A new article in the Houston Chronicle, describes the impact, positive and negative, of the growing amount of money sent back to El Salvador by Salvadorans living in the US. These remittances have created families, and a country, dependent on the constant flow of dollars from abroad. Here are some of the points from the article:
- Some say remittances make some recipients lazy, or at least picky about the work they will agree to do for low wages, leading to shortages of laborers in the fields of El Salvador
- As a consequence of the labor shortage in the agricultural sector, as many as 200,000 Hondurans and Nicaraguans now come into El Salvador to work because they will work for lower wages than Salvadorans who have the support of remittances.
- Remittances have led to some reduction in poverty in El Salvador.
- Remittances have not been an engine of economic growth, but El Salvador has turned into a consumption society, consuming more than it produces.
- Remittances allow youth to stay in school rather than taking jobs to support a family. But El Salvador's economy does not create sufficient positions for persons with education -- so there is a great incentive to look to the US for jobs.