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#4258: On understanding economic development for Ayiti: reply to Morse (fwd)

From: Jean Poincy <caineve@idt.net>

Whether Morse is being cynical, sarcastic or not does not matter. What
matters is helping one understand the mechanics of an economy. The
basics as plain as possible would suffice.

A cotton economy or staple economy for that matter is one where the
major, if not the sole, economic activity revolves around this
particular product. Usually there are no derivative industries from it
whether the potential is there or not. Any other unrelated economic
activity is (allow me this term) the servant of this major economic
activity. For derivative industries we can count those from refining the
raw product, storing it, taking it through the proper channel to reach
the end consumer. One can imagine the steps that would take cotton to
become a piece of cloth, fabric you name it to become a dress/shirt.

Within this plain scenario, one has:

1: the primary sector involves planting the seed, collecting cotton and
making it ready for the second sector etc. 
2: the second sector is the transformation sector where the agricultural
product would take various shapes to become something different than
what it was originally. In other words, it is the manufacturing
3: the third sector which is plain service from transporting the product
from point A to B, storing it, financing the activities etc. The service
sector overlaps the first two as you find them in both.

A cotton or staple economy would not have these linkages in its
structure. By not having them you basically don't have a running economy
at all. An understanding of this basic fact should make clear the
interdependence among the three sectors. For the other two to exist the
first must exist and it is not an inverse relationship. In places where
the first sector is in agony the other two are mourning and must be
placed at the service of other industries from abroad for them not to
die of chagrin. This is the case of Ayiti in making its economy an
export and assembly economy. Morse misunderstands these aspects.

Further understanding would make one see that an economy with a strong
textile industry does not make it a cotton economy. Considering the
description of a cotton or staple economy given above, a textile
industry does not have these characteristics. Otherwise, we would
plainly say cotton industry, if we want to agree that it revolves only
around cotton. 

A textile industry implies activities from planting the seed, picking
"da cotton", transporting it from the plantation field to prepare it for
all that it needs to transform it into thread, dying it, weaving it to
beautiful fabrics, transporting it for trade to wholesaler, then to
clothes manufacturer, transporting it again for distribution to
wholesalers/retailers where all of us go and spend our fortune on. The
same procedure for making bed covers sheet, towel, handkerchief we dry
our face with under the scorching sun of Ayiti, or at a party dancing,
scarf we tie our neck or head with, you name it. Cotton is as
indispensable as air. Am I exaggerating or? 

This is the imagery of a textile industry in Ayiti. Don't confuse cotton
economy with textile industry. Cotton is cotton; textile industry
embraces cotton and the rest. And you know what! Roads electricity would
be needed and computer skills too for designing and accounting purposes.
Well, Ayiti might not need a Fifth Avenue, but something small and
appropriate to facilitate the transportation of merchandise. Remember
and don't ever forget that "Small is Beautiful". 

However, if we keep thinking like we used to in the colonial era to
attribute a strong textile based industry as a cotton economy that's
going further backward. If I am still not plain enough this time, please
scream again and say whatever that pops out of your head folks and I'll
make things much simpler. I am trying hard, really trying hard for a
better understanding of real economic development for Ayiti. 

Those who are able to correct me please do so for the benefits of Ayiti.
I beg of you, let's not be sarcastic with such an important matter if we
really care about Ayiti as we say we do. From sarcasm, there is no
addition, no contribution and no light is drawn as a result. At least
once, let's be a bit serious about Ayiti and discuss the issue, as it
should be. We have the right to disagree, then we will try to understand
where our disagreement stems from and draw light from such as we are
stating what we are disagreeing about.

Ayiti has lived, lives and will live