Sunday, August 14, 2011

Haiti, The Most Fair Nation

   Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with The Dominican Republic.  It's such a good microcosm to make a point since everything is pretty much the same, except for an attitude that makes things different between the two countries.  Same terrain, same weather, language, people. 
   A good friend of mine does missionary work in Haiti.  He told me something very interesting---the Haitians are really just fine not having anything and living in poverty, but if you give one of them something extra, all hell breaks loose.  If someone gets the idea that somebody got something they didn't, fights will erupt, buses get overturned.  Getting ahead can mean losing your head.
   Since our children were very small we never did 'fair'.  One kid might get an extra cookie here and there.  Another kid might arbitrarily get to do something the other won't, and we've always given the answer 'we don't do fair here'. 
   Our kids get along great, and will share among themselves freely.
   There's an old saying, 'You can't make the poor richer by making the rich poorer'.  As the grocery workers prepare to go on strike yet again,  their big argument isn't how hard they work or the dangers of the job or the skills required to ring up bananas; their argument is how much their CEO makes compared to them.
   Well, then, go become a CEO.
   At the root is a misunderstanding of how new wealth is made.  CEO's have more power to increase the gross domestic product than all of congress and the executive branch combined.  Punishing CEO's to try to move money towards minimally skilled labor in the name of a liveable wage is very counter-productive.  You really are biting the hand that feeds you.   Labor laws and the regulations that come with them, in the name of 'fairness', inhibit budding enterpeneurs from advancing and creating new wealth, industry, and jobs. 
  In the case of grocery workers----their last strike drove shoppers to non-union businesses like Walmart and Target.  We didn't come back.  If you want to pay $2 each for an avocado to support 'living wages' at a chain store, go ahead.
   As Haiti can show, it IS possible for everybody to have the exact same amount, as long as that same amount is nothing.  That really is fair.  Just say goodbye to innovation, GDP growth, environmental protection, and the freedom towards greatness.
   I will take the unfairness and advancement through merit and hard work any day.  If you envy what someone else has, do you seek to take it away from them, or do what they did to achieve it?

1 comment:

princess slea said...

i tell my kids all the time "life is a lot of things but fair isn't one of them".

i'm glad to hear you also don't "itemize" rewards, etc. for your kids - i have felt like the bad mom sometimes but i think learning how to be happy for the other sibling (or friend) and not be envious is a great lesson for them to learn. my daughter gets it but the judester is still trying to figure that lesson out. he's a bit more stubborn.

mazzy's best friend since kindergarten (she is in 5th now) has always had a very bad habit of saying "No Fair!" to mazzy when she sees that magda has gotten something new. It drives me crazy and I gently point out to her that by saying "no fair" to magda she is implying that magda doesn't deserve the item.