21st Century Mission

Without venturing into an exhaustive scholarly debate about the scope, character and significance of globalisation, it is generally agreed that globalisation has everywhere resulted in, has been associated with, and contributed to a massive widening and deepening of cross-border transactions (trade and finance) in the world. There has been a deepening web of inter-dependence linking governments, firms, and non-governmental organisations operating in one part of the globe with those operating elsewhere, even in distant parts.


While the world market and the international division of labour have long been in existence, today’s reality has a number of remarkable and defining features. Among them are:

  • A dramatic and explosive growth in world financial markets, with all the main global financial markets whether in Asia, Europe, North America or South America functioning more and more as one;
  • A massive and rapid expansion of foreign direct investment. Since the mid 1980’s, foreign direct investment has grown faster than world output. It has been driven by increasingly giant multinational corporations, which seek to integrate their world-wide
    operations so as to take account of any national or regional advantages in order to reduce costs.
  • The re-organisation of production arrangements worldwide: Driven by the technological revolution in information technology, firms have found it possible, more and more to decompose and disperse production activities, which primarily used to take place in a single location. Each firm today, depending on its needs, can shift different elements of its production activity to a different country, with greater ease than before. We know this well in Jamaica where in the 807 Garment industry, for example,
    garments may be designed in one country, the material cut in another and stitched in yet a third country before it is brought to market.

All of these changes to the structure of world markets and the socialorganisation of production have in turn provided the basis for the increasingly forceful and well-defined trend toward a more liberalized framework for trade and investment. Highlighted most spectacularly by the establishment of the World Trade Organisation, the tendency towards more open trade and investment frameworks has been reinforced by a further step toward the formation of regional trading blocs such as the E.U., NAFTA, ASEAN, MERCOSUR, CARICOM, etc.

But globalisation is about much more than trade and financial systems. The new dimensions of instantaneous communication, typical of today’s world of CNN, Cable TV, and the Internet, are having a tremendous impact on peoples’ perceptions, expectations, values, and behavior. This growing intensity of cultural inter-change creates political demands and expectations, which must be taken into full account.

What does Globalisation mean for us?

Globalisation is an inherently contradictory phenomenon. Underpinned as it is by a profound and extensive technological revolution, it has, as with previous technological re volutions, unleashed a tremendous expansion in productive capacity world-wide. Simultaneously however, it has generated greater inequality, between and within countries.

Political parties like ours, committed to a philosophy of equality, must consider the relatively fixed characteristics of the reality of globalisation in fashioning any plans for action. Globalisation exposes small developing countries to an increasingly competitive environment.

This in turn compels all enterprises within the country to achieve international levels of efficiency and costs of production.

This requires a far-reaching set of desirable domestic reforms. For example, we must undertake labour market reform to ensure that conflict based systems of industrial relations, are replaced by a more cooperative set of arrangements between management and labour, together with greater work-place consensus. We must also seek to create a multi-skilled
labour force with greater flexibility and adaptability. We must embark upon massive education reforms to provide the high knowledge base required for production in today’s world.

We will not simply submit ourselves to the process of globalisation, but rather will seek to manage the process to the greatest extent possible. This necessitates linkages and alliances with other domestic partners such as capital and labour to facilitate their adjustment to the world-scale processes of globalisation.

We intend to lead a debate within the country as to the nature of the globalisation phenomenon - its implications for the society and for the different social groups. The state has to marshal and direct a wide societal response that enhances the capacity of the country to compete in the new global environment.

At the same time, the state must protect all social groups, but especially the historically disadvantaged from the more debilitating and brutal effects of the unregulated global market.
The Pa rty must also respond to the new economic environment , technological, and global challenges presented by globalisation.

Our commitment to social justice is not abated by our acceptance that the global marketplace is a reality. We firmly believe that private investment activity - from here and abroad - is the best hope for Jamaica’s economic growth.

Our commitment is to a vibrant and productive economy in which there is a balance between state-activity and private enterprise, as we seek to improve our international competitiveness and to promote efficiency and productivity.

Equally, there must be the proper balance between the economic and non-economic in the life of the society. We must harness the market to achieve our goals, but also protect certain aspects of our social life as we build a market economy, distinct from "a market society."

We must foster a social market. A principled and pragmatic state may, in changing circumstances, be free to intervene in strategic areas of the economy. It must also know when and how to withdraw.

Regulations are needed:

  • to preserve economic competition when it is threatened by monopoly;
  • to control natural monopolies;
  • to create and sustain institutional bases of markets;
  • to remove public, political or cultural goals from the unwanted intrusion of the marketplace;
  • to harness markets to medium and long-term goals;
  • to allow market fluctuations, rather than earthquakes in the marketplace;
  • to protect the physical and contractual conditions of workers;
  • to seek to anticipate, react expeditiously and cope with catastrophe, including catastrophic effects induced by markets.

Economic development must be judged and measured in terms of wider social consequences.


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