In school, economics wasn’t really my thing. At the end of one semester, the girl who became my partner in crime got the highest grade and I nailed the bottom of the list in the shared micro/macroeconomics class.
Years later, the great John Eggins, said I had to venture into the realm of business and economics, because I had “the flair for it.” I didn’t really believe I did. All I ever did was just blunder through and try to make sense of the textbook theory.
Then I began talking to Sir Mekere and Bart Philemon.
The ease at which he explained economic theory in the PNG context made the knowledge crammed into my brains by my long suffering Austrian economics lecturer, Dirk Volavsek, POP to life!
As opposition leader, Sir Mek differed in opinion with then Treasurer, Bart Philemon’s push to achieve a balanced budget. Mr. Philemon (excuse my simplistic explaination) argued that you must have the cash in order to spend and that deficit financing was dangerous for a small economy like Papua New Guinea.
Sir Mek argued that decifit financing is necessary for serious growth if you understood your buy back power and future growth prospects.
Both men understood how the economic machine worked from different perspectives. And I learned from both of them as they argued the theories from their schools of thought.
I was young and ignorant. But they never looked down on my lack of experience. Sir Mek explained how strategically placed debt could propel a resource rich country to become an economic powerhouse in the Pacific.
Sir Mek was a guru, a thought leader, and a brilliantly articulate economist politician.
Only upon the passing of brilliance, and in that void, are people recognising the visionary leadership that many resisted and criticized.