Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Haiti reconstruction

Since a long time Haiti was, and after the earthquake even more so, an in-functional state. The great tragedy of this quake is that it affected mainly the more “affluent” people, those who where able to afford concrete houses, meaning that a large number of educated and skilled people who kept the little bit of economic activity going have been lost.

After the initial shock now begins the squabble of rebuilding, with many diverging interests and opinions.

One can discern two diverging attitudes:

The politically correct one, that one should respect the sovereignty of the haitian government to make the decisions, and on the other hand those who feel that Haiti should be placed under international governance for the next two decades until they can stand again on their own feet (I certainly favor the second opinion, which is also shared by many Haitians!)

The present state of utter destruction of the national infrastructure could be a golden opportunity to attempt to create a viable society, without reverting to decadent capitalist or socialist models.

Had I a say, the following would be my favored steps:

    1. Rebuild the basic infrastructure.

    2. Initiate a universal Identification system.

    3. Provide a universal unconditional minimum income of USD700.00 / year per person, including educational and healthcare vouchers, redeemable by independent schools and caregivers.

      (With todays electronic credit card systems this should be feasible). The needed USD8,000 millions would initially be funded by the international community, later replaced by the national economy financed through a Value Added Tax and land lease fee income. This could be the most effective way to get the economy going, benefiting the population in its entirety.

    4. Encourage and protect small and medium size sustainable agriculture. Farmers need a fair price for their produce, this will discourage migrations to the cities and give an incentive for many to return to the land.

    5. Introduce a major land reform, and making the vast presently un-utilized fertile plains available to farmers. Land should not be treated as commodity but be made available on a lease hold basis.

    6. Initiate a serious reforestation program.

Well, I will keep dreaming and add many more points!

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