Archive for the ‘Haiti’ Category

More insights on what’s wrong with Haiti and how it can be fixed

January 22nd, 2010 No comments

What needs to be done? Simply, an end to corrupt rule and heavy taxes and regulatory burdens, central planning and intrusive foreign aid “development” schemes (that feed local elites and foreign contractors), and free and open trade with foreign nations.

Further to my prior post, here are some additional resources on Haiti:

Walter Williams, Only Haiti can end its deeper tragedy (Columbia Daily Tribune, January 20, 2010)

Jonathan Finegold Catalán, Haiti: Two Hundred Tragic Years (Economic Thought, Jan 19th, 2010)

Garrett Glass, A solution in Haiti: Try Freedom (Digital Freedom Network, Mar 3, 2004)

Regarding the issue of past responsibility of other countries, I also thought this reader comment to David S. Landes piece, Slaves and Slaughter; Haiti’s horrible history (TNR, March 10, 1986) to be telling:

What the professor of economics fails to discuss was the fact that
European and American countries almost completely cut off trade with
Haiti in the aftermath of its revolution, given its status as a nation
governed by freed blacks in an era of pervasive slavery. International
isolation was what ultimately crushed Haiti’s export economy

Further insightful academic resources can be found at The Digital Library Of The Commons (Indiana U.), by searching through titles for Haiti. Here are a couple:

Smucker, Glenn R.; White, T. Anderson; Bannister, Michael, Land Tenure and the Adoption of Agricultural Technology in Haiti, 2002

White, T. Anderson; Gregersen, Hans M., Policy Lessons from Natural Resources Projects in Haiti: A Framework for Reform, 1994 


As a bonus, readers might be interested in this paper, written by a seventh grader, that was the Junior Division Winner of the National
History Day’s 2000 student research paper competition; the paper lucidly describes many of the US responses to and repercussions of the Haitian slave rebellion:

Jim Thomson, The Haitian Revolution and the Forging of America (The History Teacher, 2000)

[Update] Some food for thought on who (US/UN/others/Haitians) and what is responsible for making and keeping Haiti poor

January 19th, 2010 No comments

[Note: Richard Ebeling`s piece on the Jan. 19 Mises Daily page (“Real Economic Reform for a Hurting Haiti“) is the most thoughtful libertarian take so far.]

I found these four pieces (two post-quake, two before) interesting.

Haiti Didn’t Become a Poor Nation All on Its Own — The U.S’s Hidden Role in the Disaster  (Carl Lindskoog, AlterNet, January 15, 2010)

Exporting Misery to Haiti: How Rice, Pigs, and US Policy Undermined the Haitian Economy (James Ridgeway, Reader Supported News, Jan.18)

Haiti: the land where children eat mud (Caitlin Moran, Times Online, May 17, 2009) (a fairly graphic report, with references to international debt, starting with France)

Of course, there is plenty of blame to be shared by Haiti`s rulers, as poor Haitians obviously desperately need what most of us take
for granted (and what Dominicans on the other half of the island have):
property rights and some semblance of rule of law.  Most of the country is a government-“owned” commons (that is,
unprotected), and the state of property rights protection of the rest
of the land is extremely poor. Apparently the nation faces a widespread tragedy of the commons situation.

See this very insightful analysis:  Apocalypso: Haiti’s Chosen Poverty (Joe Katzman, WindsofChange.Net, January 7, 2005).

It is heart-warming to see the current level of interest in the US and elsewhere in helping the Haitians. But the very real question is, how can the tragedy of the commons be ended in Haiti?