This is not a natural disaster story. This is a poverty story. It’s a story about poorly constructed buildings, bad infrastructure and terrible public services. On Thursday, President Obama told the people of Haiti: “You will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten.” If he is going to remain faithful to that vow then he is going to have to use this tragedy as an occasion to rethink our approach to global poverty. He’s going to have to acknowledge a few difficult truths.HERE'S WHERE BROOKS MAKES A HUGE ERROR:
On Oct. 17, 1989, a major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 struck the Bay Area in Northern California. Sixty-three people were killed. This week, a major earthquake, also measuring a magnitude of 7.0, struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Red Cross estimates that between 45,000 and 50,000 people have died.
... Over the past few decades, the world has spent trillions of dollars to generate growth in the developing world. The countries that have not received much aid, like China, have seen tremendous growth and tremendous poverty reductions. The countries that have received aid, like Haiti, have not.
...Haiti has more nongovernmental organizations per capita than any other place on earth.
... As Lawrence E. Harrison explained in his book “The Central Liberal Truth,” Haiti, like most of the world’s poorest nations, suffers from a complex web of progress-resistant cultural influences. There is the influence of the voodoo religion, which spreads the message that life is capricious and planning futile. There are high levels of social mistrust. Responsibility is often not internalized. Child-rearing practices often involve neglect in the early years and harsh retribution when kids hit 9 or 10.
We’re all supposed to politely respect each other’s cultures. But some cultures are more progress-resistant than others, and a horrible tragedy was just exacerbated by one of them.
The first of those truths is that we don’t know how to use aid to reduce poverty. Over the past few decades, the world has spent trillions of dollars to generate growth in the developing world. The countries that have not received much aid, like China, have seen tremendous growth and tremendous poverty reductions. The countries that have received aid, like Haiti, have not.WRONG:
In the recent anthology “What Works in Development?,” a group of economists try to sort out what we’ve learned. The picture is grim. There are no policy levers that consistently correlate to increased growth. There is nearly zero correlation between how a developing economy does one decade and how it does the next. There is no consistently proven way to reduce corruption. Even improving governing institutions doesn’t seem to produce the expected results.
The chastened tone of these essays is captured by the economist Abhijit Banerjee: “It is not clear to us that the best way to get growth is to do growth policy of any form. Perhaps making growth happen is ultimately beyond our control.”
IT'S CLEAR FROM COMPARING RED-CHINA TO HONG KONG AND THE NEW CHINA, AND OLD INDIA TO NEW INDIA, AND NORTH KOREA TO SOUTH KOREA, AND RHODESIA TO ZIMBABWE WHAT "MAKES GROWTH HAPPEN":
- FREE MARKETS,
- PERSONAL LIBERTY,
- AND A GOOD WORK ETHIC - WHICH MEANS PEOPLE WHO WORK HARD TO MAKE THEIR OWN LIVES BETTER.
SOCIALISM, WELFARE AND NEARLY ALL INTERNATIONAL AID INHIBIT ALL OF THE ABOVE.
AND THAT MEANS POVERTY - THE NATURAL CONDITION INTO WHICH WE ARE ALL BORN - RETURNS.
- REMEMBER: PROSPERITY ISN'T NATURAL; IT'S CREATED. IT'S A PRODUCT OF HARD WORK.
- LEFTISTS THINK THAT POOR PEOPLE HAVE BECOME POOR BECAUSE THEIR NATURAL PROSPERITY WAS RIPPED OFF BY THE RICH AND THEY'VE BEEN EXPLOITED.
- CHINA PROVES THIS IS NONSENSE:
- BY ALLOWING RICH NATIONS TO COME INTO CHINA AND "EXPLOIT THEM" THE CHINESE ARE BECOME PROSPEROUS EVEN WEALTHY.
IN OTHER WORDS: IF WE REALLY WANT TO MAKE POVERTY HISTORY, THEN WE HAVE TO MAKE LEFTISM HISTORY.
SADLY FOR HAITI, NEARLY ALL THE HAITIANS WHO HAVE A GOOD WORK ETHIC AND WHO WANT TO BETTER THEMSELVES BY DINT OF THEIR OWN HARD WORK LEAVE - AND HAVE BEEN LEAVING FOR DECADES.
WHEN THEY FEEL THEY CAN GO BACK AND DO WELL, THEN HAITI WILL.
IN THE MEANTIME, I PRAY THAT HAITI'S SUFFERING IS RELIEVED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.