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The greater good can be costly

Published: 
Sunday, April 16, 2017

If the labour movement has made the right decision in respect to Angelin, then it is wrong of the Hon. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, to insinuate that its leadership needs to come up in some way.

After the debacle of the Arcelor Mittal dispute, labour is right to be cautious. We do not just want any kind of international investors, especially in these modern times of multiple layering of risks including destruction in the environment and in social dignity.

Labour is a check-and-balance on both the excesses of “enterprise” and the ordinary activities of business, local and foreign. Labour needs to be careful of being ensnared in types of collusion when it works against them or the common good, whether or not it is a case of capitalistic exploitation.

Even regular entrepreneurs can demand labour act lock-joint with them in some corrupted fashion—whether to their detriment or to the disadvantage in some way of everyone else. Labour should feel encouraged to react. And yet there is more to labour again.

Labour is people and labour ranks ahead of capital; and decisions and policies must prioritize accordingly, in some correct mix; and this is only natural. In other words, optimization of profit ought to mean optimization of returns to labour.

Labour comprises the ordinary, the strong, the prodigy, the weak, the challenged and their communities, all of whom must endure and thrive. We need to be reminded of it all the time now and going forward and, so far, we have not heard it in any way from the Prime Minister. At least he should be willing to admit that, theoretically, there can be situations where the (apparent) greater good can end up being too costly.

Elias Galy

Port-of-Spain