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20 January 2010

Haiti dopo

Questo ci vuole, dopo l'emergenza. Meno Chavez, più mercato/ property rights/ law enforcement.

President Obama called the quake "especially cruel and incomprehensible." He would be closer to the truth if he had said the political and economic climate that makes Haitians helpless in the face of natural disasters is "especially cruel and incomprehensible."

The biggest reason for Haiti being one of the world's poorest countries is its restrictions on economic liberty. According to the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom, authorization is required for some foreign investments, such as in electricity, water, public health and telecommunications. Authorization requires bribing public officials and, as a result, Haiti's monopolistic telephone services can at best be labeled primitive. That might explain the difficulty Haitian-Americans have in finding out about their loved ones.

Corruption is rampant. Haiti ranks 177th out of 179 countries in the 2007 Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. Customs officers often demand bribes to clear shipments. The Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom says that starting a business in Haiti takes an average of 195 days, compared with the world average of 38 days. Getting a business license takes about five times longer than the world average of 234 days — that's over three years.

Crime and lawlessness are rampant in Haiti. The U.S. Department of State Web site (travel.state.gov), long before the earthquake, warned, "There are no 'safe' areas in Haiti. ... Kidnapping, death threats, murders, drug-related shootouts, armed robberies, home break-ins and carjacking are common in Haiti."

[...] The way out of Haiti's grinding poverty is not rocket science. Ranking countries according to: (1) whether they are more or less free market, (2) per capita income, and (3) ranking in International Amnesty's human rights protection index, we would find that those nations with a larger free-market sector tend also to be those with the higher income and greater human rights protections.

Haitian President Rene Preval is not enthusiastic about free markets; his heroes are Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro. Haiti's disaster demands immediate Western assistance, but it's only the Haitian people who can relieve themselves of the deeper tragedy of self-inflicted poverty.

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