Reflections on Haiti

Frank Convery has a thoughful piece on the reasons for Haiti’s backwardness here.

8 replies on “Reflections on Haiti”

What is the value of the €7,000,000,000 given by Fianna Fail and the Green Party to AIB and BOI right now.

Answers on a postcard.

I’m thinking that’s €7,000,000,000 right down the toilet.

And yes that’s where the Bondholders live.

You can take it that the €4,000,000,000 given by Fianna Fail and the Green Party to Anglo Irish Bank is now and (they knew it when they gave it) was to feed the people who live in the toilet.

Now, global macroeconomic deceit aside, can anybody and I mean ANYBODY tell me why Irish Citizens should (having already given €11,000,000,000 to these bottom dwellers) give one cent more.

Another €6,000,000,000 to the bondholders of Anglo Irish Bank?

There’s something really sick about this.

And I’m calling it TREASON.

Who disagrees that this is TREASON?

Thanks, a very useful post on a poor part island that has proven unable to govern itself due to internal corruption and a single party system that exercised a reign of terror for decades. But enough about Ireland….

Yes, but life goes on. Organize in cells and do not let them know you are coming. Doing it on the internet is like showing them your plans ok? Now who do we know that has a history of wanting to take control of the state?????????????? And yes, they are thoroughly penetrated so be prepared for the odd martyr!

Come on folks, let’s try to stay on-piste. Prof. Convery, obviously, has his own axe to grind about the impacts of different approaches to management of the environment, but he also highlights the impact of governance issues. These are universal and probably contribute most to explaining variations in development and prosperity. Only recently I discovered that Haiti was compelled to pay annuities to France (shades of Ireland up to the Economic War) up to 1947. The high interest borrowing to pay these further impoverished the country.

It is also relevant to note that Prof. Paul Collier of Oxford (of “Bottom Billion” and “Guns, Votes and Democrcy” fame) is being retained by the UN to assist in the economic and social reconstruction in Haiti. Prof. Collier is strong on governance issues.

And finally, if we are to be parochial, probably the best thing we could learn from Haiti’s tragic history and the impact of the recent devastation, is the importance of democratic governance and the need for citizens to take more responsibility, individually and collectively, to make sure it works effectively.

Is there a general theme developing in theories of public administration that development and stability follow institutions rather than institutions following development?, e.g. we should have had effective financial regulation before we gloabalised, we should focus on governance ahead of economic aid, we should build infrastructure before building housing estates…

Rather than systems of government, the exactions of the French colonialists and their American usurpers would explain the appalling state of pre-earthquake Haiti.

The slave-owners ousted by rebellion demanded reparations so large, that by 1900, Haiti was spending 80% of its national budget on repayments. In order to manage the original reparations, further loans were taken out — mostly from the United States, Germany and France, and so on.

Convery seems to be unaware of this decisive aspect of Haitian ‘development’, or chooses to ignore it.

Yeah what Michael Burke said! Any analysis of why Haiti is whrere it is that does not talk about the reparations is incomplete.

“despite sharing the same space and some common historical traits…” [Haiti is poor and Dominican Republic is less poor, blah, blah]

Neither point is true, and this false comparison always peeves me.

The “same” space:
1) Most of Hispaniola’s rainfall comes from the east, so Haiti receives less frequent and less regular rainfall, making it more arid and – crucially – more subject to soil erosion.

2) DR is endowed with more flat, fertile plains, and a majority of the water channels flow eastward.

In terms of “common historical traits”, this just couldn’t be any less true.

Haiti: black
DR: Hispanic,

Haiti: French
DR: Spanish,

Haiti: Slave revolt on heavily populated French stronghold colony of Saint Dominigue, no stable governmental base to start from; overpopulation as a result of prior trade dependence; abandoned largely by big interests as strategically irrelevant
DR: Underpopulated Spanish colony with more stable agricultural base. Occupied in 1916 – Key location for US naval base to control routes to Panama Canal (period in which economy was reconstructed, road infrastructure built, budget balanced and port modernised).

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