The big gamble

Thursday, 12 August 2010 23:06

No one wins a war on the application of a tactic only. You may win battles with tactics, and if you win enough battles you may win the war. However, one plans to win the war with the application of strategy. This is the big gamble. Tactics are the small wagers, playing the numbers so to speak. When one wins or loses one's tactics, these are small victories and even smaller losses.

In the contemporary world, the wealth and development of poor small countries cannot be achieved by the application of tactics only. Even if they are successful, they provide only small victories: the occasional balancing of the budget, once in a while the restraint on inflation, incremental increases of live births, the occasional highway, and even perhaps the attraction of foreign investment in a port. Enough, perhaps, to pay the bills occasionally but not enough to leave an endowment for the future generations.

To achieve development, we need to take the big gamble. We need a strategy that we will seek to maximise to the risk of everything else. We need a strategy on which we will bet the farm. The more risk averse will say we can't take the big gamble. What if we lose? In reality we have nothing to lose. Our poor country has been depleted of its wealth. Using the metaphor of the farm, we can bet the farm because it has no value.

The first challenge is to determine the strategy for development. On what will we gamble? We need to avoid the temptation of confusing tactics with strategy. We will be presented many short-term tactics disguised in the language of strategy. But in terms of the development of a country, a strategy for development is something to be applied for 25, 50, even 100 years. Are we willing to take this big gamble, and do we have anything to gamble on?

Last Updated on Friday, 13 August 2010 00:30