[permaculture] Aiding Haiti: Let’s get it right this time

Jacque Greenleaf jacque at book-woman.net
Mon Feb 8 18:48:38 EST 2010

On Feb 8, 2010, at 3:20 PM, Permaculture Cooperative wrote:

> http://triplecrisis.com/aiding-haiti-lets-get-it-right-this-time/Global
> Perspectives on Finance, Development, and Environment
>  Aiding Haiti: Let’s get it right this
> time<http://triplecrisis.com/aiding-haiti-lets-get-it-right-this-time/>

lots of good stuff snipped.

I've been pondering a related question - which local institutions should we be supporting?

Haiti has incredible inequality, and I suspect the local elites like that situation just fine. What are the barriers that ordinary Haitians deal with in, for instance, buying and holding land? 

I read an interesting book a few years ago, THe Birth of Plenty, by William Bernstein, who makes a very good living advising big money investors on what to look for when investing in a foreign country. His contention is that in order for economic growth to occur, four institutions must exist. The first one is

 - secure property rights, not just for physical property, but intellectual property and personal liberty - the legal system must protect whatever gains people make in the marketplace, and this protection must be provided to the poor as well as the rich

Haiti is a kleptocracy, and I wonder whether poor people who are helped to build a decent hovel (as opposed to the indecent ones many now live in) or to develop a small farm garden, would be able to hold onto what they have built. They're not poor because they are all lazy and/or stupid. They're poor because Haitian social institutions are stacked against them. 

I'd love to hear from aid-oriented people who have coped with these situations. How do you protect the gains you make from the local social predators?

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