Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti and China

Mr. Brooks in his NY Times column “The Underlying Tragedy” enumerates a whole list of issues related to the problems in Haiti. They are all interesting observations, some true and some have a semblance of truth to them. The first among his observations is:

“The first of those truths is that we don’t know how to use aid to reduce poverty. Over the past few decades, the world has spent trillions of dollars to generate growth in the developing world. The countries that have not received much aid, like China, have seen tremendous growth and tremendous poverty reductions. The countries that have received aid, like Haiti, have not.”

What he forgets is the double edged effect of the system of “free enterprise” when it is introduced by the west in the underdeveloped countries. It is always introduced by its edge of crony capitalism with its corrupting influences. The main difference between China and Haiti is that China through its revolution closed itself off to that side of capitalist world. Despite all the pressures from the west it created an infrastructure that could educate and support rudimentary needs of its population. When it opened itself gradually to the world market, it had developed the infrastructure to play the capitalist game. In that period China gained a sense of nationhood that their leaders share in it. As privileged as they might have been they did not maintain those privileges as yachts, villas and bank accounts in the US and Europe as all leaders of Haiti supported by the west have been doing.

Without finding a way to contain the aid given to Haiti within the country the situation seems hopeless. One is not sure of the next news catching disaster lurking around the corner for Haiti, but I am sure of one thing, hordes of vultures are following the recent aid, doing their best to siphon it back to the US and Swiss bank accounts, and they all have their Haitian allies. These Haitian allies of crony capitalism laugh out loud at the Voodoo Religion on their way to the bank, while the rest have to eat mud cakes and cuddle their Voodoos. Maybe to go through a stage like China or the Cuban model is not a bad thing after all.

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