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  1. #1
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    Default DR standard of living

    At about US$4000 (highest estimate i've seen) national income per person, the DR is still below average in the Americas in standard of living. What I have been pondering for a while is what can be done in the short term and in the long term to improve the situation. This all only leads me to several questions:

    1) Can the poeple in the DR accept the notion that progress depends directly on the people and not the government?

    2) Can the government accept the same premise?

    3) Will the goverment break down the barriers to free markets: a) consistent application of laws, b) removal of anti-business regulations, rescinding international barriers to trade that often come in the form of taxes and red tape.

    4) What good is a constitution if it can be changed at the whim of the contemporaneous political thieves?

    5) Can the uneducated have the faith to get educated despite the apparent fact that there will be no job waiting for them?

    6) Who will provide the money for this education?

    These questions lead to a few thoughts: 1) the first order of business is to come up with ways of producing within the borders of the, DR the goods that the DR people consume. And of course produce it more cheaply and with higher quality. Inverters, washing machines,mopeds, more efficient farming methods,ets.
    2) the next order of business is to produce within the borders of the DR, products that can be sold competitively in the world economy.........


    anyhow....just some thoughts....and I would welcome some responses......


    mondongo

  2. #2
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    Unhappy NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WAY!

    I started to respond to your questions.The more I thought about the possible answers,the more depressed I became.As long as "Stealing" is the main occupation of the "Government" nothing can ever really change.they(the "Politicos")used to just steal from the GNP of the Dominican Republic,now they "Borrow & Steal,Borrow & Steal" which is like "Stealing-The-Future"!!CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

  3. #3
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    Default

    While I might differ on the overall capacity of the DR to produce what they need, I can certainly relate to the need to try and do something. The removal of trade barriers is certainly, as you say, the first step.

    And Criss? I got the same feelings....Grrrrrr!

    HB

  4. #4
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    Default When are we going to have....

    True Leadership! That is the question. This is not about political parties or affiliations but more about the quality of the person.
    When will we have someone with the intelligence, morality, education to break the cycle that exists today.

    Who will win the presidency and have the courage to say no to the political machine that got him/her there and govern for the benefit of the country not for personal gain.

    The concept of true public service, making a true personal and financial sacrifice to serve your country does not exist in the Dominican Republic today. Instead we choose from a group of people who have never held down full time jobs and whose mission is to get in power and steal enough money to hold them over until the next time they get in power.

    My point is that our problems are about poor policy. However that poor policy is not due to a lack of understanding (most people can tell you what needs to be done) but rather a lack of leadership courage to do the right thing inspite of the personal risks involved.

    Where is our FDR, JFK, Roosevelt, Truman? For the sake of our country I hope he seating on a bus someplace in DR right now, on the way to school and dreaming about how someday he will have the courage to do the right thing.

  5. #5
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    Default

    My fear is that when this true 'public servant' arrives the people won't give him the chance he deserves. I think that far too often the people are so impatient for change that when it isn't effected overnight, they are left pining for the 'good old days'...

    To get rid of corruption entirely would mean a long, dry period of transition. It isn't only those in high places who practice and benefit from crookedness of el sistema. Many, many people rely to some degree or another on different forms of corruption just to put food on the table. Without these loopholes in place those people are left to struggle, as they have no training, education, etc. So how would this Dominican JFK keep everybody happy during the long interim and avoid an all-out mutiny? And by mutiny I mean as much by the common person as by the politicos and military degenerates who wouldn't tolerate an end to their money-making machines.

    I pray that one day the Dominican JFK comes along, but I have a hard time envisioning it. Not only have I heard people come right out and say that they long for the days of Balaguer, I have even heard some misguided folk say that they were better off during the times of Trujillo. Now, how sad is *that*?

    Along with increased avenues for trade, in my opinion, one of the first steps would also be to improve the police force by properly training them, and then by paying them a salary that someone who keeps the law truly merits.

  6. #6
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    Default

    I think we all agree that corruption is hard to stop. So how does the country improve despite of it?

    Mondongo made some valid points about eliminating trade barriers and improving the balance of trade. Here is one idea on how to do that:

    I think the government should sponsor a capital investment fund in the U.S. for start-up manufacturing businesses in DR. The fund (and all of the money) would be managed by a private investment bank and used to fund start-ups in return for equity (essentially a Venture Capital fund).

    The bank would approve the business plan and the management team and release the funds based on the valuation of the company.

    The government would allow companies funded by this money to import raw materials free of duties but they would be taxed and would be allowed to sell all of their production in DR or export. The government can target these duty free imports to specific goods that the country is currently buying abroad.

    The Government gets:
    1)Jobs
    2)Tax Revenue
    3)Direct Foriegn Investment with debt
    4)The development of a manufacturing base and a stronger entrepreneur class

    Foriegn investors get:
    1)Opportunity for a less risky investment in DR

    I realize this is overly simplified but I hope I got the general idea across.

  7. #7
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    Lightbulb No shortage of "Good Ideas"!

    It is hard for any new enterprise to be successful.Even in the US most fail during their first year in existance,Usually due to under-capitalization(Not enough money on hand to suvive until "profits" start to support the business) Now in the DR, "borrowed" money can cost you 20 to 30%per year,and more.Then there are the "hidden" costs of paying Government "inspectors" to allow you to stay in business! What chance does a newcomer have?If you are successful you draw attention and the "Politicos" want more of your money!It makes me sad.I see you young educated enthusiastic Dominicans who would like to start a "venture" in your homeland,when you have a better chance of making your fortune in the USA! Good Luck CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

  8. #8
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    Default JFK and educated leadership

    The problem with a Dominican JFK is that I fear he/she would meet the same tragic end as the original...

    A story for you: I was processed for my cedula by a young woman, couldn't have been even 30 yrs old. Law degree from the US, masters in France. Fluent in Spanish (duh, she's Dominican), English and French. I know this because she spoke all three while I was in her office. Charming, and obviously very capable and professional. Outstanding.

    A woman with this intelligence and education is handing out cedulas. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, generals and old timers are handing out cash! Cash that they don't even "have"!

    <b>Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll sell the rod and tackle to buy a new cell phone!</b>

    marc

  9. #9
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    Angry

    You said it Marc!!
    It pains me greatly to see the attitude of many of the Dominicans I have contact with every day.
    While the past government was making some effort the present administration seems to have gone back to the old Spanish model of take what you can get, set up your relatives and friends for life and to H--- with the country!

  10. #10
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    Post thanks for your posts....

    Since I haven't lived in the DR for over 20 years, my thoughts and aspirations might be naive...some of you folks that have been there a while (Criss and HB, et al) probably know all too well how difficult it would be to effect any change.

    Marc, your story of the well educated woman being over qualified for her job actually brings me hope...it can tell me that there might be a good number of qualified workers to draw upon for entrepreneurs in the DR.

    Jane J. you make some good points about how quickly change can come about. A long time is the unfortunate answer. We also crave the porper passing,adjudicating,and enforcing of FAIR laws.

    Trivalent I think that entrepreneurship is one of the few answers that can stick. I will have to disagree on the source of the starting and on-going capital though. I would keep the DR governemnt as far away from anything I do as possible.

    Listening to Alan Greenspan has taught me that productivity is the greatest determinant of a country's (or even an individual) future prosperity. For the DR to catch up with the rest of the world, these productivity increases have to be susbtantial. Businesses that do just that would be a great place to start.

    Continuing to build the country's infracstructure is another (this I admit is one of the few roles for the goverment). But even in this space we can ask ourselves: is our road building technology advanced enough? Can we build roads that can better stand up to the sun and rain?

    Always resist tax increases. Demand personnel cutbacks instead. The more of our own money you and I keep, the more efficiently it will be spent.

    Lastly, since we cant avoid politics, start a campaign contribution fund where money will be used to help elect those who wont steal the DR people's money. But even this effort has to be focused first on getting results. I believe this means focusing on local and low profile public offices first...

    Criss...my hope is that at some point im my life, I would be fortunate enough to help start some of these businesses without
    without worrying about the very realistic fear of business failure.

    mondongo

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