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#4340: Morse/Poincy (Ref: Post # 4287) Poincy comments

From: Jean Poincy <caineve@idt.net>

Morse, I would love to have all the energy and the power to do what's
best for Ayiti today. However, I am a strict observer of Ayitian
affaires. Privately, if I could, organizational farming would be the
first area I would bring my service or contribution to. To me the
modernization most of us are so dearly attached to is "pie in the sky"
as Dr. Gill would say. They are just not practical considering the state
of things in Ayiti.

Today in Ayiti is dark ages when you strike out Port-au-Prince and some
cities. 80% of the country is rural and I mean dark ages rural. There is
no way one can bring this to the 21st century with a huge leap. Those
with modernization idea regarding Ayiti are totally out of the loop and
are telescoping the whole Ayiti through Port-au-Prince lenses. That is
their gravest mistake. Imagine by some acts of God Port-au-Prince is
destroyed, on what do you think the rest of Ayiti can fall to continue
to live the hope of modernization? Just imagine that.

I understand your fear of not giving the people decent living conditions
if the textile industry happens to prevail. There is no reason for it,
because this would be done in a well thought process. Yes! Some social
aspects would be neglected at the initial stage, but it is normal and no
one can do something to prevent it. It has been like that in all
countries where most people know how to read and write today. Only
economic progress, through intensive economic activities can spur the
need for education. It is a fallacy to think that education comes first. 

In fact, it would not be in the country's advantage to engage in an
"educating all" drive at the initial stage of economic development. It
is not even necessary to do the kind of economic activities for the
country to start its economic development. Yes! Ayiti would save quite a
lot by not focus on education at the initial stage as the saving could
be used for near term productive investment. Allow me to embrace IMF
line of thinking here, but with a different perspective. Investment in
human capital does not bear fruit at the same pace the other economic
investments do. That's why they are tagged as non-productive. At the
initial stage, a poor country can't afford much on non-productive

When proponents of education are talking about the benefits of investing
in human capital, their frame of reference is a society entering the
second stage of economic development, which is the capacity to transform
technologically and provide services requiring literary skills to
activities encountered in the first stage. The beneficiaries at this
stage are mainly the youths and not the adults who are spending most of
their lifetime laying the groundwork in activities that don't require
education. It is a sad fact but it is the fact.

The same goes for electricity. Economic activities to be conducted to
lay the foundation of the economy do not require electricity. If they do
in permanence, let say for agricultural products conservation,
widespread distribution of electricity to families would be a waste. Yes
there would be street lighting just for a few evening hours. It would be
a waste to have it all night long when everybody would be sleeping. It
would not hurt not to have electricity all over for at least a decade or
so as main activities would be conducted during the day. Schools would
operate in such a way that children would have sufficient time to study
either at school or at home with daylight.

In matter of health, all I can say is that preventive medicine would
help very much with potential illness. Once the country starts producing
food for its own good, the country would say bye to some diseases
related to poor and under nourishment. It's like the domino theory. 

I am not in any position to judge an official's ability in economy or
whatever, but I would agree that appropriate qualifications are needed
for people to partake in the economic development process of Ayiti. One
last sad point is that the few getting richer factor cannot be avoided,
it will be there and always be. One just has to rely to Ronald Reagan
economic philosophy of "trickle down economics", as long as proper
economic structures are in place. The good thing is any private investor
would know that allowing the rest of the country to have a share in the
"economic being" of the country would be at their advantage if they wish
to further increase their wealth. What we view as bad is not that bad
sometimes and may contain the seeds of good.

Ayiti has lived, lives and will live