Globalization: Social & Geographic Perspectives

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Haiti: Recovery Economics—Brian Lehrer Show

October 29th, 2010 · 1 Comment
Apr 5/Political Globalization & Cultural Globalization · Reading Response Memos

I have a love/hate relationship with NPR. In many instances they bring on guests, like in this piece, who bring great new contributions to the general NPR-listening audience. Nevermind that these ideas (like Dependency theory, in this case) have been floating around for DECADES… but still, I can appreciate the effort. The ‘hate’ part of the relationship comes in when I see NPR intentionally stop the discourse from ever evolving into a revolutionary and more radical discussion for fundamental justice.

In this piece Lehrer’s guests correctly identify the money and the NGO’s as part of the problem. Yet the show will not allow the next logical conclusion to be made: this is done not my a complex evolution of the circumstance and through human error, but by purposeful intent of neo-colonization. The prevailing assumption here is that colonization is over. That these problems can simply be reformed. Bullshit. The evidence is even in this program. The guests spell it out for you to make these same conclusions but for matters of decency and to avoid the flak, I suppose, these guests limit themselves and the audience from reaching the more honest and radical assessment. To this end NPR is utterly worthless. NPR is the guy/girl who says the right things but who never commits. On the other hand, Fox News is the trashy fling that you know is no good but is still good for a cheap thrill.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1    Prof. Hala // Nov 1, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I take your point, that a deep understanding of Haiti’s “under-development” can’t ignore colonialism — for its effects continue (and perhaps take the form of neo-colonialism). Coverage of January’s earthquake and aftermath tended to view it simply as a “natural” disaster, and when there were efforts to understand economic underdevelopment, they typically focused on culture (Haitian “backwardness,” lack of enterprise, etc.) and not on global political economy. Defenders of NPR and other media outlets will say that all this history is too complex to address in a format like this, but maybe a simple reminder that Haiti began its independence saddled with enormous debt isn’t too much to ask. After mounting a successful anticolonial revolution against the French occupiers, the formerly enslaved Haitians were required to pay reparations *to the slave owners*!

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