” which is direct and indirect composition of the GDP and job market, the numbers go up substantially. The percent of GDP from the tourism economy is 77.7%, which is, honestly, slightly lower than I would expect. The 16 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 17. Briefing Inequality? Industry A bit of inequality and a bunch of tourism are clear parts of Antigua. However, this is the current state of the island. So one important question might be, “How did things get this way?” Appearance of Inequality find out what was wrong with my original intuition! First of all, the statistics suggest much less of Researching the reason for the appearance of an inequality gap than my perception of the economic disparity actually ended up disproving island. In fact, one of the things that got me another of my intuitions: that researching the interested in looking into Antigua’s economy was appearance of economic disparity was going to be that the island seemed to have a starker contrast in long and tedious and require looking into the quality of life between the people in tourist centuries of political history. Turns out, it just took areas of the island and the people who lived in one newspaper article from 2001 that the Museum sections not frequented by tourists. of Antigua and Barbuda happened to include in Basically, the numbers violate my intuition. response to my general request for information on My training from the physical sciences (one of my Antiguan economics and history. The article is a majors is Physics) tells me that a violation of transcription of the Antiguan equivalent of a State sensibilities calls for immediate action: I have to of the Union address. ANTIGUA January 2010 17
  • 18. www.yachtchartersmagazine.com for Desmond Nicholson. Sources: Speech - "Sir James Beethoven Carlisle GCMG Governor General." Daily Observer, Mar. 20, 2001 . Desmond and Yachting - personal interview with Lisa Nicholson and obituary by Compare the quality of buildings in tourist areas (left) to those in non­tourist areas (right). The speech was given by Sir James Beethoven Rise of Tourism Carlisle, the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, at the open of Parliament on Monday, The next question that should be asked is March 19, 2001. One eye­opening sentence “How did this little island become so dependent clarified the situation for me: “Our focus … should on tourism?” For convenience, I split this question be on the wealthier top­end of the tourism market into two parts: where did the tourism come from? where the numbers are fewer but the spending and what happened to other industries? power is greater.” From this sentence came my The answer to the first of these two questions new intuition: Appealing to high­spending came from a conversation with Lisa Nicholson, tourists requires accommodations and experiences whose family has some strong ties to the history of of a quality that comes close to the tourists’ Antigua. Fortunately, Lisa lives not far from the standard of living. The touristy parts of the island hostel I stayed at while on Antigua, so after a have to look nice and well­developed because leisurely stroll (read: a strenuous walk up a steep people in upper economic classes are used to incline), I sat down with Lisa in some lawn chairs places that look nice and well­developed. My old on an outcropping overlooking English Harbour. intuition was wrong because it assumed that the Out in the harbor were several yachts, which was appearance of disparity was simply a result of free an appropriate visual for what Lisa had to say. economic activity – no more Adam Smith for me. Lisa’s late husband is Desmond Nicholson, Turned out this second intuition was right. whose family essentially started yacht chartering The Governor General goes on to say, “However, for Antigua. Desmond’s father fell in love with to secure a place in this market, we have to the island, especially English Harbour. The improve the quality of our country’s physical Nicholson family encouraged their friends who environment and upgrade the standard of our owned yachts to come to the island, and the word hotels and resorts and the service that our workers about the place quickly spread. As Desmond grew provide. up, he continued to encourage the chartering “If tourists pay good money to visit our industry on the island. country, they expect good service and good resorts However, Desmond also realized that Antigua in return.” was a place without a sense of cultural heritage or The reason that the island has such a strong much knowledge of its history. In this area, appearance of economic disparity is that the Desmond did much more than just encourage. He government has been pushing for money to go helped establish the museums on the island and toward improving the quality of tourist areas so was a prolific writer on the topic on the island’s that they appeal to high­income visitors. My history, along with its natural and cultural perception of a large inequality gap was due to the heritage. intentional polishing­up of places tourists visit – Desmond also encouraged the people of which are the places where I thought I saw Antigua to focus on the ways that yachting could inequality. 18 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 19. Development: Briefing provide jobs for islanders. The boats needed uproot the agriculture industry by taking away people to service them, and the yachters would both land and human resources. Even farmers Sources: GDP data - "Research and Development Highlights 2008 Antigua and Barbuda." Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, 2008. cardi.org. Book - Klak, T. Globalization and want food, drinks, and something to do. Even as will often choose to start putting their capital the government decided to focus on hotel building made through farming into the tourism industry – in order to accommodate tourists, Desmond kept since tourism makes more money – rather than reminding them that the yacht industry could reinvesting in resources for farming. provide other types of jobs (yachters don’t use Klak’s text also suggests that as tourists, who hotels; they sleep on their boats). often prefer imported foods, come to a given So, if the question is how tourism started on Caribbean country, the islanders begin to prefer Antigua, the answer that it it started with imported foods as well. So tourism not only yachting. More specifically, it started with the brings in people who won’t want local produce Nicholson family coming to the island and but can also cause the existing market to stop encouraging others to do likewise. From there, the preferring local foods. word spread, and now Antigua is a major tourist Furthermore, during my talk with the director destination in the Caribbean. of the GARD center (see page 8), I found out that Before tourism, the primary industry on the when the center offers job training, younger island was agriculture, with sugarcane being the people shy away from agriculture. The director primary crop. Now, according to a report by the told me that no one wants to do the hard, manual Caribbean Agricultural Research and labor of farming when they know they can make Development Institute, agriculture composes a money in the shade by selling stuff to tourists. little less than 6% of the country’s GDP. What In regard to the question of what happened to happened? other industries, it seems to be an economic fact of Thomas Klak suggests an answer to this life for the Caribbean that increasing tourism question is his book, Globalization and chokes off the resources for agriculture. For these Neoliberalism: The Caribbean Context. Klak says that islands, globalizations means increased tourism in “extreme cases” tourism has been shown to and decreased farming. Neoliberalism: the Caribbean Context. Rowman & Littlefield, 1 998. From Lisa's house, English Harbour is seen filled with yachts, the grandparents of the tourism industry. ANTIGUA January 2010 19
  • 20. Voices of Antigua In January of this year, I went to Antigua. with tourists from islanders’ perspectives. And While my trip was filled with many adventures, finally, I wanted to know what people who live on including but not limited to windsurfing, the the island thought their country might be like main reason I traveled to Antigua was to talk – or without tourism. better yet, to listen. Specifically, I wanted to find Rather than just sit down with a prescribed list out what Antiguans think about tourists. of questions, I wanted to be able to have a conversation. So, I chose a type of interview What and how? method called the “semistandardized interview.” The idea of such an interview is that the Before traveling to the island, I had to figure out interviewer uses a predetermined set of questions exactly what I wanted to ask and how I should go as a guide to the conversations he or she has with about asking. As far as what I wanted to ask, I the interviewee. However, in this type of figured out that I wanted to know both the interview, the interviewer can change the order of positive and negative perceptions of islanders questions, skip questions, or ask questions in toward tourists and the tourism industry. I also response to something the interviewee says. This wanted to hear stories about personal interactions interview style is far more conversational than a 20 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 21. traditional, prescribed interview. positive. Finally, I asked a few questions about Obviously this type of interview is not what Antigua would look like without tourists particularly useful for someone wanting and what jobs exist outside the tourism industry. quantitative data. Fortunately, I was not looking for quantitative data. I wanted to hear what Antiguans thought, in their own words. I did not If I say tourist... want a preselected set of responses for people to choose from. Therefore, my data is all qualitative. After gathering demographic information, the While this fact does mean that I cannot make the first question I asked was, “In general, what do statistical comparisons that let others know exactly you think of tourists?” Somewhat surprisingly, how reliable my conclusions are, I got to hear the answers to this question were favorable or people tell their stories and opinions the way that neutral, with none of the more than 40 they wanted to. Really, my goal for these respondents stating a primarily unfavorable interviews was to find out how islanders' opinions opinion of tourists. compare with Kincaid’s. So I simply chose to talk In fact, a significant portion of interviewees to as many people as I could in the time that I had. began their response to this question with, “I love I think I came away with some pretty clear results, them.” For some answers, that quote deserves an which maybe someone can one day go back and exclamation point. What inescapably followed quantify, since that wasn’t what I wanted to do. this strongly positive opening was something like, Before I get to my results, though, I need to “That’s where our money comes from.” In a explain what exactly I asked. To start off each country that is so quantitatively dependent on interview, I asked some demographics questions tourism, this sentiment is not that surprising. about employment, socio­economic status, and ties Highly favorable opinions of tourists tended to to the tourism industry. By collecting this data come from people with close ties to the tourism industry – that is, people who interact with Interview method source: Berg, B. Qualitative Methods for the Social Sciences. 7th ed. Allyn & Bacon, 2009. first, I gave interviewees a chance to relax and me a chance to look for correlations among tourists daily and for long periods of time – such demographics and views on tourism. as vendors and tour operators. These answers After the demographics, I would dive right into tended to come from Antiguans in their late the heart of the interview by asking, “What do you twenties or older. Furthermore, although such think of tourists?” I anticipated this question answers tended to come from all reported getting widely varied answers, which it did. I also economic classes, people who reported having expected that interviewees might not want to say “less than enough” in terms of basic needs gave negative things about tourists to a tourist – me. the most positive responses to this question. So, after an interviewee gave an answer to this Many answers that were not so exuberant but general question, I would ask him or her to list still positive also gave financial reasons for liking some positive and then some negative effects of tourists. However, I would occasionally get tourism on Antigua. Next, I asked for personal answers that favored tourists because of cultural stories involving tourists, one negative and one enrichment. This particular response did not Tourists shop at high­end, duty­free stores in St. John's, Antigua. ANTIGUA January 2010 21
  • 22. occur frequently enough to really establish correlations to certain demographics. Other mildly positive respondents said that tourists were a source of entertainment. This particular response tended to come from younger interviewees (i.e., ages 13­22). Respondents with neutral general opinions of tourists tended to say that tourists were the main source of income for the island and left it at that. Neutral answers usually came from people who reported having “enough” in terms of basic needs. Interestingly, this response spanned the range of jobs from those that interact with tourists frequently to those who hardly ever saw with them. However, all individuals who reported low Several sites of Georgian architecture on Antigua are levels of interaction with tourists gave neutral preserved as tourist destinations, such as this old military responses. Along with those who do not generally building at Shirley Heights. interact with tourists, younger respondents also tended to give balanced responses, saying there However, this answer appeared throughout the were both good and bad tourists, usually adding, different demographic categories, with no other though, that there are more good tourists than bad apparent correlations. ones. Also, those who work in history and cultural preservation sectors – historic dockyard and museum employees – mentioned that tourism has Positive effects of tourism created an interest in island history from islanders. As tourists started coming to the My next question was “What do you see as island, Antiguans became more interested in their some positive effects of tourism for Antigua?” own culture and history. The overwhelming majority of interviewees Another demographic­specific response was immediately responded that money – or other that tourists bring new styles of dancing. This economic factors – was the primary benefit of response came from those in their teens and early tourism on the island. This answer spanned all twenties. demographic divisions. Aside from direct economic benefits, several Antiguans said that tourism has created greater Negative effects of tourism awareness of and accountability for the island. Social and economic problems on the island get My next question, which asked for some global attention because so many people from negative responses of tourism, had widely varied both the U.K. and the United States vacation there. responses. The most common responses, which Also, many interviewees said that the government came from about 5 of over 40 interviewees, when I pays attention to public works problems – asked about negative effects of tourism were “I potholes, landscape quality, and general can’t think of any” or “None.” These responses maintenance of public property – as a result of came from people who interacted with tourists tourism. This response tended to come from regularly; however, the correlation only goes one people who live in areas with high levels of way. The answers from people whose jobs require tourism. them to interact with tourists were just as varied Although I did not ask demographic questions as those who don’t regularly interact with tourists. about where on the island interviewees live, I did A couple of people mentioned cultural notice that Antiguans in English Harbour, an area degradation as a negative consequence of tourism. that caters to the yachting industry much more The reasoning for this response was that than the general tourism industry, were slightly Antiguans start dressing, talking, and dancing like more likely to talk about cultural enrichment as a the tourists do. benefit of tourism than those who worked in areas Another response that came up more than once that attract cruise ships and general tourism. was that some tourists say Antigua is too 22 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 23. Voices of Antigua expensive. These people don’t want to pay for the boats when they see that Antigua is a “black services they receive. Apparently this issue island.” One response on the topic of racism caused some recent problems on the island. After surprised me. One person – a white person – told a few Antiguans mentioned a recent problem with me that he experiences racism in the form of white a taxi driver and some tourists, I finally asked an people being treated like tourists even if they have interviewee about it. She responded that a couple lived on the island all their life. This particular had come to the island and asked for a taxi. Once respondent recounted a time when a taxi driver the driver had taken them to the destination, the asked him if he needed a taxi. The driver turned price that he asked them to pay, according to the out to be a close friend of the interviewee, and couple, differed from the price the driver had both found the incident uncomfortable because originally quoted. The couple refused to pay and the driver had simply seen a white person and had to go to court to argue their case. The story assumed he was a tourist. ended there, and I did not press for further details A few people lamented the loss of the since it seemed like a sensitive issue. agriculture industry to tourism, and one or two Another negative effect of tourism that more others called tourists rude. As far as demographic than one person, including a policeman or two, correlations, I found that people were more likely mentioned was that tourists brought “hard drugs” to decline answering this question if they had a with them. Locals prefer marijuana when it job directly related to tourism – vendors, hotel comes to illegal drugs. Tourists, on the other concierges, etc. Also, the younger the respondent, hand, want cocaine and heroin, so along with the more open and frank the response to this tourists came drug dealers who catered to their question. drug preferences. Prostitution also came up in a couple interviews. I asked about the issue of human Personal stories trafficking the second time someone mentioned prostitution, but the interviewee said that didn’t For a change of pace, I next asked for personal happen on Antigua. Also, the respondents said stories involving tourists – one positive story and that prostitution existed on the island before one negative story. This question turned out to be tourists started coming to the island, but fairly unfruitful. Most people either didn’t want prostitution increased greatly with the rise of the to answer or couldn’t think of a story to tell. tourism industry. A lot of stories that were told involved a tourist Racism was another repeat response. Two giving an Antiguan a ride somewhere or the interviewees said that white tourists often don’t reverse. Some stories were about tourists acting like the predominantly black population of the funny when partying at local bars. Quite a few island. In fact, I was told by one person who people talked about how tourists don’t say helps coordinate cruise ship arrivals that some “Hello” as they walk by, which is something tourists simply turn around and get back on the islanders do for everyone. Even though I asked for specifics, most respondents answered this question in a general sense, usually repeating what they said when I asked what they thought about tourists. The most exciting story I got was about a pregnant tourist who started a fight with a dockyard security guard. The woman became physically violent with the guard, but nothing really happened as a result. When I originally decided to ask this question, I thought it might help reveal some perceptions of tourists based on how interviewees told their stories. In the end, though, they ended up repeating what they had said in response to my earlier questions. Tourists dance to a reggae band at a twice­weekly dance party at Shirley Heights. ANTIGUA January 2010 23
  • 24. Agriculture and Trade Specialization One of the islanders that I interviewed When I first suggested that Antigua's decision to favor the heard the interviewee Markets on Antigua prefer tourism industry over the island's previous main imported goods to locally grown industry of agriculture has created prosperity on suggest that produce. Only the bread in the Sources: Todaro and Smith, 2006; Mankiw, N. Principles ofMacroeconomics. 4th ed. Mason, OH: Thomson, 2007. the island by allowing the country to focus on Antigua had picture above was made on what it does best rather than taking time away gained an Antigua. from tourism for other industries that are less advantage profitable. through specialization, I thought he might be This statement reminded me of something I right based on what I had read in Mankiw's text. had read in an economics text about trade However, I later came across a section in a specialization, so I found the text and looked up development text that explained the necessity of trade specialization. agriculture for a developing economy. In Principles of Macroeconomics, N. Gregory In their development text, which I have Mankiw explains trade specialization with the already referred to often, Todaro and Smith example of a rancher and a farmer. explain the benefits of maintaining an Both the rancher and the farmer work 8 hours agricultural sector throughout the process of days. During that time, the farmer produces 16oz economic development. They explain that of potatoes and 4oz of meat. The rancher agriculture has traditionally been viewed as produces 24oz of potatoes and 12 oz of meat. "passive and supportive." Most developed They both spend 4 hours each on meat and countries in the West historically spent more time potatoes respectively. concentrating on transforming their economic The farmer and the rancher find that they are structure away from farming and toward both able to have more meat and potatoes by industry and service sectors. engaging in specialization and trade. The farmer In these situations, the agricultural sector was gives up on producing meat and focuses his day tasked with providing enough low­cost food and on producing 32oz of potatoes. The rancher backup labor to the growing industrial sector. starts spending 6 hours on cattle to produce 18oz Even with this clearly important role of farming, of meat each day and 2 hours for 12oz of industry was thought to be the one leading the potatoes. Then, the rancher gives the farmer 5oz charge in development. of meat in return for 15oz of potatoes. In the end, More recently, economists who study the farmer has 5oz of meat and 17oz of potatoes development have reevaluated the role of the (a 1oz gain on each good), and the rancher has agricultural sector. These economists view three 13oz of meat (1oz gain) and 27oz of potatoes (3oz factors as essential to a nation's economic gain). Both gain from the specialization of time development. These factors are 1) an increase in and trade of goods. output through technology and price incentives Now let's apply this example to the situation that raises the the productivity of small farmers; of Antigua. Antigua is the farmer and 2) an increase in demand for agricultural goods agriculture is the meat. Antigua gave up from the industrial labor force; and 3) a variety of agriculture to focus on their metaphorical nonagricultural development activities potatoes ­ tourism. Antigua gives the world a supported by farmers. In other words, it is the place to vacation in return for money, which they money of farmers flowing through the economic use to buy the agricultural goods that they gave system that spurs an economy toward growth. up producing on their own. Whether or not An economy without a strong agricultural Antigua came out on top is debatable. It is true base is likely to experience slow growth due to that their standard of living has been improving economic inefficiency. This effect is more (see page 12), but correlation does not imply pronounced in low­income, developing nations. causation. 24 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 25. Voices of Antigua Other industries The last question I asked was to find out what people perceived as other opportunities for jobs. In other words, I was trying to find out if Kincaid In order to judge how dependent on tourism was right about the people of Antigua not feeling Antiguans perceived their island, I first asked, free to choose careers outside the tourism “How do you think Antigua would be different if industry. The question was, “How do you think tourists stopped coming to Antigua?” The the island would be different if tourists never response to this question was unanimous and came to Antigua?” unambiguous. The answer to this question, like the last, was While each islander may have said it in a pretty much unanimous. The vast majority of different way, every person I talked to told me that interviewees said that most people would Antigua would be in a horrible situation if tourists probably go back to work in agriculture. Several stopped vacationing on the island. The economic people added that agriculture would probably not problems that would result were nearly be sufficient to sustain the island’s population and everyone’s first reaction, though a few added certainly not the present quality of life. Here are some other subtle ways the island might change. some of the things people said: “Maybe people Here are some of the ways that Antiguans could mine coal”; “agriculture”; “Maybe people responded: “Antigua would come off the map”; could work at the local brewery”; “There might be “This island is tourism”; “Job loss”; “Businesses some construction work, but mostly farming”; would close down”; “We’d go back to farming”; “Farming, and maybe more exporting… we used “Businesses wouldn’t sell much”; “I would have to have the sweetest pineapple in the world”; “We to go back home [to country of birth]”; “The would have to get resources from other countries”; economy would drop”; “I don’t know, and I don’t “There wouldn’t be many jobs…maybe want to find out”; “The country would be less agriculture or construction”; “The island would be Americanized”; “We would lose a lot and go back undeveloped”; etc. to farming”; etc. A small sign in an exhibit in the museum at Nelson Dockyard describes the island's once­thriving sugar industry. ANTIGUA January 2010 25
  • 26. Voices of Antigua In Conclusion Another question that I wanted to answer after people who destroyed their culture and now force reading Kincaid was whether Antiguans feel that them into economic slavery. From my experience they have no freedom to choose what to do with in talking to islanders, both in and out of the their lives. On this topic, it looks like Kincaid was interviews, and walking around a good bit of the right. The economic data show that the island, I think Kincaid was just plain wrong. Keep employment opportunities outside of tourism are in mind, though, that the interviewees were severely limited. Also, Antiguans said that the talking to a white tourist when they answered my only careers other than those related to tourism questions. were in agriculture, which is all but nonexistent on There were several Antiguans who, at some the island today. Antiguans do not perceive many point during the interview, said something to the – if any – jobs available outside of the tourism effect of “Tourism might be all Antigua has, and it industry, and the numbers confirm that there might not be the best situation, but isn’t that how really aren’t any. things are everywhere else.” No economic system Even though Kincaid was right on that is the best, but people get by on what they have. particular count, I have to say that overall she That was the general feel of the island for me. seems to have missed the mark on the general Antiguans seemed like generally happy people, feeling of the island with respect to tourism. who enjoyed life whether they worked at a Kincaid would have her readers believe that the museum, drove taxis, sold pineapples, or rented island is seething with hatred toward the white out yachts. The Economics of Small Places Hopefully you're reading this magazine and gaining some insights about Antigua's economics, another culture, and some of the effects of tourism. But, you ask yourself, "What smart­sounding things can I say to my economists friends at our next cocktail party?" Or maybe you aren't. Either way, here is a paragraph of intelligent­sounding sound bytes on tourism and small­island economics. Small states tend to have greater market volatility due to their vulnerability to sudden changes in trade. They also tend to have higher GDP per capita and high variability in annual growth rates.1 One analysis employed in tourism research for small islands is tourism sustainability. The indicators for this particular ranking are economic impact, environmental issues, social impacts and attitudes, policy, technology use, and tourist statistics.2 Islands with remaining strong political ties to former colonial states even after the end of colonialism tended to have the greatest prosperity through the end of the twentieth century. Also, there is a strong correlation between “political dependence and material welfare” of a small island economy.3 The main disadvantages for small island developing states are political and economic insulation, physical distance from major markets, and high rates of natural disasters. These islands score the highest on the vulnerability index as constructed by Lino Briguglio.4 In some cases, tourism has a strong positive correlation with poverty for island residents. Sahli and Nowak suggest a theoretic model where island governments decide on the best type of tourism for their country based on optimization of land and labor resources.5 1 Easterly,William, and Aart Kraay. "Small States, Small Problems? Income, Growth, and Volatility in Small States." World Development 28.1 1 (2000): 201 3-027. Print. 2 Lim, Charles C., and Chris Cooper. "Beyond Sustainability: Optimising Island Tourism Development." International Journal ofTourism Research 1 1 .1 (2009): 89-1 03. Print. 3 Bertram, Geoffrey. "On the Convergence of Small Island Economies with Their Metropolitan Patrons." World Development 32.2 (2004): 343- 64. Print. 4Briguglio, Lino. "Small Island Developing States and Their Economic Vulnerabilities." World Development 23.9 (1 995): 1 61 5-632. Print. 5 Sahli, Monher, and Jean-Jacques Nowak. "Does Inbound Tourism Benefit Developing Countries? A Trade Theoretic Approach." Journal of TravelResearch 45.4 (2007): 426-34. Print. 26 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 27. “ ” Commentary Line The No restrictions on tourists.... just locals After doing the majority of my interviews, I cross the line any was pretty much convinced that not only was time they wanted Jamaica Kincaid wrong about the general attitude or if there were of the island toward tourism but that she had no also restrictions on reason whatsoever for being so angry. Then, I saw them. The it. Right there in the roadway, like a miniature response I got sent yellow­brick road leading toward the Merry Old my left­wing mind Land of Oz. Actually, I didn’t see it, but isn’t that reeling: “There are imagery nice? no restrictions on What I did not see was a small yellow line tourists, only painted across a roadway leading toward the port locals.” Security personnel monitor the line. where cruise ships dock. The yellow line seemed Immediately, I innocuous, and no one bothered me as I walked thought, “Kincaid was right!” It is not the back and forth across it. So I did not really islanders who are free but the tourists. These understand the line’s purpose, and I mostly people who live on the island have restrictions on ignored it. After walking across the line, I found a what parts of their homeland they can go to. friendly police officer who was kind enough to do Meanwhile, a tourist like me can walk wherever I one of my interviews. He explained to me the please with nary a second thought from anyone. significance of the line. I, by virtue of being from somewhere else and The line demarcates the part of the island holding an American passport, have the rule of where locals are not allowed, and it is the job of the island. I started thinking that Kincaid was police who guard the line to yell at any Antiguan correct when she said that Antigua had enslaved who tries to crossover into tourist land. The itself to the rest of the developed world. primary role of the line occurs when cruise ships Eventually I calmed down. When I talked to first arrive. Taxi drivers and tour guides will line Lisa Nicholson (see page 18) she pointed out to up near a wall that’s just behind the line. As me that we are living in a post­9/11 world where tourists come off the ships, they request taxi security concerns in terms of travel have become drivers for wherever they are going, and the paramount. She’s right; I was overreacting. security workers who monitor the line call the Tourists on cruise ships have a reasonable number of the appropriate driver for the tourist. expectation of security, and they are the guests of Just for clarification, I asked if tourists could the island. So why shouldn’t the island be hospitable and take measures to protect the visitors? Even after talking with Lisa about the line and calming down quite a bit, something still doesn’t feel quite right about this. Is it really okay that a country has harsher restrictions on locals than on visitors? It’s true that the United States does it in some cases, such as diplomatic passports. But, still, the average Joe Tourist has more freedom on On days when cruise ships come in, taxi drivers and tour Antigua than the locals, and something about that guides line up here. unsettles me. ANTIGUA January 2010 27
  • 28. Interview Dr. Reg Murphy A countervoice to A Small Place During one of my last days in Antigua, I sat apart. It’s a third­world "I think we should burn Source: Dr. Murphy picture and biographical data - http://www.archaeologyantigua.org/biography.htm down to talk with Dr. Reg Murphy, an archaeologist on the island. Dr. Murphy holds a country. the witch at the first Master's Degree in Anthropology from Trent What the University in Canada and a Ph.D. in Archaeology [expletive stake we can find. I’ll from the University of Calgary in Alberta. He is deleted] help you light the bonfire." an associate of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum, does she former director of the board of the International expect? Association for Caribbean Archaelogy, and a She’s a director of the Museum of Antigua. whiner. She just whines and whines and goes on to talk Dr. Murphy and I discussed several topics about the beach. She talks about people pumping related to Antigua, but his most impassioned sewage into the sea. Even here [in English Harbour] responses came when I asked specifically about we have our own sewage treatment plant. Jamaica Kincaid. All these things she comes up with are exaggerated and stretched. It’s like, what are you doing about it? Q: Have you ever read any books by Jamaica Fine, you moan and groan and complain, but you Kincaid? haven’t spent a dollar to do anything about it. You A: I think we should burn the witch at the first stake we can find. I’ll help you light the bonfire. Q: What do you think of her statements about how angry she says everyone is? A: No, we call it the overseas syndrome. People leave Antigua in the [19]50s and [19]60s. They go away for a long time, and they come back. Things have changed and they are no longer the way there were, and they have this vision of the way things were…. I’m not sure how she got that [stuff] published anyway. Q: What’s wrong with her work? A: Well, the first thing is she gets published because she married some bigshot in the Washington Post… One thing she mentions is going to school. In the 1950s, the schools she would have went to would have been very religious… School was very formal, and you had to stand and present your fingers. These things were done for health reasons…. All the schools are run by religious personalities. She talks about the pasty­faced woman who comes into run the school. [She] sees it from a racist viewpoint, as if they come here to abuse the black kids …but every high schoolteacher in the 1950s would pinch the kids by the ears. You still get flogged here in schools. She talks about the potholes and the cars falling An Antiguan flag hangs in a shop in St. John's. 28 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 29. made all this money off this cheap little book, but what of high­profile corruption is gone. There is corruption have you done to help this country you love so much? now, but it is not as glaringly blatant as before. Lots of A lot of her writings were taken by this guy… who deals went down [before], and every minister got a cut is a socialist. He took it and used a lot out of it. When they built Heritage of her stuff for political purposes. All her stuff got dragged into this political "I think [the change] Quay, a little Italianbuilt that, built that, and when they company they stuff, and she was made a hero by this is because we now have built two houses for the minister government. Now they’re out of independent radio who approved it… made out of the exact same material. power. stations and media. I think [the change] is because I asked Dr. Murphy for details There’s more we now have independent radio stations and media. There’s more accountability." about the government, and at one point in his answer, he explained accountability. some of the issues that Kincaid saw as government corruption. Q: What about the loss of cultural heritage that Kincaid mentions? [The minister Bird] had one main problem. He realized A: The same thing that she complains about… the the government was broke and had no way of paying pasty­faced queen and the flogging in schools. What the ministers, so he encouraged them to go into does she consider cultural heritage? What do you like? business while in office. That is just wrong – What do you want? When she says cultural heritage, fundamentally wrong. A lot of the things we see as what does she mean by that? If she means forts and corruption came out of that. Like there’s a minister in spots being run down, it’s because people like her won’t public works, and [he] starts a business selling tires, do anything to fix it. and who’s [his] best client? Public works. Q: Any questions I should have asked? Q: So, it is just because they couldn’t pay the A: You know it’s a catch­22. We love the tourism ministers so they had to get other jobs? business. We realize that we have nothing else. The A: There were poor salaries that demand a lot of work, thing we get most disappointed with is Antiguans not and he saw that as wrong. taking the opportunities to get involved in the tourism business. Also, no one here wants to get into the Q: What’s changed since Kincaid wrote her [agriculture] business. We’re not really on the ball. book? The opportunities are there. A: The environment has stabilized. A lot of that kind Diamond shops are prolific in Heritage Quay, the area that Dr. Murphy mentions when talking about government corruption. ANTIGUA January 2010 29
  • 30. Travel Tips From Haley Mills and Ryan Melvin By going through the process of planning and going on an international trip on our own, we gained a little bit of travel wisdom that we have chosen to share with you. You should feel honored. In the planning steps, there are some important things to keep in mind. First of all, do not book flights or lodging through trip­planning websites. Our bad experiences came from kayak.com – through whom we booked our flights – and for one room, when we were really just splitting hostelworld.com – through home we booked our the cost between two people. Admittedly, we room on Antigua. In the end, Hostelworld ended should have just paid more attention, but we still up charging us slightly more than the hostel would have gotten a better deal by booking would have on its own. We thought we were through the hostel directly. Even if we had gotten getting a good deal because of the way that the a better deal from Hostelworld, they still take a website presented the cost – per person, not per 10% fee from the Hostel, so we could have just room. So, we thought we were paying half price offered to book the room directly, meaning the hostel would at least get about 10% more money in the end. The basic idea holds for flight booking sites as well. They are good for research, but for booking the flight, directly with the airline is the best way. After you’ve done the work, triple check the details before and after booking. Hostelworld.com sent the wrong dates to the hostel, and a week before leaving, we had to convince the hostel to move our stay to the correct month. Finally, handle payment beforehand or have a traveler’s check for the exact amount you’ll owe upon arrival. Sometimes credit cards charge additional international fees. Sometimes the individual company – like the hostel – does as well. Intra­country flights are surprisingly difficult to book. So, if you’ll need to be traveling during the trip, make sure all of those details are finally and definitely nailed down and avoid changing them even if you are presented with a fun­ sounding opportunity. Another item that sneaks up on you is cell phone costs. Even with an international option added to your plan, the roaming charges can be through the roof. Also, For both of us, Chacos are the all­terrain shoe of choice. before going, ask about the water where you’ll be 30 ANTIGUA January 2010
  • 31. foreign country with no where to stay. As far as packing goes, take peanut butter or other snacks you like. Sometimes food is more expensive than you anticipate, and you need a backup plan. Also, eat out for lunch and maybe make your own dinner. Lunch is significantly cheaper than dinner at lots of restaurants. Also, bring laundry detergent and learn how to sink wash your clothes. That way, you don’t have to pay for laundry services. Dryer sheets are good too since they can get rid of strange smells and ward off bugs. Also, err on the sides of not enough clothes and too much money. If you have a laptop or other Skype­capable device and know Making sure linens are provided wherever you're staying is that you will have internet access, buying Skype always a good choice. credit is a good plan, since international calls will only cost $0.12, and calls to other Skype users are staying, so you can plan on either bringing filters free. or budget for buying bottled water. If you go for Here are some other tidbits of wisdom for once the latter option, buy the biggest jug of water you arrive. Do not believe signs that say “1 mile available. They are the cheapest per ounce. hike.” Your drinking buddy should not be your If your work depends on contacts with relationship adviser after more than two drinks. organizations you might be visiting, make sure The closer a restaurant is to falling down, the you have multiple contacts for each location/ better and cheaper the food will be. Finally, if organization. Sometimes people just drop off the available, use public transportation. face of the digital world. If they won’t answer There you have it, our advice. Some of it comes their phone or your emails, then you’re pretty from things we did right and some of it from much up a creak without a paddle – or worse, in a things we did wrong. It is our hope that by repeating our success you can have as smooth a trip as we did and by avoiding our mistakes, you can have an even smoother one. When traveling, remember to take joy in the little things, like these wonderful chocolate croissants we found. Backpacks are one of the more useful travel tools ever invented ANTIGUA January 2010 31
  • 32. The Economics of a Small Place by Ryan L. Melvin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution­Noncommercial­Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Confirm at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by­nc­sa/3.0/us/

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