Saturday, May 8, 2010

Haiti ... "restavecs"

Dear Colleagues

A friend sent me this message and pointer to a URL. The article referenced is about the very poor children that are essentially sold into servitude all over Haiti. He simply wrote:
Sometimes it is hard to know what to believe.
While I do not know the facts in Haiti first hand, I have seen similar situations in a lot of other poor societies. In response I wrote the following:
Dear Colleagues

Thank you for sending me this.

While I am not an academic expert on the history of Haiti ... I am a fairly competent accountant and analyst of economic activities. If you try to answer the question "Why are Haitian people so poor?" you end up with an answer that fits very well with the story recited in the URL you sent.

The so called "restavecs" are a big reality ... though not much talked about for obvious reasons. The problem is not unique to Haiti. Ultra poor families are trading their children all over the planet ... to help keep the rest of the family from starving. This is a piece of the global economy that has been created over the past "long time" by our global socio-economic system and its decision makers. I think it stinks ... but those that have the wealth have the guns and have the power and make decisions that maintain the status quo or improve it for the continuing benefit of the powerful socio-economic and political elites.

Things can change ... and things should change ... but it is not going to be easy, and the outcome is uncertain. My role in all of this change will be through a process that brings together data, analysis, planning and accountability.
I am appalled that in the modern world the planners and politicians and the people who make public policy cannot handle the crisis of around 4 billion poor and hungry people around the planet. There are: (1) massive needs and things that need to be done; (2) lots of cash and credit on the sidelines; (3) lots of people unemployed; (4) and a total inability to allocate resources so that important things get done.

Peter Burgess

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