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Saipan's Flirts with Third World Status

Posted Nov 21 2008 4:27pm
In his book, and The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time, economist Jeffrey Sachs points out,

When the preconditions of basic infrastructure (roads, power, and ports) and human capital (health and education) are in place, mark ets are powerful engines of development. Without those preconditions, mark ets can cruelly bypass large parts of the world, leaving them impoverished and suffering without respite.

Let’s take a closer look at this dense statement, that gives a very simple formula for economic success of a people. Development requires the combination of human capital (which consists of two parts – health and education) and basic infrastructure (which consists of three parts – roads, ports and power). Here on Saipan we lack reliable power, and therefore, we simply lack one of the key elements required for development. The lack of power is not just an inconvenience. It changes our status as a developed jurisdiction

Yesterday, at our home we had over five hours of unannounced power outages spread throughout the day. One came during mealtime, another just as we were getting children to bed. We were unable to cook, and our children cried as they tried to fall asleep in the sweltering heat. This is not a scene that you expect in a developed place, especially when it happens daily, as it is now. Power is part of basic infrastructure, and without it, there is limited opportunity for ourmarkets to develop. I hate to say it, but our protracted power problems now bring us into the company of most third world countries. Our power situation puts us in a particular category of underdeveloped nations, and market opportunities cruelly bypass us.
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