An article in the Friday, July 6, 2012 New York Times talks about Haiti and a new economic development plan to develop new industries in Haiti. The plan involves developing an area that is not the area that was destroyed by the January 12, 2010 earthquake where rebuilding is needed but has its motto: "Building Back Better." The plan involves taking valuable farms from poor Haitian farmers and developing the land.
One Haitian professor describes it this way. He says the Industrial Park idea is tired, and historically speaking, "Haiti was founded by ex-slaves who overthrew a plantation system and people keep trying to get them to return to some form of plantation." You may modernize the system but, in the end, it is still a plantation where one is in charge and the other is cheap labor. In the case of Haiti, the Haitians get progressively worse.
You can measure the world by that same template and you will get the same result. Whether it is Detroit and the automotive industry, or Altadena California and the coming Walmart. The Altadena community put together a plan that said we don't want a big box type store, and yet when the dust settles a Walmart will be the primary mover in Northeast Altadena.
This past week I observed another form of treatment designed to get a person's to give up his independence in exchange for a place on the proverbial plantation. A man who had worked hard to get to where he was refused to join in breaking the rules, or participate and go along to get along scam, was severely punished. I take my hat off to him because most people would have caved. He refused to compromise his integrity for possible profit. In the end, he will be rewarded. I have been faced with the same type of dilemma in my life and have lost jobs because I took a stand. In the end I come out as a winner.
My advice to the young man I was talking to was to tell anyone who offers you a deal that wants you to compromise your principles, the following: "If you want me to kiss your butt, you need to put it in my contract."
In the New York Times article, the net result of the project will be that the new industries will prosper. The Natives or indigenous Haitians will be no better off than they were when they controlled the land for farming to feed their families without begging for it, just as they have for centuries without making the profiteering type millionaires richer.
I truly believe that the go along to get along theory is the reason many people stay at the bottom of the economic well. Just as the regular Haitians who give up their land will end up no better off after they start by making a deal with the devil. Be careful who you make a deal with for your future. Be sure that you know that what's in it for you and your family is more than you are giving up in the long run.
The latest news is that Walmart is looking at another site on North Lake Avenue in Altadena. It's not immediately clear if they are looking to have two Walmarts in Altadena or an alternate site if the one on Lincoln Avenue does not go through. The businesses and residents near downtown Los Angeles continue to demonstrate in their fight against a Walmart being built in Chinatown.