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#2629: Reply to Goff on Haiti/Cuba comparison (fwd)

From: patrick richard <rich0303@hotmail.com>

Dear Goff,

I can reasonably say that in order for our search for hard answers to huge 
and mounting problems that Haiti faces to be insightful or meaningful, one 
needs to be more innovative( even controversial but supported by an 
intellectual foundation) than polemical. Therefore, I'll just stick to the 
core issue. I should say that you're partially right with respect to some of 
the "exogenous" factors you mentioned in your response. But remember, our 
development depends primarily on the national, structural and fundamental 

No, I am not suggesting that Haiti adopts free markets models of development 
blindly.(Neo-colonialism? Neo-liberalism? Neo-classicism? It's so many neo. 
No wonder people are confused). I know the assumptions behind these models 
do not work even in advanced countries. Anyone who's being to a developing 
country knows that markets do not clear. They're highly imperfect, and 
individuals are not rationals and fully informed...etc. Therefore, the 
policy implications will not work either. But does that warrant the fact for 
us to swing to the other extreme of the spectrum?

In fact, the most unambiguously beneficial effects of development 
experiments during the last fifty years are critical lessons of why some 
countries failed ( including centrally planned economies which are not a 
productive path for long-term development) and why others succeeded. The 
mainstream development thinking seems to be evolving in the direction of my 
position, which has always been a "market friendly" approach.
  By that, I mean a partnership between the government, the private sector 
and the civil society. We need to identify the right mixture. There are 
things that the government should do and invest in, such as, compulsory 
education (primary and secondary) and healthcare, provide a safety net, 
build institutions and strong legal framework, decentralize with fiscal 
power to local communities, provide security, protect property rights.... 
and so on. But government should not immerse itself in the production of 
goods and services. Obviously the challenges of practicing good governance( 
competent, efficient, accountable, non-corrupt) remain for haiti. Now, I am 
certain you understand more than ever why we need democracy.
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