The Community Analytics (CA) methodology is a powerful tool for socio-economic planning.
It should be noted that socio-economic planning using the CA methodology is not at all like the State Planning (Gosplan) of the Soviet era and socialist societies in the 20th century ... or even the development planning encouraged by the World Bank, the IMF and international donor agencies. Rather CA style socio-economic planning aims to channel resources so that they are used in the most effective way for socio-economic progress, and the CA performance metrics make it possible to have those that make decisions to be held accountable in a timely and appropriate way.
The CA approach is being used to develop a supplement to the Government of Haiti's official relief and rebuilding plan. Now that it is several weeks since the earthquake, it is time for rebuilding plans to be put in place, but there is concern that this will be a process that will have both rigid Gosplan characteristics and big contractor benefits, but rather less benefit that reaches the poor population of Haiti in a meaningful way. The CA approach puts each and every community into play as a unit for socio-economic progress ... and does community level metrics so that benefit to the community may be put on the record and the implementing agencies given credit.
But the CA approach is not simply about better use of external resources ... even more it is about better use of available local resources. Communities have assets ... but these assets are rarely being used in the most productive way. CA considers people as assets ... and asks the question how may people contribute the most to their society, and in so doing benefit themselves. When the goal is to improve the people asset in the community with better health, better education, better housing, better economic opportunity ... then the community is able to progress with the progress being sustainable.
While health and education are valuable for people ... it is the better economic opportunity that ensures the sustainable progress of the community. In any community the big economic opportunity question is how to have work that is surplus producing. If it is agriculture .. does the work produce more than the person and the family needs for their own consumption. If it is a wage paying job ... do the wages pay the bills of the person and the family ... and does the business have enough revenue from the work done to pay the wages. Communities need to think through ways in which their assets may be used most usefully to create value for the community.
External help for the community may be useful ... or it may be detrimental. It is fairly clear that international investment has been done over several hundred years for the benefit of the investor with little consideration to the impact on the local society. In Haiti the business of cotton and rice served the interest of business capital and not very much the interest of labor ... and also set the stage for a long term degradation of the land.
Remediation of degraded land should be an important long term program, and probably best done with community scale initiatives. The value of land remediation is high, but traditional justification of such works based on money justification is difficult. They become easier to justify using the full value analysis of the CA methodology.
The Haiti planning work is ongoing ... and will be web accessible towards the end of March.