Notes From The Margin

March 5, 2008

Sir Charles Williams on Apes Hill and Agriculture

 

A couple of days ago we were listening to the mid day call in programme and heard Barbadian construction magnate Sir Charles (COW) Williams call in. After he had made his point, the moderator David Ellis took the opportunity to ask him about the progress of his Apes Hill project.

Never one to miss an opportunity for promotion Sir Charles proceeded to wax lyrically about the great success that Apes Hill is becoming. Apparently the sales of lots has been so great it has forced them to accelerate their business plan to keep up with demand.

Then Sir Charles made an insightful point, when Apes Hill was a dairy farm, it employed approximately 12 persons at minimum wage, in its current state of construction it’s employing close to 400 persons (we were driving so we didn’t have the opportunity to write this down so if the numbers are slightly off don’t scream for our scalps) and those 400 are employed at much higher salaries.  One can reasonably assume that as the project completes it will occupy much more than 12 persons.

Now this opens an interesting point, is moving land out of agriculture necessarily a bad thing for society? Obviously there are limits on how much of this you can do but, is society better off with Apes Hill in agriculture or with it in tourism and golf courses? Similar questions could be asked about Royal Westmoreland.

It is unfortunate that there wasn’t an opportunity for this point to be discussed more on the call in programme.

Marginal

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5 Comments »

  1. Marginal:
    You said: “Now this opens an interesting point, is moving land out of agriculture necessarily a bad thing for society? Obviously there are limits on how much of this you can do but, is society better off with Apes Hill in agriculture or with it in tourism and golf courses? Similar questions could be asked about Royal Westmoreland.”

    In order to move your comment/question from the rhetorical to the analytical you need to explain what you mean by “agriculture”. For example is growing grass to produce those beautiful looking greens agriculture or not? Can you feed sheep on the clippings?

    You need to explain, too, what in your mind passes for “society”. When I was a boy, “Society” was the name of a plantation in St. John. It has clearly gone out of agriculture. Who has benefited from this change?

    Moving land from agriculture into other activities in a very small island, where land is undoubtedly a scarce resource, should be subjected to critical cost/benefit analysis. Such an exercise will enable us to determine who loses and who benefits within a specified temporal period.

    Nuff said. I gone!

    Comment by Linchh — March 6, 2008 @ 5:43 am | Reply

  2. “Moving land from agriculture into other activities in a very small island, where land is undoubtedly a scarce resource, should be subjected to critical cost/benefit analysis.”

    And herein lies my point, from a purely dollars and cents basis, the land generates more revenue in tourism, than in agriculture (defined as growing food for human consumption)now obviously there are other factors to be taken into account, but how much weight should they be given? Does it make sense grieving over the demise of the sugar industry that couldn’t make sugar at a profit? At the same time is it fair to expect agriculture to make a “profit” when first world agriculture is so heavily subsidised?

    Is there a greater benefit to one over the other?

    Marginal

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — March 6, 2008 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

  3. Marginal:

    When you say: “And herein lies my point, from a purely dollars and cents basis, the land generates more revenue in tourism, than in agriculture (defined as growing food for human consumption)now obviously there are other factors to be taken into account, but how much weight should they be given? Does it make sense grieving over the demise of the sugar industry that couldn’t make sugar at a profit? At the same time is it fair to expect agriculture to make a “profit” when first world agriculture is so heavily subsidised?”
    you reveal that you do not have the faintest idea what is cost/benefit analysis in the context of the socio-economic reality of a small nation state. I think that I will gain little by trying to give you a lession in elementary economics. We have a place for that and it’s called UWIChill, which, incidentally, is an appropriate name since what is taught there is not only dismal, but chilling.

    When you speak of generating more revenue you imply an acceptance of a pricing system that is totally off key, so keep on singing your one note samba.

    Comment by Linchh — March 7, 2008 @ 12:33 am | Reply

  4. Marginal:
    It always amazes me to hear entrepreneurs keen on noting how many
    jobs a particular business venture is going to haul in or has hauled in. The stark reality is that you can’t amass wealth without an efficient labour component, you need people.

    There are some businessmen that have treated their workers well, that is commendable, but the punch line has always been profitability, profitability,
    profitability. Hiring a workforce, then, is for the most part only a necessary expense and it is time that some of these employers stop mouthing-off about job creation and focus on the salient point of wealth accumulated unto themselves.

    Comment by John Vanderpool — July 20, 2008 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

  5. Ask the COW where is His deeds for all this land he say he own ,, EDITED FOR BEING DEFAMATORY AND ALSO BEING DOWNRIGHT DUMB. If you are that interested you can go search the land registry. I am not entertaining stupidity like this on my blog.
    Marginal

    Comment by Alex Mitchell — December 2, 2009 @ 10:41 am | Reply


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