Is There Hope for Haiti

Is There Hope for Haiti

Haiti is engulfed in a multifaceted crisis that pushes the extraordinary and the imaginable boundaries. Reduced, stunted in a movement of devaluation and simplification revealing an inability to grasp the beautiful and the turbulence, the manifestations, like a kind of territory dedicated to irreversible chaos. What is happening in Haiti right now is a humanitarian disaster, a socioeconomic disaster, and an unprecedented political fiasco. Given this observation, such a question is critical: Is there still hope for Haiti?

Those who live solely on hope die of hunger. In other words, in order to comprehend the magnitude of the Haitian crisis and act on it, we must learn the lessons of the past of this geographically small Caribbean nation but historically large in the world.

  • A rudimentary and constant technology, a surplus not reinvested for a low productivity

Three underdevelopment is manifested by “a system of quasi-stable equilibrium in which the level or value of certain variables, such as capital and labor power, increases constantly, but at a rhythm in which the relationship between expanding variables and other variables in the system results in a per capita product that fluctuates around a subsistence level,” according to Leibenstein. As a result, the system is in constant motion; it is dynamic. Leibenstein demonstrates the existence of an equilibrium without development by involving population growth, even in the case of positive economic changes (increased agricultural yields, for example, external assistance, etc.).

Overall, “family production” has dominated the economy for a century or more. The market exists, but the exchanges are not diverse; 80 to 90% of the population lives in rural areas (this was the case in Haiti until the 1980s). Households, primarily agricultural, sell a modest surplus for consumption by rural non-agricultural households and urban households. A portion of output is exported, determining the value of imports, which are dominated by everyday consumer goods. The taxation of exports and imports generates revenue for the government.

If, until the 1880s, Haiti could compare itself favorably to the small countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, this is no longer the case. For example, exports per capita as a performance indicator, as published by Arthur Lewis in “Growth and Fluctuations 1870-1913.” Haiti was already at the bottom of the table in 1913, with exports per capita of $4.05, compared to 21.8 dollars for the Dominican Republic, 69.3 dollars for Cuba, 8.1 dollars on average for Central America, 21.8 dollars for the English-speaking Caribbean Islands, 10 dollars for Peru, 8 dollars for Ecuador, 7.3 dollars for Colombia, and 6.5 dollars for Bolivia.

Specific causes

The causes of the persistence of a high poverty rate between 1981 and 2000 and the increase in the poverty rate between 2000 and 2003 are inextricably linked to the slowdown in growth caused by a drop in investments, productivity, and exports. 38 However, for growth to occur, this mechanical relationship must be placed in a particularly harmful socio-political context. Negative GDP growth, which has negative consequences in terms of unemployment, is caused by five types of factors:

i) The continuation of certain long-term trends with harmful effects on production.

ii) A socio-political context harmful to investments and weak and erratic governance.

iii) The impact of exogenous shocks having directly and permanently affected certain sectors. 

iv) Structural adjustment policies partially implemented in an inappropriate political context.

(v) The effects of the international market.

vi) The sharp reduction in international aid and the inflationary macro-economic policy in a context of negative growth between 2000 and 2003.

Role of for-profit and non-profit companies and civil society in local development policy

For-profit and non-profit enterprises allow the creation of wealth by establishing micro-enterprises, viable economic activities enabling people to have access to basic services such as health, education, food, housing, leisure, etc.

Aims and missions for decision-makers

Key decision-makers should intervene with the following aims:

a) Aims

i) State

– Maximize own resources

– Maximize the leverage effect to derive the maximum benefit from the resources provided by the other partners

– Get organized to stop being an obstacle to development.

– Stimulate the private sector and act in complementarity with it and not in competition

This country’s challenges are not the first in history, and they may not be the last. When you are going through a difficult time, it is easy to condemn others without understanding when the facts are what they are, especially when things are going badly. It is important to remember that greater sins do not always result in more tremendous suffering, as accidents can occur for various reasons, including “time and circumstance.” Regardless, we must not confuse hope and illusion because disillusionment can lead to despair if hope gives life.


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