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Two visions for development: Casimir and Collier on Haiti

Authors: Anna Versluis*, Gustavus Adolphus College
Topics: Development
Keywords: Haiti, development, post-colonialism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 1:00 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Virtual Track 9
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper compares and contrasts the differing visions for Haiti's development and future as argued by Haitian sociologist Jean Casimir and British economist Paul Collier in two separately-authored reports commissioned by the United Nations (at different times and by different U.N. offices). While both scholars would claim to have Haiti's best interests at heart, they disagree on the very purpose, priorities, and premises of development as well as the role of civil society, history, and democratic processes. Casimir promotes a development that is based on the desires of all peoples in a society and, in the case of Haiti, that upholds justice as the primary developmental goal, while Collier understands Haiti as an object to which development is applied by some external force; security is the first priority on which economic security can be built with a focus on jobs, basic services, food security, and environmental sustainability. The reports, especially when read together, help illuminate some key differences between a neoliberal argument for development (Collier) and a post-colonial argument (Casimir).

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