Conscience of A Progressive
Clement Wulf-Soulage’s readable and engaging 250-page book, “Conscience of a Progressive”, was published in June this year - at a time when literature on “progressive thinking” around the world is booming.
The book seeks to reconfigure the development mind-set and social paradigms of island nation for its own success, by spelling out the progressive position on leadership, democracy, education, taxes and spending, education and foreign policy; while providing insights into the path of economic recovery and development, pathways to social progress and change, and good economic governance.
“Conscience of a Progressive” is fast becoming a think-tank, due to the wide range of ideas and opinions presented, discussed and substantiated. The author explains, in seven compact and multifaceted chapters, that through positive social and political transformation, people can change their definition of politics to one of public service, scope for the country’s bright future, what they can do for their country and the most desirable burden to carry for the good of the State.
He asserts with much conviction the inevitable need for societies and economies to make the most efficient use of all their resources (human, structural, infrastructural, mineral, etc) – in order to achieve the greatest levels of equity, sustainability and progress, in an age of cutthroat competition, automation, economic liberalization and globalization.
Wulf-Soulage believes that progressive thinking should embrace constructive initiatives and ideas that support the creation of the skilled jobs needed, equip the nation’s children with the education and skills they need for the future and anchor value-creating enterprises in Saint Lucia.
His claims and positions are convincing not only because he discusses complex economic and social questions with rare lucidity and skill, but also because of his experience in researching and teaching the subjects he chooses to discuss in this new book.
Wulf-Soulage is at his best in the chapter on economic and business affairs where he addresses issues ranging from middle-class economics and SME development to diaspora capital and CARICOM. Economic growth, he asserts, requires a sound economic base of engineering skills, and this cannot be achieved without an increase in the number of engineers and scientists. “We need to develop an economy that actually designs, builds, and sells stuff. Saint Lucia needs to become a more dynamic and productive nation – one averse to wasting resources (labour, opportunity, time, materials, land, etc). There is no doubt that government can and must play a vital role in promoting an efficient economy, but the brunt of the effort must be on the shoulders of responsible citizens, functioning institutions and an unfettered private sector”, he argues.
On social and political matters, Wulf-Soulage contends that society is now clamoring for social and economic remodeling and political renewal. For such sweeping reforms, he suggests the need for both tactical and visionary leadership to address the unacceptable levels of poverty and illiteracy, increase national income, build the economic infrastructure, attract foreign investment, educate the masses, upgrade our health system and strengthen our local and national institutions.
Modern perspectives of “progressive thinking”, as reflected in this thoughtful and enthralling book, are built upon the ideas of generations of progressives from Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama: “Everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does his or her fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.” In other words, “everyone should do his or her fair share to build this life through education and hard work and through active contribution and participation in public life.”
As Saint Lucia approaches its 40th anniversary of political independence in 2019, WulfSoulage urges us to prepare for that milestone by committing ourselves to a process of educational transformation and mental renewal. Our island by then, he hopes, would have experienced a new coming of age. In his prologue, he makes the following appeal: “Let’s make the next decade the one that ushered in the mentality change needed for us to develop and to progress as a nation. Let’s inspire our children to do more, dream more, be more and become more. All of us must demonstrate an interest in the future direction of our country by participating in its governance and development. It is the responsibility of every patriotic citizen to contribute to the vitality and well being of Saint Lucia, for the love of country.”
Wulf-Soulage’s book couldn’t have come at a more valuable time in our nation’s history.
Get your copy of the “Conscience of A Progressive” at The bookyard.