BVI News

COMMENTARY: UK, hurricanes exposed BVI’s one-culture economy

By Dickson Igwe, Contributor

Countries that depend upon a single product and a single market for their economic existence put all their eggs into a single basket.

When that basket takes a hit, deep recession and depression are the result one-product cultures — countries that depend on a single commodity or product for their economic existence — generate a visionless and narrow outlook driven by the lack of a broader economic vision.

The combined effort of the country’s manpower in terms of ideas and physical effort is given over to the production of the one product and revenue generator.

The one product is a cash cow that prevents the country’s leaders from possessing a wider vision. It is a culture of ‘easy money’ that triggers dependency on the single product.

The single product is a single polarity that drives the economy. The monoculture is a blinder that prevents clear sight, and panoramic thinking. The preceding in turn, negatively impacts the wider society. One product cultures such as oil-producing cultures drive an entitlement culture.

Entitlement culture

There is a deception that there will always be ‘bread on the breakfast table’. Laziness, corruption, and crime are often on an upward curve, in one product economies. Then, skills that should drive alternative revenue streams, and that can diversify and build resilience into the economy, are lost.

The population focuses on the single knowledge and narrow skills-set that drives the single industry. There is a loss of alternative markets that should have generated diverse employment options.

This reduces productivity as innovation is unnecessary and the population rushes into the one single industry for work and prosperity. All economic and employment effort is put into the one economic culture. There is a neglect of alternative economies such as local manufacturing, food production, craft making, boat making, and more.

Then, as is inevitable, when the gravy train hits the ‘proverbial buffer’, and is derailed, such as in the Virgin Islands with hurricanes Irma and Maria, and then the UK decision imposing public registers of ownership in the financial services, the vulnerability of the one culture economy is ‘rudely exposed’.


One product economies historically ignore the critical importance of collecting and utilizing tax revenues and promoting social equity. Monocultures are often a top-down, trickle-down economics type.

The single culture is an ‘all-powerful commercial shrine’. There is great inequality, social and economic, in economies that are monocultures. There is underinvestment in alternative revenue generators. There is overinvestment in the single product in terms of resource allocation.

The economy is over-centralized. It is driven by the one single product. Political and social power is derived from links to the single economic generator.

The preceding leads to an entitlement culture and poor governance. The single product economy is overwhelmingly an import economy. This is because resources, efforts, and energies, are directed into the one product line.

There are no natural and human resources directed into alternative economies and alternative revenue generators. The population becomes dependent upon imports. There is a loss of sufficiency.

Unhealthy exchange

There is an unhealthy exchange. The single product is the single export. Everything the country consumes from food and drink, to electronics and appliances is imported in exchange for the single product. The preceding undermines the productive capacity of the economy. This dependence on foreign markets for consumption harms the social and physical capital.

The mono-economy further destroys local markets. It prevents food sufficiency, flat lines economic productivity, and builds eternal trade and budgetary deficits. Corruption and conflict of interest is a common denominator of economic monocultures. National debt increases.

But it is the type of external debt that is a dead weight. The options of paying back the national debt are limited to the single revenue-generating product. This is risky and more arduous than in a multiple product market economy.

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  1. Sam the man says:

    The single culture is an ‘all-powerful commercial shrine’. There is great inequality, social and economic, in economies that are monocultures.

    The economy is over-centralized. It is driven by the one single product

    leads to an entitlement culture and poor governance.

    Very true

  2. Reality says:

    Venezuela………a prime example, may I say more!

  3. E. Leonard says:

    Undoubtedly, a SWOT (Strength Weakness Opportunity. Threat) analysis of the current economic posture of VI should list lack of economic diversification, mono economy and small, open economy as a weakness; human capital, a strength.

    Heavy dependence primarily on tourism and financial services is an economic weakness. It is akin to putting all eggs in one basket and is risky. A stumble in either can result in a tumble in the economy. Economic diversification must become a top item on the VI’s bucket list.

    • Transparent Governance says:

      Start with food and agricultural sufficiency- create an internal food market economy with local drink and produce- save the country hundreds of millions in importation and create hundreds of new jobs

      • James says:

        Unfortunately, nobody wants their children to grow up to be farmers working long hours in the fields for low pay. And on whose land will we start these farms? I can make more in one month with a tourist apartment than I would get in a whole year with acres of beans.

        • Markets are created says:

          Thinking like yours James has kept Caribbean countries poor- then why do richer countries subsidize and support food sufficiency?

  4. Billfargo says:

    Get to the point! All this long talking and trying to sound educated is plain out bull-…t!
    The main source of revenue in the BVI is based on tourism and most of that was destroyed last year and what left is so fragile it is scary like hell.

    The BVI is a dependent Territory and will be for a very long time, so get it straight into your big head…….

    • Rude Billfargo says:

      Why the rudeness! I never realized you were simply an imbecile- would love a duel- see how long your fat behind lasts

  5. Hmm says:

    He just needs to shut uo and sit down. I am sure the country has some form of tourism. Plus it is nobody stopping him from creating his own.

  6. Well Said says:

    Preach brother, Preach! But of course, our pig-headed political party members who have benefited from the BVI’s single culture economy will remain blind to everything you have said, and ignore the examples provided by other countries who are suffering thru this very nightmare. And, until the Tourist Board understands that the BVI is competing on a global level for tourist dollars, and the government understands the very same, I foresee that tourism will remain in a slump, and we shall remain beating the sagging horse that is the Financial Services.

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