[permaculture] Aiding Haiti: Let’s get it right this time
jacque at book-woman.net
Mon Feb 8 18:48:38 EST 2010
On Feb 8, 2010, at 3:20 PM, Permaculture Cooperative wrote:
> Perspectives on Finance, Development, and Environment
> Aiding Haiti: Let’s get it right this
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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