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April 22, 2009

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Erasmus Folly

@Drew
Artists need to own their art. I cannot imagine the headache of sharing the ownership of one's art with a government agency. While that solution sounds good in Europe or in the United States, in theory, in practice here, that suggestion would be absolutely maddening.

@All
The government shouldn't try to get 'involved' in everything. They just need to set up the circumstances where things can happen on their own and then get out of the way. The problem in this country isn't that government isn't involved enough; it is that they are involved too much and in the wrong ways and they end up slowing down everything. While I respect your idea in theory, in practice with these people that are in government agencies, it has absolutely no chance of success and would simply drive the artists up the proverbial wall to insanity. Efforts must be made to curb government excess and waste - we must get serious about this. The economy is being strangled by government regulations, high levels of taxation, slow bureaucracies and ever 'dumber' people it seems marching into the ranks of ever more stultifying, anachronistic and 'dumber' bureaucracies. Bahamians with college degrees that come back to Nassau find this place maddening and government is a very, very big part of the reason.

Ingraham seems to have some of the bureaucracies in his target sites, but he can only go so fast and the PLP isn't understanding the concept of governance, rule of law and the development of 'civil society' at all. They undo 'progress' and threaten to take us back to the 'good ole days' all the time. They seem to fully support the continued ignorance of the people and excuse it. They are hopelessly out of touch with where this country needs to go. They may be in touch with what the average Bahamian wants, but timocracy is not democracy. While listening to the people is very, very important, you won't ever craft a coherent vision by only pandering to every voter you can. The fiasco of anchor projects should make clear to everyone the limitations of the PLP's vision.

Anchor projects should translate to 'selling out massively and unnecessarily to large foreign interests to maximize the possibility of government kickbacks and bribes.' That is the definition of 'anchor projects'. The out islands don't need an anchor project on every island. They need an airport, a ferry dock and a place for boats perhaps... but not a 5000 room hotel everywhere. Bahamians will never OWN tourism until they start on a smaller scale. Bed and breakfast here, small hotel there, restaurant over there, cafe over here, t-shirt shop over there... eventually growth is organic and you get a great product. Trying to make every island like the Atlantis is a fool's dream and the surest way to ruin the country. Atlantis is great, don't get me wrong, but we don't need another 10 of them in this country.

Erasmus Folly

@Larry

KPMG... cool. I think if we had some large entity's report in hand that documented the current size in people and dollars of X bureaucracy and then give a rough estimate of what the size of that bureaucracy in an efficient and well functioning first world country is - as a per capita measurement and comparison, then we would have some very useful analytical statistics and tools to break down where the excess waste and spending is going and which areas are 'high priority' for reform and which are just 'in need of reform'. This should be done, not with a view of sharing the info with the government, but sharing the information directly with the people, so that they understand the nature of the problem. Bahamians respond to very little, but if you point out and show them something that is 'backwards' they do get upset and try to fix it. Usually, they just didn't know it was backwards to begin with. I think our ignorance greatly slows us down and we need ratchet up, massively, the amount of good and useful information we make ACCESSIBLE to the public. ACCESSIBLE means finding ways in which even the most ignorant and educated can come to understand something. In some countries, NGO's use pictograms because literacy rates are so poor; perhaps, that kind of thinking needs to be applied here too... if the school grade statistics are as bad as published.

Ian Strachan may be well intentioned, but anyone that advocates large scale government spending on anything is simply missing the point. More money isn't the answer - the effectiveness of the money and how it is spent is the issue. Any politician not advocating for a spending freeze, reform and SMARTER government (a la Obama) is not on the right footing and should be dismissed out of hand. They simply don't get it. ZNS should be left to go bankrupt. My apologies to the employees there, but government wastes colossal sums of money that could be used on micro-financing projects, education, smart tourism promotion and countless other projects. ZNS does no one any good. Let CABLE 12 be the new ZNS or cut it massively, make it self-sustaining and call it a day.

Finally, the perks and privilidges that are afforded our large bureaucracies need to be radically addressed. Government spends huge sums wastefully in these agencies. A new big comfy chair is NOT YOUR TOP SPENDING PRIORITY. That is the kind of mentality that exists in this country.

drew Roberts

@Erasmus,

Not if the public's money is funding their art. If an artist wants to own their own art, let them fund it themselves. let them go out and sell it on the open market.

A Free, copyleft license will still allow the artist to sell copies of their art and keep all of the money without giving any to the government even while the government temporarily holds the copyright on the artist's work.

And they public, who paid for the art, will have some public rights to it. It will be a public, cultural good, able to be built on, shared and reused by other artists in the community which funded the work in the first place.

People are making money with these sorts of licenses already and without government funding. They can get paid by the government for their art and still sell their art and that is too much to ask of those who want government funding? I don't think so. (But I could be wrong and am happy to discuss this idea further.)

all the best,

drew

drew Roberts

@Erasmus,

Not if the public's money is funding their art. If an artist wants to own their own art, let them fund it themselves. let them go out and sell it on the open market.

A Free, copyleft license will still allow the artist to sell copies of their art and keep all of the money without giving any to the government even while the government temporarily holds the copyright on the artist's work.

And they public, who paid for the art, will have some public rights to it. It will be a public, cultural good, able to be built on, shared and reused by other artists in the community which funded the work in the first place.

People are making money with these sorts of licenses already and without government funding. They can get paid by the government for their art and still sell their art and that is too much to ask of those who want government funding? I don't think so. (But I could be wrong and am happy to discuss this idea further.)

all the best,

drew

Rick

Thanks Nico:
I wonder if we polled the MP's of the day if they would even recall the the proposed legislation.
Who is the wider cultural community?
How many people attended the 3 day event?
What did the proposed bill ask for?
Rick

Nicolette

Rick, if you polled the MPs of the day they would not remember the legislation because it never made it past Cabinet.

As for the rest, did you read my reports? The answers are there. Relatively poor turnout from New Providence, but representation from a number of Family Islands.

Rick

In my not so humble opinion, you confirmed my point Nico.
Thanks.
And yes, I did read your reports.

Nicolette

Rick, true; but ignorance is not a reliable marker of what matters in the world.

I'm not relying on what the Bahamian public believes is a source of economic value; we're so far behind the times it's not funny. I'm suggesting we do what Stafford Sands did 50 years ago -- see what direction the world is moving and beat it to the game.

And the world, whether we like it or not, or consider it "special interests" or not -- is moving to invest in culture. That we're not is our loss.

Rick

Begging at the feet of the political class for something that is claimed to have such value is not the approach in my view Nicolette.
Just do it!

Erasmus Folly

You misunderstand Rick. They are in the way. It isn't a question of begging. Quite literally, the government is in the way because it isn't managing itself properly. That is not the same thing as asking for something from them.

Rick

I'll accept that, but the end result is the same.
See the results in education or 90% of the other government agenices, or departments or ministries.
They are simply too large to work.

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