The Solution to Haiti’s Problem

January 22nd. 2010

I’m no expert on politics, economics or Asian cultures, or really even Western cultures for that matter. But, I do like to read. And sometimes I spit back what I’ve read because I get some weird blip of an idea of how multiple issues share similar patterns. Ergo, Haiti and why its remained historically backward, undeveloped, corrupt and ripe for disaster. In this months issue of National Geographic, there’s a fascinating article entitled “The Singapore Solution.” The writer, Mark Jacobson, spent time in the tiny nation, Singapore, and studied its Phoenix-like rise from utter poverty and devastation a generation ago, into an international player where its 3.7 million people have a per capita income that exceeds many European countries. (As opposed to the culture in Jakarta, its neighbor.) They use corporal punishment to fight the drug trade. They mandate education. They micromanage. But this highly-controlled society has taken a country smaller than the size of Delaware and transformed itself from the inside out. It’s a radical idea, but the Haitians should take note from the Singaporean, maybe import a few of its zero-tolerance leaders. Unless Haiti changes from the inside all the way through to the outside, no amount of international aid will make a lasting difference. And Haiti’s people will remain victims for another generation.

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