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SOCA or soul calypso is a true musical invention of Trinidad. In Jamaica, SOCA (Socialism & Capitalism combo) was an economic experiment for two decades begining in earlyt 70's that ruined the country. Members of 5H club (hype, hoopla, hot air, hogwash and hypocrisy)ran the SOCA proram to ground.

Submitted: August 22, 2009

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Submitted: August 22, 2009





Subba Rao

Soca or Soul Calypso was born out of Calypso music came on scene in late 70’s in Trinidad. Calypso music is a true invention of Trinidadians, mostly played just before and during carnival season.During Carnival season, people hear so much calypso, they don’t want to hear anymore after carnival. But the calypsonians have to still make living year around, not just during carnival time, so they came out with this new rhythm Soca, a combination of melodious Soul music and hot Calypso beat.Everybody loved it, now the people from the Caribbean dance for Soca music year around, nonstop.The East Indians in Trinidad came out with their own version “Chutney Soca” with Indian drum beat for everybody to dance, Indian style.

During two decades beginning in early 1970’, Jamaica also experimented with Soca, not musical rhythms of Trinidad but socialism Jamaican style, a combination of Socialism and Capitalism (Soca) , this Soca has led the country into an economic disaster. The government decided that Soca (a combo of socialism and capitalism)was the answer to eliminate poverty among the people especially the farmers.

Sugar is a big business in Jamaica, it was associated with slavery and indentured laborers.The English brought Africans as slaves and Indians as laborers to work in the sugarcane fields. Though slavery was abolished and the island gained independence years ago, most of the sugarcane estates are owned by Jamaicans of English ancestry.The Soca concept of the government to redistribute wealth did not sit well with some estate owners. The laborers demanded higher wages and some wanted promotions as managers.The smart estate owners sold their sugarcane mills and estates to the government for a good price and jumped out of the sinking ship.

The government was left with rundown sugar mills and decaying sugarcane fields. The government gave the responsibility of carrying out the policies of Soca to the Jamaicans educated abroad and local elite. Several expatriates were allowed into the country to work, hoping their skills and knowledge would be transferred to the locals.

Maxwell, Borrell, Blake, Campbell, Ken and Althea, all educated either in Europe or North America and spent several years abroad reaping the benefits of capitalism were hired along with others to run government own businesses. On returning home, they decided that economic model based on Soca concept is what people in Jamaica needed to uplift themselves from the clutches of the local capitalists.

During breaks at work, the staff argued pros and cons of multiparty democracy. “One party system is what we need here to bring economic stability.”“Look at Africa, most countries down there has one party system, it is working,” said Campbell, a small, lanky man with perpetual smile.Everybody agreed, after all, Campbell received advanced degrees in economics from a reputable university in Canada.

Althea was always busy conducting field experiments all over the island, churning out enormous amount of data.She is a combination of beauty and smart brain. Though born in the Caribbean, she grew up and educated in North America. She is sophisticated in her manners and always sided with Ken, an engineer working on transportations systems.Tall and athletic, he could have made living as a professional athlete if not for his poor vision. He always used his long arms to dismiss Soca model in preference to Cuban model as a solution to radically change the system form top down.

Maxwell is a cool guy, hardly participated in brain storm, but at the end he had the last word “well, the people mentality has to change you know the water finds its own level.”

Blake conducted his research work like an independent consultant or a free agent. Very few on the research staff knew what project hewas working on or how his work benefitted the farmers.Borrell is a soft spoken, intellectual and almost behaved like a reverend.His opinions offended none; his research work is ambiguous but always got his work published in prestigious journals.

There is a disconnect between the research work and Farmers’ implementation to reap the benefit since the small farmers have no money to buy essential inputs for cropping and the funds in government estates can only support the large bureaucracy to run the farms with no money left for actual farming.

The Soca principles started to rundown the sugar and other businesses in the island.The small farmers stopped farming.The previous estate owners brought back their land at cut rate prices from the foreclosed government farms and factories. The research staff known for their rhetoric beginning to doubt whether Soca principles would work.After two decades, they decided to jump the soca ship and abandon 5H club they practically created from hype, hoopla, hot air, hogwash and hypocrisy.

Campbell joined a large multinational company outside the island.Maxwell immigrated to North America. Althea started a free enterprise no nonsense business to export exotic flowers. Ken took the failure of Soca principles seriously and quit his job to become a Rasta (followers of Rastafarian beliefs) living in the mountains with a Rastafari commune. Blake took a position as a consultant for large corporation in America. Only, Borrell remained at his job still wondering where the Soca went wrong.

The government after two decades of economic decay from implementing Soca principles went back to drawing board and came out with a new and improved version of Soca. Under revised Soca economic plan, the newly recruited technocrats and bureaucrats, the new members of 5 H club exempted the poor from the plan to guarantee its success.

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