Nation building -

Nation building


Freshly returned from Africa, Glen Pearson writes of Haiti.

Haiti presently suffers from uncontrolled migration, deep poverty, hunger, high violence, drug trafficking and the troubling reality of environmental degradation. In other words, its future hangs in a precarious balance. Businesses and corporations are always reticent to invest in infrastructure, yet that is what Haiti requires now more than anything – a functional education system, adequate health facilities, effective courts, earthquake-proof structures, accountable government, etc. Until such things are in place, investment will merely be the playground of the elites.

The truth is, Haiti is where much of Africa was two decades ago. Only now are we beginning to comprehend that the secret to Africa’s recent success hasn’t so much been corporate investment but effective development measures over the long haul. Build the roads, the ports, the hospitals, sanitation systems, schools, universities, women’s literacy, courts, etc. and the rest will naturally follow: businesses benefit from such staples and will add to them. But more importantly, Haitians are bettered by such investment. Unless such development measures are resourced adequately, the people of Haiti will never own anything, but be pawns in a world of the elites, much as Cuba was 70 years ago.


Nation building

  1. Funny how Goldberg cites only examples that fit his world view.
    I especially enjoyed his "my brother is married to blah, blah . . .[so I couldn't possibly be a bigot.]"

    And this is priceless;

    "Why? Because American culture not only expects hard work, but teaches the unskilled how to work hard."

    Tell that to the "too big to fail" bankers.


    • I've never read any Goldberg, and based on this i probably never will. I suspect the dif between the DR and Haiti is better governance. Yes, there's evidence some cultures seem disposed to work harder than others, but Goldberg seems to advocating a one size fits all cultural model. This is highly ironic given that is precisely the rights endless complaint levelled at the "socialist left".

      "Why? Because American culture not only expects hard work, but teaches the unskilled how to work hard."

      Surely that's a non sequtur? Apart from being a meaningless generalization, wouldn't it be more logical to teach the unskilled to work smarter – more productively?

      • "American Culture" is probably a lot less expansive a concept in Goldberg's world than in yours :)

        • Capitalism's a wonderful idea…too bad no body practices it.

          Do you have any background on why the DR's sugar quota is so much higher than Haitis?

        • So DR sugar quotas explain why Haiti has been a basket case for close to two hundred years? Haiti can sell its sugar elsewhere, it's not like sugar is sold only in America.

          It is always America's fault, isn't it Sisyphus? If you want economic answer, why not look to France. There was good article in The Times yesterday:

          "Where does the fault lie in Haiti? …… More sensible voices point to the procession of despots who have plundered Haiti over the years, depriving it of an effective infrastructure and rendering it uniquely vulnerable to natural disaster. But for many Haitians, the fault lies earlier — with Haiti's colonial experience, the slavers and extortionists of empire who crippled it with debt and permanently stunted the economy. The fault line runs back 200 years, directly to France."

          The point is Haitians need to take responsibility for their own lives, and stop relying on foreigners to help them out, or the suffering is never going to end. Something has gone badly wrong with your society when you rely on teenagers from another country thousands of miles away to create a small goat farm for the locals.

          • I guess I could have found a way to put "a small part of the puzzle" in simpler terms.

            Or maybe I need a short course in jwl creole … like journo, pol, con, lib…

          • If you'd bothered to read the link you'd have seen that the trading practices of the US and Europe were singled out. And if my memory serves me right, the author did not catagorically cite sugar quota as being the only cause of Haitis problems – like perhaps its colonial history. Hypocritcal and unfair trading practises are widely recognized as a leading drag on third world economic developement.

  2. //The truth is, Haiti is where much of Africa was two decades ago. Only now are we beginning to comprehend that the secret to Africa's recent success hasn't so much been corporate investment but effective development measures over the long haul.//

    Glen Pearson should read Dead Aid, by Zambiso Moyo. Western Aid has arguably hurt Africa for the last 50 years by fostering dependency. Africa is improving because of the hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese corporate investment in the continent, and the billions of Middle Eastern corporate investment.

    The thing is that China and the Middle East doesn't come with the intent to rape and pillage and corrupt as Western Aid and corporate investment do.

    • He has read Dead Aid, and made several posts refuting its claims. Among other things, foreign aid has massively expanded access to primary education, eradicated polio, reduced deaths from measles by 90%, and is now near eradicating guinea worm disease.

      And China needn't be idealized. The goal of their investment in Africa is the same as that of any Western company – to make money.

      • The West led by the United States destroyed Africa during the seventies and eighties, leaving it saddled with massive odious debts incurred by corrupt dictators, debts which the West led by the United States forced the Afrincan people to pay back. The IMF (i.e. the West led by the United States) forced dramatic cuts in any social spending (i.e. like high tuitions on primary education) so Western banks could be paid back. Where did you see any of our so-called illustrious prime ministers stand up and condemn this behavior that we participated in with our Western allies.

        What is planting a handful of trees when you have been complicit in burning down the forest?

        China is who is helping Africa fix Africa from the devastation the West created there.

        It is China and India who are raising hundreds of millions of people in their own country and around the world out of poverty.

        Where are the hundreds of millions of people that the West has lifted out of poverty?

    • Yup.

  3. Well – now you read some Jolyon – and he has about as much chance of triumphing as Arsenal have this season!

  4. Wenger's W**nkers have about as much chance of finishing the season on top as Mr. Harper has…
    And there are a lot of games to play before May…

    • "Wenger's W**nkers"

      What's with that comment? Are you a Bolton fan or maybe a supporter of Man U/Liverpool?

      I don't believe we are going to finish top of league either. Unless we sign a couple of outstanding players, I think we are destined for third.

      • Third's good…it's better than fourth or fifth even.