S&P Report Uses “Social Cohesion” Loaded Term
Standard & Poor’s has dramatically lowered its outlook for Barbados from “stable” to “negative” — and most worrisome, introduces the concept of civil unrest in Barbados should things get much worse financially. The Wall Street Journal said the following…
“S&P said the ratings could be downgraded if the loss in reserves is higher than projected, which would intensify pressure on the currency peg; if the worsening economy strains social cohesion; or if the fiscal deterioration is longer or more severe than anticipated.”
Concern about “Social cohesion” is something we have never seen mentioned before in relation to Barbados, especially by such a prestigious firm as Standard & Poor’s. I thought I knew what the term meant, but after looking it up in the context in the Standard & Poor’s report it is used as a euphemism that allows the report’s authors to say that which cannot be said. Simply put, Standard & Poor’s is concerned about the glue that keeps our society together.
And when we consider of some of the recent crime stories in the news media plus the unreported carjackings and road robberies especially in the north of the island, we can see where Standard & Poor’s thinking is coming from.
Looking at the differences in how the Nation and the Wall Street Journal reported the same story is an interesting exercise in agendas. As we read the Wall Street Journal article, the actual Standard & Poor’s report looked to the future and voiced concerns about the stability and social cohesion of Barbados if the overall financial situation worsened. The Nation story twisted the Standard & Poor’s report to be a vote of confidence in the county’s current “social cohesion and political stability”, and does not mention the report’s concerns for the future.
While we can understand the natural inclination of the government and the news media to put on a happy face, it is done so often and in so many ways with so many issues in Barbados that both the government and the news media have ruined their own credibility. The one thing that Barbadians need to prepare themselves for what is ahead is the truth. Yes, doom and gloom can create a self fulfilling prophecy, but we trust ordinary people enough to know that a healthy dose of reality will inspire most to work harder, smarter and to appreciate the safety net provided by friends and family.
And we had all better appreciate and look after each other and our friends and family because there may come a time very soon when the government elites are forced to admit that they haven’t got a bloody clue AND the piggy bank is empty.
Nation News: Outlook Slides
Wall Street Journal: Standard & Poor’s changes outlook on Barbados to negative from stable