Following up with the subject of the two paths laid out for our country with Jimmy Carter's speech is this very apropos segment from This America Life that provides a comparison of Barbados and Jamaica and how they approached a fiscal crisis created by an account deficit shortage. Barbados decided to tackle the problems as a shared problem where everyone made sacrifices to make sure the country overall would be able to survive the crisis. Jamaica (which we have been hearing about more recently and not in a good way) handled the problem as a need to re-intrench and as "you don't like the way I'm handling it, leave." Which a large number of the Jamaican middle-class did. These statistics provide a picture of how these two approaches worked:
Today, the average income in Barbados is twice that of Jamaica. The literacy rate for Barbados is 95% of the adult population can be considered literate whereas in Jamaica 1/5th of the adult population is considered functionally illiterate. And finally, the murder rate in Barbadoes is one of the lowest, and in Jamica, it's one of the highest. So what's different? How they approached the financial crisis that afflicted their societies.
Listen and see what you think (segment starts around 36:00).