How Not To Fix the Haitian Economy, Courtesy of Naomi Klein, et al.
You won't be surprised to learn that the Index of Economic Freedom ranks Haiti 141st out of 179 countries in its 2010 world table. For a country that was supposedly ruined by the free market (see dumb blog posts here, here, and here), it sure ranks low on the most basic indices of what constitutes an economically free country. "Reforms to improve the business and investment climates have had little effect," says the Index, and "Rampant corruption and an inefficient judicial system are serious obstacles to entrepreneurial activity." Funny, that. But what if, rather than reforming a rotten system, we just bilk the French taxpayer out of billions of euros, for the imperialist sins of their great-great-great-great-great grandparents?
According to people who have been consistently wrong about economics (Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, José Bové, Alain Badiou), Haiti can pull itself up by its bootstraps and become self-sufficient by sending the French foreign ministry a bill for 90 million gold francs, which the Kommie Krew estimates at around 17 billion euros.
The New York Times reports that the group of "activists," determined to keep Haiti a poor, economically backwards country reliant on outside assistance, published an open letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Liberation. You can read the entire letter here. The Times notes that of the $5 billion promised in foreign aid to Haiti, only five countries have honored their commitment:
In March, international donors pledged to provide Haiti with just over $5 billion to help in its reconstruction. Earlier this month, Bill Clinton, who is helping to coordinate aid to Haiti, told The Associated Press that so far just five countries had made good on their promises and that less than 10 percent of that money had been delivered.
I missed this at the time, but the dumbest comment on Haiti goes to the director of Canadian Bacon: