Stimulating the work ethic

Stabroek News
August 9, 2001

Dear Editor,

Your editorial [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] "Aiming High" (4.8.2001) is a positively remarkable piece of journalism. It contains the major requirements for great achievements and is applicable to all Guyanese.

However, for a nation to progress, individual progress must first be facilitated and accomplished. The invention of Henry Ford gave birth to one of the greatest industries today - the automobile. The vision of Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore converted a tiny nation into an economic tiger and the culture and discipline of the Japanese workforce makes that country perhaps the most efficient production force ever.

Motivation stems from a need to outdo and achieve, a desire to reach the top and to be respected. Guyanese society can barely meet its primordial needs (food, clothes, shelter) as almost entire salaries are spent to acquire it. According to the philosopher Maslow, secondary needs of the individual become diminished and in such cases, as you correctly indicated, mere survival and passing time becomes the order of the day. The greatest motivational factor in Guyana today is the potential glories of emigration.

In pinpointing PNC party paramountcy as a cause of poor work ethic and results, you should have indicated that the PPP's dogma of Marxism-Leninism strives for a classless society and offers no incentive for individual entrepreneurs. The catastrophe of Eastern Europe and the dismantled USSR are perfect examples of state control.

Additionally, the speeches of all the Guyanese leaders are, almost always, laden with acrimony rather than aspiration; they reflect on present and past gloom as opposed to visions of a promising future. Consequently, after three decades of this phenomenon, the psyche of Guyanese has been conditioned to accept poverty, corruption and incompetence as indispensable attributes of society. With barrels and US dollars flowing freely into needy households there is generally no motivation to achieve anything.

Yours faithfully,
Leyland Chitlall Roopnaraine