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Mobilizing Human Capital To Leverage Jamaica’s Competitive Advantage For Economic Growth And Development

A country cannot develop if it is relying, solely, on foreign investments and imported human capital. As a country, we can no longer think in terms of comparative advantage, cause on every measure, Jamaica has failed.

As long as we attach economic progress to external conditions, we will forever remain at the mercy of those outside forces. In terms of economic innovations that are local, we should firstly, look at our human capital as the greatest asset for our nation.

The mismanagement of our human resources is the greatest tragedy of consecutive governments in Jamaica. We really need a referendum on the course that we should be taking as a nation. The current direction is choppy and lacking in focus.

We must innovate, with better management of the human capital that we have, in abundance, all over the globe. We must therefore, think in terms of sustainable competitive advantage, through strategic human capital development.

The growth of uncertainty, rapid changes, and increased demand for knowledge in the post-industrial, knowledge and information age, has placed greater emphasis on human capital — an enormous wealth Jamaica possesses, both at home and in the Diaspora. Our view of economic development must take on the resource-based approach, by developing strategies around plans to achieve sustainable competitive advantage, through human capital development.

The resource-based view includes: value, rarity, inimitability, and organization qualities, which Jamaicans are considered as possessing, among the best in the world. At best, adding value provides only temporary competitive advantage, and may provide only competitive parity. Instead, governments must identify and exploit the rare characteristics of human resources, through human capital development, to gain competitive advantage.

However, achieving value and rarity provides only temporary competitive advantage; if competitors can imitate advantages, they will be lost, over time. Therefore, governments must develop and nurture characteristics that cannot be easily imitated, such as socially complex and unique history, culture, and shared identity. In turn, ambiguity and social complexity become inimitable characteristics.

These are characteristics that have propelled Jamaica to greatness, around the world, in sports, entertainment, and tourism development products. It is time we leverage these qualities into economic leadership and greatness.

“Yes we can”, let us unite the country and the people… “bring back the love” — and give the Jamaican Diaspora the vote. Unity is strength.

Silbert Barrett,

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