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Haiti and the Global Market

I ‘m a big fan of globalization, but only when all parties respect the rules. Simple economic theory would suggest that everyone wins in a true global market. You import what you don’t produce, while your export your excess goods. In the case of Haiti, neither of those criteria can be applied; hence Haiti cannot win in a global market.

Haiti, one of the poorest nations on this planet, cannot compete in a global market. We do not produce anything in surplus, whereas most of the goods we import do not help grow our local economy. We start at a big disadvantage on the field of globalization. In rethinking Haiti, we must accept that we are not yet ready to be a player in the global market.

For Haiti to be competitive in the global market, it needs first and foremost a functional government, which would always have the benefit of the Haitian people as its primary goal. Secondly, we would have to find at least one product that we could produce enough for all Haitians to consume, and have enough available for export. Thirdly, an environment that supports entrepreneurship would have to be established. Lastly, we should only import products that we cannot produce locally. When considering those conditions, it is clear as to why globalization is bad news for Haiti.

Currently, the people benefiting the most might lead you to believe that Haiti is being well-served in this global agenda sets by its foreign controllers. There are plenty of talks about HOPE II, which is a bill in Congress tailored specifically for Haiti that ostensibly reduce or eliminate taxes on goods made in Haitian garment factory.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even mentioned the creation of one huge non-governmental organization (NGO) to funnel needed funds to support the international agenda. None of those leading experts would advocate for bringing a pharmaceutical company to Haiti, or an automotive manufacturing plant, nor a call-center, let alone building a few world class universities for future generations. In a global market, the party with the most intellectual resources will always be ahead, so why not help educate Haitian children.

Haiti is unique in all context that one looks at it. Our history is exciting and yet has a lot of sadness to it. Our people have shown great determination, and at times they resigned themselves to hopelessness. We know what we want, and have no idea how to get them. We are a nation constantly in a state illusion. Older generation would talk about the good old days, and at the same time would criticize the oppression they experienced in the past. My generation has nothing to be proud of besides our independence in 1804, and yet many of us would give up everything to help Haiti. That eager to help is really our last best hope to save Haiti.

In that context we must propose a new theory for excising Haiti out of poverty and transplanting it in the house of prosperity. The road of globalization will only maintain Haiti in the abyss of misery; hence we must evaluate a plan to strengthen our local economy via a local market by producing local goods that can be consumed locally.

In Haiti, remittance from the diaspora alone accounts for 2 billion dollars annually. Foreign companies, such as Digicel, Avis car rental, Carnival cruise line, American Airlines among others are maximizing their profit at the expense of the Haitian people. Also, local companies, which do not reinvest locally, are exploiting their own people. The only thing all those players have in common is that their money is safely and securely deposited in a foreign bank. The money from the Haitian diaspora only enters Haiti in transit, as soon as it is exchanged in the local currency, it goes right back to its source of origin. The Haitian consumer has no opportunity to save; therefore is condemned to always rely on foreign charity and waiting on others. This inhuman cycle must be broken.

The Haitian government must make it illegal to import products that are non-essential and non-beneficial to the Haitian people from entering the country. For example, a broken down car coming from the US to Haiti is a non-beneficial product. It would cause more damage to our society than benefiting our economy. Not only that such a car would pollute our environment, it would cost the very individual who was supposed to benefit from it a fortune in maintenance and repair. Over the lifetime of the car, the individual would spend more on the car than the car would be able to provide him. That could not be good for the local economy because most of the expenses on the car would need foreign parts, which would require more spending on imported goods. Cars are not the only goods in that category; we have broken down television sets, blenders, coffee makers, cell phones, computers, clothing and much more that can also produce toxic compounds, which could also play a role in the low life expectancy facing many of our compatriots.

My proposal is for the leaders of Haiti to encourage local people to produce all the goods that they can safely produce to support the Haitian society. The role of government is to facilitate growth in a safe environment, and there can be no growth without some form of local goods and a local market. There would be no necessity for Haiti to import foreign rice, if the government was doing its job. There would be no need to import worn out clothing, if the government was regulating the sweatshop industry. There would be no need for walking with our head down at a donor’s conference, if our leaders were able to think locally, and invest locally.

Corruption is a huge problem, but the self-hatred of our leaders for their own people is really the foundation of the collapse of our society. Let us have the gut to say no to globalization as it stands, and find the courage to challenge our business people to think locally and invest in the local market.

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Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.
Haitian Times
May. 05, 2012

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