chapter  8
Haitian Public Finance
Pages 44

The preceding chapters have established two important reasons for government indifference to peasant welfare, and hence also two explanations for the low proportion of government expenditure going to the agricultural sector. With the abolition of slavery and fermage and the simultaneous break-up of the large estates and the redistribution of these lands to the peasants, the rural masses became a marginal political group showing no interest of its own in political affairs as well as being of no interest as a target for government spending, since the main political groups lacked a direct pecuniary interest in peasant agriculture. Simultaneously, and somewhat ironically, the land redistribution and the accompanying decline of the plantation system gave rise to a perverted view of politics where the most important objective became the exploitation of government revenues for private purposes by the governing cliques, and where the only real issue involved in the political infighting was who was to have the privilege of this exploitation. The public good was subordinated to private vested interests of a very obscure nature.