In too deep…[modernization & dependency theories]

haiti circleHaiti no doubt has been negatively affected by modernization and dependency theories and process. The dependency phenomenon does not occur overnight, is multifaceted, evolving, and is reflected by Haiti history from colonialism, dictatorship, and corruption. One major focal point in Haiti was during the Duvalier regime, a shift was made from agriculture to textiles, which provided less Econ-Cartoonwealth to the Haitian people, and more wealth to the Duvalier’s at the expense of the people. This occurred primarily because the capital made in the textile industry was easier to tax than the capital made by subsistence farmers. This was reflected by Haitian annual GDP growth reported from 1965-1980 as .9%, when Haiti was still primarily agricultural. From 1980-1990, after the shift to textiles, annual GDP growth went down to -2.3% (Cain, 2012).

economic activity
The shift to textiles financially tied the Haitian GDP to the international community, in a way that Haitians now needed to import the raw materials and machinery from other nations to produce, creating a double edge sword. The Haitian reliance on importing materials for the textile industry created a trade embargo in 1994, which in turn cause further economic
destabilization. By the end of 1994, the GDP GDPgrowth rate took another dramatic declined to -12% (Cain, 2012). The embargo damaged the Haitian economy so extreme that it was only beginning to recuperate at the time of the 2010 earthquake.

This led the Haitian people demanding different governmental representation, a democratic institution, and civil and political liberties, which lead to violent aggression and rebellion. The situation was only met with military aggression by Duvalier regime, and the Haitian government continued to play in the sandbox with other international countries, by continuing to support their trade and economic policies without developing their own. Governmental corruption continued throughout many regimes, leading to extort and profit from these textile taxations and other exploited economic practices progressing to political instability and economic collapse.Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.55.02 PM

Haiti has sustained some modernization and development taking into consideration its history, geography and culture. Many projects such as rebuilding energy infrastructures, roads, lighting, building, sanitation, water, etc., these forms of modernizing can drive the progressive improvement of nations (small preview of enterprising farmers below).

the rostow model


Crain, N. (2012, May 17). Haiti: Two decades of intervention and very little to show. Retrieved from

Diaz, A., Trapp, A., & Feldman, A. (2008). Haiti Background Report. Retrieved from Lehigh University


6 thoughts on “In too deep…[modernization & dependency theories]

  1. Your post is very interesting! I was reading into Duvalier on the side of reading your post because the name sounded familiar. I see how dependency theory might come into play in this case. By the regime slowing down the agricultural sector and switching to textile it would be inevitable to force Haiti into dependency on larger powers for raw materials. This to me though sounds like something that could be fixed? Couldn’t the Haitian government simply re-open in part the agricultural sector? That would naturally be in a perfect universe. The situation Haiti finds itself in today due to natural disaster and simply not being able to catch a break I feel will leave them in a text book scenario for dependency theory.


  2. Great tie into Rostow’s theory from the Haitian approach. It is interesting to see how many countries started off in agriculture which a feudal system and was “forced” to expand into exporting of things like minerals, oil, and textiles.


  3. Haiti is such a fascinating country in which to evaluate the impact of development theories. As you mention, the history of dictatorship plays an interesting role and the roller coaster of GDP growth/decline is certainly reflective of their dependency on developed nations. Another interesting layer to evaluate in Haiti is the massive amount of international aide the country has received, both in support of commerce and as a result of the earthquake. The tremendous misuse of this aide raises the issue, once again, of corruption. It is painful to watch Haiti’s struggle in light of their horrible leadership over the last century. Yet, the people seem to have an unparalleled resilience. Thanks for the enlightening post!


  4. First of all, I can tell you that the structure of your blog page is excellent and when it comes to the situation of Haiti I think the negative perception we have for the country makes us forget that there a lot of more Haitian people can do on their own without necessarily hoping the help from elsewhere. Personally, I’ve never been a supporter of macroeconomic strategies from world bank and I don’t see them translating for the general population. In contrast, I am a big supporter for any initiative that promote self-sufficiency and I think you mentioned the Duvalier regime to focus on agriculture, which is indispensable tool of self-sufficiency rather than waiting for assistance. Great post


    1. Excellent comment. Just one point: you might want to re-read the part about Duvalier: “One major focal point in Haiti was during the Duvalier regime, a shift was made from agriculture to textiles, which provided less Econ-Cartoonwealth to the Haitian people, and more wealth to the Duvalier’s at the expense of the people.”


      1. Thanks Professor Perrottet, In the article I read Haiti: Two Decades of Intervention and very little to show, this was the one of the main points they made about Duvalier regime, these was also other corruption, brutality and political things that also attributed, this supposably took them away from their more agricultural roots.


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