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#2141: Re: #1936 to 2013 Arthur wonders (fwd)

From: Charles Arthur <charlesarthur@hotmail.com>

In my post #1936 I suggested that people not to lose sight of the bigger 
picture, and  attempted to make a link between the unemployed Haitian quoted 
in the AP article who was a former sugar refinery worker, and the decision 
of the owners of the sugar refineries to close them down because they could 
make bigger profits importing sugar. This comment unleashed a lavalas of 

In #1940 David Lyall referred to dechouked refineries in Ti Rivye and seemed 
to suggest that this would go some way to explaining the refinery owners' 

In # 1942 Greg Chamberlain appeared to agree with my sentiments and wrote 
about the collapse of the sugar industry for the "wrong reasons", but he 
couldn't miss an opportunity to ride one of his favourite hobby horses, and 
rubbished another contributor for believing in what he calls 'conspiracy 

In #1945, the heavyweight, Merrill Smith, entered the ring, brushing the 
throng aside with his 'economics first, everything else later' approach. He 
seemed to suggest that it is only to be expected that investors will invest 
wherever and however they can to make a good profit, without any other 
criteria, and that therefore because they do that, we should accept that. 
Without wanting to be too silly, I wonder if he would likewise expect us to 
accept that the British merchants who invested in the slave trade were 
merely following the prevailing economic orthodoxy, or that the German arms 
manufacturers who backed the Nazi Party were only looking after their 
legitimate financial interests. He went on to pose the question why the DR 
sugar industry has been more efficient than the Haitian - was he perhaps 
suggesting that it would have been better for Haiti if Charlemagne Peralte 
and the Cacos had not resisted the US occupation, that a plantation system 
should have been established in Haiti as it was in the DR during the 
occcupation of that country, and was he suggesting that if Haiti had a 
plantation system, that it should have been nationalised as it was in the 
Dominican Republic?

In #1955, Max Blanchet made a strong case for protectionist policies to help 
develop Haitian agriculture and so save the country from an urban-bsed 

#1958 Nancy Laleau replied to Merrill's question of why there was no 
investment in Haiti by suggesting that the answer was because of the lack of 
infrastructure. I assumed she imagined that the State should provide this 

Merrill Smith weighed in again #1976 'railing' against trade barriers. He 
argued that Haitians ought to live or work where they are given the maximum 
opportunity and widest options to do what they find to be in their best 
interests - did he mean the US? or Cuba?

Mark Gill #1977 waded in rigorously against free trade. Paul Paryski #1994 
called for modernisation and capitalisation of Haitian agriculture, whether 
by the state or the private sector, but cautioned that even so food imports 
would be necessary. Anon #2007 related a tale of a refinery near Leogane 
that the Mevs built but never opened as a ploy in their eventual buyout of 
HASCO - pure economic sense again!

And in #2013 Gill had the final word, suggesting that Haiti should protect 
basic agriculture for food production, and build it up in terms of 
technology and efficiency - I wonder if he means the State should intervene?

I wonder whether such a debate has been had by those who have drawn up the 
party manifestoes for the forthcoming elections in Haiti. I read the first 
part of the OPL manifesto that said it believed in stonger institutions and 
not much else. Is there any political debate involved in the Haitian 
elections or is it just like US elections?

Charles Arthur
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