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#2629: Reply to Goff on Haiti/Cuba comparison (fwd)
From: patrick richard <email@example.com>
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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