Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by BSmith1068, Mar 30, 2010.
Give it to the Germans.
Not everything the Germans touch turns to gold you know, just look at Russia.
To be fair, it was World War II that propelled the USSR to world prominence, and World War I which helped facilitate the fall of the Czars and the formation of the USSR in the first place. So they did get "golden" in a way by merit of the Germanic touch... ...even if at the deaths of tens of millions of Russians.
...The rich man just ended up spending all his gold and became dirt poor. Similar to the path we're steadily heading down.
Because all of our previous interventions in Haiti have been successful?
All Haiti needs is a dose of Socialism. Plain and simple. Shoot some reactionaries and its all good.
As you well know Comrade, socialism cannot occur without industrialization which requires first bourgeois democracy before socialism can be achieved. Hence why a populist leader like Aristad would have been an ideal balance but the US of course removed him in an imperialistic manner.
That is quite correct, however, I firmly believe that the wheels of industry could be greased with the blood of the reactionaries or at least turned by their exertions.
This is true. Comrade Trotsky spoke of the permanent revolution which must always actively be fought lest it perish once socialism is in place in Haiti the Revolution must be spread to the Dominican Republican and then the rest of the Caribbean through active military force.
I was just thinking about the relatively large numbers of exploiters who could be put to work building up the industry of Haiti. But continuous revolution seems to work just as well.
Just so long as we get the promised Awe as well
I am good with it.
But seriously guys I meant for this to be a serious thread (granted at a very non-serious time of year). Can we draw back the roll-playing just a little bit and get back to a real discussion?
(and yes - I know the Shock Doctrine has nothing to do with Shock and Awe...)
Neo-kolims should be dealt with harshly. And I wasn't really joking: this does smack of a 'well they're now down in the dirt we can force our solutions on them' kind of aid package.
Who was roleplaying? Are you questioning my zeal for the party?
What has fundamentally changed that will allow this proposal to work better than the last one and the one before that and so on. And why are we assuming that the Haitian government is capable of making the kind of hard decisions it will have to make to resuscitate an already moribund economy? I like the idea of a decade long plan charting economic development but that requires two things: a stable Haitian government(s) which will adhere to the formula without comprising its core mission and international donors willing to stump up the money over that period while trying to keep their collective noses out of Haitian business while trying to keep the bastards honest -- to borrow an Australianism. Its probably to much to ask from.
The death of many civil servants won't have changed the underlying bureaucratic culture and may have attenuated it in the wake of the disaster -- as civil servants line their pockets to survive -- and the long the internal disturbances continue the more ingrained that proclivity becomes. I'm also hesitant to believe that improved training and mentoring has any measurable effect. Past experience I've had with Third World governments principally Indonesia would seem to indicate that wage rises to a decent standard of living and preferably above usually have a positive effect but even that carrot needs to be combined with a stick in the form of significant administrative reform and the establishment of strong anti-corruption institutions.
I also wonder if improved infrastructure in the absence of significant structural reform -- which requires substantial political balls -- is desirable and even then I wonder if infrastructure like deep water ports is really the best investment.
I would have thought that attempts to rectify Haiti's truly terrible deforestation, erosion and generally deplorable environmental condition might have come first. Not only is that politically attractive and potentially lucrative if properly managed insofar as carbon capture goes, surely the American government could come up with a means of making reforestation attractive to Haitians even if that reforestation comes in the form of orchards.
At least the government seems to have realized that Haiti's largest economic problem is the sheer size and economic pull of Port-au-Prince. Its large enough to create its own demand independent of the rest of the economy which isn't desirable in the least and creates some serious governance issues for the government.
I guess the biggest take-away here is that this plan would be largely focused on re-building the Haitian government from the ground up, in other words, providing that structural reform of the country in order to make large improvements in infrastructure effective.
From the OP article:
The earthquake was such a major event for the country that it quite literally shook the foundations of the nations society. Now is the time to make drastic changes to the way things work in the country, not after a sense of normalcy returns and old political positions and cronies are re-established.
The reason that such foundational change is really hard in many countries (like Indonesia) is precisely because of the entrenched and established interests of those in power. The earthquake is a game changer for Haiti and it would be unfortunate if the opportunity to enact real and lasting change was lost.
If we want Haiti to be governed "right", shouldn't we just take control of the entire government?
I nominate myself as Governor-General of the Colony of West Hispaniola.
Given that nationalism possesses people to do stupid, irrational things regardless if their non-native ruler doesn't abuse and exploit them horribly(this varies greatly, but we all know 99% of the time the rule isn't altruistic at all), I think it'd be wiser to maintain a puppet regime. This prevents us from getting too bogged down.
Besides, annexing Haiti would mean giving further credit to the "no official language" crowd, as we'd be absorbing a bunch of FrenchiesFrancophones!
But I'm not seeing how that will be achieved. Saying: 'Structural reform is our aim' is utterly meaningless. Its been a popular refrain for governments the world over. And it very rarely bares fruit.
Why would that change? Existing patronage networks might be disrupted at least temporarily but if they haven't been reasserted now then I would be highly surprised. There are what a third of all public service positions to dole out, a mass of donor cash to be subverted and all the opportunities in the world to make some serious money. Even if existing networks have been damaged, new ones will spring up very quickly far more quickly that the international community will be able to move.
Except it worked in Indonesia. The existence of entrenched and established interests didn't matter. This I suspect will be different and markedly less effective. Haiti doesn't have a government that functions while Indonesia, even when horribly corrupt, had a working government with strong, if corrupt, institutions. The Haitian state just seems to be a giant aid diversion program.
So what's the answer? Leave them be until they have a strong government? Where do you start in this situation?
Honestly, I don't know. The use of Marshall Plan really only serves to show the fundamental misunderstandings that people bring to this kind of thing. The original Marshall plan built on the already existent institutions of Europe. All it had to do was provide the money and materials for the Germans et. al. to rebuild their own economy. Governance was never really the main issue. This is all a matter of governance and to the best of my understanding governance isn't something that you can just conjure up with a monetary infusion. The most important aspects of governance reform I've already mentioned: a strong guiding hand from the top, a strong anti-corruption commission with wide-ranging powers and complete freedom of movement, coupled with wage rises and bounties for superior levels of educational attainment, simplifying paperwork and establishing central document holding services and so forth. None of which are straightforward to implement.
Granted it is a very long and even uncertain process, but do you believe the plan that is being talked about right now for Haiti moves in the right direction? From what I have seen so far, it looks like the aspects of reform you mention are at a minimum components of this plan.
Nothing is perfect. Nothing is certain, but from my point of view it looks like we are moving in the right direction here and not just throwing money away.
I would need more information, but it does look positive even if I can't gauge its likelihood for success.
Good, if we're to spend the money it should be on actual nation-building instead of just tossing it down the hole like in the past.
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