Vision is critical to economics. The math, statistics, psychology, history and sociology that create the concepts and narratives of economic thought are mere tools of the visionary. Vision is what economics is about. Vision makes economics a useful and desirable discipline.

The adoption of a national vision is the greatest tool of security and prosperity a country or territory can possess. Post hurricanes Irma and Maria, vision and visionary leadership alone will take the Virgin Islands to the proverbial El Dorado.

The Disaster Recovery Agency must be part of a long-term vision and strategic plan for the VI to ensure effective short-, medium- and long-term economic recovery.

Now, all things begin with a vision. For Christians, God had a vision of a world where likeminded beings, with God’s nature, existed in paradisiacal perpetuity. Sadly, Adam and Eve spoiled the show.

And the greatest inventions ever hatched in the hearts and minds of men began with a vision of a better world for mankind through thinking, discovery, experimentation, invention and innovation.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then vision is the crucible that holds the idea behind every invention.

The simple bicycle, the combustion engine, bullet train networks, the global airline and shipping ecosystems, scientific and medical discovery, social and political systems, the arts and architecture, dizzying engineering feats, modern academia, and the ubiquitous internet all began with a single individual with a vision of tomorrow.

Visionary leaders

John D. Rockefeller possessed a vision of an oil conglomerate that would rule global energy. Carnegie and Vanderbilt possessed visions of rail and financial networks that linked the American frontier with the eastern coast, knitting North America into one United States.

Walt Disney had a vision of a world of fantasy that would generate billions of dollars in revenue. These visionaries and their families were rewarded with vast wealth that remains potent to this day.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs began with visions of software and hardware networks. Two nerdy types playing with devices in their parent’s garages led to Microsoft and Apple — and unimaginable wealth.

Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos have continued a North American legacy of visionary innovation that has placed Google, Facebook and Amazon at the epicentre of global digital technology, and a multitrillion-dollar internet industry driven by innovation and sourced mainly in tiny offices and labs in Silicon Valley. Today, Google is bigger than Boeing.

For better or for worse, the US remains the centre for creativity, innovation, and visionary ideas.

In the VI

Hamilton Lavity Stoutt, the greatest leader produced from the VI, had a vision that brought an archipelago of tiny rural hamlets into the 21st Century. His mantra: “Without vision the people perish.”

The VI’s most famous citizen is Sir Richard Branson. Sir Richard possessed a vision when he was a schoolboy in England of becoming a big music promoter. He achieved his dream. The dream led to Virgin Atlantic and a space age business. Today, Sir Richard is one of the world’s wealthiest men.

There is no effective planning without vision. Where a family, business or country wants to be must be guided by vision. Vision is the light at the end of the tunnel. Vision is the ultimate destination. Vision is the dream.

The most powerful organisations on earth all began with a simple dream: a vision of the founder. Vision alone creates the mission and planning that turns dreams into reality.

Economic vision

Effective economic policy starts with a vision of where a country or territory wants to end up. With a corporate vision, every employee of a business knows exactly where they should be and what they are expected to do at each point in time.

Similarly, a country or territory that possesses a national vision enables every citizen to participate in effective nation building, from the young school child to the elderly matriarch. Vision is the framework for national success.

How can the VI even begin to recover and rise to a better place if the territory has no idea of where it wants to end up? Building bigger and better is not vision: It is just mantra.

Effective mangers state that a vision must be SMART: specific, measured, achievable, realistic and time related. In a future commentary, this writer will present his own strategic vision for the VI over the next 20 years.