Sunday, January 24, 2010

How to help Haiti: End Aid

The Wall Street Journal's Brett Stephens has a great op-ed about how to help Haiti rebuild following the end of the humanitarian aid episode.

"A better approach recognizes the real humanity of Haitians by treating them—once the immediate and essential tasks of rescue are over—as people capable of making responsible choices. Haiti has some of the weakest property protections in the world, as well as some of the most burdensome business regulations. In 2007, it received 10 times as much in aid ($701 million) as it did in foreign investment.

Reversing those figures is a task for Haitians alone, which the outside world can help by desisting from trying to kill them with kindness. Anything short of that and the hell that has now been visited on this sad country will come to seem like merely its first circle."

The question is will "western white guilt" trump the imperative to enact tough, but meaningful reforms that may lead to tangible results. Likely.

Haiti has been a basket-case for generations, perhaps the best thing the United States can do to help Haiti stabilize is lift all import-export tariffs for the next five years on goods from Haiti and perhaps provide low-interest loans to entrepreneurs whom want to take a stab at trying to create something more meaningful than another aid dependent kleptocracy floating on a legacy of anarchy. Wishful thinking.


  1. This sounds harsh but I'd rather see our bucks spent in the USA.

  2. It's not about the money spent per say, a domestic spending binge doesn't seem to help people. It's about fostering accountability, empowering civil society, and aligning long-term incentive structures.