Haiti’s catastrophe and America’s last Anglo President
Six months ago an earthquake flattened Haiti. Today the country is still in ruins. Why? The answer is simple, but “mokita.” Mokita is a word from New Guinea which means “a truth everyone knows but no one will talk about.” The mokita about Haiti is that Haiti does not produce good leaders. Some Haitians put it a little stronger: Haiti can’t govern itself.
I worked for years with a successful program in Haiti which found a way around this mokita. This program required that Haitians from acephalous (headless) groups. This method insured that no one person who get in control and abuse his power. Instead, the groups had to learn how to make decisions themselves–i.e., democratically.
As long as this program’s managers were present, thousands of trees were planted and cared for, school gardens were established and maintained, health clinics functioned well. However, when the US managers of the program left, all productive activity ceased.
That’s the way it is in Haiti. Everyone who works in Haiti for any length of time knows this. This truth goes unsaid for two interlocking reasons. Since its the poorest country in the Americas and a short hop away from the US, there are always new charities who want to help. Haitian “leaders” take advantage of these groups by insisting that only Haitians know what is best for Haiti–outsiders should not rule over Haitians.
All countries have similar problems–some leaders who are corrupt combined with a fierce desire for self-determination and self-rule. Little gets done in Russia or Ukraine without blat. Blat is the system of bribes and friendships which determines who gets good jobs in Russia. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. China has a similar system called guanxi.
In the US, we just call it corruption and officially we are agin it. But it has reared its ugly head under another name in the US: affirmative action. Well-meaning Americans, trying to help the oppressed and down-trodden, have institutionalized a system identical in spirit to blat, guanxi and it’s most extreme form in Haiti.
All businesses and government agencies in the US are hobbled by the fact that they cannot hire the best people or fire incompetent people because of fear of entitled interest groups. Most organizations have to have special departments just to insure the organization doesn’t run afoul of these groups. All US businesses and government agencies are hobbled by the corruption of affirmative action. The decline of American manufacturing and the rise of trade deficits and government debt have a direct, quantitative relationship with the rise of affirmative action.
Affirmative action is a corruption more debilitating than blat or guanxi. The personal skills needed to be successful in blat and guanxi can be useful in the smooth functioning of large organizations. Members of non-favored ethnic groups can only succeed under affirmative action if they are sufficiently obsequious to the favored ethnic group. The non-favored ethnic groups have one role only: to provide money and resources for the favored interest groups.
It’s a system eerily similar to Haiti.
On the 6 month anniversary of the Haitian earthquake, we can wring our hands at the plight of the Haitian people, but we are also looking at the future of America.
Haiti was once the richest country in the Americas. Now it is the poorest.
You say it can’t happen in the US? Just watch. See what happens when 96 percent of black Americans vote for Obama and he loses. Then watch how we try to rebuild our riot torn cities.
Then again, there may be an emerging mokita here, too. If we all know riots are going to take place if Obama loses, maybe we will make sure he wins. And then, that another black man succeeds him. The logical conclusion is that we have already seen the last Anglo President of the US.
Your assumptions determine your future. Unless we change the assumptions of modern America, we can see our future in Haiti.